|January 20, 2010|
|The Economist's Big, Fat Kiss Has PR Hearts a-Twitter|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|PR hearts are a-twitter after the big fat, wet kiss that The Economist planted on the cheek of the business. After the British magazine posted the "Good News”" article on its website last week, servers at odwyerpr.com nearly crashed, weighed down by the number of forwarded messages of the article. |
Painting a rosy picture of PR, the Economist trotted out the usual suspects such as lower costs vis-à-vis advertising, death of traditional media, rise of social media and better measurement tools. The best quote in the piece came from MDC Partners chief Miles Nadal who believes investment in digital PR "will go forward in perpetuity."
Upward and onward for PR, indeed.
There was a lot of cheer leading in the Economist piece. In pitching the "sky's the limit" angle for PR, the magazine noted that many firms slashed jobs and posted revenue declines in '09, "although not nearly as sharply as those of most the business that it serves."
That leads one to ask, If business is so great ...?
The Economist also quoted the recently released StevensGouldPincus survey that found 64 percent of firms reported revenue declines last year while only 23 percent posted an increase.
Looking for the needle in the haystack, the mag helpfully speculated that "businesses put their faith only in the biggest and most established firms." That doesn't jibe with what CEOs of top firms tell me. They call '09 the year "flat became 15 percent growth."
Straight-shooters like Huntsworth CEO Peter Chadlington say PR isn't going anywhere this year until the employment picture improves. [Chadlington is bullish on sectors like healthcare and public affairs.]
The Huntsworth boss, who built Shandwick and then sold it to Interpublic, thinks it's ludicrous to believe that corporations will spend for corporate or social responsibility programs while workers remain idle.
The Economist article brims with "spin" and "happy talk." PR will rebound this year, but calling the financial meltdown and corporate bailouts "a bonanza for PR firms" is a mighty stretch.
Note to the Economist: In your next love letter to PR, ditch the art. The gang in PRLand loved the article but hated the image of PR toadies guys preening over a wheelchair-bound corporate CEO. That sycophantic image is exactly what PR is striving to overcome.
PR pros consider themselves worthy of a seat at the proverbial corporate table, rather than being part of a grooming team of corporate boot-lickers.
Return to Latest News