Watching Paul Merton’s show the other week on his journey to China I was struck by the drive of one of the people he met and thought he is just the type of person who would thrive in the PR industry. Paul was travelling to visit the Great Wall of China when he read in the paper about a man who was building his own robots out of scrap and told the driver to detour and visit him instead.
When he met Mr Woo he was introduced to each of his strange little robots all called after Mr Woo. My particular favourite was the robot that pulled a rickshaw which looked incredibly uncomfortable but quite hilarious at the same time. He had even created a mini one for his son to get into town. The show also introduced us to Mr Woo’s wife (not a robot) but someone who despaired at his obsession “most men go out and earn money to look after their family but mine spends his days building stupid robots”. To be fair Mrs Woo’s annoyance was probably quite justified especially as he had managed to burn the family house down last year building the latest in the series of his robots.
All this said, there was something about Mr Woo which I admired. He had a drive which I love in people and am lucky enough to see in our team at Berkeley. When I say drive, it was his desire to plan, design, learn by mistakes and to build something which he could be proud of. But ultimately, the thing I most admired was after creating one robot he didn’t just sit back and think what a great job he had done he was already looking to the future to see how he can better it.
In a similar way that is how we feel about our PR campaigns. We work hard to arrange press briefings or to secure a piece of coverage but as soon as they have happened our focus is already looking to the next challenge.
There was a great picture story in The Metro about a car that had been parked in front of a “keep clear” sign the other week. Someone, who had taken umbrage to this heinous act, slashed the tyres and even went to the lengths of scrawling “CANT READ?” on the side of her car. The bit I liked was that the car owner seemed more indignant about the missing apostrophe than about the act of graffiti itself.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with Becca in our office about a sign she passes every morning on her way to work: “Lorry’s turning”. It winds her up a treat.
Though many of us are victims of an early ’80s education, when grammar wasn’t taught at all in English classes, we are sticklers for getting this sort of thing right. We are even policed by our resident Queen of Grammar, Jo. There are a number of us who instantly see red when we see bad punctuation and, in an industry where good client service is so important, we understand how unacceptable it is to send over poorly written copy. It’s a small thing, but it matters to many.
There were a couple of stories on El Reg which caught my eye this week, not least because I watched the excellent Casino Royal for the millionth time last weekend. Apparently in little over a week’s time it will be exactly a hundred years since the birth of Ian Fleming, wartime intelligence officer and creator of cultural icon James Bond 007. To mark the occasion, the Imperial War Museum in London has opened a special Fleming and Bond themed exhibit, For Your Eyes Only , which will run until May ’09. A must see exhibit for those of you like me who love all things bond. I am curious to know if my favourite James Bond gadget will be on show – the miniature motorboat disguised as a crocodile that Bond used to get to Octopussy’s island. So rubbish it was brilliant.
This story was also followed by the announcement of a German company introducing a self destructing disposable DVD that can be viewed for 48 hours, then thrown away. The DVDs will sell for just £3.20 and incorporates a self-destruct chemical coating to render them unreadable after a pre-set time. The process begins as soon as the discs are removed from vacuum-sealed packaging. After 48 hours (or longer, depending on the price) the DVD gives a ‘No disc’ error when put into a DVD player or PC.
As you can imagine it was the self destruct part of this story which caught my imagination but I have to say I think there are few flaws in this plan – not least why? In an age when everyone is waking up to the environmental concerns, this sounds like a PR disaster. Even if they are recyclable plastic you have to ask how many people would actually recycle them? On top of that I am a firm believer in the advent of on-demand online rentals, something which I personally believe will eventually kill the DVD rental market without them having to self destruct.
Virtual internet world Second Life has announced that it will be hosting its first music festival in May with bands such as Reverend and the Makers and The Wombats headlining the bill. The festival known as Sound City will be streamed online in a replica of Liverpool’s nightclub scene.
This announcement follows a couple which caught by attention a few months ago about large corporate enterprises taking part in recruitment fairs within Second Life. The advantage of this is there is no travelling, no expensive hiring and staffing costs and you have a wider potential audience.
Second Life is something I have to say fascinates me in the same way social networking did five years ago. One of my past clients was one of the first on the scene and I remember speaking to journalists who couldn’t see why people would want to exchange an electronic business card or connect on-line. Now it is a given with professionals connecting to their peers via professional sites such as LinkedIn and their friends with Facebook or MySpace to mention but a few.
Watch this space but it will not surprise me if you start seeing more press conferences taking place in Second Life….
According to a recent story in the Metro the fastest growing language in Europe is Nerdic, a collection of buzz words and phrases used by computer geeks to describe new gizmos. A hundred new words a year are added to Nerdic, which contains all three core elements that define a language – words, phrases and pronunciations.
Working in the high tech public relations world we are all familiar in our office with the many terms and acronyms used by techies when describing their technologies. I have always prided myself in trying to make technology understandable by running the mum and dad test (would they understand what I am talking about). Although these buzz words are being more widely used it is also important not to get blinded by using them and remember that it is the story that is important and not the technology.
So, here we go. Welcome to my personal blog where I am going to share some of my thoughts and ramblings on anything and everything that grabs my attention in this funny industry we work in. I am sure that some of you will agree with what I have to say and a lot will think I am talking rubbish. Great – if either is the case I would love to hear your comments.
Enjoy and viva the blog!!