Thursday, 24 September 2009

Why PRs should die

I get sent at least 150 emails a day - it used to be significantly more.
I estimate that just 10 per cent are actually pertinent or useful.
Since I started here I have junked every single press release or crank email I get sent which has zero relevance to my patches.
Daily I still junk scores of emails.
Only a handful are from people with obvious mental disorders. The rest are from supposedly professional public relations people.
Do PR wankers really sit in their offices and consider the pap they have written so valuable they feel they have to share it with every mother fucker?
Or do they actually think that sending a poorly written press release to a newspaper some 200 miles away from the event they are promoting is a good thing?
What I most hate is the follow up call from a hopeless tool.
Sometimes it's so obviously a work experience idiot. Other times I hope it's a work experience idiot because I can't believe someone who cannot even speak legibly on the phone has a job in PR. (I actually can)
Today some dimwit thought I might be interested in a national initiative from some piss poor supermarket chain.
I asked what exactly was the connection with my patch.
"We have a store in your area," was the retarded reply.
Fuck off, was mine.
If I was to use every tedious puff a large corporation with branches everywhere put out where in the name of God would I stick the actual news?
Another reason why PRs should be shot is their chirpy voices selling their shitty wares.
"Hi, I'm Clayre/Arabella/Charlotte from Blahblahbollocks PR and I have got a great story for you. We've done a survey/asked a tramp/held a seance and discovered that INSERT NAME HERE has the ugliest/smelliest/smallest people in the world.
"No you can't see the actual survey and we can't actually quantify it, but we have a new make up/deodorant/platform shoe product that will solve INSERT NAME HERE's problem."
You fucking shower of overpaid cunts.
I honestly had an INSERT NAME HERE press release that someone had forgotten to fill in.
It's on our wall of shame along with all the other press releases that look like they have been written by a 12-year-old dyslexic turd.
PRs - some advice.
Target your audience.
Know your target newspaper's deadlines.
Stop pestering the editors with calls.
Find an actual story.
Fuck off.
Kill yourselves.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

War declared: shots fired

I am a very happy bunny tonight.
The first salvo in the war against advertising has been launched.
A very large (expensive) advertisement came in after it's ad deadline and we sent it back.
Stick your money up your arse.
It was a very powerful statement from editorial backed by my ultimate boss. In the very recent past the ad would have got through with no more than a tugged forelock and a ticker tape parade. No more.
It not only felt great, but I honestly think I felt a groinal stirring.
Since I recently declared war on advertising to save our titles, a little bit of departmental snooping has uncovered a number of rather disturbing traits among our downtrodden hard-working, market-deprived advertising staff.
The worst is ad reps booking premium space without a paying client to back it up. They like to hold the space so that they can achieve targets later in the week with a cheaper deal to a preferred client.
Unfortunately this prevents other departments from booking real money deals for full money punters as the space is gone. And some of those departments, I learned, can and will sell the ads for four times the shite deals our main sales staff are getting
Joined up thinking or bullshit target hunting? You decide.
Other idiocies include free space for potential customers who want to gauge effectiveness of future ads.
Or ads just shy of a full page space which get bumped up to full size later because they know the surrounding edit space available is unusable.
Selling largish ads for £50 on page 3,5,7 just to make target.
Ad staff who have no idea about left and right premiums or offer editorial write-up as part of the 'package'.
The management in recent months have spent a long time prowling news departments looking for 'efficiency savings'.
In less than a week I have uncovered gross examples of idiotic selling that even the most retarded spastic would find hard to defend.
This comes from a newspaper group that has been whining about the economic downturn for the last two years.
Bleating about being forced to sell more of our better editorial space in order to save our doomed titles.
I know for a fact my papers have hit budget every week in summer during the worst recession since the Lord Jesus Christ used to walk the Earth.
Everything done within our group in recent months has been to increase page yield so that an unchecked, increasingly lazy, and inefficient sales staff can make their budgets.
Fuck them. Make them work harder.
Do your job and sell something you useless twats.
Do I whine to them when my team have a quiet week? Do I fuck. I make them get more stories.
There is no cease fire in sight from this camp.
And I fucking love it.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Game on?

A businessman I know made me a very attractive and, I must admit, sphincter-clenching offer last week.
Over a number of glasses of vino collapso, we discussed the future of newspapers.
My argument is simple and oft repeated here.
As long as you give the readers a product worth reading there is still money to be made in print newspapers.
Couple that with a progressive web site in synch and mutually benefitting your paper product and the company has a good future.
Running a part paid/part free model is also looking like a good move in terms of circulation.
Make sure the whole area can get hold of a copy then no-one can complain they haven't seen the thing.
Sell ads like the pages they are on actually mean something ie premium deals on front of book pages.
How many times have your ad staff given front of book space away for peanuts on deadline day to make a ridiculous budget figure then expected advertisers to book early andpay full whack the next week?
I predicted that two or three local titles run independently could make enough not only to employ a fairly decent staff who are paid a fairly decent wage but would also turn over a healthy 8-10 per cent profit.
I know how much my papers bring in each week and it is serious cash.
The caveat is lose the money-hungry companies that currently run our newspapers. These organisations exists solely to satisfy faceless shareholders and are run by whore-mongering management bean counters who do not care if the product is worth reading or not.
As long as their monthly/quarterly budget figures are right fuck the consequences or long term effects.
By taking away their greed and producing something to be proud of, newspapers can survive and thrive. It may be idealistic but I also think it could just work.
Now my businessman is no slouch when it comes to newspapers and has made a considerable amount of cash from buying, running and selling the things.
So he told me find a newspaper worth saving and come back to him.
I do the news, he sorts out the business side of things.
Predictably, I woke up the next morning sore-headed and figured the previous night's conversation was drunken bullshit.
But I know this chap and he is not given to bravado. Hence my rectal dysfunction.
Suddenly it's down to me to put up or shut up.
Gulp. It's a daunting thought.
I truly believe that independently run newspapers are the future. Fuck the big companies. Once they realise there is no longer the ridiculous margins left in papers they will get bored and fuck off and do something else. (or hopefully go out of business).
There is going to be a lot of decent titles left on the scrap heap which will inevitably get picked up by entrepreneurial souls. Look at the Burton example.
Trinity Mirror discarded the spent carcass of what was once a popular title in the gutter after sucking the life from it. Businessman steps up and takes the helm.
Whether it works or not will depend entirely on what they produce.
Newspapers, like the restaurant industry, is littered with the sorry tales of failed wannabes.
But it is also home to many pioneers. Ray Tindle, Enzo Testa, Lionel Pickering, Chris Bullivant, and Frank Branston, to name a handful.
Whatever you think of them, and I imagine some of you harbour less than sweet thoughts, they went out and did it.
Created empires from bank loans and hard graft.
Is this truly the end of days or the new frontier?
I hope to find out.

ps anyone know any titles going cheap?