Is the ’end of mass market’ good for PR?

WASHINGTON, DC: While a recent New York Times Magazine cover story hysterically predicted ’the end of the mass market,’ pros were hesitant to say whether the proposed new marketing landscape could mean bigger and better things for PR.

WASHINGTON, DC: While a recent New York Times Magazine cover story hysterically predicted ’the end of the mass market,’ pros were hesitant to say whether the proposed new marketing landscape could mean bigger and better things for PR.

WASHINGTON, DC: While a recent New York Times Magazine cover story

hysterically predicted ’the end of the mass market,’ pros were hesitant

to say whether the proposed new marketing landscape could mean bigger

and better things for PR.



In the article, author Michael Lewis contended that zapping TV

commercials will soon become commonplace. The question, then, becomes

whether a world with less advertising is one that is better for PR.



Lewis sees new technologies such as TiVo and Replay having far-reaching

consequences, as they will allow viewers greater selectivity in TV

viewing.



In the article, he wrote that TiVo and Replay users - there are

currently about 100,000 - zap nearly nine of 10 commercials, and

predicted that widespread use of such devices will lead to the end of

prime-time television.



Lewis, however, tempered his remarks by noting that smart marketing pros

are prepared for the meltdown. Responding to a PRWeek e-mail from Paris,

Lewis conceded that he hadn’t thought about the implications for PR, but

added, ’Since everything else seems to be changing, I don’t see why PR

shouldn’t too.’



People in the PR industry, predictably, see a huge window of

opportunity.



’It’s PR’s game to lose,’ said Delahaye Medialink president Katie

Paine.



What will make PR stand out, she added, is its ability to move small

niche markets.



Agitprop president Amy Krakow said that Lewis’ predictions ’bode well

for PR’ and may even ’bring about new forms of PR and new approaches to

what we do.’ She sees a resurgence in the kind of stunts employed by

publicists like the late Jim Moran, who once put a bull in a china shop

to promote a band.



’Gen-X and Gen-Y see such stunts as ’fun’ and ’guerrilla-ish,’’ she

explained.



Krakow also agrees with Lewis’ contention that inserting products into

the storylines of TV shows and films - a tactic employed years ago by

soap opera sponsors - may be in for a comeback.



APCO SVP B.J. Cooper sees PR playing an increasingly large role in

integrated marketing efforts as a result of the media fragmentation that

has already occurred. But Cooper cautioned that commercial TV and

advertising are already survivors, having stared down those who

predicted their demise at the hands of the VCR and the Internet



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