The Public Relations Papers

Because sometimes you just don't have a choice.

23 August, 2006

Public Relations: A New Era

What happened to the days when a company, organization or attraction had standard advertising techniques, average marketing practices and typical publicity angles? Public relations practitioners of the 1970s, 1980s and even the 1990s would be shocked and confused about the perceived lack of control we have today. Most of this “lack of control” comes from the individual consumer’s changing role in the media. Because the individual has gained control of so much media influence, the individual is now unofficially asked to do marketing and advertising for the companies, organizations and attractions that have veered away from traditional techniques.

While this unique type of advertising has yet to appear in all markets, it’s obvious that is a trend in the entertainment industry. The new movie “Snakes on a Plane” is a great example of the individual’s advertising role in action. Internet users generate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of publicity through online chat rooms, forums and logos.

NBC’s show “The Office” also makes use of the individual’s influence in a recent promotion that allows viewers to create their own promo for the show and post it on YouTube. NBC then chose one entry to be aired on television as an official promo for the third season of the show. Even though NBC chose just one winner of the contest, all other entries for the contest remain on YouTube and generate publicity each time they are viewed, at no cost whatsoever to NBC.

So what turns people on to this kind of publicity? Why would a person spend an entire day making a promo for a television show for no pay? It hard to find a definite answer, but it may be partly due to an intrigue factor. The public is being allowed into a sector of the media that has been traditionally reserved for trained professionals. These professionals probably don’t have to worry about their job security quite yet, but it looks like amateurs are doing a pretty decent job for a whole lot less money.