DIARY: Hill & Knowlton execs fail to make French connection

There was a French Revolution of sorts at Hill & Knowlton earlier this month, as the firm went into host mode for a visit by a group of French communications students.

There was a French Revolution of sorts at Hill & Knowlton earlier this month, as the firm went into host mode for a visit by a group of French communications students.

There was a French Revolution of sorts at Hill & Knowlton earlier

this month, as the firm went into host mode for a visit by a group of

French communications students.



Over cookies and Pepsi (what, no vino? Let them eat cake!), various H&K

pros gave the students, who hailed from Technical University Institute

on the outskirts of Nice, a taste of red-meat-eatin’, flag-wavin’ PR in

the U.S. of A.



How much of the sage advice imparted by H&K was actually understood,

however, is anybody’s guess. For instance, the students sat in confused

silence as Jonathan Nettlefield, senior managing director of the firm’s

marketing communications practice, described H&K’s global matrix as a

large spider web.



An even greater lull came over the room when media group managing

director John McCook asked, ’How many of you read the papers every day?’

None of the would-be communications specialists raised their hands -

comment on dit ’stupide’? The students did, however, perk up during a

quick rundown of crisis communications during Perrier’s recent

contamination scare.



The French gang was then treated to a tour of the H&K offices. Between

asking questions about campaigns and agency structure, the students

stopped to gawk in amazement at screen savers - a novelty in France,

where computers are used less often. Viva la difference, non?



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