What a mess the World Trade Organization made of its communications.
What a mess the World Trade Organization made of its
Guerilla PR completely seized the initiative in Seattle, and the WTO
needs a butt-kicking for its lame response and lack of preparedness.
The WTO totally failed to personalize the issues. Where were the
advocates of free trade? The only positive communication was the op-ed
piece in The Wall Street Journal by Bill Gates on the benefits of free
trade, and he’s hardly the disinterested third-party champion that such
The WTO could have done many things to improve the situation (see Big
Pitch, below). We are told that the concept of ’free trade’ doesn’t make
for good TV visuals. What’s wrong with B-roll of companies that have
benefited from trade, especially from Third World countries like Brazil?
Instead, the TV screens are filled with unchallenged pictures of rioters
and police brutality.
As President Clinton noted, the WTO needs to communicate openly in order
to get support for its decisions on trade. Instead, it was nowhere to be
But although activists made unprecedented use of the Internet (see
Weekly Web Watch, p14), it’s not clear that the protesters did any more
to put forward their ideas than the WTO. Exposure is one thing. But did
the protests really change opinions to any real extent about managed
trade? Most Americans support it. Pat Buchanan is the only presidential
candidate who is outspoken against the WTO.
And there was another loser in all this. TV coverage of the event was
cartoon-like in its failure to examine and explain the issues to its
If the networks had devoted as much time and money to this as to the
death of JFK Jr., the world would be far richer, free trade or not.
Nielsen’s arrival to be welcomed
There’s a lot to like about the recent alliance between Porter Novelli
and Nielsen Media Research, as our analysis (p12) shows. Clearly many
questions remain. The agreement is limited in scope - one PR industry
leader calls Nielsen’s work ’a sledgehammer kind of analysis’ - and
several industry wags question whether the Nielsen data is proprietary
And if PN thinks it can keep Nielsen to itself, it’s got a nasty shock
But the important thing is that PN has brought the name of Nielsen to
the table, and if that makes marketing VPs sit up and take notice, we
will all benefit.
Best, worst, winner, dinner
There’s a lot of lists in this week’s issue of PRWeek. There’s the first
ever PRWeek Awards shortlist (p22) with finalists in 32 categories. If
you’re through to the finals, or even if you aren’t and you want to
enjoy the best PR party of the year 2000, book your tickets now, and
mark the date in your calendar. February 15, 2000, Marriott Marquis, New
The issue also comes with an unofficial ranking of PRWeek’s pick of the
best and worst PR of 1999 (p18). The focus is on publicity rather than
PR campaigns, and nicely compliments the shortlist for the PRWeek