In Variety’s famed ’slanguage’ - the magazine’s private vernacular of words and expressions used in the film business - a PR company is known as a ’praisery.’ I can’t help smiling at this slight dig from the bible of showbiz every time I read a press release, given the hyperbole that publicists routinely employ when putting words into the very open mouths of their senior executives.
In Variety’s famed ’slanguage’ - the magazine’s private vernacular
of words and expressions used in the film business - a PR company is
known as a ’praisery.’ I can’t help smiling at this slight dig from the
bible of showbiz every time I read a press release, given the hyperbole
that publicists routinely employ when putting words into the very open
mouths of their senior executives.
Nearly everybody is ’absolutely thrilled’ at every announcement. X is
always ’delighted’ to be working with Y, even though he plans to fire
him within a couple of months. ’Fantastic opportunities’ abound at every
company, including those about to go bust. New writers, directors and
actors brought on to projects are always listed as the ’greatest
talent,’ the ’biggest stars,’ etc.
It’s clear that most PR pros gave up trying to write meaningful quotes a
long time ago. And while this is a problem afflicting the whole of PR,
in film - where hard information is never allowed to stand in the way of
complete guff - the situation is particularly severe.
There are a number of explanations for this lamentable trend. First of
all, Hollywood companies, which used to pay little attention to the
media, are now so desperate to interact with it that they make several
announcements each week. These offerings, even when jazzed up,
invariably sound the same. After a while, not only do the PR pros run
out of inspiration and begin to coast on autopilot, but execs take less
of an interest in the text that is being attributed to them.
Second, journalists have come to regard exec quotes in releases as
filler - they contain no information, do not advance the story and by
definition are to be ignored. Reporters only include them in articles
when there is space for it. Execs, in turn, have realized that their
delicate prose is being excised. That has encouraged them to spend even
less time dreaming up something original to say.
It may be that I am alone in even caring about this issue. But having
typed out thousands of pointless and long-winded CEO utterances in my
time, I am determined to start a campaign to make them more
In truth, journalists will use quotes, especially from top execs and
CEOs, for one simple reason: they provide solid evidence that a story is
real. In a Hollywood where readers look increasingly for authentication
(given the huge amount of misinformation), having a quote in a story can
be nothing short of a ringing endorsement.
The scene is set, therefore, for a quote comeback. All that’s needed now
is for the ’praiseries’ to come up with some spicy and informative copy.