19 January 2007

If you're going to piss one person off, why not a whole industry..?

No, no. Not us. Porter Novelli.

Seems that Porter Novelli thought it's be a smart post a press release about its client SpinVox on the online forum at industry networking group Mobile Mondays. But as you, I and everyone else knows, online forums are for rich, constructive discussions, not places for PR companies to start pitching weak releases about their clients.

And believe me, this press release was weak. Imagine the conversation within the team at Porter Novelli:

"We haven't done much for SpinVox recently, and the monthly meeting's coming up. Anyone got any smart ideas about getting a quick hit?"

"Well, that iPhone seems to be getting a lot of coverage..."

"Brilliant! We'll do a press release about the iPhone and then somehow try and spin some dodgy angle for SpinVox. Spinning for SpinVox, I love it!"

Hence the creation of a press release which starts:


London, UK - 18th January 2007: SpinVox, the Voice-to-Screen messaging expert, has applauded Apple's decision to include a `Visual Voicemail' feature on its iPhone, calling it a step towards what consumers really want - simple, relevant services.

I'm sure Apple is pleased with the endorsement - as it has clearly been struggling to generate any decent coverage for the iPhone - but the members of Mobile Mondays seem less impressed. We can't see the entrie comments, but the beginning of a few give you a flavour:

This is clearly spam and I suggest that the sender should be removed from the momo group list

In fact, this email is worse than spam, as it has been deliberately placed onto the groups list by a Ms Nathalie Agnew, whom Google shows to work at the PR...

Theres a time and a place for press releases, but Im not convinced this email group is it. so, sorry, but 3rded...

It's ineffective anyway - the PR makes SpinVox sound quite rattled by the iPhone, and posting it here has not exactly improved their standing amongst their...

So all in all, quite a drubbing for Spinvox. Spinvox, would you like to comment and turn your press release into more of a discussion point, as is demanded by...

I'm glad there's so much agreement on this - the use of new media and technology also demands restraint and ethics, something which seems forgotten by many...

Surely unless it is made clear to the "stupid" amongst the group that sending press releases out to a group such as this is a) not tolerated b) will draw...

Here, here. Seconded. Press releases don't count as discussion

+1, if this is to be put to a vote. I didn't even think it was a *good* press release

I am amazed of how people can "try" to gain traction by involving popular terms like iPhone in their press releases for no reason whatsoever

I also wrote up some of the tricks PR agencies are using in social media in the post from a session I was at last night- sobering reading

Thirded. Boring, ineffective and inappropriate press puff hung tenuously onto the launch of a competitor product by Apple

Oh. Dear. That didn't really work then, did it?


Fiona Blamey said...

Gosh I seem to be commenting a lot today. It won't last. Anyway, maybe, just maybe, PR people might actually try hanging out on the relevant chat forums, blogs etc. for a bit first, and familiarise themselves with the participants, ambience, etiquette and so on, before deciding how (if at all) to approach them on their clients' behalf.

After all, good PR is as much about what you don't do as what you *do* do.

Speaking of which, I suppose I'd better *do* some work now.

Jessica said...

The SpinVox team at Porter Novelli should be sweating - it's my impression that this client tends not to stick with the same agency for long. A quick search of my inbox shows that, in the past two years, I've been contacted about SpinVox by Chameleon, Abchurch Communications, Harvard PR AND Companycare. How long can Porter Novelli expect to last with a cock-up like this on their hands?

Jessica said...

Ha ha I've just seen the following bullshit on Porter Novelli's site:
"It's amazing what you can see when you put OUR minds to it."
In SpinVox's case, a sea of angry faces, presumably.
I really should do some proper work. I'm freelance... it's Friday... what a combination.

figgis said...

Well nice that to have a case study to show clients how not to interact in the social media world - cheers to PN for that.

Anonymous said...

you can remove the name 'spinvox' and phrases like 'social media interaction' and 'internet forum' from this debate - and the analogy is still valid.

In other words, it is still considered rude to walk in to a room full of people and interrupt them by talking bollocks.

But that isn't a 'PR tip' - its just basic common sense...