Why Journalists Get Cranky About PR

Why Journalists Get Cranky About PR

I debated whether to write this post and actually decided to take a pass on it.

Then, the same mass blast came to me a second time and prompted the change in heart.

It’s more than sad when a PR company, in this case Media Connect (part of Ruder Finn), can’t even keep track of who’s been pitched.

I’m not going the throw the junior account person under the bus. She no doubt was following orders from above.

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A little bit of background –

My blog on storytelling has landed in various marketing databases, resulting in my being categorized as an “influencer.”

This puts me on the receiving end of a periodic pitch.

No problem.

But why are PR companies still resorting to mass blasts? Do they really want to be in the email marketing business?

I’ve pasted the mass-blast pitch from the division of Ruder Finn that came my way promoting Peter Guber’s book, “Tell to Win,” at the end of this post.

If the PR person had taken 60 seconds to do a Google search [site:ishmaelscorner.com Guber] she would have known that I’ve already reviewed the book.

If the PR person had taken another 60 seconds for a general search [“lou Hoffman” and “guber], she would have discovered that I wrote and placed a review of the book in VentureBeat.

Yet, the pitch closes with “Let me know if you’d like a review copy of the book …”

Not one nanosecond was put into connecting the client’s agenda with the target’s mission. Pasting a “Hi Lou” into the email does not count.

The irony isn’t lost on me, a pitch for a book that preaches personalized storytelling has none.

What really bothers me is that this type of bad PR reflects on all of us.

For all the great work that comes out of the PR profession, the mass blast disproportionately shapes the perception of journalists.

I recognize one post does not beget a revolution, much less a change in our profession.

But if this can serve as a reminder to a handful of folks – including those in my own firm – to stay clear of the mass blast, I’ll consider that a win.

Here’s the original note (for recreational use only):

Hi Lou,

CEO and legendary Hollywood producer Peter Guber has long relied on purposeful storytelling to motivate, win over, shape, engage and sell. In TELL TO WIN, Guber recounts how his knack for telling stories as an entertainment industry executive has, through years, evolved into a set of principles that anyone can use to achieve their goals.

To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of “voices”–master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Normal Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.

Peter Guber has served as Studio Chief at Columbia Pictures; Co-Chairman of Casablanca Records and Filmworks; CEO of Polygram Entertainment; Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment; and Chairman and CEO of his current venture, Mandalay Entertainment Group. Films he personally produced have earned over $3 billion worldwide and include the box office hits the Color Purple, Midnight Express, Batman and Flashdance.

Peter was recently selected as one of LinkedIn’s 150 global and industry-leading luminaries, along with President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Richard Branson, among others. Here is a link to his latest blog–”Inciting Innovation as an Organizational Imperative”.


Let me know if you’d like a review copy of the book or any additional information. I can also offer a pre-written Q&A, chapter excerpts, and book giveaways.

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