Just when I though Samantha Jones of Sex and the City was the major challenge when it comes to explaining what PR is all about, I heard news on some new PR-centered reality show produced by Kim Kardashian and showcasing two of her male BFFs. Yes, that is male Best Friend Forever.
So after finally getting to a short, sweet and powerful speech explaining how PR is not exactly what Samantha seemed to be doing, after occasionally explaining that Samantha’s translation of “I’m in PR” was just a funny example, not the real deal, I am now facing a new challenge. How will I respond to “So, you’re in PR! You do what those guys on Kim Kardashian’s TV show do?”
Skipping the “who is Kim Kardashian” part, I’m sure Google is helpful there, let’s move on to analyzing who the so-called PR gurus (People.com calls them that! Beware), Jonathan Cheban and Simon Huck are. Fist, their company’s site. Command Public Relations has a site no decent PR company would ever come up with: commandpr.com (yes, I cringe at the thought of linking to it). A one page… thing, music, flash of course, no way to stop said music, annoying as that might be, oh, and yeah, no real information. Client list? About us section? Services? Who cares about that? Just listen to the rad song explaining that the singer has told many lies and needs to be freed from oppression. I wonder if the “I’ve told many lies” line is their mission statement. Or if the song’s senseless speech, repeating the same idea over and over again, in two languages, is their idea of effective communication.
I dug deeper and read about this Twitter account for Jonathan Cheban. Yes, a master communicator who believes in dialogues, that’s why he follows 38 people and 20% of those are the Kardashian clan. Then Everything PR linked to this Washington Post article about Cheban. Which made me realize my impression of him was not wrong: he cashes in on his famous or semi-famous friends, he’s a party boy that also makes a buck while partying, and he should thank God every day that his celeb friends still love him. The day they stop, he’ll be royally screwed!
But to get a clearer picture on Cheban, here’s what other people say about him:
“If he told me that the sun was hot, I’d try to keep in mind that the sun was paying him to say that[..] Is he a self-centered narcissist staring at himself all day in the mirror? Yes. Is he a name-dropper who checks his pager all the time? Sure. But it works for him.” – Timothy McDarrah, US Weekly editor.
“We’ve actually been following Cheban on Twitter for a few weeks, and the publicist’s Tweets are definitely heavy on the “OMG LOL” style of writing, if you catch our drift.” – Joe Ciarllo, PRNewser
Why are his celeb friends in on this? Well, lots of freebies for the start of course. It works out great for everyone.
Yes, people are free to create all the TV reality shows ever! I am sure Kim Kardashian’s fan base will watch it religiously. I am sure there will be plenty of girls to fall in love with Cheban’s tan. And I am sure there will be kids out there, dreaming to work and party with Command PR.
But as they have their freedom of speech, I also have mine. And I would like to tell you that my life in the PR world and that of all the PR and Marketing people I know (yes, I know a lot of them), has nothing to do with what these people do every day!