29 July 2008
Oh, those irritating PR calls!
I rue the day the mobile phone happened. It may be fashionable for chatty teenagers and people trying to look busy and/or important.
I got one call today, asking if I was interested in Henkel doing something in schools. Excuse me!
Another one said: "Infosys has developed this solution...." and I said: "Stop there, and send me a mail"
(It doesn't help if they follow an ostensibly polite line: "Is it a good time to call?" or "Do you have a minute?"...I do want to say: "Yes, I do have a minute. But not for you" or "Never is a good time to call" -- but then, more often than not, I try not to be rude)
Why are PR people calling me about irrelevant stuff? Or stuff they OUGHT TO KNOW is irrelevant or of no immediate importance for me?
Why are rank juniors with no sense, sensibility or experience being foisted upon to make cold calls that would put a credit-card-selling random-dial dumbo to shame?
What are their bosses smoking?
Why can't they first e-mail (It exists, you know!) first on stuff that is less important?
Why can't they call on the landline, if at all it is worth following up?
The problem with being a journalist is that you have to keep your phone line open for that one-in-100 call that makes some sense. But in the name of PR, I get so hear more and more of useless calls.
This is because there is a whole tribe out there which cannot tell the difference between sales, advertising, public relations and media relations.
They are four different things, you know.
And then: I got a heavy-duty load of attachments from a company today: it offered me in JPEG format (Gawd!) about eight press releases --- or was it 12?
They were in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati etc etc.
Could they not individually mail relevant press releases?
Is spam and cold-calling the new face of PR?
You tell me!