PR goes public

The breaking story of the week in the Blogosphere seems to be the embarrassment of the authors of the 'Marketing Playboo...

October 8, 2004

The breaking story of the week in the Blogosphere seems to be the embarrassment of the authors of the ‘Marketing Playbook’, who apparently asserted their ‘first rule’ of the blogosphere in the book, that:

” you only get one chance to be sucessful with your key influencers… ”

…and then proceeded to completely piss off one of the self-appointed (but multiply-endorsed) ‘gurus’ of the blogging world, Peter Davidson -with a completely misguided appeal for book ensorsement – very thinly concealed as a request for ‘input’.

Been there; done that. Ouch!

Peter chose, justifiably, to tear them apart for their arrogance and assumptiveness, but in doing so, displayed a glimpse of his own.

Evelyn Rodriguez captures the issues well below:

Crossroads Dispatches: We Lived in a World of Cultured Messages

Altogether, this was an amusing but completely dysfunctional exchange. As a PR person I have these interactions all the time. Discussions can get animated.

Dead-end conversations, confrontations, and occasional outbursts of genuine anger are a natural requirement of trying to persuade people of your point of view. Of moving the world on…

In many ways the Peter Davidson exchange is a perfect example of how things SHOULD be.

This exchange was, to my mind, legitimate, important and even slightly endearing – and all the better for being public. Others can judge the merits of the argument from both sides. Transparency in action!

Most marketing, as actually seen by consumers, is so tired; so sanitised; so emollient; so unconfrontational, so one-sided, that one never actually sees these invisible conversations.

Normally, these deep and fierce conflicts between a brand and its audience stay locked inside customers heads, or get concealed by an opaque and collusive ‘channel’. Brand owners remain unaware just how embarrassing their product is; just how angry their customers are; just how fantastically irritating their service is.

‘L’affaire Playbook’ has publicly displayed the awkward symbiosis between media and marketer. That has to be a good thing. It puts both sides on alert to be more respectful, but hopefully a little less deferential…

It’s been refreshing to let people take a little peek under the skin of real marketing. It’s as rotten, (and innocent, and clumsy) as you always thought.

No-one here but us human beings, jus’ trying to get by.

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