advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wherein I share the pain of PR releases.

While filling in at Adrants this week, I got a ton of releases for things you would not believe. (Steve and Angela had their normal submissions emails automatically forwarded to me.) I ran things there that I probably wouldn’t run here, and vice versa. I’m glad to get emails from places who think a mention here can help their brand or cause; that’s not what I’m saying. It’s the way those releases are sent in that’s the problem: Too long, often impersonal or cringe-worthy, and not right for what Adrants or I cover. It takes work finding the good stuff when you have to read three pages of background info or Google artwork that wasn’t included. (I rant there about what works as a release and the perfect one I found.)

PR has to contact a lot of people to get the word out, understood, but they need to take some time to actually see who it is they’re reaching out to. Stop with all the generic mass mailings and they’ll get better coverage. I get emails that take five pages to explain a campaign that hasn’t even come out yet with a sign-off that says “If you wish to discuss this further, I can arrange for you to speak with....” Further?

But. You. Haven’t. Sent. Me. Anything. Now.

Don’t send releases about stuff that hasn’t run yet. Ad blogs don’t care. The whole point for us is to riff on shit that’s already out there. Speaking of, stuff that’s live? Include a damn url to the work. Jpegs in an email of the actual campaign are one thing, but do not send video files. Do you know how long it takes me to upload 10 mg Quicktimes through Blogger? Sooooo, there was enough in the budget to shoot in Tunisia, but you can’t afford to pay an intern to upload a clip to YouTube?

Background over. Here’s one I was going to dissect section by section; instead, I’ll let it speak for itself, other than to say the first mistake many labels make is not knowing that Adrants is an ad blog and doesn’t cover musicians, (unless they’re part of a campaign somehow). Other than that, what you see below is how I received it. (In fairness to Novel, I checked out his website and he seems genuine enough, and his attempt to encourage discussion after the election is something many did this week. This isn’t a knock on him at all, rather, a look into the world of PR releases to the tenth power that I experienced this week.

Hype ensues!


Dear Editors and Writers ,

Novel: part singer, part rapper, part songwriter, part producer, all STAR. Stemming from a creatively fertile family tree —grandson to Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Solomon Burke, son to former Motown Records exec Mickey Stevenson—Novel has blossomed on his own, penning and producing for Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis, and BeyoncĂ© to name a few. He recently concluded a U.S. tour fronting Alicia as well.

Novel’s groundbreaking debut album, The Audiobiography will arrive on March 24th but in the meantime, he offers a sneak peek into his creative genius with an EP entitled I Am… (Future Black President). To be released digitally on November 25th, I Am… (Future Black President) features 5 songs off the full-length album. The title track impacted college radio on November 4th and features conscious rappers Spree and Talib Kweli.

To further the groundswell initiated by his EP, Novel unveils the innovative website Meant to catalyze a grass-roots movement for continued progress in America, and ultimately build a global community, the site allows visitors to offer their thoughts on the significance of such a concept.

“Future Black President is an ideology that represents what was once the impossible. " says Novel. " It signifies change, hope, and the ability to see the ‘wildest dream’ become a reality. It is the truth that now exists, and the proof that democracy prevails. It gives us faith in the future of mankind, and faith that you too can one day become ‘whoever you want to BE.’ "

So please take a moment and get to know Novel. The time, thought, and sincere energy he’s invested should grab you from first listen. Let us know your thoughts on the single “I AM,” which is also available at iTunes and other digital stores . The viral video for 'I AM' will be available on Monday, November 10th.

Thank you.

For additional music and information please click to the following sites


HighJive said...


have you met any of the people creating PR for typical big advertising agencies? they are essentially hacks. individuals incapable of landing work as copywriters or legitimate journalists. or they are also running the agency resource center (you know, the library that no one ever uses anymore). when you have a title like corporate communications director, well, what do you expect? plus, as anyone will agree, agencies have traditionally done a lousy job of self-advertising. so it only makes sense that the PR efforts would receive even less attention.

in smaller agencies and vendor shops, the PR is probably handled by people with other functions (e.g., human resources). so you can bet those releases really stink.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, definitely met a few. You can see it in the way stuff’s written too. I’m pretty good about running most everything that comes in, but scary part is that a lot of what I saw this week there was from people higher up in the food chain and even CEOs in some cases.