The goldfish memory approach to PR

imageSafety concerns over driving shoes” reports the BBC, citing a survey by the Automobile Association.  I was surprised – by the lack of topical reference to Ugg boots and Crocs – but not by this much repeated story.  Simply shuffling the PR shoe release – again…

Back in June 2007, I noted (citing this very same story) how Mark Borkowski had pondered if media interest would decline as recycled PR tactics increased in frequency.  Well here we are again – demonstrating that the media have not become wise to unimaginative rehashing of pseudo-news by PRs.

Although perhaps it is unfair to criticise either PR practitioners or the media.  As people are increasingly overloaded with information, maybe editorial publicity is simply following the approach of advertising where repetition of a message is necessary to aid recall and stimulate action.

I wonder if we are becoming more like goldfish which allegedly have a memory span of three months (not 3 seconds which is a myth).  In which case, it may be perfectly reasonable to keep on recycling those cheesy PR stories and stunts – and no-one will be any the wiser.

So try to remember that you heard it hear first – the Goldfish Memory approach to public relations!

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

4 thoughts on “The goldfish memory approach to PR”

  1. Heather,

    Interesting but this particular shoe story was re-cycled by the BBC rather than the AA. The BBC asked us to question the AA Populus panel on the dangers of different types of shoes and driving. So not sure if this is PR recycling or BBC Breakfast in filling or even a personal shoe fetish. But hey, it made a good story (again).

    Edmund V King

  2. This particularly gold fish was actually caught by BBC Breakfast. The producers came to the AA asking us to use our Populus panel to ascertain whether drivers were concerned about the safety consequences of their chosen footwear. It would be intereting to find out why. Had the producer crashed over the summer? Did she have a shoe fetish? Or was she in a ratings war with Day Break and wanted a lighter story? Does it really matter?

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