Last Call: PR? CEOs always give tech support

They're a sensitive bunch over at the Cupertino, CA home of Apple's corporate communications team. The group started last week out on a rough note, as hassles arose over whether its ad agency issued a reminder to some computer mags to think twice before publishing scurrilous rumors about Apple.

But a charming story in Thursday's Wall Street Journal told of how Steve Jobs personally called up a customer on his cell phone to sort out his computer problems.

Last Call likes to hear tales of changing PR fortunes, so we called up Apple corporate communications director Katie Cotton to find out how this superb piece of publicity found its way into the Journal so swiftly after the ad agency spat. But we were met with a frosty response. 'This isn't about publicity,' said Cotton. 'Our top executives often speak to customers.'

But surely the Jobs story represents good publicity in a week when Apple was sorely in need of it? 'That was about customer service, not publicity,' came the terse reply.

Ouch. That's the last time Last Call tries to flag up examples of positive PR.

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