Drew Kerr, the carrot-spewing former Radar flack, has seen his firm Four Corners Communications shrink to essentially a one-man shop in the past year. But the savvy Kerr, who specializes "in online and offline media" (that covers it all!), knows how to get good PR for himself in these lean times: by crushing PR bloggers from bigger PR firms in a "blog competition" and then bragging about it while spamming his contacts relentlessly for more votes! Kerr's spamtastic bragadocio, featuring a haughty dismissal of megafirm Edelman, after the jump-join his quest for PR blog domination!! PRWeek (my old employer) is having a tournament of PR blogs, and the PR blogosphere hasn't been this excited since some shit happened with Apple's PR department about some gadget one time, probably! Thanks to his campaign of vote-trolling spam, Kerr's spitballed blog about license plates and delis defeated PR tech nerd/ Edelman blogger god Steve Rubel's Micropersuasion, and Kerr is taking the opportunity to tell Edelman-the Wal-Mart-flacking superfirm that surely makes Kerr's annual income in about an hour-that they suck the big one:
No sooner did we post our handy numbered list of lying flacks yesterday than #7 on the list, former Time Warner flack Danielle Perissi, announced she was taking a job at #5 on the list, Edelman! This will really cut down on your calling-around time when you need to find out nothing at all. [Previously]
All those rumors about Madonna and Guy Ritchie possibly getting a divorce? Not to worry: Madonna's flack, Liz Rosenberg, says publicly that "There are no divorce plans." But wait—is that the same Liz Rosenberg who assured everyone in 2006 that Madonna was not adopting a baby in Malawi? Yes it is! That would be a confirmed lie, meaning that Rosenberg gets added to our always-open list of lying flacks—we've handily numbered seven of them for you, after the jump:
Back in 2005, two activist groups—Wake Up Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Watch—launched campaigns to kick Wal-Mart's ass in the media. Which they did quite successfully for a while. The soulless retailer spent untold millions on a huge, political-style PR campaign from our friends at Edelman to fight back against the criticisms of them for everything from poor health care to union busting. But the Times reports today that Edelman's Wal-Mart war room shut down months ago, and the torrent of news stories about the company's flaws has died down. Why? Because Wal-Mart has adopted a philosophy of working with critics, and made their enemies their friends. This is either evidence of progress, or cause for despair. Since the company is still a horrible union buster, we'll go with "despair."
Beauty product purveyor Dove has finally responded to allegations, first reported in a New Yorker story, that the company retouched photos of the "Real" women in its "Campaign for Real Beauty" ads. Which would make them big hypocrites. But according to a statement from Dove this morning (via its PR agency, Edelman), the New Yorker was wrong. The company even got a quotable refutation from controversy-courting celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz! Their full denial is after the jump.
Wow! As a nerd on the PR and marketing beat I find this to be absolutely astounding and heartening: the UK is about to make it a crime for companies to misrepresent themselves as consumers in their online marketing. That means, for example, that a company setting up a fake blog to hype its own products could be prosecuted, fined, and jailed. Free speech? Whatever. This is an awesome development. And bloggers can be locked up, too!
Richard Edelman, the touchy CEO of the massive Wal-Mart supporting PR firm Edelman, is going above and beyond for his client AdMeTech, a prostate cancer foundation. He's inviting a select group of "key opinion leaders"/ perfect strangers to his own apartment for dinner, where he will discuss his own experience with a false positive exam for prostate cancer. Sounds...interesting! (Note: we debated over whether it would be wrong to publish this until we discovered that Edelman already wrote all about his prostate exam on his blog). Points to him for taking up a good cause, but we...have some other thing to do that night. Not that we were invited in the first place. The full email enticing the opinion leaders to this "robust discussion" of prostates, after the jump.
Steve Rubel, Edelman PR's Director of Insights, posts an insightful chart from an international survey (PDF) Edelman conducted. It shows that "opinion elites," defined as college-educated people in the top income quartile of their country who report a significant interest in and engagement with the media, business news, and policy affairs — that's you! — mostly trust people like themselves. Who's at the bottom of the trust-o-meter? Bloggers, who fell well behind company CEOs. Regular company employees are given much more credibility. This is why Google's PR people slap engineers' names on those blog posts the marcom specialists type up, and why Nick Denton announces changes at Gawker Media by letting me "leak" them. Trust me, I'm a blogger.
Edelman, the massive Wal-Mart-touting PR firm with the blog-watching CEO, has hired Katie Levinson, who is fresh off her gig as the communications director for the wildly successful Rudy Giuliani presidential campaign. She's also worked in PR roles for the Republican National Committee, the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, and the Bush White House [PRNewser]. Levinson will doubtless be a valuable addition to Edelman's stable of well-connected Republican operatives who have built careers serving the public through the promotion of neoconservatism. And CEO Richard Edelman (pictured) should be commended on his evenhandedness, since he's a committed Democrat!
So many PR tactics are shrouded in secrecy: off-the-record briefings, front groups, "file sharing." And lots of things that PR firms get paid a lot of money to do—devise corny slogans, make pretty marketing materials that get ignored, or think up new and creative ways to say "no comment"—are really big wastes of money. There is only one real live PR tactic that consistently works. It is maddeningly effective at getting reporters to like flacks, and by extension, their awful clients. Even the ones who know better! It preys on human instinct. It's called lunch.
Richard— We appreciate your own personal commitment to talking about ethics in PR. I would even go so far as to say that you believe what you say, and say it in good faith, most of the time. But we're not gonna be taking down the post about your (alleged!) media training lying incident. And here's why:
From Richard Edelman, CEO of the massive PR agency Edelman, in response to yesterday's tip about Edelman encouraging lying to reporters during media training: "Your post on Edelman today about an unnamed ad and marketing person alleging that we instruct our clients to lie as part of our media training is completely false and needs to be taken down. you bet we take ethics seriously. We advise our clients to be transparent, to tell the truth always but especially in crisis. That is only way to be in business for 55 years as a reputable pr firm. So if you want to discuss then call me at [Redacted]. I hope to hear from you. I don't go for cheap shots from undisclosed sources."