|July 27, 2010|
|Paine Calls PR Ad Values 'Cancer' - Wrong!|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|The measurement industry has got its pants in a bunch over those who like to translate PR placements into ad dollar equivalents.|
PR traditionally used the "Macy's Rule," which said one line of editorial placement was worth ten times what it would have cost as an ad.
The measurement crowd met in Barcelona, Spain from June 10-18 (attendees included PRSA chair Gary McCormick) and among the principles it announced was that "advertising value equivalents" (AVEs) "are not the value of public relations."
Among those who provide AVEs are VMS, BurrellesLuce, Cision and Media Monitors. None of them are exactly lightweights in PR. On the contrary, they have many decades of serving the PR industry.
But the measurement faction, which wants to put a ruler on just about everything, and whose siren song is "clear goals," shows nothing but contempt for AVEs.
A leader of this faction is Katie Paine of KD Paine & Partners, Berlin, N.H.
New AVE Measurement Denounced
Her blog denounces a new service by Media Monitors that will "allow brands to measure their media and PR coverage online and in traditional media and work out its equivalent value in ad dollars."
It will trace page impressions, unique visitors, content style, ad rates, size, language scaling and placement to "provide instantly comparable ad space rates (ASR) across internet monitoring content."
This has sent Paine, one of the U.S. leaders in measurement, into orbit.
"This is just more lipstick on the pig of Ad Value Equivalency," she huffs in her blog.
She wants to "kill this cancer that continues to invade the body of PR research" and is advising judges of Silver Anvils, Gold Quills or any industry awards to "reject outright" such entries.
For those who have signed on to the Barcelona Principles, she advises boycotting "any firm that uses AVE."
Says Paine: "While I apologize to various clipping agencies and PR firms that think this false metric is still 'necessary'—i.e., they're still making money selling some form of it, I will not apologize for calling for action on this topic."
She calls AVEs "bad science, dubious research and false data."
How Creative Are the Measurers?
Our take on this is that in demanding all sorts of "proofs" that PR works the industry is measuring itself to death.
There are proofs that PR (or lobbying) works when a bill is passed or not passed at federal or local levels.
The job of PR and advertising is to bring the attention of target audiences to the product or service. Print and broadcast clips should be virtually the sole measurement.
Whether a product succeeds or not is up to its price, quality and the competition. A lot of ads or PR for a bad product will only speed its demise.
It's difficult enough getting an editor’s attention without the PR person having to prove a placement moved product.
The ad industry traditionally accepted that about half of ads are wasted but it could never determine which half. It did know enough to continue advertising.
A principle of advertising is that the quantity of ads is more important than any message. Get that name, get that product out there in public view.
This is one reason companies pay tens of millions to put their names on stadiums. There’s no slogan or other message, just the name. Signage is a big industry these day but who can connect a product sale to the name on a stadium?
The measurement industry is mostly an uncreative barnacle on the hull of PR. It needs to be put in its place.
Could any of these measurers create a PR campaign?
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