Tag Archives: Advertising

Common PR Myths



As a small business you want to promote your company in the easiest and most cost- effective manner possible. While we can’t all foot the bill for a PR firm be weary of these common PR myths.

1.Any press is good press

This age old saying only applies if you are celebrity. While Miley Cyrus’s career may be benefiting from bad publicity, your business won’t. Arguably an unknown, small business may see a slight increase in sales after a bout of bad publicity, but this is a losing strategy. You want to focus on putting out the best product and the best content for your business. Good press is good press.

2.All you need is a press release service

It is easy, albeit expensive, to put your press release on a wire service and watch it get coverage, but that doesn’t mean you are necessarily getting the right coverage. Even though you can customize who gets your release through services like PR Newswire of BusinessWire, the best coverage comes from pounding the pavement. Find out who the key influencers are in your industry and pick up the phone or send an email to get coverage for your business.

3.You don’t need social media

It is hard to measure social media ROI, which can deter companies from putting in the time and effort to grow their social media channels. Social media is a great way to gain exposure, increase traffic to your site and improve your website’s search ranking.

4.You don’t need to advertise.

PR is earned media, which means you aren’t directly paying for it. Advertising is still a great way to bring in new customers. Advertising is also a good way to build better relations with editors when it comes time to implement your PR strategy.

5.Good products don’t need PR

Just because a product is good doesn’t mean you should publicize it. PR can help expand the reach our your product whether it be in a niche market or a preexisting one. If you truly have a good product, the more people know about it, the more they will buy it.

It is also important to note that the cost of a publication plan designed and implemented by professionals often pays for itself. Choose an agency that will become a real partner, get to know you business and help you reach new targeted audiences.

Need more proof the Internet has arrived?


If there is anyone who still doubts that the Internet is becoming the major source for us to gather news and entertainment, just look at a few estimates by leading research organizations:

  • This year, advertisers are expected to spend more of their money on Internet sites, than on newspapers. Within two years, Internet ad spending is projected to top the combined total for newspapers and magazines.
  • In 2012, mobile ad spending in the U.S. grew 180 percent to top $4 billion.  Google, Facebook and Twitter were the big winners.
  • Want to advertise in the venerable news magazine, Newsweek? You’ll have to do so online. The 79-year-old magazine released its last print issue on Dec. 31. Many other major daily newspapers and general interest and trade magazines have gone the same route over the past few years.
  • Even television, which remains the most popular medium, is facing its own problems with time-shifting and an aging viewer base. Adults age 65 and over spend far and away the most time watching TV — 60 percent more than the next highest demographic group. Ever notice how the network’s nightly news shows are heavily sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and their drugs to treat diseases of the elderly?

We may all find the end products of ad agencies to be largely irritating, often juvenile and rarely entertaining, but these people do their homework. They will lose customers if they aren’t hitting the media targets people are consuming these days.

Those of us in public relations need to take notice and follow the lead of our advertising colleagues.  We must make our clients aware that times are changing — and rapidly. No doubt, a placement in the print issue of the New York Times is still a big win. But we can no longer minimize opportunities to be in a NYT blog, the front “page” of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (online only since 2009) or making a splash on our client’s own Facebook site or Twitter account.

It won’t be long before clients will want to know the number of monthly unique visitors to a media Internet site, before asking about print circulation.

A similar trend is underway in the way we read books. Recently, a study showed the percentage of people reading printed books is declining, while e-book readership is on the rise.

And, as an aside, think of the added benefits to the environment as we use less paper, ink and fuel to deliver print publications and books to consumers.

Huggies Bases Ad on Stereotypical Dad, Thousands of Customers Know a Load of Crap When They Smell It

NEW Huggies "Easy Chair" Commercial

Huggies was recently forced to pull its potentially chuckle-worthy, but highly misdirected “Test Dad” campaign after a Pennsylvania dad started an online petition that quickly garnered over 1,300 signatures.

The campaign, basically depicted fathers as bumbling, incompetent caregivers, with a commercial voiceover that said leaving dads alone with their babies for five days, is the “toughest test imaginable.”

More dads than ever are taking on child-rearing chores, with one in three fathers regularly acting as their child’s primary caregiver, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. So it’s no surprise that an ad like this was bound to anger hard-working, sleep-deprived dads (and moms) of infants the world over.

As a result of the online petition and a meeting with angry fathers at the Dad Summit 2.0, Huggies poo-poo’d the most reviled spot that showed dads apparently more engrossed in watching spots on TV than minding their young kids. Huggies has since replaced the canned ad with a more subtle version that goes a long way toward accomplishing a kind of “dad’s rule (with help from Huggies)!” message they were aiming for.

Although Huggies responded quickly and cleaned up its act with a revised campaign, some commenters remain fussy about the campaign’s entire premise – that leaving dads alone with their babies constitutes “the ultimate test.”

Let’s face it, stereotypes are often funny and often true, but as we’ve seen time and time again exploiting stereotypes in advertising has the potential to hit a hilarious homerun, or sink customer credibility, and there’s a fine line between success and failure.

I’m certain that I’d naturally be a little concerned about leaving my diapered little one with a husband if he were a new father. But I’d also be confident that he’d have enough sense to know when it’s time to re-diaper junior. Apparently Huggies didn’t give their customers as much credit with “Test Dad.”

– Marrissa (Twitter: @marrissam)

Spamming your customers is a great way to lose them

Image courtesy: AllSpammedUp.com

I will never buy a Lint Lizard, a Magic Jack, a Pimsleur language program or Orgreenic Cookware.  If, like me, you have an email address that has been around for a while and has also been listed as a contact on a website, you probably can make the connection between these brands.  The marketers behind these products all use email to sell them.  And by “use” email – I mean USE email.  They are spammers by any other name and I don’t just get one or two emails a day.  I get 10 to 20 or more a day from some of these brands.

I know there are spam blockers to take care of overzealous e-mailers, but they aren’t perfect and all too often I have had them snag important email from clients or trusted vendors.  I can take care of most of my spam on my PC by marking it as spam and having it sent straight to my junk email box.   But, when it comes to my iPhone, it’s another story.  I have to delete each piece of spam by hand.  Most iPhone users can empathize with the frustration I feel as I wade through 200 plus emails, weeding out the spam just to get to the 10 emails I need to review – a process repeated several times through the day.

I realize there isn’t much I can do to stem the tide of unwanted advertising.  I can’t get on a “do not email” list (although there is a germ of an idea here) and trying to unsubscribe doesn’t seem to help at all.  But, there is one thing that I can do.  One way that I can show my disgust for this annoying marketing tactic – and that is to never (I mean never) buy one of these products.  The Lint Lizard could be the most amazing household tool ever invented, but I will not purchase one.  I would rather have lint flowing out of my house to the point that it looks like a giant Q-tip before I give these email vultures my business.

So does spam sell products or “unsell” them as it has with me?  A recent article in The Consumerist supports my case.  It highlights how some retailers are realizing that when it comes to promotional emails, less is more.  Responsible retailers such as Nicole Miller have found that going from sending out three email ads a week to one has decreased its unsubscribe rate and increased its open rate from 15 to 40 percent.  The company has also seen the percentage of online sales that began with an email grow from 10 to 17 percent.

I know why the marketers of Lint Lizard and Orgreenic Cookware do what they do.  They do it for one simple reason – it works.  They obviously get enough people to buy their products by sending out a deluge of email each day.  This week they are selling cookware and lint cleaners and next week it will be another hot product overwhelming my inbox with offers.  They are looking for a quick sale, not long-term customers. Most (smart) companies realize that current customers are like gold and running them off is a serious mistake.

If you are sending regular email to your customers it might be time to review your process.  Ask yourself: are you really targeting your email blasts – that is sending your customers email that provides them with valuable offers or information?  And do you have an easy way of letting customers opt out of promotional emails?

Reviewing your marketing email practices could help you prevent turning existing customers into “non-customers.”  I just hope that Nordstrom doesn’t turn to email spam as a selling tool – I would hate to have to give up my shoe addiction.

– Cindy

The Great Hashtag Debate

It’s a growing trend in the Twitter world and companies still aren’t catching on – Company announces social media campaign… Company creates hashtag…. Twitter-verse abuses hashtag… Company removes hashtag.

Most recently, McDonald’s created a campaign that intended to highlight the positive, personal stories of its customers. They dubbed the campaign #McDStories on Twitter and let the online community have at it.

And that’s where the campaign went awry.

Like so many others, the hashtag turned into a free-for-all rant from thousands of Twitter users. From jokes to bad experiences, the posts turned a well-intentioned social media campaign into a global laugh track.

But this story is just one of many that raises an important question. Why does this keep happening?

Yes, Twitter and social media are innately volatile and companies will never be able to control every aspect of their plans. But where’s the accountability in the marketing and public relations sector?

Ultimately, this speaks volumes about the current state of the public relations world. While countless companies and industries are taking advantage of the social media boom, very few have public relations managers and directors have the creative savvy and foresight to effectively plan a long term social media campaign.

It takes a special individual to understand not just how social media works, but how each and every type of user will respond to a campaign. Because in a world where everyone has a voice, we now need to be aware of each specific reaction, in addition to the overall response.