30 June 2006

Married to the job….

A decade ago or more ago, PR was a different game. It was extravagant, glamorous, budgets were big, the people were young and beautiful. It wasn’t like the process-driven, regulation-restricted, measurement-obsessed, more-for-less dull-fest that PR’s become today.

Even the dry world of Tech PR indulged in the excesses of the time. And one company in particular seemed to exemplify the mood: Text 100.

In the late 90s, Text 100 was the undisputed leader in UK tech PR; a 120-person strong hotbed of thrusting consultants with money to burn. Back then, the Microsoft UK PR fee alone was more than £4m a year. And when you put 100-plus twenty-somethings in a room together with a lot of Champagne, egged on by the fun-loving Mark Adams, things are going to happen…

There were, of course, liaisons aplenty. Some lasting (literally) a few short seconds…but others have stood the test of time. Has one small company ever produced so many married couples? Remind us of any we’ve missed, but here are the ones that we can recall…

Clive Armitage (now CEO of Bite) and Ruth Bradshaw (now full-time mum)

Justin Hayward (now head of technology & telecoms at MS&L) and Lisa Murray (now head of communications at the South East England Development Agency)

Stuart Handley (now communications director at Chariot plc) and Judy Osborn (managing director of Purple Rabbit PR)

Katie Kemp (now Executive Vice President at Waggener Estrom in the US) and Richard Topping (now…umm…ghost writer of Kenny Everett’s sidekick Cleo Roccos’ autobiography and…er…one time TV presenter and…umm…house husband?)

Steve Loynes (now Edelman Associate Director) and Pippa Tordoff (HR at RBS)

Reuben Milne (now managing director of Spark Creativity) and Dawn Isaac (now mum and Chelsea medal-winning landscape gardener)

Mark Pinsent (now freelance consultant) and Michelle Carney (now full-time mum)

Matthew Ravden (still involved in the Next Fifteen Group and soon-to-be-published author) and Sophie Brooks (now PR consultant…ex-managing director of AUGUST.ONE)

David Reeks (now a PR and analyst recruitment consultant) and Jenny Robson (mum to be)

James Warren (now Weber Shandwick, of course) and Heather Malley (now part-time consultant, we think, but mostly full-time mum)

And soon to join the clan, the newly engaged Bruce McLachlan (now an account director at Nelson Bostock) and Laura Manley (now at Consolidated Communications)
Shady's back, back again...

Hayward made us laugh. No wonder he's got such a great new job.

29 June 2006

Microsoft de-press-ed office?

What is going on with the Microsoft press office (aka, the Fish Bowl)?

It’s been happily chugging along, earning positive endorsements from the majority of IT trade journos for ages and then….

In a very short space of time it loses Mui Luc (to SAS, the BI software company as opposed to the clandestine killings operation), Demelza Fryer-Saxby (to Yell.com) and, this week, Mumtaz Beck, who was filled with a sudden desire to travel the world.

That’s the holy trinity of the press office gone.

Those new joiners are stepping into some big shoes….
I ain’t seen Dick…

Nobody can accuse Amanda Chapel of ducking an opponent; there’s no Audley Harrison send-in-the-softies style fight-picking going on with our Strumpette. No Siree.

Fresh from her spat with Text 100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes (as reported on The World’s Leading) Amanda’s launched into a confrontation with an even bigger fish, Richard Edelman.

Following Edelman’s riposte a week or so ago to a Sir Martin Sorrel speech to UK regional newspaper execs in which the WPP boss set out how traditional media might combat the growing threat to its business from social media (as reported in the FT), Chapel put finger to keyboard with her own thoughts on Edelman’s post.

Chapel feels that Edelman is making a huge bet on where social media is taking advertising and PR and, in doing so, is taking a huge risk with his company and many people’s livelihoods. But she recognises that, in effect, Edelman is simply making a business play…he can see a massive short-term revenue opportunity for Edelman from advertisers who might fancy an experiment with social media. As Chapel points out, if just 3% of WPP’s revenue found its way into Edelman’s coffers, Edelman would double its global revenue…

Thing is, Edelman seems to be ignoring Chapel’s post (and it can’t be that he’s not aware of it…Chapel has left comments on his post and, we understand, emailed him and a number of his execs directly).

Now, we know that not everyone’s a fan, and Chapel’s post is written in typically forthright style, but when you’re throwing phrases around such as, “…in the era of personal media, you must answer back, you must be engaged” and “the two way nature of the conversation is the key” and “conversation is the new PR” and “a chaotic world of continuous discussion” (as Edelman did in his post), surely you shouldn’t be picking and choosing the conversations you have?

So where are you Richard?
Think global, act like tourists…

I’ve been reading between the lines in PR Week again which, to be honest, I find rather more rewarding than reading the black inky bits.

‘Tracking software firm Blackbay turns to Inferno’ it tells me…a headline which, in itself, might’ve had the company in question dashing off to call the non-existent Bell Pottinger 24hr Crisis Line, but which in fact refers to a new client win by the Next Fifteen Group subsidiary.

The exciting news is that Inferno is to be Blackbay’s first PR agency (so the budget is likely to be smallish) and that Inferno will be running a B2B PR campaign across six European countries. This might prove to be something of a challenge. While its sibling agencies Text 100 and Bite have zillions of offices scattered around the globe, the Inferno network extends all the way to, umm, White City. It’s a hub without spokes; a big fat old legless spider of a network.

Still, I thought, they’ll be able to leverage the undoubtedly well-established European network of its brand new client. Scampering off to the Blackbay website I find out that it “delivers real-time mobile worker solutions that enable business process improvements to Supply Chain and Field Service mission-critical operations” or, if you’re a PR Week writer, it “allows delivery and repairmen to electronically track goods and their workload while out on the road”. Which is a description I like better.

Never mind all that, where on earth does it do all this great stuff from? London, Paris, Munich, Madrid, Milan, Oslo? Umm, not quite. London makes it…but then it’s Christchurch, Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore.

So, now I’m thinking that either (a) Inferno will be making extensive use of PR Newswire’s European press release distribution service, (b) Inferno associate director Suzy Sammons will be packing her suitcase for a whistle-stop tour of Europe with Blackbay execs or (c) Inferno is quickly cobbling together a network of European ‘partner’ agencies and telling the happy companies that they’ve each got £23.75 per month but "it’s a great opportunity to establish a relationship with a company that has ambitious plans for…blah, blah, blah."

27 June 2006

24hr crisis line? What 24hr crisis line?

The woefully poor Bell Pottinger Group website makes a point about highlighting the group’s tip-top crisis management expertise.

It even goes so far as to offer prospects in need a 24hr Issues and Crisis telephone number (020 7861 3290).

At 22:49 tonight we had a crisis that only a large corporate PR company that we’d never worked with before could solve.

So we called the 24hr Issues and Crisis line....

The call went unanswered. 40 rings. Not even a recorded message giving us someone’s mobile number.

Appropriately, we called while Channel 4 was showing Lost. Which, had we actually been a company in desperate need of PR support, we still would be.

26 June 2006

Ve hav vays of making you enjoy yourself...

Lewis PR has got a new (I think) website. It's all flashy...lots of animation, bits of video, you know the score. There's a very funny section called 'Top Tips'. It's all pretty bog standard stuff ('be reliable', 'have an organised plan'...) but the best bit is when they get the German fella to do Top Tip No.5: 'PR can be FUN'! I don't think he's very convinced.

Inspired.

23 June 2006

Preacher man…

So a couple of weeks ago PR Week published the Top 50 Tech Agencies league table; a slightly flawed affair that we and others posted about. Judging by the comments on our post, the most intruiging thing seemed to be the absence of Lewis PR from the table.

The official (though rather odd) reason given was that Lewis was “washing its hair”…sorry, that it wanted “to focus on international growth”. Of course, it was all too easy to assume that Lewis declined to submit numbers because they might paint a less than complimentary picture with regard to the agency’s performance over the past 12 months.

And anyway, isn’t it up to any individual agency as to whether it chooses to submit numbers? Well, we don’t think so – if you’re in, you’re in…you can’t pick and choose when it looks good – and our feelings are certainly backed up by the comments of one high-profile PR blogger.

After the publication of last year's Tech Top 50, he wrote:

“Then where's Firefly? Mark Mellor, its head honcho, has time to comment but no numbers to submit? Surely it's the responsibility of respected firms to be transparent about performance? Fortunes will wax and wane - we all know that (LEWIS UK only reported 1% growth in 2003) - but I don't think the response should be to yo-yo in and out of the tables at a whim.”

Quite.

And who was it that penned these wise words? Only Morgan McLintic.

That’s right…the same Morgan McLintic who's a Vice President at, umm, oh yes, Lewis PR.

Funny, he was rather quieter regarding this year's table.
“Reverse the paradigm on the history of advertising….”

Interpublic, one of the world's largest advertising and marketing services companies, no less, recently merged two of its companies; Draft and Foote Cone & Belding (FCB).

The company that looks more equal is Draft where they “combine the brand-building principles of general advertising with the results-oriented sensibility of direct, retail and promotions, and interactive marketing with one ultimate aim: to create demand for the brand.” Which all sounds jolly clever.

Foote Cone & Belding, meanwhile, excites its prospects by billing itself as the “world's second oldest advertising agency.” Well, it should win them the Sanatogen and Saga accounts at least.

While neither company’s website makes much play of the merger (and Interpublic’s, incidentally, still lists the companies separately) clearly lots of effort has gone into the new entity’s employee microsite.

Internal communications is a wholly different world to PR, so admittedly us mere PRs cannot understand why having the new CEO (Howard Draft) address employees via a webcam in his bedroom makes sense. Nor can we understand why inadequately protecting the microsite from a YouTube teenage misfit is also sensible.

Anyway, in an act of wanton vandalism, check them out here and here.

Dreadful American corporatese and, is it just us, or does he focus just a little too much on ‘getting past the politics’….

22 June 2006

Get the smoke, get the mirrors...

I dunno, is it just me, or is there something really funny in Waggener Edstrom refusing to give any details regarding the sudden departure of the man behind Microsoft's anti-Linux 'Get the Facts' campaign?

Get the Facts. Just not these ones.

21 June 2006

I coulda been a contender...

It has been known for “The World’s Leading” to poke gentle fun at the way companies describe themselves.

Axicom has gone one further by afflicting itself with a horribly cruel and comical one line descriptor.

The fifth paragraph of its home page proudly brags that Axicom is “one of the UK's top ten technology PR agencies, we were named PR Week's Hi-Tech Agency to Watch in 2001/2002.”

Christ, watch for how long?

It's beautifully reminiscent of the auto-signature that IT freelance journo and ‘adult website reviewer’ Wavey Davey Winder (Author: Freelance Journalist: Consultant) only recently abandoned. It read:

Davey Winder
Technology Journalist of the Year (1996)
Handbags II...Return of the, umm, Handbags...

They're at it again - check the comments. Crumbs.
Gone, but not forgotten…

If you have a look at Hill & Knowlton’s UK website and surf your way to its technology team, you can only be impressed. The seniority of the team, the depth and breadth of experience, the cut of the suits…

But is everything quite as it seems?

Don’t get me wrong, I know that keeping a website up to date is a sometimes onerous task. Making sure the site contains only the very latest information isn’t an easy thing to do.

But you’d think that when of your directors leaves the company, you’d make a special effort, wouldn’t you? Seemingly not, as the not inconsiderable talents of Chris Talago no longer reside at H&K (or so its switchboard operator has just told me) but he retains his prominent position on the website.

We hear he’s gone to AMD.
He's slim and he's shady...

So Justin Hayward's moved from Ogilvy to MS&L. Canary Wharf to West Kensington...that's about 8 mile, isn't it?


----------Shady-----------------Shadier-----

20 June 2006

Can'tcan't...

Not sure what's going on down at Cancan. Only a few weeks ago senior 'Cancaner' Jon Holt jumped ship for the head of corporate role at Firefly and now PR Week reports that senior AD Sarah Gavin is leaving for home to friendless freaks and pervs, sorry, 'social networking site' Bebo as global director of comms.

Is Cancan just a good stepping stone or a leaky tin?

16 June 2006

Fatboy Fatwa...

Speaking of Amanda Chapel as I was, the lovely lady has just left a comment on our previous Scoble post, but it's worth one of its own. She's uncovered a simply brilliant story.
Handbags...

There's a cracking argument in the comments on Text 100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes' blog...check out the exchange between Aedhmar and Amanda Chapel.

I'm saying nothing.
Podcast nano...

A reader writes...

Check out page 12 of PR Week today - Weber Shandwick constructs podcasting studio.

The following extract I think speaks for itself: "The soundproofed studio is expected to open next month. The 12 sq ft room will contain a table and chairs for clients, plus two professional-quality microphones and a PC that will store the required digital capture software."

Aside from the fact that PR Week seems to think that an agency capable of providing its clients with a table and chairs is newsworthy, this does require further examination.

a) At 12 sq ft, this amazing studio is about the size of a small toilet. Quite how you'd get a table and chairs in this huge facility is another matter - perhaps the chairs will be placed on the table - and of course, these are for clients only - agency personnel are expected to stand.

b) Two professional quality microphones - actually, they'd be better off using amateur mikes as this will give the podcasts the required back bedroom feel - plus those pro mikes will pick up the sound of sweating and grunting of the clients and agency folk as they attempt to move in the 12 sq ft studio.

c) A PC that will store the required digital capture software - this reads as though the software will simply be installed on the machine but not actually used. Much of the time spent by WS' new "embryonic "(says PR Week) web relations practice will be focused on reading the user manual and working out how to turn the computer on - as well as how to get it to fit in the studio.

We also notice that the article states that James Warren (head of the web relations practice) "currently works on his own". Given the size of the studio, this is presumably out of necessity rather than design?

There’s no such thing as a free lancer…

There is of course…I just thought it made a nice title. There’s certainly no such thing as a free freelancer, if the one I met this week is anything to go by.

This girl’s got more than a decade’s PR experience – mostly in consultancy – and she’s built up a nice network of contacts throughout the industry. That’s important, she says, because it allows her to go direct to clients and consultancies for work rather than through freelance placement agencies. This means that (a) she avoids the agency cut of her day rate and (b) she negotiates direct with the client/consultancy. She feels far better placed, she says, to put a value on her work than someone in a placement agency.

In fact, she was utterly scathing about the ability of freelance agencies to place senior PR consultants. The problem is, of course, that all they’re interested in is making the placement and getting their fee. They’re more interested in making a freelancer attractive to an agency to make the placement (by convincing the freelancer to accept a lower day rate, for instance) than they are in helping the freelancer maximise their income. After all, if the placement agency is taking a straight 10% of the day rate, getting the freelancer to accept £200 a day rather than £300 only costs the placement agency £10 a day…but the freelancer a whole lot more.

But this girl’s senior, and she goes direct…so she’s earning £500 a day.

You’ve probably just done what I did and multiplied £500 by 5 and then by 52…and come to an annual income of £130,000. Nice.

It’s not quite that simple, of course. She doesn’t get paid when she’s not working…so for every day’s holiday she takes she loses £500. Still, even if she takes 25 days off a year, she’s only losing £12,500 from her £130k. It’s still a pretty tidy income. There are quiet times, of course, and the work’s never guaranteed to keep coming in.

But don’t her clients do those sums as well, I asked, and balk at paying her a pro-rata salary of £100k+ a year?

Not often, she claims. You see, her clients have a specific need for her services and only need pay for exactly the time they need – maybe a day or two a week. They avoid the costs inherent in taking on a full-time member of staff and know that (when she’s working through a consultancy) she will be fully billed out to clients…which for someone of her level means in the region of £1,400 a day.

It’s even more straightforward when she works directly with a client; they’re getting someone for £500 a day that they’d pay £1,400 a day for through a consultancy. Clients therefore don’t see her as expensive resource…in fact they see her as being pretty cost-efficient.

So she doesn’t actually work full-time. It ebbs and flows, of course, but she reckons that on average she works three days a week (including holidays). So that’s still £78k every year. Not bad for a part-timer!

The downsides? Well, she never truly feels ‘part’ of the organisations she works for and doesn’t therefore enjoy as many of the social aspects of being a full-time, permanent employee of a company. But, she says, at her stage of life (married, young child, living out of town) that’s not a big concern.

Should we all go freelance then? No, of course not. To do what this girl’s done you need a (pretty rare) combination of experience and an extensive range of strong contacts if the work is going to keep rolling in. You also need to be happy selling your services and networking. Her advice: “learn, specialise, get to know people and don’t burn any bridges.”

It’s not bad to bear in mind as you’re moving up the ranks and thinking about a more flexible future working life, is it?
Those crazy Edelmen (and women)...

I've received the following. There's a story behind it which is entirely reasonable, but it's much funnier if taken out of context. So that's what I'll do.

To be sung to the tune of Tony Christie's 'Show Me the Way to Amarillo':

When the day is dawning
On a sunny London morning
How I long to be there
With Sven and Beckham just waiting to win yeah

In the local boozer
Where we’ll stake our claim
We’ll be playing fussball
While we watch the games

We’re on the way to England glory
With Edelman watching the whole story
Dreaming of a World Cup victory
We’re Edelman for Eng–a–land

What the..?!

15 June 2006

It better be, but I doubt it...

I'm not sure PR Business, the recently launch rival to PR Week (in the UK at least) is getting the hang of life online (some might say it hasn't yet got the hang of life offline...). There's been a holding page up since the mag launched, what, four months ago (?) - initially the page said that the site would be with us in March 2006; then it said April 2006...in fact it said April until a couple of days ago.

Now it's changed it to say: "Please bear with us, our official site will launch very soon. It will be well worth the wait."

With its record for keeping a single page current, I'm not confident.
It's those rubbish PR blogs again...updated!

Hot on the heels of PR Week's Editor Danny Rogers bemoaning the fact that, apparently, there are few good UK PR blogs in an interview with The Guardian - something picked up be Drew B, Mayfield, Bruce and others - Rogers shows just how on the ball his publication is by announcing that Justin Hayward is moving from Ogilvy to MS&L.

Hang on, didn't we reveal that very fact almost a fortnight ago? So if Rogers actually read any UK PR blogs, he could've run the story in last week's issue and not looked like such an arse.

Stop press! They do read blogs at PR Week! Or at least Alex Black does, as he quotes our post from last week on the Palm pitch shambles. Bless 'em.
When the PR becomes the story...

Don't you just love it when a PR consultancy gets named in tech editorial? You just know it ain't gonna be good. And don't you really love it when two come along at once...and especially when they're from the same group?

It appears that a couple of days ago Bite caused a stir in the consumer tech media (and no doubt, a load of work for itself) when it confirmed that the UK launch of its client Samsung's forthcoming Blu-ray player was going to be delayed. Engadget broke the news - which it described as a 'crushing blow to HD-hungry consumers' - after calling Bite to simply confirm the June 25th launch date. Oh dear.

I was still chuckling about that when Google News throws up the following snippet from Dan Ilett's China Diary, currently featured on silicon.com:

But then I get a text message from UK PR agency Text 100. After months of trying they've managed to get someone from Lenovo to talk to me. This is good news...

Lovely, I think to myself, here's Text 100 - sister agency of Bite in the Next Fifteen Group - getting a slapping from Dan. But when I click through to the story, there's no mention of Text 100 in Dan's Diary at all. Go on, try it yourself...search on 'China Diary Text 100' in Google News and click through and see if you can find Text 100. Let us know if you do.

14 June 2006

Write Image, wrong number...

You can’t help wondering if Write Image’s new office is actually an old funfair hall of mirrors and that, having moved in, the staff set fire to all their old desks. Surely that’s the only way that Write Image could have created sufficient smoke and mirrors to find itself at No.1 in the latest PR Week ‘Top 50 Tech consultancies’ ranking?

Write Image is a great company, full of good people. But it’s not doing £6m worth of tech PR every year. It does a lot of tech marketing work (case studies, brochures, events and the like), but the actual PR team is small. Even if you include its solid analyst relations offering, there’s still no way you can't smirk at the sheer nonsense of it being billed as the UK’s largest tech PR shop.

And Nelson Bostock second? With this list of 'current and recent' clients. More recent than current, we reckon. Vonage? That's been at Inferno for decades. It's more like a list of 'companies we've heard of'.

And who has ever quaked in their boots at the prospect of going up against Citigate Dewe Rogerson to win a tech client? Mind you CDR, it tells us, is 'the leading international consultancy specialising exclusively in financial and corporate communications' (but not technology, funnily enough...and can one specialise 'exclusively' on two sectors?).

Most ranking systems are fundamentally flawed (and we haven't even mentioned the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley) but this one is as appalling as a Bobby Davro Christmas special.

13 June 2006

Robert....what was it again?

Now that Scoble has cashed in and left Microsoft for a start-up, can we please forget about him?

I bloody well hope so. Never has a four-eyed chubby geek had so much attention for so long....for crying out loud, he almost made nerds think they were cool there for a while.

The only reason that he ever made it into my reader (and he's gone already) was because he resided at Microsoft, and therefore might give some insight into the workings of the world's leading....umm, massive company.

Not that he ever did, really. He just went..."wow, I've just been over with my Channel 9 buddies filming Brad in Development who's doing some really far out stuff with grids that's simply going to blow you all away" and "what really gets me is when those guys at Google say we're not great and we are great. They're great too and if we all just got along it'd be a world of greatness."

And you knew he really wasn't cool because he called himself the Scobleizer! Christ...it's like that arse Chuck Sherman in American Pie..."I am the Sherminator. I'm a sophisticated sex robot sent back through time, to change the future for one lucky lady."

Well done Robert - best of luck. Now bugger off.

09 June 2006

Rainier foggy over bloggy...

On Monday (in fact up until yesterday we believe) Rainier PR's blog (Rainier being, it tells us, ‘one of the UK's leading business-to-business and consumer technology PR agencies’…ooooh, get you) had the top spot on Google if you typed in "PR blog". Now it's gone. Why would that be?

That it was there at all was, to say the least, a fascinating and intriguing aberration to anyone who knows a thing about blogs - Technorati and other blog ranking services didn't really rate it highly...so either there was some very interesting search engine optimisation going on or Rainier's blog was a lot more popular than most people thought...

Just a few days ago Stuart Bruce (see below) - the self-proclaimed IT PR guru from Leeds -called their blog "the dullest, most pompous blog I've ever seen" and he's not the first.

Now it has disappeared, leaving the rather limp Breakfast Briefing blog in its wake. You can still see some of the disappeared blog that so irked La Guru, Mr Bruce, in Google's cache.
Handheld cock-up…

Well, despite PR Week eventually catching up with The World’s Leading in reporting that Inferno has picked up the Palm account (something we posted a fortnight ago) it did manage to uncover a rather interesting angle on the story…

It seems that there were two agency shortlists in play. The first – drawn up by now (unsurprisingly) departed EMEA Corp Comms and PR Manager Andrew Phillips – included Bite, Cohn & Wolfe, CompanyCare and Weber Shandwick. A sneaky second list of three (including Inferno) was drawn up by Palm EMEA V-P Roy Bedlow.

With Inferno taking the account, clearly the whole process was a complete and utter waste of time for the agencies on Phillips’ shortlist. In our view, they’d be well within their rights to be rather pissed off. In fact surely Palm should be proposing some level of compensation for those agencies that would have applied a not insignificant amount of time and resources to the stillborn pitches?

Still, it has reminded me of my favourite ever TV out-take. A kids’ TV show hosted by actor Brian Blessed, who was required to demonstrate the winner’s prize - a Palm Pilot - but couldn’t get it open. Increasingly frustrated, he ended up screaming (as only Blessed can)….”Palm Pilot?! It sounds like a fu*king wa*nking machine”
A blog for Guy...

Here's another PR blogger with a secret career. Stuart Bruce by day, tantrums and tiaras in the evening...

07 June 2006

Monsters be here....

“Europe is a huge area spanning over 50 countries,” helpfully explains the first line of the Hoffman Europe home page to its bible-bashing, gun-toting US audience.

“The key to successful European media relations is to work with an agency that knows the region inside out and out. An agency that understands the breadth and diversity of the target audience; an agency that knows that what works well in one country won’t necessarily work well in another."

Lucky for na├»ve American clients then, Hoffman has Europe covered. It has an office in Egham, one in Munich (that’s in Germany) and in March opened an office in Paris (France, where they make cheese).

Serving European IT titans such as Dimatex (ink jet printheads for commercial and industrial printing) and Visionael (a leading provider of network asset management solutions), Hoffman shares its European understanding through an illuminating Q&A on European PR:

Q: How does IT PR in Europe differ from IT PR in other parts of the world?
A: Europe is an extremely diverse region, comprising over 50 countries. It is therefore difficult to pin point specific differences as every country within Europe has its own way of doing things.

I see….

Q: What are the common mistakes made with European PR programmes?
A: The most common mistake is to assume that all of Europe is the same. It is not. Each country has its own way of executing PR programmes and what works well in one European country won’t necessarily work well in another.

OK, I’m getting the picture….

Q: Where are the journalists based?
A: Most journalists are based in the main cities of Europe - London, Paris, Milan.

Perhaps the Q&A was written before the Paris office opened (and after the Milan one closed?)....

Q: Do European reporters differ from the rest of the world?
A: Yes. As a general rule, European reporters like to be seen as independent and impartial. This is especially true of UK reporters. Pet hates: sales language; PR puff and favoritism.

Bit of a slur on American journalists. And it misses out American spellings as a pet hate….

Q: What are the cultural pitfalls to avoid?
A: This varies from country to country and it’s always wise to seek specific advice. In Spain, for example, it is acceptable to offer reporters gifts as a way of thanking them for attending a press event. In the UK, reporters would consider this tantamount to bribery and would be offended.

Not in my experience…..

Q: How important is it to speak the local language?
A: It is always preferable to speak the local language.

Well bugger me sideways with a large bratwurst….

Q: Should press material be translated?
A: As a general rule, yes, especially if the material is not in English.

I’ve read this 100 times and it still makes me laugh….

Q: What are the key countries in Europe?
A: UK, Germany and France. Secondary countries include The Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

And how they love being called secondary countries….

Q: What is the best way to work with European PR agencies?
A: Using a single agency to work directly with the pan-European press is often very successful, especially where product releases form the majority of the media output and where the objective is predominantly sales enquiries.

I think we know where this is headed….

One solution is to appoint a 'Lead Agency' in Europe which will act as the single interface. The Lead Agency will associate agencies in the various European countries in which you operate, and co-ordinate and manage all activity, reporting back to you on a regular basis.

Wow, good thinking....

Of course the location of the lead agency is important.

I can imagine….

From a language standpoint, many US companies appoint UK-based agencies

I see….

But there are good arguments for the lead agency to be situated elsewhere in Europe

I’m sure; otherwise this would be a blatant piece of self-promotion….

For example in a country where the company's European headquarters is based

And for American companies that would be….wow, exactly the same country as Hoffman’s European headquarters….hurrah….

06 June 2006

Hello Moto...

The five lucky agency bosses that find themselves on Motorola’s pitch shortlist are jumping with glee at the prospect of landing one of tech PR’s most prestigious clients.

Not only is it a whopping great feather in any agency’s cap, it's worth a hell of a lot more than the £300K stated on the front page of PR Week. In reality, we're told, it's a whole lot closer to the record-breaking amount that Brian Clough splashed out for Trevor Francis in the late 70s.

As one industry wag commented: "It’s the type of account that transforms two agencies: the one it goes to, and the one it leaves behind."

Such is the fee that it’s not only the five agencies that stand a chance of landing the business that are rubbing their hands; it’s the people running PR recruitment companies with strong tech practices that will be the real winners.
That Mellor fella...

What happened to one half of dodgy 90s croon-duo Robson & Jerome? Why, he's the MD of Firefly, of course...


------------------Mellor--------------Green----------
Bruvvers...?

Top PR blogger by day, Walford thug by night?


-------McFadden--------------Mayfield--------
He's the ace...he's amazing...

Ever wondered how Stuart Smith can hold down the job of CEO at Edelman London and yet still find the time to be sidekick to Dangermouse? I know I have.


--------Penfold--------------Smith---
We want the finest wines available to humanity...










--------Withnail--------------Wheeler---
Ooh look, what’s that? It’s my navel…

Flicking through the pages of PR Week (probably the UK’s leading weekly PR publication) always reminds me what a ridiculously tiny industry this is, especially when narrowed even further into a specialism such as technology.

Invariably there are always half a dozen people in there that I know. I don’t just mean ‘know of’, I mean proper ‘met, worked for, shared a drink/meal/bed with, immediately email to tell them I’ve sent heir ugly mug in PR Week’ know.

It’s more like a local paper in that respect (the Bromley Guardian rather than the Yorkshire Post, mind). People can relate to the story about the fire in the local chippy because they’ve been there and bought a saveloy…in the same way that we can relate to Adrian Wheeler launching a new consultancy because we’ve seen him doing his Richard E. Grant turn at endless PR conferences. We scour the pages looking for people we know and agencies we’ve been, ridiculing the ‘My Best Hires’ and looking all casual in the Appointments pages.

On the front of PR Week it says £3.20. Why is that? I’ve never met anyone who’s actually paid for one…just those that swoop on the numerous copies that drop onto plush doormats across the West End every week, quickly ripping through the flimsy sellophane to disguise the fact that it wasn’t actually addressed to them.

It’s a funny little rag…like a dirty secret. I shouldn’t like it, but I do. On the tube I always keep my copy hidden inside the latest ‘Animal Rimmer’, just to save my embarrassment.

02 June 2006

Bad puppy...naughty puppy...in your bed...

A bit of Friday fun reaches us here at The World's Leading Towers - and it's a popular one as we're received it from two sources in 10 minutes.

The story is that the fashion editor of one of the UK's leading daily newspapers, 'ED', lives with her brother, 'GD', an exec in the technology division of the 'world's leading independent PR consultancy'.

Seems that sis is less than impressed with some of bro's personal habits, as she told him in the following email string earlier today. Thing is, she's got the email address of the wrong 'GD'...

We've reversed the email string so read from the top:

-----Original Message-----
From: ED
Sent: 02 June 2006 10:15
To: GD
Subject: 2 things

1: can you PLEASE stop drowing the bathroom with water and wee every morning???

Everyday I wipe up the puddle of wee around the toilet and have to stop myself slipping cos you haven't used the bathmat. Last night's puddle of wee actually indicated that you hadn't managed to get ANYTHING in the toilet…YUK

2: Can I send you your dry cleaning as I haven't got a car and am going out tonight so don't REALLY wanna take your suit to the pub…

Anyway hi xx

ED

-----Original Message-----
From: GD
Sent: 02 June 2006 10:19
To: ED
Subject: RE: 2 things

Eh? Do I know you?

-----Original Message-----
From: ED
Sent: 02 June 2006 10:30
To: GD
Subject: RE: 2 things

Ok sod you then, won't bother sorting out YOUR dry cleaning

-----Original Message-----
From: GD
Sent: 02 June 2006 10:37
To: ED
Subject: RE: 2 things

Don't get me wrong - it's very kind of you to sort out my dry cleaning - but I don't think we've ever met.

-----Original Message-----
From: ED
Sent: 02 June 2006 10:39
To: GD
Subject: RE: 2 things

That's it then

I get home late from a very LONG day in ParisI have to cope with a puddle of wee on the floor before I can even go to the toilet
I sort out your dry cleaning
I then worry about how to get it to you
And you're being silly???
Forget it
You can wear your sodding jeans

-----Original Message-----
From: GD
Sent: 02 June 2006 10:45
To: ED
Subject: RE: 2 things

Listen… some poor fella is getting into awful trouble here.

But something tells me you've got the wrong man, even though I DO have a pair of trousers at the dry cleaners.

Check the e-mail address!!

Ogileaving....

We hear that Justin Hayward (not the Moody Blues one) is soon to travel the long and winding tube line from Canary Wharf to that funny sort of area between Earl's Court and Olympia (West Kensington or something?). He'll soon depart from Ogilvy's UK HQ in Cabot Square and land in the office of Manning Selvage & Lee London - the European headquarters of MS&L, one of the world’s leading public relations firms, for goodness sake).

Hayward's been ploughing his own furrow at Ogilvy for a couple of years now but, to be honest, his departure was always on the cards. He's simply too smart to be hanging around with a bunch of ad agency luvvies on a daily basis and, let's face it, Ogilvy will always be an ad agency first and PR second. It's a great hire for MS&L.
World Cup...heroes and humbugs...

So, hands up who's getting excited about the World Cup? We certainly are. But we want to know who are the PR world's Coupe de Monde heroes, and who are the bah humbugs.

Has your boss hung plasma screens throughout the office, installed beer-filled minibars beneath your desk and already suggested a long late lunch before kick-off to discuss whether Togo are likely to play a flat back four or put a man in the hole? She has?! World Cup Hero!

Or are you likely to be tied to your desk, anxiously wondering whether the Dutch have taken an early lead and trying to take a sneaky peek at BBC online's coverage while your workaholic boss prowls the office looking for any sign of national colours and, therefore, a clear lack of commitment to the business? Really?! World Cup Humbug.

Let us know...post a comment or send a story to theworldsleading@yahoo.co.uk

PS...for our American readers I'm talking, of course, about the real World Cup as opposed to, say, the World Series. You know, this is the one where everyone gets to play.

01 June 2006

VNU leaks security hack....

Congratulations to Computing’s security guru and all round nice guy, Dan Thomas, who has just landed a brand spanking new job. Dan, an ex-tech PR, will soon be the Dow Jones’ telecoms correspondent, stepping into the shoes of the lovely (albeit Australian) Nic Fildes.

So for Dan it’s ‘hello’ to earlier hours, more wonga and increased street cred, as well as a sad goodbye to Broadwick Street and those tasty freelance pieces in the FT.

Dan’s new role became available after Nic left Dow Jones to be the telco guy at The Independent.