Did you know that Apple, Inc. released a new cellphone (well, sort of) yesterday for mass consumption??? Wow. Those guys (along with boardmember Al Gore) are very good at keeping corporate secrets. This almost 2 hour(!) press conference was not only necessary, but revolutionary. The world will never be the same… Hello new and improved iPhone4 (again)!
On Monday, NJ Governor Chris Christie called a press conference to announce… that he will, um… NOT run for president. Um. Thanks for the update.
On a related note, my cat coughed up a hairball. Someone quick… call a camera crew!
In the information age, I suppose anything can become news, and public relations has become a billion dollar industry. PR hacks use press conferences, among other tools, to make important announcements to gain coverage in newspapers, magazines, blogs and on news broadcasts. A press conference, specifically, is a staged public relations event in which an organization or individual presents information to members of the mass media.
Press conferences are typically used for political campaigns, emergencies and promotional purposes, such as the launch of a new product… but now, you’ll also see sports teams and celebrities use this forum as well. Promotional press conferences offer several advantages, such as the ability to reach all media outlets at the same time while controlling the message. If done right, good PR campaigns can foster goodwill (not to mention consumerism… yay, capitalism!) among the entity and the public. A press conference also can build excitement or anticipation about an event or brand. (see, Apple, Inc.) However, they can waste time and money as well if:
- the story isn’t newsworthy/not suited for this forum;
- the press conference is scheduled at times that are inconvenient for the media and/or the public;
- the company/entity uses a podium and a mike too often to disseminate their message(s); or
- if the press conference is poorly organized and executed.
In the end, companies organizations… and even the government has lost the fine line of what should become media events… and what would be better served just sending out a press release.
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Okay, enough of my pontifications. Let’s make fun of more inane coverage. My favorite press events (and what I’ll actually turn on my television for…) are sports press conferences. Poor guys. They don’t have even one rat’s a$$ chance chance with me. It’s very obvious that most sports figures coasted through college, taking sports kinesiology courses because they sound well… illiterate and dumber than a box of rocks. Talking like a 17 year old schoolgirl – between the “likes,” “ums,” and “you know what I means,’ (No. Sadly, I don’t…) – they say such silly jargon such like:
- “You can’t fault the effort. Everyone just needs to give 110 percent. We came out and played 100 percent. They just made the plays.” (Gary Brown, former NY Giants running back) Huh?
- “We need to pick up the intensity. We need to match the intensity of the defense. We came out flat and lacked a bounce in our step. I have no idea why we came out flat. There’s no excuse. We just didn’t execute.” (Tony Martin, former Miami Dolphins receiver) I believe the “didn’t execute” excuse is the most nonsensical quotes ever spoken.
- “I thought the game really broke down to the fact that we did not make any plays on offense, defense or special teams.” (Chris Palmer, Former Cleveland Browns head coach) No comment.
- “He’s a contact hitter.” As opposed to a non-violent one?
- “He has a great feel for the game…” Usually referring to white guys, who by virtue of genetics/racism, cannot jump/run/dunk/hit as dramatically as his black counterparts. (Watch the sports commentators… This line is more common than you think.)
- “He’s a warrior…” No he’s not. He’s being paid zillions of dollars to get bashed and beaten up. I suddenly don’t feel so bad about his concussion… he can actually *pay* his ER bill. Well… if he didn’t trick out his house and car first.
- The use of big words like “laxadaisical”/anemic/tenacious in an effort to sound smart – As in, “our effort was terrble today, really laxadaisical.” (And for the record, sports writers of the world, the correct spelling is “lackadaisical.”)
I could go on and on… but I think I made my point. PR hacks: Hype is bad. Don’t have 3,000 press conferences in one day. Try to have a purpose when you start planning one. And for God’s sake, put your sports stars/commentators into Grammar 101. Followed by PR 102. For America’s sake. Please?