Try keeping them down on the farm after this

A recent Gallup survey finds most Americans think more highly of farmers than they do public Hollandtown -Holland-Farm -Corn-Harvest_00a relations people.

Now, I'm OK with a tinker, a tailor, a soldier or a spy finishing ahead of a PR executive in these annual rankings, but a farmer? Are you telling me Americans think more highly of someone who has just finished plowing the back 40 than a publicist who knows Hollywood's 40 hottest party spots? Say it ain't so.

The findings actually heartened a few AdWeek readers since advertising and PR rose a few points year-to-year. That's akin to a BP employee pumping his fist in the air because a few less Gulf pelicans died in August than July. C'mon.

I, for one, am a tad disappointed that Americans think more highly of Mr. Green Jeans than they do of Messrs. Burson, Golin and Edelman. How far has PR fallen if American Gothic trumps American Party Planner? (That would be a great name for a new, TV reality show.)

The Gallup findings are just the latest confirmation that our industry's image is being defined by Hollywood. For every 'seat at the table' earned, it seems to me the average American sees us wallowing ever further in the mud. Now, a certain licensing type who posts regularly on Repman, believes an industry's image and reputation really doesn't matter. I couldn't disagree more. Until, and unless, we do a better job of educating Americans about the serious, senior counseling being provided by top public relations officers, the more likely we are to be stuck recruiting talent from the bottom of the gene pool.

It's a serious problem that, for reasons known best to them, remains unaddressed by our various trade journals and industry associations. It's akin to fiddling while Rome burns. Or, in this case, reaping what Hollywood has sown.

6 thoughts on “Try keeping them down on the farm after this

  1. I figured a farm girl like you would stick up for the farmers, Ms. B. That said, I have to admit to being a tad naïve about the misdeeds of evil farmers. What is this world coming to? What’s next? A sinister shepard?

  2. Just because we rank lower than farmers doesn’t mean the latter aren’t to be admired, at least the small growers. The mega farms are another story and should probably be right up there with BP in terms of the risk they pose to our environment and safety.
    But even smaller farms today have become very sophisticated in employing the latest science for crop protection, irrigation and growth. And the logistics management they employ for distribution is pretty darned impressive.
    Maybe they, like we, just need to do a better job educating the public. Know anyone who does that kind of thing?

  3. Thanks for the comment, Rob (and the half marathon training shirt, if that was you). PR is forever doomed to be misunderstood because our industry trade journals and associations don’t do a good job of explaining what it is we do. Hollywood, on the other hand, has done a painfully good job of misrepresenting PR and suggesting that one small slice of the business, party planning, accounts for the majority of our work. As for medical supply executives, let’s just say that used car salesmen won’t speak to them.

  4. Were PR people who play Farmville accounted for in the poll?
    We keep going back to PR people being associated with Hollywood, which can be a blessing and a curse, mattering on which Hollywood celeb a brand is using on that day…
    Yes, celebs and pop culture can sometimes be part of our jobs, but in the worlds of PR and marketing today, our role is to engage the very people who view us as “wallowing even further in the mud.”
    Nice post, Steve.
    I wonder where we would fall when compared to medical supply execs.

  5. Those one-liners are more painful than watching a Mets game, Greg. I have nothing but admiration for farmers. Some of my best friends are farmers.

  6. Aw, shucks Repman. Hey, these farmers have a lot going for them. Consider that the potatoes have eyes and the corn have ears. And Major League Baseball is giving them a lot of support, too, with all of those “farm” teams all over the country. And their business is going green with all the vegetables. Let’s face it…farming is a “growing” business. So you can climb mountains, can you ride a tractor and plow a field? You can throw out the ceremonial first pitch but can you pitch a fork of hay? Sound utterly ridiculous? How about milking a cow Repman.