Ad man speaketh the truth on PR

by Sue Skeats, 17 September 2009

The value of PR is often underestimated or misunderstood, but there were great words of wisdom this week from Jeremy Bullmore. His consistently incisive, sage and witty ‘On the Couch...’ column in Campaign magazine is required reading.

When asked by an ad agency CEO whether he should hire a top-notch external PR consultancy for any “dealings with the press”, or replace “the internal girl who’s gone travelling”, Bullmore hits the bullseye and identifies that distancing yourself from your company or brand’s PR reveals a lack of leadership.

To this chief exec, he advises: “you should pay as much attention to your relationships with the media as you do to your clients.” He points out “you’re your company’s marketing director, brand planner and its most telling public face.” He continues: “If your internal PR girl puts out a press release stating the agency has resigned the £56 million Anglo-Galvanized account on a point of creative principal when at least 100 people in the ad village know you were fired for incompetence, any stock of goodwill you might have enjoyed will be permanently deleted.”

Okay, so that’s tongue in cheek, but it does illustrate that solid ongoing relationships with media (and for that matter key bloggers and Twitterati) are gold in terms of reputation management.

The agency or internal PR should direct and manage these, but they’re way more worthwhile when they also have the buy-in and involvement of the head honcho.

Bullmore concludes: “I’m all for delegation – but a leader who tries to sub-contract leadership is a bit of a contraction in terms”.

Which conveniently all comes back to The View’s ‘believability’ theory. Check it out on this very website at:

How less can often be more in the news

by Sue Skeats, 4 September 2009

A quick trawl of stories catching our eye this week show it’s often still the sweetest, simplest ideas that shine through.

First off there was John Lewis with its new spin on ‘make do and mend’ for the credit-crunch age. Apparently sales of sewing machines, buttons and the like have rocketed, so the wily retailer has come out with a book choc-full of timeless patching-up and ekeing-out tips, tapping into nostalgia and zeitgeist at the same time. All harking back to its pre-eminence as supplier of all things household - and hoovering up a pile of media coverage along the way.

Then there was the hairdresser who set up business on a layby on the A6 near Luton. After soaring business rates forced him out of his premises, he pimped up a van and took to the road instead. Ben the Barber says he’s doing a roaring trade. Not only are passing drivers now flocking to see him, so are national and local TV news crews.

Finally, there was the story of Courvoisier, not everyone’s immediate first choice drink. In an effort to get people sampling the brand, they came up with the ingenious ‘I Don’t Know’ cocktail – beautifully served up, free, to all those dithering at the bar in a string of swanky outlets across the UK.

All pretty much in line with The View’s view on publicity. There’s a lot to be said for, where you can, keeping it simple, stupid (KISS). Mwah mwah.