A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy Shop, Editorial Emergency

#28 (May 29, 2009): Just the Flacks, Ma'am

In this issue we celebrate the power of publicity — consulting PR legend and author Howard Bragman on how his field has changed (and how it hasn't); soliciting tales of triumph and travesty from a few of our favorite flacks; and proffering tips for a punchier press kit. We'll also pitch you on Austin's Leatherbag and publicize a bit of crisis non-management from the Not Our Clients files. Bubby, would we steer you wrong?

More Than 15 Minutes With Howard Bragman

Image"At the end of the seventh day, God realized he needed a publicist," Oscar-winning movie producer Steve Tisch once said. "So God made a couple of calls. Everybody recommended Howard Bragman. The rest is history."

One of the most highly regarded publicists in the game, Bragman founded the firm Bragman Nyman Cafarelli (BNC) in 1989, transforming it into the biggest company of its kind before selling it and establishing Fifteen Minutes PR in 2005. In addition to counseling an array of clients (Ricki Lake, Ford Motor Company and Marlee Matlin among them) in brand-burnishing and scandal response, Bragman teaches publicity at USC's Annenberg School; is a tireless activist for gay and lesbian rights, First Amendment freedoms, Jewish causes and other issues; and somehow found time to author what may be the definitive guide to modern publicity, "Where's My Fifteen Minutes? Get Your Company, Your Cause, or Yourself the Recognition You Deserve."

We seized the opportunity to grill him about PR in the digital era, crisis management, Perez Hilton and Paris Hilton.

Read the rest here.

The Ups and Downs of PR

ImageWe asked a handful of publicity mavens to reflect on their long and frequently storied careers and share a particularly memorable moment with us. Some recalled their best, some their worst. A few gave us one of each, and a former colleague somehow managed a twofer.

Bryn Bridenthal, Bridenthal & Associates: I was in New York with Elektra/Asylum, and we were honoring Teddy Pendergrass with a big event at Lincoln Center. This was going to be his first public performance after the car accident that had left him paralyzed from the waist down. His voice was still there, and he'd recorded an album, and this party was the kick-off. There was going to be a brief film about Teddy and a presentation and then this momentous performance, and we knew it would be very moving.

Read the rest here.

PR Editorial: 5 DOs, 5 DON'Ts

ImageAs many of you know, Julia's been cranking out publicity communications — bios, press releases, one-sheets, corporate missives, you name it — for a good decade and a half.

She trained under a master, Bryn Bridenthal (see above), who, in her tenures presiding over various major-label publicity departments and her own company, has helped further the PR fortunes of, among many others, Guns NĂ­ Roses, Nirvana, Aerosmith, Queen, the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Steve Miller and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (not to mention founding the promotion/publicity department at Rolling Stone).

Following is a smattering of Julia's accumulated wisdom, bestowed by Bridenthal and some of her sagacious colleagues.

Read the rest here.

Round and Shiny: Leatherbag's Got "Everything"

ImageAustin's Leatherbag makes sturdy, lived-in pop songs that evoke three-chord troubadours like Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman, as well as such latter-day exemplars as Paul Westerberg of the Replacements, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Old 97's tunesmith Rhett Miller. Singer-songwriter-guitarist Randy Reynolds has a flair for planting thematic depth charges in seemingly simple rock tropes; he also has the confidence to wear his mainstream influences on his sleeve (even if the band's name comes from novelist James Joyce's obscurantist tome "Finnegan's Wake").

Read the rest here.

Not Our Clients: Intrusive Events Edition

Offering an expansive range of services is usually good for business. But it's possible to overreach.

Cathering? Sounds painful.

Once again, our thanks to NOC all-star field researchers Wendy Bryan and Codi Lazar for this photographic event. You can see the rest of May's misfires in the Not Our Clients exhibition of errors. Have your eyes been burned by crimes against language, usage, grammar, punctuation or coherence? We are unafraid; send them along to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it — if we post your submission, you'll receive an iTunes gift certificate (and major brownie points with EE).


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