Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Don’t tease me

Today I received an invite from a PR company to attend a party for a major client of theirs. The invite does not stipulate much other than “come party with us and revel in the excitement”.

Perhaps to the lay person any excuse to party with free booze and makan would be welcomed with open arms but for a journo, the first thought that comes to mind is, “this event is for what one har?”

Every other day or so I’ll receive a cryptic invites to events promising “very very very very exciting”, “groundbreaking”, “jaw-dropping” extravaganzas which I HAVE to attend because I’d be absolutely retarded not to.

And after some probing (if I’m really curious and I have time while waiting for my cab to take me home at 11pm) I usually find out whatever’s being launched or celebrated at the event is usually not relevant to my publication.

I like parties as much as the next guy but I also like a really good, succinct pitch.

Tell me what the party or event is for, if for some reason you HAVE to keep it secret until we walk through your door, please whisper the secret to me while pitching. My colleagues and I have no time to attend events that PROMISE something newsworthy.

I hate to turn people down and I used to get really uncomfortable doing it but nowadays I won’t even flinch.

And many times after I turn down invites, the sweet voice at the other end of the line asks if I’ll be sending one of my journos down. The short answer is, if it’s not good enough for me, it’s not good enough for them.

Please hor.


Morpheus said...

What are these PR companies thinking? They should be called jokers, not marketers. What a disgrace to the profession. They should know who they are targeting, be orginal, be creative and stand out from the crowd!Please tell me who these people are, you will be doing a great service to the society, our eyeballs have better places to be.

Stella Stargazer said...

hmmm...what about the element of surprise. the pure thrill of being totally amazed at an agencies creativity in launching its clients product...their clients most important product, that will bring them riches from the masses. Are we suposed to LEAK these creative wonders so as to be then further rejected by the a stargazer i can usually foresee the future and I see a very dull world ahead for us if SECRETS which clients pay alot of money for, have to be revealed to get the media to grace an event, an event planned in every detail just for them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie,

It is a fact that we journalists would be doing a lot of wading through murky PR pitches during our lifetimes...part and parcel of the job. After all, we don't just report the news, we also have to dig for it.

I always believe that there is a story angle underneath the fluffiest of fluff and we just have to find it (it's part of the fun). These are the kind of events that I consider as good learning exercises for junior reporters. When I get such an invite, I would ask a junior reporter to cover it, and come back to me afterwards with a story angle that we can use.

However, as we in the media would also appreciate a clearer picture of what PR companies are actually pitching, we could inform them that yes, PR agencies do need to create attention, but they also need to sustain it, so why not give us the big picture sans the puff, and allow us journalists to find the story angle for ourselves. A rules of engagement kind of thing.

PR can help by providing as much information as they can, or matching the media with the right people from the clients' side who can then provide us with more detailed facts needed for our articles.

This way, there is less bullshit, and less expense for PR clients who are footing the bills for all these stuff anyway. Plus, PR gets to keep their accounts because clients are getting the right publicity via our well crafted, and researched articles.

The point is everyone achieving their objectives, without straining any working relationships.


Millette Burgos
Managing Editor
Asia Pacific Broadcasting

noblackhats said...

Oh dear .. are PR agencies still employing such old world tactics. And are clients simply naive or earnestly naive? Anything that needs smoke and mirrors, means a very fluffy soft story. But there are agencies and there are agencies. As a journo, there's always an angle to even the most boring and mundane. Even bad movies are worth a critic. Try that Debbie, go on, dare to write about the rubbish that goes on. We love to laugh at other people's silliness.. and believe that we don't ever make their mistakes.

zookeeper said...

Before we all too carried away pointing finger at PR agencies for their silly and exasperating antics in trying to get Debbie (and every other editor in town, trust me) to turn up for the "secret" event, let's not forget that marketers are not any less guilty when it comes to ridiculous ideas to try and grab that little bit of attention.
Come on, for how many years have we been seeing the words "Sale" and "Free" splashed all over marketing materials. Not getting your long-outdated marketing tactics mentioned in this blog doesn't mean SOME marketers are less worthy of the "Joker" title.
Perhaps Debbie, you should post something about "Singapore's Silliest Marketing Gimmicks". ;)

smallbot said...

Hi Debbie,

Sorry to hear that you are being teased...I guess it must be as fustrating as it is for me when I get to see Ads like Creative using Panda Bears , when I really...although love Pandas...don't see the use of such campaigns.

I guess people that don't make the time to build a relationship with editors are like those marketeers that don't bother to open a marketing book and build the knowledge needed and instead rely on their degrees...

In london its a bit different though, its always about hype! beleive you me, people promiss you its gona be Justin Timberlake's official birthday party and you must join the party...but infact he flew out the day before!..adding to this 6 clubs will tell you its his official birthday party..

by the way, am building a new blog about Animals used in Marketing campaigns do check it out and leave your comments, must apologise for the short text..but 200words is so short la..I wanted to post like a white paper..nevermind la.

Smallbot said...

yes lets b different. lets make news news worthy.

competiton is tough, but yeah we r all thinking of ways to win:)