As If Public Relations Wasn’t Already Shady Enough, Now There’s ‘Black PR’

Buzzfeed News offers up an exposé of something called “Black PR” in its investigative piece, “Disinformation For Hire: How A New Breed Of PR Firms Is Selling Lies Online.”

The subhead is actually chilling: “One firm promised to ‘use every tool and take every advantage available in order to change reality according to our client’s wishes.'”

Look, public relations is a cynical business, but the people quoted in this article are like supervillains of cynicism — unembarrassed and even proud … Read the rest

When It Comes to Clients, There’s Cheap … and Cheaper

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During our early agency years in the post-war 1940s and ’50s, among the most sought-after South Florida clients were Miami Beach hotels.

The Ritz Carltons, Hyatts and Hiltons were decades in the future, rather, the resorts were operated by investors who had acquired their capital in other fields, but were drawn to the glamor of oceanfront hotels.

One of the most colorful of these was the late Sam E. Cohen, who, with his family, built and operated the oceanfront Sherry … Read the rest

The Politics of Political PR

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Barack Obama’s deployment of social media charted a sea change for political campaigns in its departure from the past half-century’s preoccupation with television and radio and the even earlier candidates’ dependency upon print advertising and direct mail.

Today NewmanPR clients are almost exclusively within the hospitality arena — mainly destination and maritime industries. However, in prior years local, state and even national political candidates were a significant factor in our business model.

In my third year I set a record … Read the rest

Sometimes the Clowns Indeed Are Already Here

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In Sondheim’s signature song from “A Little Night Music,” the singer reflectively adds to the lyrics “Send in the clowns … don’t bother they’re here.” I can identify with that each time I glance at the vintage Russell Brothers Circus poster on my wall.

It’s a reminder of one of the missed opportunities of earlier years in Fort Lauderdale where, for a time, my father operated the only shoe store. In the pre–World War II days, before air conditioning, Fort … Read the rest

PR Can Become a Zoo

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Creative public relations can draw upon many resources and I can recall at least two instances when a bear and an elephant generated headlines in publicizing an event.

At a Miami Beach sports and travel show in the late 1960s, in addition to golf and fly-casting demonstrations, and personal appearances by former Cleveland Indians star pitcher Bob Feller, a dancing bear named Rosie attracted considerable attention with her terpsichorean talents.

A Miami Herald city editor accepted my suggestion for an … Read the rest

From Rags to Riches — Florida Keys Style

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For almost two centuries the economy of Key West and the Florida Keys seesawed between prosperity and depression.

In the early 19th century, Key West was one of the nation’s richest cities from its sponge industry and salvaging cargos from ships wrecked on its treacherous reefs. But in the Great Depression years it dropped to one of the poorest.

Construction of the Overseas Highway in 1938 began a tourism flow that was interrupted in 1980 by the flood of Cuban … Read the rest

No Steaks or Chops!

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When we learned that Gen. Douglas MacArthur was returning from the Philippines after years away from the U.S., I suggested that our client, Miami Beach’s Sherry Frontenac Hotel, invite MacArthur and his family to enjoy some R&R at the resort.

The general manager was about to cable the invitation when the owner walked into the office and asked, “What are you bums up to now?”

When I explained the media potential, he asked, “What kinda rate do I gotta give … Read the rest

The Dual Meaning of ‘Plastered’

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New resort openings and cruise ship introductions unfailingly result in unexpected reactions from participating travel writers and broadcasters.

One of my most memorable emanated from the pre-Castro era inaugural of Havana’s Capri Hotel and Casino from the buttoned-down mind of Horace Sutton, arguably the most widely syndicated travel writer of the time.

Sutton’s lead: “Today I joined in the opening of Havana’s newest luxury resort-casino—the Capri. It was a race. A race to determine who would be plastered first: the … Read the rest