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Thought The Persuaders was great. A little disappointed it didn’t probe more into public relations – it started getting there towards the end.

I’m not sure if it is true, but O’Dwyers claims that PR Execs went to ground when asked to participate. (also blogged by Pepper). Sounds like nonsense to me. And, if it was true, why not report that on the show and flag the “shadowy world of PR”? ‘Journalists’ aren’t normally that slow to miss an angle as good as this.


The Public Broadcasting System will air “The Persuaders” on November 9 to explore the inner workings of the marketing and advertising businesses.

The program intended to have a PR focus, but PR executives refused to “go public” about what they do, Justin Vogt, a producer at ‘Frontline,'” told O’Dwyer’s.

This website met with three “Frontline” producers earlier this year, and provided a list of top executives for the program to contact. “They were very informative, but would only speak off-the-record,” said Vogt.

Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising, is among those interviewed by correspondent Douglas Rushkoff. Roberts talks about the importance of establishing an “emotional connection” between consumers and brands.

Doug Atkin, of Merkley + Partners says effective advertising goes beyond emotions. Marketers are trying to create a passionate zeal for their products equal to “cultists or religious fanatics,” he said.

Atkin considers General Motors’ Saturn unit a “mass cult brand,” pointing out that more than 45,000 people a-year spend part of their vacation time visiting its car plant in Tennessee.

Social critic Naomi Klein scoffs at emotional branding, saying that in the end it is about choosing a laptop or a pair of running shoes.

Recently read Kevin Robert’s book Lovemarks – a Tom Peterish rant on the future of brands – which from my POV is mostly correct. One point he makes that I find communicators struggle with day-in and day-out is that most if not all products are at parity. We all dream of launching the break-away product but few get to. So, why does so much of our communications work focus on the product and not the brand experience?

What was also interesting for me was how the media we’re clearly jumping on this. The NYT’s ran a story on Clotaire Rapaille this weekend. And aside, why journalists think Rolls Royce is still a status symbol is beyond me… Anyway…

Here’s Rushkoff’s blog.

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