Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So you want to be a PR girl

I don't even know what to say about this: Tide's online soap, Crescent Heights, starring "Ashley," who moves from Wisconsin to L.A. to work in public relations. This is fodder for so many discussions-- online marketing, media representations of PR, Wisconsin jokes (I lived there twice for a total of 11 years, so I'm entitled) -- I don't know where to begin.

Luckily, tomorrow and Friday we're on fall break so I have a few days to take it in.

Thanks to Grady colleague Peggy Kreshel for passing it along.

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This soap is just a pop culture manifestation of a decades-long trend.

Here's what Strumpette wrote about it in June, 2006:

"According to Larissa Grunig, Elizabeth Lance Toth and Linda Childers Hon in their seminal work 'Women in Public Relations: How Gender Influences Practice,' feminization has had a severe negative impact on the business. The authors liken the trend to the evolution of the typing pool. Where it was once a respected and reasonably paid career choice, it's been relegated to the bottom of the corporate food chain.

Bottom line: this trend radically altered PR's course. The industry has morphed from hard consulting business to a softer consensus promotion practice. Just the phrase "command and control" is now perceived to be laced with testosterone. Today, that's strictly discouraged. Unfortunately, then came the Web. Consensus is a particularly bad business strategy on the Web, i.e. it is tantamount to herding cats."

Thanks, Amanda. The PR business needed that.

Nowhere is this feminization more evident than in Atlanta, where PR girls abound, having majored in so-called communications at Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, even Ole Miss, and come to the ATL in search of a job, Mr. Right, and a "nice life."
In fact, this soap might have been set in Atlanta, except that the cave men are already here.
 
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