Pilot Light

Inferno is a PR consultancy. This is not. This is Inferno’s blog.

Archive for August 2007

Geek Pie

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Roll the cheese…

Something that has recently taken the fancy of some of the Infernals in the office is following PR stories for FMCG products. This may seem strange for a tech agency, I know, but hear me out. For years there have been stories appearing in the some of the less “cutting edge” print titles throughout the UK of individuals, families, couples, life partners etc. confessing the cornerstones of their diets.

We first noticed it with a woman who eats peas for every meal and has eventually got to couples confessing to having hamburgers for every day for 17 years and even moving house to be closer to their restaurant of choice, mmmm, nice.

This is something we have recently started see more and more of and it is getting to a point in our office where we are interested in the diversity of products that people have been basing their diets around. It has also led us to raise the question, how can we get on this bandwagon?

Now being the creative, can-do PR agency that we are, we have set ourselves a challenge: to try and get a tech company in the press using this same technique.

Getting someone to confess they have eaten nothing but cheese for the last 16 years as part of a stunt for the British Cheese Fanciers Society is one thing, to have a story of the same (blue) vein featuring software, now their lies good PR.

As you read this we are hard at work cooking up a story to take FMCG off the media menu and make tech products the main course. So if in your daily routine you read a story of someone who has had server software for lunch everyday since 1998, you will know who placed the story…..

Matt L

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Written by pilotlight

23/08/2007 at 2:53 pm

Posted in PR

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Wiki wickedness: Don’t monkey around

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Uh oh….

It’s been embarrassing week for the CIA, who thanks to a geek called Virgil in New Mexico got caught in their bedroom tweaking entries on the popular Internet encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

Virgil Griffith or “Romanpoet” to his friends was a notorious hacker employed by Wiki to create WikiScanner, a programme which allows users to track the source of computers used to make changes to the popular Internet encyclopaedia where anyone can submit and edit entries.

WikiScanner picked up that CIA computers were being used to alter content on the U.S-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the site. It seems they’re not alone with everyone from Fox News to the Vatican having a go at attempting to improve their reputation amongst the masses. This got me questioning. As a crude and frankly deceitful form of PR, how hazardous is adding or altering stuff on user-edited sites? I think very.

There is a sensible reluctance in the responsible PR community to tinker with sites like Wikipedia. When I first joined Inferno I remember asking why there wasn’t an entry for the company. I was told that “it’s not really the done thing” – to do your own Wikipedia entry. And now I can see why.

The mistake that the PRs and other interested parties made with the Wikipedia alterations is that to remove widely known facts and common opinions from entries is not only dishonest, it is stupid. It draws attention to the fact they have been altered and damages the reputation of the firms and government agencies involved further. Smart PRs don’t lie or deny the facts. Wikipedia has enough problems already…

Simon

Written by pilotlight

17/08/2007 at 4:55 pm

Posted in PR, Web 2.0

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You keep me hanging on

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Hit on

My laptop has bitten the bullet and I spent my lunchtime today on the phone to a certain hardware manufacturer’s repair centre. The shoddiness of cheap PC components aside, the most irritating thing about the call was the hold music – Typically Tropical’s 1975 number one ‘Barbados’. If my call really was ‘important’ to the company in question, surely they would play something less nauseating than a white reggae voiceover welcoming me to “Coconut Airways Flight 371”.

Even so, I guess you can’t please everyone all of the time and whatever these companies choose as their hold music it is bound to irritate someone. So, here’s a thought – why don’t companies offer a selection of hold music to suit a wider musical palate. For example:

“While you wait please choose from the following options:

  • Press one for the latest hit by a Pop Idol clone (for the younglings or those people who just don’t like music that much)
  • Press two for a selection of Dizzee Rascal/Kano/Jamie T (for the 16-25 year-olds – they don’t know they was born etc etc)
  • Press three for Rock Me Amadeus by Falco or other suitable 80s hit (for saddos like me who still file this stuff under the heading ‘guilty pleasures’)
  • Press four for Haitian Divorce by Steely Dan (for people who would like to wear DMs and Cuban heels but feel more comfortable with slippers these days)
  • Press five for 21st Century Schizoid Man by King Crimson (these people also wear slippers but probably outside as well as inside)
  • Press six for some difficult jazz (for chess players and people who can’t click their fingers in time)
  • Press seven for an analogue synth recording of Greensleeves…”

And why stop there? For those repeat calls, how about a system that plays you talking books of Biggles and Harry Potter and even remembers where you got up to the last time you phoned. Even as a PR or marketing stunt this may just raise a few eyebrows and make the pain of waiting on hold a little more bearable. I feel an article in the broadloid Sundays coming on…

Tom

Written by pilotlight

07/08/2007 at 2:02 pm

Posted in marketing, Media

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