Yes, as a matter of fact I did go to school for this and this is why

I majored in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations in college at UOP.  Sometimes people say why did you major in communication, can’t anyone do it?  No, as a matter of fact they can’t.  Contrary to what some people may think there are ethics involved.  Some people are apparently completely unaware of the concept and others may choose to ignore them, but we’re running into something else now, a complete blurring of PR and pay for play or more specifically pay per click.

Pay for play (where you pay a publication or broadcast outlet to run something, usually as a thinly-veiled advertisement) has been around forever and in most cases it wasn’t worth the money. Other times, there was a wink and a nod when someone from the advertising sales team would show up with the editor for a meeting. This left an especially bad taste in my mouth, and no I never recommended my clients do it.

A few years ago the FTC seemed like it was starting to crack down on the next iteration of this phenomena when people who wrote personal blogs started to get paid by companies to write complimentary posts. But then it stopped. People kind of forgot about it, and then it really took off.  Where does this lead? To this. Below is the complete text of a post from Jim Romanesko of Poynter’s Media News:

The editor in Virginia who forwarded this letter to Romenesko writes: “[I’d] be curious to see where this press release is run, given the inducement.” The deal is this: Papers get $100 when someone sees the skin care firm’s press release in their pages and signs up for treatment. The company calls this “a win-win project.”

Dear Editor or Health Editor:

Would you consider running our press release as a win-win project? We will pay $100 for every Skin Care Patient who sees the press release in your newspaper and commits to our exclusive and effective process. We monitor each incoming patient and where they heard about us. Our total costs are only $500. Call Gary Heesch, our Consulting Director at 1-877-414-2426 for arrangements.

For the first time ever, the combination of a US patent, therapies that are copyrighted and medications that are FDA approved are available in Virginia. One in four people have some kind of skin disorder, possibly someone on your staff or in your family. This is great news for a press release since Medisys Research Group was highly successful but only in the mountain states. We can be highly successful in Virginia.

Press Release:

Skin Disorders Healed

For the first time ever, the combination of a US patent, therapies that are copyrighted and medications that are FDA approved are available in Virginia.

The American Institute of Advanced Medicine has acquired the patents and licensing rights of Medisys Research Group. Medisys was highly successful for years in fighting skin diseases. They were so successful that Ernst and Young’s medical auditing bureau completed an analysis 18 months after patients used our treatment. Ernst and Young declared that the patients were CURED.

We also have a process where patients can be treated in their own homes with the help of all modern technologies.

CURED——–That is what every person with a skin disorder would like to hear. Now that can happen to you and your families. If you have acne, folliculitis, molluscum, psoriasis, wound healing and other skin disorders, this is fantastic news.

There is no need to suffer a lifetime with no relief.

For testimonials, go to http://www.theaiam.com. or call our toll free number 1-877-414-2426.

There’s always someone with a megaphone saying you don’t need someone who specializes in PR to help you get the word out about your company.  No, you don’t. But it sure helps to have someone around who knows when something is wrong, and this my friends, is wrong.

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One thought on “Yes, as a matter of fact I did go to school for this and this is why

  1. Josh, I agree is reprehensible behavior and it hurts us all.

    Unfortunately, as the lines between PR and advertising become blurrier, this kind of thing is happening more and more – even by so-called PR professionals.

    As true PR professionals, we have a responsibility to fight this kind of behavior wherever we see it – as we are counseling clients, colleagues in the advertising and social media worlds, and even with media who may think this is okay (and there are some out there).

    Thanks for the post.

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