Lose the Spin Cycle Already

By: Stephen Andrews, VP, Fusion PR

I have to admit, ‘spin,’ is one of those terms used both by PR pros and the uninitiated alike referring to what we do and what can be done to a particular unfiltered message, or truth as some might call it. It’s a term I’ve always disliked, but seems to be a more popular/accurate description of what PR pros do. And that makes me downright angry.

From the Mark Penn angle – his own characterization of a meeting with Columbian trade officials as an ‘error in judgment’ – to technology companies insistence that they are making my life more productive, I’m just about ready to start counter pitching every journalist I know.

Firstly, an error in judgment might include choosing an unappealing choice for a graphic element in an ad, but this is a major about face and an ‘in your face’ to your client (Clinton) and certainly is not an ‘error in judgment,’ it’s a clear choice. Most likely and, I’m way out in supposition land here, it’s a way of Penn saying I don’t want to work for you anymore. At the very least, this is an example of horrible client services.

If Penn were an employee on my staff we’d probably have that most awkward of meetings this morning, the one where I eventually find a way to tell him there will be no more direct deposit paychecks coming in his near future.

At the very least he could of used all that experience and presumably his big PR brain to come up with a real and well thought out message as to why he quit.

So what’s the point, besides having a good rant about PR professionals’ propensity to over polish a given message; by doing so we not only distort the message to the point it’s unsupportable but we also do severe damage to both our and our clients’ long term credibility.

2 Comments
  • Bennett Baruch

    April 8, 2008 at 7:12 am Reply

    As more people view and ‘clean’ a message it becomes hidden instead of an interesting point of significance worthy of debate.

    Penn wanted an out or this is a great example of campaign weariness.

  • Chris Michaels

    April 9, 2008 at 12:42 pm Reply

    I look at these events as more than just a slip of the tongue, but a complete lapse of reason. Especially now that the nation of Colombia has dropped Penn as its AOR.

    I think that if you want to call something out, or make an excuse, it can never be at the expense of anyone or anything. You must be honest without being disparaging, unless it’s about yourself.

    Humility goes a long way, and people often forget that.

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