The life of a PR can be a tough one.
Not helped, one suspects, by having to deal with hard-to-please journos (which isn’t necessarily an insult) like Renai LeMay.
Dr Mumbo winced slightly on behalf of Edelman after LeMay used Twitter to launch a series of Excocets, before announcing a month long ban on publishing Edelman press releases, and urging clients to sack the agency.
The publisher of Delimiter told his followers in a series of tweets:
You people will not believe the press release I have just been sent
OK, sorry everyone, but this one HAS to be named and shamed
PR firm Edelman has sent me a release about Facebook game mirroring real-life experience of being marketing executive
If you think I am shitting you, click on the link and check out the picture they sent me
Now, from memory, I have had this sort of problem with Edelman before … in fact, they are a repeat offender
Edelman’s release states: “Players are transported into a virtual office environment and work through challenging yet fun tasks”
“which gradually allows them to climb the corporate ladder to become Global President!”
Apparently, if I wish to trial the experience of being a marketing executive, I have only to head to the “powerbrands” game site
Now I deal with marketing executives all the time (they’re lovely people), and I can’t see how even they would be interested in this
Let alone a journalist who covers Australia’s technology sector
Attention Edelman: You are the first PR firm in Australia to reach the @delimiterau blacklist. Your corporate domain is now on my list
For the next month, any media release which Edelman sends me will be auto-forwarded to the trash
If your company uses Edelman as its agency, I recommend you to dump them immediately
My response to Edelman reads as follows:
“frankly, I’ve been dealing with Edelman for years, and I’m disappointed you would waste my time with this drivel.”
“Your corporate domain has been added to my blacklist.”
Edelman’s Matthew Gain picked up the phone and delivered LeMay with some soothing words. LeMay soon tweeted:
accepted! RT @matthewgain: Just off the phone from @renailemay where I offered an unreserved apology on behalf of Edelman for poor practice.
Sadly though, the ban still stands. LeMay tells Dr Mumbo: “The month’s ban stays — I need to set an example.”
He added: “As a business owner, I would be mortified if my staff simply spammed my company’s key industry contacts with irrevelant information on a daily basis. PR agencies need to start valuing their relationships with journalists and realising that there are real human beings on the end of every email they send. We are key stakeholders in their company’s future, especially in niche publishing areas such as the technology press, and they need to start to treat us as such. I have great relationships with many PR firms who respect that.”
For those who are curious, this was the press release:
I’m contacting you regarding the launch of the innovative facebook game powerbrands, which I thought may be of interest to you.
Launched by global company Reckitt Benckiser, powerbrands has been designed to mirror the real-life experience of being a Marketing Executive in an online ‘virtual world’, and is the first game on facebook to be launched by an FMCG company.
Players are transported into a virtual office environment and work through challenging yet fun tasks which gradually allows them to climb the corporate ladder to become Global President!
Please let me know if you would be interested in any further info or if you would like to trial the game please visit http://apps.facebook.com/powerbrands
While the month-long ban seems a tad harsh to Dr Mumbo, it does raise the possibility of a sliding scale of punishments for errant PRs. What does a “I’m calling about the press release” phone call deserve?