Tuesday, January 12, 2016

PR 101: How to Train Your Dinosaur


There's a bit of Walter Mitty in everyone and, over the years, I've found that an appreciation for whimsy can be a useful thing. Even in business.

Especially in business.

I write "over the years" because a friend who retired from Verizon's PR department recently texted me this photo of something he had saved in his files since 1998:

It's pretty funny too -- except for the part where the dinosaur is actually named Bob. In PR, the visuals can kill you.

So I was contemplating the deeper meaning of a decades-old Gary Larson cartoon when I ran into a work colleague early this morning.

"You at CES last week?" he asked.

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, is held each January in Las Vegas. This year, it attracted 170,000 people, including the usual mix of marketing and PR professionals.

"No, I'm not allowed in Vegas," I joked.

In truth, because my job is focused on financial PR, there's little reason for me to attend. And in fact, don't tell anyone... after all, what's written in Jersey, stays in Jersey... I've never been to Las Vegas in my life.

"But didn't I see you there last year?" my colleague replied, confused.

A routine response would have been, "No, not me. You must be thinking of someone else." Then sulk about who he could have mistaken me for.

But, over the years, I've learned that not taking yourself too seriously can keep your inner dinosaur at bay. I simply looked bemused.

"Not allowed in Vegas?" he repeated. "I swear I saw you there last year."

I finally offered a faint, fleeting smile.

"Precisely," I said.

Bob Varettoni, inscrutable to the last.

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