Monday, February 28, 2005

1. Fill up. 2. Flush. 3. Repeat as needed.

Former B. C. Cabinet minister Rafe Mair, now a talk-show host, commented the Vinning phone-in incident by saying it’s very common for supporters of a political party to stack the lines. His trick to fight them: "You let the phone board fill up and then you cancel them all. Then start afresh and hope from there you got rid of the stackers."

Geez, now we have to get our people lined up to call at various moments of the show. I’ve said it before, folks: the job of PR flacks isn’t getting any easier.

The trucker from Surrey

There’s no doubt open-line shows matter for politicians and the PR flacks who gravitate around them. It’s an opportunity for politicians to show they like being in contact with people and they’re not afraid of a little controversy. It’s important for your boss to look good though and there’s nothing like a soft-ball question from a caller to help him along.

Unfortunately, the good folk can’t always be counted on to ask the right questions, so they have to be helped along too. In most organizations, PR practitioners arrange for supporters to call in with questions on specific themes. Prem Vinning, an aide to British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, has a nice "do-it-yourself" approach to the problem. He called in as "Peter, a trucker from Surrey" to ask about the Premier’s plan for road transportation.

Problem: plenty of people recognized his voice (but not Premier Campbell or so he says).
Outcome: Vinning "withdrew" from his cushy job promoting commerce with Asia.

Lesson: some cheap stunts are not worth the risk, people.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Back into Montag's skin

Hi all.
It's been so long... After being insanely busy at work for months, then taking on a new job (a great one), I'm ready to reappear as Montag again. I missed it!

So here we go again... Public relations, creative ying and misleading truths.