Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dear Mr PR rep...

Since I have been alternatively travelling to various outposts of the Republic and getting drunk out of my skull on various types of whiskey thanks to some lunatic or another (don't worry, I haven't been driving drunk, with the Delhi government making all of South Delhi a giant construction zone you doubly need your wits about you nowadays), I missed this delightful post by Chris Anderson. Yes, while I'm not as high up in the food chain as Mr Ansderson, I feel his pain! And more.
I have received calls from dimwit PR types asking me 'We are updating our media lists, what is your name?' My mother taught me that banging phones down was impolite, but for chrissake! Other idiotic questions - 'What do you cover?' (Read the frikkin thing!), 'What is your designation?' (we have a tombstone!) et al. I would figure after six and a bit years, people can figure out what I cover and also figure out that calling me after sending a fax or email to confirm if I have received it is stupid, really frikkin' stupid! If you are in PR, don't get me wrong, I know we need you as much as you need us, and dealing with dumb journalists isn't pleasant, but calling me after an email which is some dumb press release is like asking me to scream at you. It won't make me any more disposed to carry it than not calling me. If you are pitching a story, fair enough, but use your brains there too - I know some of you have pitched to clients saying we have a good equation with so-and-so and we can 'guarantee' you XXX column centimeters / airtime of coverage in XXX publication or channel. I know who does this because I do happen to have friends who happened to go to IIM and have had to listen to these presentations. One friend who happened to sit through one of these presentations by a fairly well-known PR firm, laughed so loudly when my name was mentioned, that the PR firm got the hint that we murdered bottles of scotch together.
But will I put on a blacklist, Mr Anderson style? Not yet anyway, but my pet peeve isn't with useless email, my office filter is pretty good because I have set it up pretty well, but the problem is that I work in an organisation which is rather stingy with email server space. Of course, it is a wonderful organisation, but on some IT issues, it needs serious help! Anyway, what I hate the most is when PR emails come in with multi-megabyte images attached - the image invariably is of some horny manager trying to fondle the boobs of some $10,000 a night B-grade Bollywood actress. I really don't want to know, if I see a mail larger than 300kb I tend to delete it without opening it. If I need an image, I will call you, and if you folks have done your PR advocacy well and told your client that he/she should build some semblance of a media website where I can download product shots, I would very grateful. I don't want to approach you if I need an image, because it needlessly adds delays to the process and the images you hand out suck, because no matter how many times I try to explain '300dpi', a good 90 per cent of you think that if it looks decent on a computer screen it must look good in print! Most western corporates and some Indian companies have understood this.
The problem with PR here at times is that it still works on a 'contact' system, and while I know I can work the system pretty well, but getting basic information out is still sometimes such a pain. But I must tell my much harrowed boss about this, but the next time I get a large email from one of TV channels explaining in large pictures the happenings on the latest talent show or another, I will post email addresses online for spambots to pick up!

Have a great Samvat 2064!


thalassa_mikra said...

$10,000 a night? For a B-grade actress? Is this a totally random number or is there some basis to it?

GBO said...

Don't worry, this stuff is co-terminus with the chair, and once you are out of it then you won't get too many of those PR guys chasing you either!!!