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New way publicist are generating publicity

During the years when I was a publicist in the mid to late 1990's, there was no instant messaging or social media sites. Back then the only way to generate publicity for a client was to write press releases and pitch them to newspaper and magazine editors until your face turned blue.

If you did this faithfully you usually ended up getting at least one media placement. However make no mistake, you really had to work very hard to get it. I should also point out that most publicists back then also used “true” facts and events about their client to get that publicity.

Fast forward to today and you see publicist using all types of PR stunts and tricks to keep their clients in the media. While I understand that it takes a lot of creativity to generate client publicity today, I still don't think that this is the way to go about it. After awhile this type of stuff becomes so predictable.

For example, it seems that every time a celebrity has a movie coming out you start seeing all types of weird stories about them in the media about a week before the premiere date. This includes for the upcoming movie “After Earth”, which stars actor Will Smith and his son Jaden. This movie is scheduled to be released at the end of May, and already there have been random articles about these two in order to generate attention. One of these articles featured a headline that said “Will Smith May Lose Custody of His Son”. Because movie fans are very familiar with the dynamics of the Smith family, of course a headline like this would get their attention. I was one of the ones who clicked on the article and was very disappointed. When I initially saw the headline, I immediately thought that Will Smith was losing custody of his son Jaden because he and Jada were getting a divorce. After reading the story however I found out that the story had nothing to do with a divorce or custody suit. I felt that this was just a “cheap put together story” designed to attract attention.

I don't like this type of PR campaign especially in this case, because I don't feel it is necessary. Will Smith is a good actor, and he has a great track record of producing and starring in well written movies. Some that immediately come to mind are “I Robot”, “I am Legend” and “Independence Day”. I have seen the trailer for his upcoming film and it seems that it would generate enough interest on it own without having to resort to using cheap PR tricks. 

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