Tuesday, September 26, 2006

:: adgruntie :: 4A's send in PR guns to battle image problem

+ The advertising industry has an image problem. No shit!
The American Association of Advertising Agencies has tapped GolinHarris, a global firm that represents corporate heavyweights such as McDonald's and SC Johnson, to stave off "negative headlines" and burnish the industry's reputation with reporters and other influencers.

It's unclear exactly what tactics will be employed, but executives familiar with the situation said part of the outreach could target reporters who don't cover the ad business on a regular basis with the hope of scoring positive stories in mainstream business magazines and in the consumer press.

"Our industry has had a reputation problem the past few years, though that's been turning a bit with the excitement around new media," said Julie Thompson, co-chair of 4A's PR committee and communications chief at Leo Burnett. "I was surprised and pleased that an industry association many would call old school would take this step. It's a refusal to keep taking lumps."

The program, one executive said, is a reaction to "negative headlines about the business." And, to be sure, the industry has picked up its share in recent years as consumer behavior and technological change call into question the relevance of ad agencies, especially the largest ones, and their best-known commodity, the 30-second TV spot. More recently, the agency world is getting bad press for its lack of success hiring minority staff.
That and the fact that people in advertising are ranked just about as high as used car salesmen in every report on trustworthy or valued jobs that comes out. Then again, even within the industry we don't think of our own teammates as valued or trustworthy either (just think of all the Creative vs. AE type stereotypes). Funny that the ad industry wants to solve this problem with a PR stunt instead of an ad campaign...what's that mean? ;)

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