Robert's Feed
Jan 19, 2011

Washington Post Co unleashes dynamic purple prose for Facebook fun

PR purple prose positioned throughout. Highlighted, as usual. (If you wonder why The Washington Post Co is building such things for Facebook, remember that Post chief Don Graham is a Facebook board member and an early investor. In the interests of full disclosure, he is my former boss.)

Washington, DC—January 18, 2011—The Washington Post Company announced today the launch of SocialCode [;], a full‐service agency focused on helping brands leverage the most advanced advertising and marketing techniques on Facebook®.

Jan 13, 2011

Hairballs: Not quite a PR selling point

My colleagues Abhiram and Jochelle sent this to me today, offering it as another candidate for PR purple prose. Yes, I did spot purple prose in here. But a larger question looms over this press release: why the thematic locus on the hairball, that disgusting, wet package of hair that cats like to vomit onto your floor and your furniture after they’ve been tongue-bathing themselves for a while? They’re a good argument against walking around in your bare feet at night in the dark.

Someone presumably familiar with the creeping horror of hairballs then thought: that would be an awesome idea for a press release. If I squint just perversely enough, I think I get it.

Jan 13, 2011

What is “the enterprise” anyway?

I first heard the word “enterprise” as a business and technology term in 1996 when I was working for Business Research Publications, a newsletter publisher, in Washington, D.C.

“Ideal paradigm changing, revolutionary solutions for the enterprise!”

“SAP enterprise applications that drive growth across the supply chain!”

And so on.

I covered Cisco Systems Inc, Juniper Networks and several other companies for months. “Enterprise customers” mean a lot to these large companies, yet I feared telling anyone that I had no idea what the hell they were talking about because I didn’t speak network equipment-ese. Fortunately, I was more familiar with publishing jargon – “run-0f-press,” etc – so when I started covering the newspaper business, I felt much better.

Jan 11, 2011

How Elvis Costello made me spend all my money (Sensorial marketing solutions)

Why does my friend leave stores as soon as their stereo systems play The Eagles? Why do I automatically spend a million billion dollars on melba toast and chutney when the grocery store public address system plays “Every Day I Write the Book?”

You can thank “sensorial marketing solutions” for that.

Learn how Stingray360 of Montreal is learning new ways to get you to march to a capitalist beat with musical “solutions” tailored to your desires. Though in this case, since it involves Walmart Canada, it could mean hearing Stompin’ Tom Connors when you least expect it. As long as it’s not Anne Murray

Jan 11, 2011

Goldman Sachs and the Natural Persons club

This is not a press release in the strict sense of the term. It is an excerpt from Goldman Sachs’s new efforts at “transparency,” another fun word that doesn’t mean anything. Can someone tell me who “natural persons” are? Does this exclude zombies with investable net worth? (Thanks to my colleague, friend and co-raconteur Joe Rauch for point this my way) -

18. To strengthen client relationships and reputational excellence, the Business Standards Committee recommends redefining the firm’s approach to segmenting clients for suitability purposes into one of the following three segments:

Jan 11, 2011

“Vertical tillage.” Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Ingersoll Tillage of Hamilton, Ontario recently published this press release. My colleague in Bangalore, Jochelle Mendonca, spotted it and thought it might make a good addition to my, “Portraits in purple prose” files in which I sport with press release “language.” She was right. What is vertical tillage? Can I ask my friends to do it with me, or will I get smacked for my rudeness? Does it need a license to operate? Do eight states make it illegal? Would anyone care to tell me what it is? Whoever answers first gets to go to a 4-H Club fair with me.

Ingersoll redefining vertical tillage with new SoilRazor(tm)

VT PR Newswire BOULDER, CO, Jan. 7 BOULDER, CO, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -

Today, tillage and planting expert Ingersoll Tillage Group, launched a new innovation set to redefine the vertical tillage industry in North America. Unveiled among industry peers at the AG CONNECT Expo in Atlanta, the new Ingersoll SoilRazor(tm) VT vertical tillage disc (patent pending) features a unique serrated edge that maintains its cutting ability as it wears, season after season.

Jan 6, 2011
via MediaFile

CES: Portraits in purple prose (Part four: leftovers)

The Consumer Electronics Show rages on in Las Vegas. So does the purple press release prose. Here are a few more examples that I scraped together. I’ll keep a lookout for a fresh batch on Friday.

Here are part three, part two and part one.

Rediscover radio. (What is “radio?”)

08:00 05Jan11 – PURE Launches New Internet-Connected Radios and Ground-Breaking Digital iPod Dock at CES 2011

Jan 6, 2011
via MediaFile

CES: Please turn off your phones and your Wi-Fi

English literature teachers, please tell me if I’m wrong to call this ironic.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is all about technology, and pack journalists and tech experts all over the world say that wireless will be the next big boom. So why are various companies at this year’s CES begging and in some cases instructing people not to use their wireless devices or their Wi-Fi connections?

Here’s an email that my colleague Alexei Oreskovic received.


We have all heard of or experienced Wi-Fi challenges at high-profile events.

Please help our sponsors demonstrate their products. We ask you to turn off your phone before you enter Showstoppers tonight. If you can’t do that, please turn off Wi-Fi access on your smartphone and other mobile devices, including all mobile hotspot devices and anything else that acts as a mobile access point.

Jan 6, 2011
via MediaFile

CES: Portraits in purple prose (Part three: Revenge of the purple)

Here is Thursday’s first delivery of hot, overwrought, steaming, challenging, game-changing, erotically charged press release prose from the Consumer Electronics Show, the place where adverbs, adjectives and hyperbole go after they die. Click the links to see parts one and two from Wednesday.

We breed renowned turnkeys

01:00 05Jan11 -Option to CES Exhibitors: “Mobilize Your Products With The World’s Smallest 3G Module”

Jan 6, 2011
via MediaFile

PR and the press: fear, suspicion, antipathy and other healthy emotions

It’s neither fair nor fun to dominate a platform — however few people read it — that pokes fun at public relations if PR professionals can’t land a few blows on the press. I would love to get some of that and share it here as well as on my personal blog. If you see this, please contribute. Otherwise, I’ll flack you soonest.