I work with people every day who are hired to herald the arrival of a new product, campaign, author or artist. They’re called publicists, and their sole
professional purpose is to stir up media hype surrounding whatever it is they’re pushing.
The good ones do this by establishing authentic relationship with media gatekeepers who, in turn, can trust the publicists to not pester them with projects outside of their audience’s interest. The bad ones aren’t just annoying, they’re often laughable with their misguided requests. Recently a publicist actually pitched me on writing an article—inCharisma, mind you—about how to help senior adults select “adult toys.” This clueless publicist figured that since our readers were within her target audience, her request was reasonable. (Sadly, she wasn’t joking.)
That’s low, but after watching some publicists at a recent political debate, I now know these hired guns can stoop lower. Amid the media frenzy succeeding this event were dozens of publicists who would follow the every move of “personalities” and hold name cards directly above the heads of these VIPs who apparently needed to be recognized. It didn’t matter if you were a politician, CEO or wannabe celebrity blogger, wherever you went these publicists were willing to look foolish for the sake of everyone knowing your name. read more