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03/21/01
How to get my journalistic juices gushing...


I've been thinking a lot about public relations lately, not just because I won an award from a bunch of PR people last month (it was the highlight of my life, folks. I have to keep mentioning it.), but because I spoke to a group of PR people yesterday as part of my ongoing effort to win awards outside of my profession. I had also had lunch with a few PR friends recently, so I get to hear all of their horror stories about angry reporters hanging up on them and how they fear cold calling people with the same waking sweat that makes most people not want to work in telemarketing.

Because a lot of my job involves reviewing products or talking about new technologies, I get pretty innundated with press releases. If all of these press releases were one-page sheets of paper mailed in regular envelopes or they all were easy-to-follow e-mails, there's be no problems.

But press releases have to stand out. Press releases have to capture the attention and imagination of a journalist, or they'll be thrown away.

Honestly, though. What PR person decided to mail me a brick? I mean, when they were putting the package together, whose idea was it to put a brick in a Fed-Ex box, tie a press release to it with a ribon, and think that would make me want to write a story? Did they mail it because they couldn't throw the brick high enough to shatter our second-floor window?

I'm a little bit fascinated by the world of PR. Here are these people whose main purpose it to attract attention. Whereas reporters like to hide behind their words and get shameful, secret pleasure out of seeing their name in print, PR people have been known to organize huge parties just to get the names of their clients on the tongues of others. They will call TV stations and have entire camera crews present for a company-sponsored balloon-animal contest.


I know you be wantin' a Louis Vuitton Hair Cube. Why? Read on...

I didn't say there was shame involved, I just said it was a little fascinating.

Because I see so many of them, I thought I'd deconstruct a press release to give you an idea of the delicate process that creates a Media Event. Press releases are incredibly powerful beasts, and if you don't believe me, check out this quote from press-releases.net: "For years now, press releases have been one of the most powerful forms of advertising and marketing that money can't even buy! Yes, that's right!!"

Notice the two exclamation points. In PR-speak, that means that not only is this point salient, but that the previous sentence can be read aloud several times for emphasis.

A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from a PR person representing an e-commerce company called eLuxury. Here it goes:

 

"V.I.P. VIEW OF THE FASHION WORLD IS JUST A CLICK AWAY"

 

Damn, girl. You had me at "V.I.P."

 

"eLUXURY.com Puts Fashion Week, Rodeo Drive and Madison Avenue Right At Your Fingertips"

 

Can you imagine Zach de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine reading this? He'd be all, "The Zapatistas are gonna come and tear your little Rodeo Drive-pimpin' shit up! The day of reckoning is coming for capitalist frontin'! Ya'll ain't seen a brown-skinned man since your granddaddy bought one! Yeah! Yeah! And it don't quit! And ya don't stop!"

Zach de la Rocha is cool.

 

"SAN FRANCISCO — February 23, 2001"

 

The originating location and date are good to know because you can track on a map where pockets of evil are forming from the depths of Earth's demon-pits.

 

"Wishing you had a front row seat to Fashion Week in Paris?"

 

Do I!?! Man, it's like you're reading my mind!

 

Wondering how to get your hands on that Christian Dior handbag you saw on the latest episode of Sex In The City?

 

Look, you said you weren't gonna tell anybody about that. Oh, and can I just add something here? Sex AND (not IN)the City is overrated. There. I said it. Just because it's women screwing around and saying vulgar shit doesn't make it any funnier than if guys were on TV, drinking Cape Cods and talking about anal sex. Okay? Are we over SATC yet? Thank you.

 

Coveting Louis Vuitton hair cubes the most talked about accessory to come off the runway?

 

If you're gonna reveal all my secret fantasies, can I at least get a royalty check or something? And by the way, if there's actual people out there who spend their time talking about "hair cubes," I just don't want to know about it.

 

The solution is eLUXURY.com (www.eluxury.com), the authoritative Internet address for Today's Styles, Tomorrow's Trends.

 

Today's Investment. Tomorrow's Round of Dot-Com Layoffs and Bankruptcy. Sorry, I'm just kidding. It'll probably be wildly successful given how everybody I know can't stop talking about Louis Vuitton hair cubes.

 

eLUXURY, an LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton affiliated Web site, offers the style conscious a VIP pass into the world of high fashion:

 

"LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton." If I were a Duke, that would totally be my name.

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