|February 22, 2010|
|Handlers Helped Wreck Tiger|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|Tiger Woods’ belated performance last Friday was a bad day not only for Tiger but for PR. Friday is the day of choice for those releasing bad news. Saturday readership plummets. Best day for those wanting attention is Monday.|
So crude is the PR advice surrounding Tiger that we believe they actually thought a Friday was the best day to “bury” this story (as though a hurricane could be “buried”). Reaction is mostly negative to this fake “press conference” and deservedly so.
Tiger reading from a script reeked of insincerity. He was over-programmed, like much of PR these days. Amazing is the charge that the media was spreading lies about what happened in the early morning hours after Thanksgiving when the Tiger story was nothing but lies about that night. The claim was made that Woods was only in a “minor” car accident.
How minor is an accident where the driver winds up unconscious on the road after smashing into four objects and driving in his bare feet?
Massive stonewalling ensued which is a form of lying. The cops whiffed, never analyzing Tiger’s blood and taking part in the coverup.
Tiger should have faced the press a couple of days after the accident and confessed all. Stonewalling was the advice he got and is about par for the course these days for much of PR which has morphed into marketing.
There was a monumental failure in intelligence-gathering by Nike, Accenture, Pepsi and other big sponsors.
Had their “PR” people been in touch with the right press, the right nightclubs, the right sports hangouts (instead of cringing under their desks), they would have learned years ago about Tiger’s philandering. They would have “waved off” their employers from having anything to do with Tiger.
For the first time, an audience saw Tiger without a display of the Nike logo, which his contract called for him to wear even when promoting other products. That harsh contract no doubt won a lot of points for some marketer at Nike.
The PR/press gap is wider than we have ever seen it and the victims are not only PR clients but the public.
Some PR Firms Shun Rankings
The annual O’Dwyer PR firm rankings will be published next week. Many of the firms had declines in 2009 but are putting out their figures anyway.
They know that many companies shopping for PR use the rankings as their initial guide. If you Google “healthcare PR” or “beauty PR firms” or any such combination for any of the 12 specialties ranked by O’Dwyer the O’Dwyer rankings will come up near the top.
They are the only rankings that we see appearing on Google. They have become the gold standard for PR firm measurement over the past 39 years because client companies know they are based on tax documents—the top page of the firm’s income tax return and the W-3 showing total payroll.
PR has migrated to the specialties in the past couple of decades. Those who talk about PR in general don’t realize that when companies start shopping for PR they can go to firms with practices in the appropriate area.
PR has become specialized like law. You go to a real estate lawyer, maritime lawyer, criminal lawyer, divorce lawyer, corporate lawyer, copyright lawyer, telecommunications lawyer, etc., depending on the need.
Most “PR,” meaning dealing with the public forum and press, has moved from corporations and institutions into the agencies where a lot of special practices have sprung up. The O’Dwyer rankings have helped to define these practice areas over the past 20 years and win business for the firms taking part in them. Such areas as healthcare, tech, financial/IR, food, beauty/fashion, sports/leisure and travel require lifelong career specialization.
Firms in the O’Dwyer rankings are those that are seeking more business and have the staff to handle it. Firms that don’t need the rankings and don’t help to support them will not be in them.
The Ragan Communications social media conference at Coca-Cola h.q. in Atlanta this week will not have one of its featured speakers—Bill Murray, COO of NANA (nee PR Society), who pulled out the week before the conference. He was to have talked about the decline of traditional media and the rise of SM. Ragan execs said no particular reason was given except that he “couldn’t talk.” We don’t approve of major speakers at a conference pulling out at the last moment. Reclusive Murray has never addressed any New York PR group and basically hasn’t talked to us since his first couple of weeks in office in 2007.
The conference at Coke is dramatic because First Lady Michelle Obama has just launched a drive to rid schools throughout the nation of sweetened drinks.
Atlanta is close to being the “fat capital” of the U.S. The South in general is by far the fattest area in the nation, according to the “fat map” published by the Centers for Disease Control.
We’re hopeful that Coke officials will talk to reporters at the conference about Michelle’s campaign and other issues. One is the use of high fructose corn syrup in Coke and other sodas.
Nutritionists claim that “sugar” made from corn syrup is harder to digest than cane and beet sugar.
President Obama is having a hard time putting across his health insurance plan but an even greater impact on the health of America could result if Americans change eating habits that have made about two-thirds of them overweight.
Nutritionists say that non-hereditary diabetes could be wiped out if over-use of sugar of all types and obesity were curbed.
BevReview, taste-testing “Pepsi Throwback” sweetened with beet and cane sugar vs. Pepsi made with corn syrup, declared that the latter tasted like “swill” when compared with the former.
Pepsi/corn syrup “starts out a bit watery, with a bit of chemical flavor,” while Pepsi Throwback “is cleaner, producing a consistent cola taste from the first sip, while it passes over your tongue, and eventually the aftertaste as it goes down your throat,” says BevReview. http://www.odwyerpr.com/members/0216real-sugar-pepsi-marketed.html
The website estimates that nine of ten people would prefer Pepsi Throwback, which was only being marketed for a couple of months to this week.
Soda companies switched to corn syrup decades ago partly because it is cheaper than cane and beet sugar.
Another Coke issue is its deficient “Online Social Media Principles” that tell Coke allies to identify themselves on SM “at the outset” but don’t get to this advice until the third page.
The Coke principles should take their own advice. This should be the first principle and not something on page three. Reporters must identify themselves immediately when calling up people.
Pirates used to use this dodge, flying a neutral flag and then running up the Jolly Roger at the last moment.
Coke must also face the FTC’s new rule that demands identification of sponsored messages.
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