B&O unveils '8-Minute PR' as new presentation option

BOSTON: Aping the speed-dating phenomenon, Blanc & Otus (B&O) this week is holding its first "8-Minute PR" event, in which executives will make short - very short - presentations to journalists.

BOSTON: Aping the speed-dating phenomenon, Blanc & Otus (B&O) this week is holding its first "8-Minute PR" event, in which executives will make short - very short - presentations to journalists.

Just as speed dating allows busy professionals looking for romance to cozy up, 8-Minute PR gives eight companies eight minutes to tell their stories to eight journalists. But this date doesn't come cheap - it costs the companies $1,000 (which includes up to two hours of coaching from the PR firm to put their pitches on a diet).

Sharon Barclay, GM of B&O's Boston office, said, "The strategy behind it is to allow companies who may not have the budget for a big PR campaign to get face-to-face time with busy journalists. It will also help those companies hone their messages."

The only cost to the journalists is having to sit through those pitches. But even that is softened through the event's "No PowerPoint Guarantee" - the companies aren't allowed to use the sleep-inducing slides.

The first event is scheduled for April 13 at the Vox Populi restaurant in Boston.

Barclay added that the journalists come mostly from area technology publications. The first corporate participants are all tech companies and clients of B&O, a tech firm under the Hill & Knowlton umbrella. They include Computer Associates, NetCelera, and iRise.

Gail Scibelli, VP of brand unit PR at Computer Associates, said in an e-mail that the company decided to participate because the event will help "company spokespeople more effectively crystallize and prioritize their key messages."

She said the agency will probably plan its next 8-Minute PR event (www.8minutepr.com) to take place in two months in another city, possibly San Francisco. She added that the agency would like to open future events to non-clients and other sectors.

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