Mar 14

Presidential candidates searching for right message

Steve and Ted sit down with guest, Gene Colter, to discuss the Presidential election and compare andRepchatter_logo
contrast the reputation and image of the three remaining candidates.

The discussion centers on the candidates and their stance on the economy pertaining to the pocket books and wallet of the general public. Are the candidates weak on this issue? Are some just focused on Iraq?

Is this one of the worst batch of Presidential candidates in American history?

Mar 13

DI*T Ads are DU*B

Weight Watchers is running a god-awful advertising campaign in which they purposely leave out the letterDiet
‘e’ in the word ‘diet.’ The shelter ads I’ve seen feature huge orange posters blasting out the four-letter word minus, of course, the letter e.

I know advertising is desperately trying to break through the clutter and capture the average consumer’s attention, but gimme a break. Obfuscation isn’t the solution. In fact, confusing me doesn’t ‘involve’ me more in the advertisement, or make some sort of visceral connection. It only pisses me off.

I’m not a Weight Watcher’s candidate but, if I were, this particular campaign would drive me straight into the waiting (weighting?) arms of, say, Valerie Bertinelli or Kirstie Alley.

This is a DU*B ad, Weight Watchers. Lo*e it, pronto!

Mar 12

Comments Policy

A recent blog elicited a host of negative, libelous and profane comments that have been deleted. Repman is a blog that encourages a reasoned, professional discourse on a wide variety of topics related to image and reputation. That said, we will delete any and all future comments that are ill-spirited, profane and/or libelous.

Mar 12

A higher concentration of more intelligent women

Some time ago, a gifted junior employee left one PR firm to join another. Fair enough. It happens all theShocked
time. But, in doing so, she’d ruffled some feathers along the way. Again, fair enough. Stuff like that happens as well.

Now, fast forward to a recent industry event in which the CEO of the woman’s former agency bumps into her new boss. Pleasantries are exchanged. Backs are patted. Success stories passed back and forth. Then, as an aside, the woman’s name comes up in conversation. ‘How’s LaSheika doing?’ asks her former employer. ‘Oh, she’s a superstar,’ responds the new boss, with the slightest hint of a smug smile. ‘And, she’s much more content now since she says she didn’t feel intellectually challenged before.’

‘Oh, really?’ asks the erstwhile boss, starting to feel his gastric juices boil. ‘Yes,’ sighs her current employer, ‘she feels we have a higher concentration of more intelligent women.’

Befuddled, bewildered and, by now, totally batshit, the original CEO wraps up the small talk and beats a hasty retreat into the evening air. The next day, he passes along the message to his troops. They, too, are befuddled, bewildered and totally batshit with rage.

Now, fast forward to the present and foreseeable future: the intellectually-sated employee goes about her business at the new firm blissfully unaware that she has done a major job on her image and reputation within the industry. If, and when, she grows tired of the higher concentration of more intelligent women at her current job and begins floating her resume, those toxic remarks will come home to roost in a very big way.

Moral of the story? Loose lips sink ships (and careers). They can also put a real damper on a cocktail reception.

Mar 11

Travel agents, tollbooth attendants and now Catholic priests

It’s easy to see why career opportunities are less than ideal for travel agents and tollbooth attendants.Full
Technology is literally wiping both off the face of the earth.

But, when it comes to ‘other worldly’ matters, who would have guessed that priests may become an endangered species? A new survey by Milan’s Catholic University revealed 60 percent of Italian Catholics no longer go to confession. Thirty percent see no need for an ‘intermediary’ and another 20 percent feel uncomfortable with the priests’ role as middleman between the sinner and God.

The Milan survey comes as no surprise. After decades of scandals involving the priesthood, why should anyone feel comfortable opening up in a confessional? In fact, ‘confession-avoidance’ is a classic cause-and-effect of the Church’s poor image and reputation.

But, with the confessional becoming less and less popular, I wonder how priests will spend their free time? Maybe the Garden State Parkway Authority is still accepting resumes for their few remaining tollbooth attendant openings?

Thanks to Greg Schmalz for the idea.

Mar 10

And the finalists for best corporate campaign of the year are Golin Harris, Golin Harris and Golin Harris. And, the winner is…

PR industry awards programs are a total joke. Aside from awards-submission savvy midsized firms likeAward
CLS and Cone, a few large firms totally dominate every awards category of every awards competition every year.

It’s embarrassing and absurd at the same time. Big firms have the resources, time and wherewithal to submit 70, 80 or more programs to every competition. How difficult is it to be a finalist in a given category when 60 percent of the submissions come from the same agency?

One would think the cash-strapped publications sponsoring these industry love-ins would figure out how innately unfair they are and, dare I suggest it, hold two awards competitions: one for the T Rex’s of the industry, and another for the rest of us.

The big guys would still rake in their usual quota of 15 or more trophies per show. The independent firms would finally be competing on a level playing field. And, the media properties would pocket more cash. So, what’s the delay? Oh, and the winner of that particular award was, believe it or not, Golin Harris.

Mar 07

Would journalists do the same for us?

Lloyd Trufelman, president of Trylon SMR (a PR firm) told O’Dwyer’s Newsletter that PR people need toCpj
step up to the plate and provide financial support to The Committee to Protect Journalists.

The committee, which tracks harassment of journalists worldwide, reports that at least 65 journalists were killed around the world in 2007 because of their work.

Trufelman says "…there would be no such thing as PR without journalism." He also thinks "…PR needs to show greater interest in journalists as dedicated professionals and not just vehicles for pitches."

With all due apologies to the family and friends of slain journalists, give me a break. Does Trufelman not read the various and sundry bashings of the PR industry by the media? Does he not see the journalism-PR relationship as a mutually beneficial one? Would journalists ever contribute money to a ‘Committee to Protect PR People’ who might also work in high-risk zones? (I’m joking, btw). Last, but not least, is Trufelman’s plea not akin to slapping a PBA sticker on one’s car windshield to avoid paying speeding tickets?

Me thinks he’s sucking up big time to the working press.

Mar 06

Note to Hillary: There’s no ‘I’ in team

Greg Schneiders’ most excellent opinion piece in PR Week answered a question I’ve been wrestling withHillary
for some time: why do I overwhelmingly prefer Obama to Hillary?

As Schneider points out, Hillary’s speeches routinely employ the first person (‘I did this. I did that. I will do this. I will do that’). Obama, on the other hand, is a third person advocate (‘We will do this. We CAN do that together,’ etc.).

Hillary is iconoclastic, idiosyncratic and isolated. Obama seems warm, engaging and collegial by comparison. Coming on the heels of a disastrous administration whose leader was a sheltered, self-centered president who either dismissed criticism or questioned critics’ patriotism, Obama really does seem like a much needed breath of fresh air.

I’ve always been a fan of the ‘we’ word and recoil in disgust on the rare occasions when Peppercom employees opt for first person self aggrandizement in client or prospect meetings. Success, whether it be in business or politics, is a group activity. My best guess is that Schneiders is dead on. Hillary is all about Hillary, and Obama is all about the average American.

There’s no ‘I’ in team, either on Pennsylvania or Madison Avenues. And, that’s why ‘Hill’ will remain on Capitol Hill and not be back in the White House with Bill and Chelsea in tow.

Mar 05

New print ad isn’t one of BMW’s finest hours

The hotshot German carmaker, BMW, is running a new print ad heralding its certified, pre-owned modelsBmw2_3
(read: used cars). The headline declares: ‘One of our finest hours, revisited.’

The copy’s obvious intent is to emphasize that a pre-owned BMW is still a great automobile, which it very well may be.

But, the copywriter clearly doesn’t have any sense of history. At the absolute height of the Battle of
Britain when Nazi bombs were raining down on London and elsewhere, Prime Minister Winston Churchill rallied his fellow Brits by proclaiming, “…if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour.””

Whether it’s ignorance or insensitivity, the BMW ad is an unnecessary image and reputation gaffe that should be rectified faster than a Nazi Panzer tank blitzkrieging its way through France in June of 1940.

Sadly, the ad copy is just another example of today’s generation having absolutely no sense of what went before.

Mar 04

A chip off the old block

I’m pleased to report that Chris ‘Repman, Jr.’ Cody made his stand-up comedy debut this past SaturdayKilimanjaro_004
night.

Chris was one of 13 comedians who, like me, had trained at the most excellent American Comedy Institute.

The comedy course is very cool and attracts people from all walks of life. In addition to Chris, there was a Boston cop, a Swedish newscaster (very hot) and a ‘fat, white 50-year-old divorced guy from Connecticut,’ who was very funny.

The course spans four sessions, and teaches the basics of timing, content and delivery. A professional comedian works with each student to create a five minute routine, which is then performed in front of a live audience.

Chris was the 11th of 13 comics to perform, and I could tell the nervous anticipation was eating him up. But, when he finally did stride up to the microphone, he rocked.

Performing stand-up is an amazing experience. And, it has immediate and obvious implications for the business world (I.e. After performing your own comedy routine in front of strangers, a new business pitch is like a walk in the park).

One other thing: having the guts to do stand-up at the age of 22 amazes me. I know I couldn’t have done it then. But, then I’m not Repman, Jr., either. Well done, Chris.