Mar 30

Spindustry Over-Spun?

Guest Post by Astrid Stanley

March 30 E! Entertainment seems to be on the fence regarding whether or not to expand its Kim Kardashian-produced reality show special, The Spindustry, into a regular TV series. A rep for Command PR, the firm featured in the show, recently offered this cagey comment to PRNewser concerning the show’s fate: "No news yet, but we will certainly keep you posted."

One would think the decision to continue this show would be a no-brainer for the suits in tinsel town, given that The Spindustry contains the trifecta for success on reality TV — a celebrity PR firm representing bold-faced clients in LA, NY, and Miami, a glamor profession with no shortage of high-drama situations, and the ubiquitous Ms. Kardashian, no stranger herself to the Red Carpet.

Perhaps the research folks at E! determined that television audiences have been overexposed ad nauseum to publicists behaving badly under the guise of turning their glitterati clients into the next big media brand, whether it’s fashion industry hell-raiser Kelly Cutrone, star of Bravo’s Kell on Earth, or Lizzie Grubman’s short-lived MTV show, PoweRGirls

One solution might be to offer the Jersey Shore kids an internship at Command PR for the summer, where they might act as “handlers” for tanned and juiced celeb wannabes, complete with booze-fueled press parties on the beach. On second thought, that wouldn’t work, because interns usually work for college credits or minimum wage. Snooki, The Situation, and J-Woww are too famous now to settle for such a plebian package. 

One can only hope that so-called reality shows such as these, which portray stereotypes of one specific sector of the PR profession, will fade into the sunset after their 15 minutes are milked. As a PR pro myself, I’ve had enough of trying to explain to people that I do more for a living than order hors d’oeuvres and check names off invitation lists. If everyone could do PR, everyone would.

Mar 10

There’s J. Paul Getty. And, then, there’s the rest of us

March 10 When the late, multimillionaire oil magnate, J. Paul Getty, was asked his secret for success, he responded by saying, 'My formula for success: Rise early. Work hard. Strike oil.'

Striking oil is a sure-fire ticket to a life of fame and fortune. For the rest of us, though, the rising early and working hard parts are the answer.

I thought of Getty's tongue-in-cheek remark as I networked with a group of College of Charleston students visiting New York the other day. Along with 25 or 30 other PR, media, branding and public affairs executives, I have the pleasure of serving on the college's communications advisory board. Aside from branding and marketing advice, our charge is to mentor the students.

The board members attending Monday night's networking event were swarmed by the eager, if somewhat desperate, students. Each had more or less the same set of questions: 'What sort of qualities are you looking for?' 'How can I set myself apart?' and 'What does an entry-level PR person do?' In response to the latter, I assured the students that entry-level life is nothing like the plight of poor Stephanie Skinner, the junior account executive punching bag in Bravo's reality show called 'Kell on Earth.' I somehow doubt The People's Revolution (the fashion PR agency spotlighted in the show) will find it way onto The Holmes Report's best workplaces list anytime soon.

That said, I suggested the students hold their questions and, instead, ask them of Peppercom's junior people when they visit our offices today (the students will also pay visits to the offices of MTV, Computer Associates, Edelman, Ketchum and Deloitte).

Aside from striking oil or getting your parents to pay for your internship, there is no easy path to finding work in public relations.

One has to do one's homework before an interview, be conversant with industry trends, and explain not only what was learned from previous internships but, critically, how one went above and beyond the call of duty to complete an assignment. The latter is huge. Demonstrate passion, a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to do more than what is expected and you'll build rapport with the interviewer. That doesn't mean you'll receive a job offer, though. There may be many more rounds of interviews, other candidates who are just as good as you and the intangibles of timing (the agency or corporation may have just lost a large account and instituted a hiring freeze).

These are the times that try graduating seniors' souls. Some will succeed in landing that dream entry-level job. Most won't. My only advice to those who won't is this: pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again. And again. And again.

Or, strike oil.