Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I am in Advertising Not Public Relations

We all can learn from each other. I know we want our peers to like us, to find our work good work and insightful. If our Advertising and Marketing work does not increase sales no matter how Bitchin and Cool the work we did, we technically Failed. If my clients don't sell more from my work for them, I failed. But I am in Advertising not Public Relations. My work is free to be critiqued. In fact I enjoy using case studies when appropriate on this blog because I want to get better at what I do. I want feedback from my peers.

I try not to say 'Look what I did'. I am a background service. My clients are in the forefront, not me. So it's bad enough when people Tweet 'Look What We Did' and then when I look I go....'SO? Where is the Cha-Ching? Come back when there is Cha-Ching?'. You are in Advertising. It's about Selling! If you need a primer there is the Bible written by the Ad Contrarian Bob Hoffman to help you focus on what your craft is supposed to do:

Last night I saw this tweet from David Armano, whom everyone knows, whom I follow on Twitter because 'Everyone knows him'. I don't talk with him, and don't know him. I know who he is. I have read a few of his pieces at the Harvard Business Review. I see him tweet with people I have gotten to know via Twitter in Marketing whom I like, admire, and even have become friends with a few. I know he is a good guy and a nice person.

But last night I got pissed at his client. And he then became the vehicle for me. Not sure he expected that. Could of been anyone who follows him who has an opinion.

This he should of left to Walmart. I can write a gazillion blog posts about why Walmart is bad and why I never buy from them. Trust me plenty of their workers qualify for food stamps that our taxes pay for. I will state they are trying to change their image in some good ways, but it will take a massive change in their business model for me to feel it's not just mouthpiece. So when I see this, Walmart becomes fair game. Especially on this specific topic!

My point being David Armano is in Advertising/Marketing. I would love to hear his strategies or what his work for Walmart is. Why he chose certain angles or tactics. But Public Relations is not our role for our clients. Walmart with $400bil in revenues and $385bil in costs has plenty of money to have a big Public Relations push on this charity work. 

So while the Food Bank effort is Good. They need to do more and David should be leaving that Public Relations work to his client. Because it came across to me as 'Look at how great my client is. The huge big heart' and my response was 'Really?'.

But Dave has a posse I knew I could get a response. It says a lot that someone has them.

I had every right just as any Joe or Jane Blow person in this Industry or not to have an opinion and take an issue with Walmart or any Business. And I know David is capable of handling my tweeting that comment. Not sure if he had anyone else tweet back. He surely can call me on it if I did something similar. I know having Walmart as a client is impressive on a resume.

I will use Client work as case studies for this blog. But only for Advertising/Marketing because that is what I do for a living. I do Advertising/Marketing not Public Relations.

Editors Note: David responded to my assumption which was incorrect. You can see the exchange in the comments section below. I still stand by my point of this blogpost. But apologies to David for takes 140 Characters out of Context.


  1. Howie,

    You are making a few assumptions here and big ones. The first is that I personally work on the Wal Mart business, I have not (yet). The second is that I have a motivation to provide some type of public relations for this client inferring some kind of behind the scenes activity. This is also inaccurate. I make it a regular practice to tweet articles which I read and think are interesting. Every once in a while I come across an article that references a client. If I want to share that article and I know they are an Edelman client, then ethically it's my responsibility to disclaim that. I try to be consistent here and it's part of our social media guidelines.

    Your question about our client is totally appropriate as is your right to oust this. However your assumptions are off. I was simply tweeting what I was reading last night and doing so ethically. Had I opted not to post that Fast Company article, I would have made a conscious decision to censor myself or what I thought was an interesting read. In this particular case I made a decision that it was writhe sharing despite the fact that my employer works with them.

    Hope this explanation helps. Perhaps in the future I will say "Edelman client" so it's not inferred that it's a client I actually work on.

  2. Armano thank you for taking the time to comment. It proves why I follow you on Twitter. There are quite a few people of your stature whom I do not follow any longer because they seemed very self promotional for themselves or clients in the wrong way. Thus my intro point.

    I agree I took your tweet completely out of context because of the mention they were a client. Which btw was ethical that you did said they were a client. Unfortunately with 140 Characters what can we do right?

    I accept your response 100%. I crafted the blogpost which I thank you for the impetus because my thought was if us in the Advertising/Marketing Industry cross into PR activities whether innocently or premeditated we have to be prepared to respond in ways we might not of expected. So the point of my blog still holds, but the reason that caused me to write it was not. Cheers!