“If John Public reads your advertisement, they know you’re trying to sell your story and is sceptical about your message. On the other hand when someone reads a third-party article or views coverage on TV, they view it differently and are likely to pay some attention to your message.”
In the following Letter to the Editor, former TDC chairperson Dennise Demming explains her issues with Petrotrin’s PR offensive:
Today, two newspaper advertisements caused me great pain. When a company resorts to inserting two full page advertisements to tell its story it is an admission that they have lost their way and are now being run by persons who need Public Relations/Corporate Communication 101.
I am further pained because I cut my “PR Teeth” at Texaco which is one of Petrotrin’s predecessor companies.
With the Trintoc merger I then met a slew of local professionals steeped in the Shell philosophy of excellence. How could such a rich history of professionals be diluted to this current reaction?
For the benefit of the PR Staff at Petrotrin, here are a few differences between Advertising and PR.
You can purchase an ad and be in control of how and when it will appear or you can engage the media so that they want to carry your side of the story. Please note, your opponents in this case are using traditional media to their full advantage where all their nuances are being covered in various media.
If John Public reads your advertisement, they know you’re trying to sell your story and is sceptical about your message. On the other hand when someone reads a third-party article or views coverage on TV, they view it differently and are likely to pay some attention to your message.
In this case, after reading your advertisement, I asked myself how many persons in management can safely operate the refinery for an extended period?
In advertising, you can be creative with your design and layout in the hope of catching attention while PR requires an intuition to pique interest or create a buzz. In this case, social media is available and can tell the company’s story effectively.
An advertisement can be used several times while in PR, the story is likely to be used once unless you can refresh the angle. Having decided to place an advertisement, you could have used an infographic because a text laden advertisement as in this case is guaranteed to bomb.
These two ads have Board, Lawyer and Politician stamped all over and simply represent the inexperience, disrespect and lack of understanding of governance structures which is rampant in our state corporations. This situation is critical to our country and will not be resolved by a media war. The key players need to communicate with each other and come to the public with a solution.
When I talk about the need for inspired leadership, this is an opportunity for us to experience a real leader talking action and changing the game.