12/21–The Interview: One-on-One with Kim Jong-un
8/3–VIDEO: Has time run out for Laskin?
3/16–VIDEO: G-rated list of 5 reasons to hire older workers
1/30–VIDEO: I'm Scheduled to Die August 1, 2014
11/19–VIDEO: In which Mr. Laskin takes on Mr. Lincoln
11/2–VIDEO: Rapp Story redux -- an explanation of sorts
10/21–VIDEO: The Rapp Story
9/12–VIDEO: The scariest profession in the world. Really?
7/4–VIDEO: Finally, a movie review without ever seeing the movie
4/18–VIDEO: The 7 words George Carlin would never have used
2/28–VIDEO: Sequester that credit card!
1/16–VIDEO: Don gets the word
10/31–The day social media died
8/6–VIDEO: The secret to viral videos
5/31–We all agree on this, right?
4/5–What's stealing? Really? Me? Shirley, you jest
1/19–VIDEO: The other Goldilocks story
12/11–VIDEO: Accomplishments? Or credentials?
11/7–VIDEO: A few minutes with Don Laskin on Andy Rooney
9/11–VIDEO: The hidden meaning of printer ink expiration dates
8/3–VIDEO: I am a Negro
5/24–VIDEO: It’s the end of the world as we know it
4/11–VIDEO: Return of the Avatar – with handy tips for finding a job
2/28–VIDEO: Laskin names names
2/10–VIDEO: Return of blower man
2/8–VIDEO: The threat of hippos -- and leaf blowers
1/11–VIDEO: Don as you've never seen him before
11/8–AUDIO: Hating the rich. Well, some of them, at least
10/17–VIDEO: He's not sleeping, he's making an important decision
10/1–What Amelia Earhart has to do with marketing management
8/25–AUDIO: The Mosque Ox
8/23–AUDIO: Why Meg Whitman needs to talk with Don en espanol
7/12–VIDEO: Don Laskin gets a spokes-thing
6/21–VIDEO: Why webinars are a waste of time
6/1–VIDEO: Has Don sold his soul to the Devil?
5/23–VIDEO: A message to, well, you know who you are
5/14–VIDEO: Twit, Tweet, Twitter?
5/5–Don unloads on Google
2/24–The sweatsuit answer to Kaiser, or Medicare Part The Deux
2/16–What's wrong with Kaiser?
12/4–What’s as rare as a Raiders touchdown? Laskin knows
10/19–Why Dave prefers vanilla
10/1–God's will -- and other reasons
8/17–AUDIO: Hierarchy of stupid
5/25–AUDIO: Some calm words about a world in PANIC!!
4/28–AUDIO: Why CEOs can ignore everything – except Facebook
4/6–With friends like these…
1/19–When perception is reality -- except when it isn't
12/9–AUDIO: Chased by the devil
10/29–AUDIO: Sine qua non a rant it would not be Don
10/20–AUDIO: Joe the writer, er, Don
10/2–AUDIO: Perp Walk Inc.
2/25–AUDIO: Why people put up with crummy jobs
2/10–AUDIO: Making clients money with advertising
1/2–Tiny weiners on toothpicks
12/19–AUDIO: Don improves with age, he says
12/6–AUDIO: Why telecommuting gardeners are needed
10/1–Don Laskin – Almost human?
7/8–Counting, if not connecting, the dots
5/3–Is your advertising stuck in a silo? So is Don
2/5–It's deja vu all over again for Don
9/10–Observations: Laskin faced end with courage
7/14–Observations Why Don Laskin’s ex-boss hiked up her skirt
6/16–Observations They're baaaack! And don't say you weren't warned
4/28–Be careful what you wish for
4/17–Did somebody just say something?
3/8–Laskin makes his first annual “Moron of the Month” Award*
2/15–Our man Laskin reports from a UFO
1/30–Laskin pioneers podcast idea
1/11–Veteran podcaster Don Laskin offers advice
1/3–The Logic of Illogic (Part 2)
11/15–An easy death
7/14–Making a Better Than Human Human
7/4–A tool of capitalism
6/26–Position Heal thyself. -- Plus: Useful information. For real. No kidding
6/25–Life is Like a box of chocolates with no “i” in team
5/15–A $1,000 fine and five days in jail
4/23–Is spending money on advertising a waste?
LETTERS FROM LASKIN
The Logic of Illogic (Part 2)
by Don Laskin
January 3, 2006
NOTE: For everybody who wondered (okay, my brother was the only one) when I was going to get around to finishing the second part of this Observation, I have one thing to say, “Now.”
“The Logic of Illogic Part 1” pointed out the logic behind the illogic of having non-creative people in charge of creative stuff like advertising -- and how that came to pass. “Part 2” assumes non-creative people are in charge and goes right to how it came to pass that Public Relations, as such, came to be.
Back before there was Marketing Communications or Marcom…
Back when advertising and promotion was called Advertising and Promotion or Creative — and was creative…
Back when Public Relations or PR was called Publicity —and Publicity was creative…
Hold it! That’s far enough!
Years ago in another time in another place called New York were publicity folk who got a bright idea. Wait! That’s too far ahead. Let’s take it from the top:
A company that sold small airplanes decided to invite its best customers to the launching of its latest-model aircraft.
Instead of the usual boring invitation, publicity came up with the idea of having messengers deliver carrier pigeons in unmarked boxes to the offices of high-flying (yeah, pun intended) New York executives.
When the executive opened the box, he would find an invitation with an RSVP instructing him to fold the invitation and place it in the capsule attached to the pigeon’s leg. The executive would then loose the bird — as it were.
The homing pigeon would find its way to the nearest open window and fly back with the exec’s answer. Airplanes and birds, a perfect tie-in. The stunt, a perfect attention-grabber.
Well, it would’ve been perfect except for one detail.
Good guess, but no.
These pigeons could’ve found their way home through a phalanx of ferocious, famished felines at midnight in a hellacious hailstorm. Also, they were not waylaid by an itinerant band of fatuous, fractious French who mistook them for haute cuisine. Another good guess. And too much alliteration.
No. This was a relatively minor, easily overlooked detail.
Windows in New York City high-rises don’t open.*
Taking wing, pigeons blasted through offices swooping from window to window in desperate attempts at freedom.
Thwarted at every window, the frightened creatures turned desktops into aerial-assault targets. Feathers and other debris rained down. The police were called. The ASPCA was called. Names were called.
Though the humor may have been lost temporarily on its corporate executives, the company continued -- and continues -- to survive and prosper. I never did find out whether the publicity stunt served to sell any planes, but it was a gutsy, creative move that’s still being talked about some forty years after the event.
It was related to me at a business meeting by a former Navy carrier pilot who’d been an executive with the airplane manufacturer.
Now, I’ve related it to you.
Anybody tell you about the great analyst schedule of ‘04? The incomparable news release of ’05? Wonder if THEY raised investment capital or sold product.
Today PR is measured in numbers; numbers of front covers and interviews and articles and product and analyst reviews and tours. The results are open to interpretation, but it’s easier to quantify numbers of meetings than intuitively judge the impact of publicity stunts. The change from Publicity to Public Relations has a lot to do with the way business has come to do business.
As opposed to building wealth**, business schools turn out executives who build business. It’s business based on models and formulae; business based on numbers. It’s business that needs the kind of numbers Public Relations (not Publicity) can provide. Is it surprising that Publicity began to be viewed with the same amount of usefulness as the human appendix?
In addition to providing “numbers,” PR offered another very attractive function. It became the place in the company where the boss’s daughter, who needed an internship to fulfill a university requirement, or the boss’s significant other who needed a place to fulfill the boss’s…uh…fulfillment, could hang out without causing a whole lot of trouble. After all, how much trouble can you get into writing a news release that goes on one of those business “wires” never to be heard from again?
There’s a better chance of finding Judge Crater and Jimmy Hoffa playing Pinochle on a UFO than a release posted to a business wire.
But, are there PR people not related to management by marriage or blood or some other liaison? Of course. They can be distinguished by their strange personalities and press contacts; or sparkling personalities and full-body contacts.
Bottom line — Is creativity in Marketing Communications and Public Relations simply an anachronism? Is it all just numbers? A MOST EMPHATIC “NO!” Check the numbers. If that ain’t creativity….
*If you look hard enough, you can find a high-rise with an open window. But by the Sixties, this was not generally the case.
**Building wealth is creating products and services, a far cry from finding tax loopholes, moving jobs off-shore for cheaper labor or buying and selling companies.