For Immediate (Comic) Release

Decoding PR agency verbiage:

What they say and what it means . . .

. . . in sales materials:


(We do the same stuff as everybody else, but “strategic” sounds impressive.)


(Our sales pitch changes depending on what we think you want to hear.)


(Given a chance, we’ll annoy everybody.)


(We’ll try to sell you anything.)

“Highly creative”

(We’ll make you the laughingstock of the newsroom.)

. . . in help-wanted ads:

“Ability to multitask”

(You’ll do the work of multiple low-wage people for the salary of one, while reporting to multiple bosses, none of whom has any management skill.)

“Fast-paced environment”

(1. Our employee turnover rate is so high it’ll make your head spin. 2. Doing client work quickly is more important than doing it well. We win accounts with a low-ball price and then criticize employees for spending too much agency time completing the job.)

“Join our team”

(A minor league team: high turnover, lousy pay, and the only people making serious money are the owners.)

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PR in perspective: quotations on fame and publicity

“What rage for fame attends both great and small!

Better be damned than mentioned not at all!”

John Wolcott (1738-1819)

“Fame is what you have taken, character is what you give. When to this truth you awaken, then you begin to live.” – Bayard Taylor

“It often happens that those of whom we speak least on earth are best known in heaven.”

Nicolas Caussin (1582 – 1651)

Our admiration of a famous man lessens upon our nearer acquaintance with him.”

Joseph Addison (1672 – 1719)

“Fame is vapor; popularity an accident; riches take wings; the only earthly certainty is oblivion; no man can foresee what a day may bring forth; while those who cheer today will often curse tomorrow.” – Horace Greeley

“Fame may be earned but never counted on.” – Jacob K. Javits

“What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little.” — Leszinski Stanislas (1677 – 1766), King of Poland

“Fame like a drunkard consumes the house of the soul.” — Malcolm Lowery (1909-1957)

“Fame sometimes hath created something of nothing.” — Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

“There’s not a thing on earth that I can name,

So foolish, and so false, as common fame.”

John Wilmot, Lord of Rochester (1647-1680)

“In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” — Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

“To judge the real importance of an individual, we should think of the effect his death would produce.” — Duc de Levis (1764-1830)

“It is an indiscreet and troublesome ambition that cares so much about fame; about what the world says of us; to be always looking in the faces of others for approval; to be always anxious about the effect of what we do or say; to be always shouting to hear the echoes of our own voices.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 82)

“All is ephemeral — fame and the famous as well.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

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PR quiz

Who was the “father of spin?”

(Answer: Probably the 17th-century Dutch philosopher, Spinoza.)

Toney titles in Agencyland

It once seemed that every ad agency creative or account rep was, at minimum, a “vice president.”

Not to be outdone, PR agencies are taking title inflation (or hyperinflation) to even sillier levels. According to personnel news items in the marketing columns of the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, titles within Chicago PR agencies now include “chief inspiration officer” and “senior thought partner.” Which means the hands-on client work is being done by . . . junior assistant thought associates?

About my logo

What’s the significance of the solid line above the words “Nathan J. Silverman Company”?

Take your pick:

  • Solid performance
  • Level-headed thinking
  • Raising the bar in PR
  • Consistently thick-headed

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