Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Frivolous PR

To be honest, I would totally do PR for him no matter what.
Back when I was just starting out in my career, I was frankly against PR jobs. Let me rephrase that: Back BEFORE I had a career, I was against PR jobs. Mostly I thought that PR was just a way to control the media. Then again I was determined to be a part of the media until I learned that I could make more money working retail part time than in full time starting off writing positions at newspapers (which by the way were scarce jobs even back then). So my buying into a book I had in college called Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies, and the Public Relations Industry met directly with my need to eat. Eating won.

After a brief stint with a HUGE multinational company that made me feeling icky, I decided that I would only do PR for the "betterment of mankind" or that was so ridiculous that no one could take it seriously. I thought at the time that that left me with non-profit, sports or entertainment. Seeing that I lived in Middle America, didn't have the balls at the time to move and there were only 3 professional sports teams within a 3 hour drive, I chose non-profit. And it worked out well. Hopefully for all parties involved.

Lately, I've been rethinking my stance. Clearly I do PR still and it's not for a place related to the three things I list above, but I actually like my job. I realize there are companies that pitch ridiculously false things to the media but honestly for the most part the media have a pretty good BS meter, so even the best written press release on a story with no substance won't get significant play. However, a poorly written release on a great material can kill a company--which is why companies and journalists to some extent need PR. But that's beside the point. I thought since now I'm doing different PR could I do PR for a sports team or celebrity? Not tactically, but PR is PR. If you can do it well, it's a pretty transferable skill. The level of aggressiveness changes with industry, but that's about it.

The question is now whether I'd want to do what I thought of as "frivilous PR" and now I think the answer is no. Mostly because I don't think people in the entertainment and sports fields think of it as frivolous. And I agree on one hand: those industries are BIG money so the PR is at a higher importance. But when I say "frivolous PR" I mean that the person receiving the information does not see it as essential in their daily lives. And that's where things seemed to have changed. I've seriously met people who view US Weekly as their own personal devotional books. People who can't name the current president, but can tell me the past 6 winners of Dancing With The Stars. . . in order of their receiving the disco ball trophy.

Maybe nothing at all has changed that much except my perception. But that's all I got.

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