A new definition of PR; debating BP’s spill PR; food industry lobbying; and more

 

The fact that there is a New York Times article about the PRSA’s efforts to come up with a new definition of public relations is, I suppose, a good thing. My eyes, however, were drawn to this comment, from Adam Lavelle, a member of the board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association who is the chief strategic officer at the iCrossing unit of Hearst: “Before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with its different audiences.” I’m not saying he’s wrong about what PR had become; I will say that Edward Bernays would have been spinning in his grave that the business he helped found had devolved into something so trivial.

A couple of weeks ago, I got to host a mock trial in New York focused on BP’s response to the Gulf oil spill. While no one will be surprised to learn that the crowd of public relations professionals and students returned a “guilty” verdict on the company’s PR, there were good points made on either side of the debate. Frank Walton provides a nice impartial review (more impartial than my work as judge, truth be told) of the discussion at his blog. Emmanuel Tchividian, who came up with the whole idea, has posted a video here, for those with too much time on their hands.

I’d like to believe that the long-term consequences of undermining the health of America’s children will outweigh the short-term benefits that result from the food industry’s lobbying on school lunch guidelines described here and here. Of course, those long-term consequences are of little concern to CEOs who will be enjoying their retirement benefits long before they come back to haunt the companies in question, or the shareholders who are focused on this quarter’s stock price.

I like almost everything Wendy Kaminer writes, so it’s no surprise that I like her take on Occupy Wall Street a lot.

T. Rowe Price, Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto and Tyson are among the least environmentally friendly companies in America, according to a new Green Ranking produced by Newsweek.

PR people in Singapore are not happy. Having just returned from our first Asia-Pacific SABRE dinner there, and meetings with several apparently very happy Singapore PR people, I find this peculiar. Anyone have an explanation?

The Murdoch empire not only distorts the truth for its viewers and hacks the phones of dead schoolgirls, it also inflates its circulation figures to would-be advertisers. Paul Krugman finds this as unsurprising as I do. It has always seemed to me easy—inevitable perhaps—to let contempt for one stakeholder group evolve into a general culture of contempt.

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