06 February 2007

72 (what's the) Point..?

There's a PR agency called 72 Point that I'd never heard of. It calls itself a "national news and PR specialist" and has a huge headline on its homepage which says "GUARANTEED COVERAGE OR YOUR MONEY BACK!" (yes, it's red and in capital letters on the website too).

It also has a blog and, presumably using the very same skills that will "GUARANTEE YOU COVERAGE OR YOUR MONEY BACK!" has decided to use one of oldest PR industry stories in the book to drive some traffic (and before you say it, yes, we're obviously happy to oblige...). It's the old hacks vs. flacks battle. As Point 72 itself says:

"PR people! Fighting back! All guns blazing! No more Mr or Mrs Nice Guy! Yes, the return leg of the epic PR-versus-journalists battle starts right here!"

Basically, Point 72 posted a bunch of verbatim comments from hacks a little while ago under the titel of "Top tips for PR people from the mouths of journalists" which were, unsurprisingly, the usual moans and gripes interspersed with a handful of ridiculous ones. Of course, the flacks were up in arms and fired back with their own salvo. Point 72 has posted these under the title of "Top tips for journalists from the mouths of PR people" and which are, unsurprisingly, the usual moans and gripes interspersed with a handful of ridiculous ones.

Actually, the flack comments are a far more interesting read. Interesting in the sense that they sound like a bunch of bleating cry babies who should maybe think about doing something else for a living. Like caring for the elderly. Or being librarians.

Get this: “Don’t be rude - if we call/email you and you’re not interested please be polite. Calling grumpy journalists can be very scary and can really knock the confidence of the juniors.”

And this: “If you’re rude, unreasonable and insensitive, expect not to be given the story that you really do want, we do have them sometimes.”

And stuff like this: “I would love it if PRs went ‘on strike’ for a week, to see how many of the rude, lazy so-and-so’s are actually capable of thinking up, researching and writing THEIR OWN stories, without the help of so many brilliant PRs who usually just end up doing their jobs for them while they pontificate on high about how useless we all are.”

It's worth checking out...though it's a depressing read. I have no idea what purpose it serves. It's not even funny.

14 comments:

Simon said...

At first glance it seems 72 Point are part of the news agency S(outh)W(est)N(ews)S(ervice).

Thus they will guarantee coverage cos they put the copy together for a raft of nationals and regionals!

They also stupendously misquoted a former colleague - getting her a front page of the Express.

According to this week's Private Eye they also helped out the NotW fleece an impoverished and ill former soldier whose story the promised £15k for and then paid "£1k... £1.5k tops". If you believe Private Eye.

Anonymous said...

Bizarre website. I'd love to see the smallprint on that guarantee. And why is it that bald people always have to wear 'Joe90' glasses...?

massiveweasel said...

it looks like this company is basically a few journalists at SWNS, which is a regional news agency who report on local stories for regional correspondents at the nationals. It will basically be these agency journalists coming up with stories for companies, or even just re-selling ones that the agency/in-house people have already come up with, and selling them into the local correspondents for the nationals on a quiet news day. Its basically another route into the papers which can work.

Anonymous said...

For an agency which claims such great success with the nationals, they don't seem to get on with journalists very well....

Anonymous said...

I don't know if any of you actually read the the same blog, but the rest of it is really funny, brilliantly written and has a style that not many PR companies are willing to stick their necks out and do.
SWNS is indeed a pretty crafty company - it's been in business for more than a quarter of a decade - and that obviously means they've got something right surely? This Joanna person that writes the blog seems to know her oats when it comes to the media and this little tete-a-tete that's being conducted (oh and complied from people who actually do these respective jobs) should surely be seen for what it is ... a bit of a laugh.
In fact, I think they should be applauded for not taking themselves too seriously like some other people I could mention ;o)

....the world's leading.... said...

You know, I think you're right...we're obviously not reading the same blog. The one you're reading "is really funny, brilliantly written and has a style that not many PR companies are willing to stick their necks out and do."

The one I'm reading seems to be a series of plugs for the "hits" 72 Point has achieved and a few posts about Big Brother being racist.

As for the hack v. flack debate being "a bit of a laugh"? Read it again. It's NOT FUNNY. And neither are emoticons.

Still, good to see that 72 Point has now removed the big red "GUARANTEED COVERAGE OR YOUR MONEY BACK" headline from its homepage...

Anonymous said...

I think 'anon' must be referring to another blog, in a parallel universe, as the one I just clicked onto from the 72 Point site was indeed lamentable.

The red banner may be gone, TWL, but the offer remains on the homepage. I'd still love to see that small print...

Richard Stone - Stone Junction said...

I thought it was really quite funny. Commercial suicide, but really quite funny.

jay williams said...

lighten up, low-hanging fruit-pickers

Anonymous said...

lighten up, you low-hanging fruit-pickers!!!

figgis said...

>it's been in business for more than a quarter of a decade<

Nice turn of phrase, like something that has fallen out of the 1920's but still sounding awfully impressive.

Anonymous said...

Am I the first one to point out that "a quarter of a decade" is in fact only two and a half years...???

figgis said...

>Am I the first one to point out that "a quarter of a decade" is in fact only two and a half years...???<

that was the point i was trying to make, just a bit more obliquely

AB said...

a few people seem to be getting their facts muddled and simon needs some help with how to read.

The Eye article clearly points out that SWNS were just the gophers, who took the contracts to the ex-squaddie and let the papers fight it out.

Any 'fleecing' was certainly no part of whatever SWNS did or didn't do.

To clarify a couple of other points, 72point is a sister firm of South West News Service. They have their own dozen or so employees, who get page leads day in day out with their PR ideas.

SWNS itself is Britain's biggest independent press agency and has honed dozens and dozens of sharp hacks and photographers currently in top jobs on the national papers.

Clearly, I'm biased, but just thought I'd try to clear up a couple of points.