Editorial: Has shine left Big Apple PR scene?

The economy is booming. No surprise then that the New York PR scene is booming as well. As our regional report shows (p23), the New York market was up 17% in 1999, and by all accounts, the growth is accelerating.

The economy is booming. No surprise then that the New York PR scene is booming as well. As our regional report shows (p23), the New York market was up 17% in 1999, and by all accounts, the growth is accelerating.

The economy is booming. No surprise then that the New York PR scene

is booming as well. As our regional report shows (p23), the New York

market was up 17% in 1999, and by all accounts, the growth is

accelerating.



But just how healthy is the core of the Big Apple? New York is the

international capital of PR, but if you look at the business that is

generated from New York, the percentage is actually falling: from 27% in

1998, it's down to 24.5%.



Of course, part of this falloff is explained by the fact that New York

is a saturated and mature center. Other markets are simply making up for

lost time. But two trends are emerging that might, in time, undermine

New York.



The first is the fact that so much of the growth is being fueled by the

Internet explosion, with all the inherent risks this involves. Where the

New York market was once a hodgepodge of marketing communications,

financial relations, healthcare and media/entertainment business, large-

and medium-size agencies without previous hi-tech experience are falling

over themselves to get in on the dot-com act.



The other factor is the staff shortage. Every market is talking about

the talent crunch, but none appears to feel it more than New York. Many

large agencies report that they are moving work to other regional

offices.



If the shortage worsens, it will not be long before regional outsiders

start sniffing for business.



It's called 'PR Play,' not 'PR Stunt'



The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed a new feature on page two of

PRWeek. It's called PR Play of the Week, and it is designed to call

attention to the previous week's sharpest short-term strategies and most

devious damage-control directors.



What's troubling, however, is that of the hundreds of pitches we've

received for this feature, only a handful have proposed highlighting the

more cerebral aspects of the profession. We've heard about dopey events

involving the world's largest rutabaga/pacifier/beach ball, about

supposedly high-impact Web site launches and about promotional tie-ins

involving B-list celebrities and coverage by the third-largest UHF

broadcaster in Des Moines.



But what we haven't heard about are the seminal and thoughtful

maneuverings that happen behind the scenes. It's all well and good if

b-roll footage of your event featuring an army of adorable, droopy-eyed

puppies gets picked up by a cornucopia of local TV outlets. Chances are

this will make your client emit a charmed 'Awww! Ain't that cute!'



But does this showcase the skills and value of the PR profession? When

compared to truly impactful PR plays - like New York Senate candidate

Rick Lazio's two-day transformation from pretender to contender - the

assorted events and promotions being passed off as the best of what PR

has to offer are almost embarrassing.



The bottom line? You do better work than this. Help us to celebrate

it.





- Send submissions for PR Play of the Week to news@prweekus.com



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