Hamilton Nolan · 05/22/13 01:20PM

Former Bush administration flack Dan Bartlett is Wal-Mart's new PR guy. Sounds about right.

The NAACP Pretends That Sugary Soda Is a Civil Rights Issue

Hamilton Nolan · 01/23/13 04:00PM

New York mayor Mike Bloomberg's crusade to ban large-sized sugary drinks has some surprising new foes: the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, two large nonprofits ostensibly dedicated to advancing the rights of minorities. In this case, they are advancing the interests of their own corporate backers at the expense of the people they are supposed to serve.

The Holiday Season Is the Worst Time to Be a Publicist

Hamilton Nolan · 12/06/12 04:02PM

Here is the IFC Network Press Team's official holiday card. Note that it is signed by hand by all four members of the IFC Press Team. Now, imagine how many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of stupid identical holiday cards the IFC Press Team has to send out, the vast majority of them to random reporters the IFC Press Team does not even know or like. Imagine how many hours the IFC Press Team has to spend, sitting around a small table, signing their names to card after card after card, the vast majority of which will be tossed into the trash with little more than a moment's glance from their recipient. And, further, consider the fact that at least the IFC Press Team gets to write their hundreds and hundreds of useless, unwanted Holiday Cards to a more interesting list of recipients than most of their PR industry peers, who are forced to sign hundreds and hundreds of their own unwanted Holiday Cards and mail them to lists of finance professionals, or sporting goods store owners, or auto dealership managers, or floor wax salesman. Or clients. Consider having to write these god damn cards to hundreds of your asshole clients. And then being forced to attend your clients' holiday parties. Consider that.

PR Dummies: How Not to Pitch

Hamilton Nolan · 10/05/12 05:00PM

In the public relations industry, the fine art of pitching stories often consists of little more throwing shit against a wall and seeing what sticks. Regardless: it's important to have the right shit, and the right wall. This is PR Dummies. Having the right shit is what we do.

PR Dummies: Remember 9/11 With Discount DJ Services

Hamilton Nolan · 09/21/12 12:30PM

Public relations often involves the delicate art of tiptoeing around sensitive subjects in order to continue your ruthless and unceasing marketing activities. Fine. But it is not required that you incorporate these sensitive subjects into your ruthless marketing activities. This is PR Dummies. Remembering Ivy Lee, with a slight discount, every week.

The Future of Advertising Is More God Damn Buzzwords

Hamilton Nolan · 09/17/12 05:10PM

What does the Creative digital ad agency world of the future look like? It's not what you might imagine—Mad Men in space suits, leisurely sipping martinis in their flying cars. It's about "thinking as much like a modern newsroom as it does a creative department," according to an Ad Age op-ed by ad guy Ian Schafer. What does that mean in practice? It means using lots and lots more buzzwords—strategically.

The Fundamental Futility of Speaking to Spokespersons

Hamilton Nolan · 09/06/12 12:50PM

We just came from the DNC's daily "blogger briefing," not to be confused with the Real Press briefing. There were 20 or so bloggers, various Democratic media reps and invited speakers.

PR Dummies: Where to Find Some Swinging Single Moms

Hamilton Nolan · 08/17/12 03:30PM

The public relations industry enjoys drilling into its young whelps a single phrase to guide their decision-making: "Know your audience." Sadly, after all these years, the lesson still has not sunk in. This is PR Dummies: Evading the audience-seekers, every week.

PR Dummies: How to Make Money From the Aurora Massacre

Hamilton Nolan · 08/01/12 05:10PM

Public relations is defined as a strategic tool which dynamically allows a strategic company to turn sleaze into profit. Dynamically. This is PR Dummies. Taking advantage of you, the consumer, every week.

PR Dummies: Healthy Hoohoos for Gal Pals

Hamilton Nolan · 07/13/12 02:50PM

The public relations industry is much like the vagina: not very good at writing. This is PR Dummies. Putting the you-know-what in the you-know-where, at least once a week.

PR Dummies: 'Start Using Social Media!'

Hamilton Nolan · 07/06/12 02:50PM

The public relations industry often interprets its job as being that of a great sprinkler, spewing forth lightly treated sewage across the media's lawn, hoping to convince something to grow. This is PR Dummies. Dodging the incoming effluent, every week.

PR Dummies: Party in Malibi With Mary J. Bilge

Hamilton Nolan · 06/29/12 02:00PM

The public relations industry is not a spelling bee. The spelling bee nerds went into nerd fields like library science or professional blogging, not the high-powered world of Hollywood PR. This is PR Dummies. (Dommies? Dymmies? Ugh, spellcheck.)

Wal-Mart Drops PR Firm Whose Flack Posed as Reporter

Hamilton Nolan · 06/25/12 01:21PM

Earlier this month, a flack named Stephanie Harnett—who worked for Mercury Public Affairs, and whose client was Wal-Mart—was caught posing as a reporter to sneak into an anti-Wal-Mart event in Los Angeles. She was fired soon after we published the story, and both Wal-Mart and Mercury decried her actions. The firm said that Harnett was not acting on their orders. (Later, a different former PR person who worked on Wal-Mart's behalf told us that she had been instructed to use similar tactics by her own firm.)

Don't Make That Rap Video: PR Dummies Edition

Hamilton Nolan · 06/22/12 01:55PM

Welcome to PR Dummies. The public relations industry is full of people who are trained to show enthusiasm for any paying customer, on demand. This naturally erodes their own innate taste. Which is to say: PR people have bad taste. Which is to say: please, don't make that rap video.