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Embargoes II – The Sequel

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It’s no secret TechCrunch, like all media outlets has a love hate relationship with the PR industry. Take the guy who just rang me. “Hi, my name is Rob, I want to tell you about a news story.” OH REALLY? How about you say where you are from first? But moving on…

You’ll recall the video we posted on the weekend about another tedious annoyance: The Embargo. The satirical video featured was in fact created by TechCrunch Europe Contributing Editor Steve O’Hear, (@sohear) who has form in this filmaking business, having directed a real documentary, In Search Of The Valley.

Steve is building up a nice line in these movies recreating conversations between PR professionals and bloggers/journalists. We just hope he doesn’t get snapped up by Hollywood or we’ll have to place a want ad.

Here’s Embargoes II.

Transcript:

PR Pro: Hi, I’m just checking you got the voice mail I left

Blogger: When did you leave it?

PR Pro: 5 minutes ago

Blogger: Oh. I get a lot of voice mail.

PR Pro: Shall I leave it again?

Blogger: No. What did it say?

PR Pro: There’s been a slight mix up.

Blogger: Oh

PR Pro: You remember that story I sent you, which was under embargo?

Blogger: The revolutionary real-time location-based augmented reality app for iPhone, that’s going to change the way the world is seen forever?

PR Pro: Yes

Blogger: What about it?

PR Pro: The embargo has been broken.

Blogger: Oh. Fuck.

PR Pro: I’m sorry.

Blogger: By whom?

PR Pro: That mainstream media organization that I can’t name for legal reasons.

Blogger: But that’s not the first time.

PR Pro: I know.

Blogger: I don’t understand. Why do you keep giving that mainstream media organization that I can’t name for legal reasons, news, if they keep breaking the embargo?

PR Pro: Well. They don’t actually break them.

Blogger: They don’t?

PR Pro: No. We just tell you that they do.

Blogger: What do you mean?

PR Pro: Well. We give them the story in advance. Just like you.

Blogger: Great.

PR Pro: But we tell them that they can publish the story whenever they want, while you and everybody else has to honor the embargo.

Blogger: Oh.

PR Pro: Then, when you all have hissy fits because that mainstream media organization that I can’t name for legal reasons has scooped you to the story. We throw a hissy fit too.

Blogger: Great.

PR Pro: And then blame them for breaking the embargo.

Blogger: Which they didn’t?

PR Pro: Right.

Blogger: I still don’t understand.

PR Pro: They wouldn’t cover the story otherwise. It’s called an exclusive.

Blogger: An exclusive. Hmm. I didn’t know that. Thanks.

PR Pro: It’s nothing. Really.

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  • Sean

    This is probably the worst / most boring / unimaginative / unfunny video I’ve ever seen. The dialogue is terrible, the characters are cute but nothing is done with them, there is no voice acting to speak of, and it’s not funny. Why feature this shit? This could have been done so much better. This is kind of like reading spam email…painful.

  • lame

    Techcrunch is great and all, but this recent string of posts bashing the PR industry is really lame. You guys are trying way to hard to portray yourselves as the cool kids on the block…You’re not. You’re bloggers. Get over it and go back to telling me about new startups.

    • Steve O'Hear

      We in this industry take things a bit too seriously sometimes. It’s just a bit of comic relief.

      I write about startups everyday, mostly with the aid of helpful and competent PRs.

      As for the ‘PR bashing’, most of the positive feedback to my vids have been from PRs who’ve enjoyed the humor. I don’t think I’m bashing PR, more the silly part of this game we play called ‘news’.

  • http://www.InnovationMinute.com Rocco

    I for one think these are friggin hilarious and want to see more of them. They’re funny because they’re true. I think you should expand the video series beyond the PR industry to include the presumably thousands of start-ups that contact you directly, well-intentioned but with terrible pitches. It would provide a funny way to continue to educate people on how not to package their message.

  • http://www.mediapost.com/publications John Capone

    I have to second Rocco, it’s funny because it’s true. Though I guess I can see how someone who’s never been on the other end of one of these calls doesn’t quite have the same appreciation, but eh who cares. If you have endured dozens of said calls, complete with droning voice et al, then they are hilarious. Please make dozens.

  • http://answerguy.com Jeff Yablon

    Not only is this just not funny to anyone outside your immediate circle of self-congratulatory friends, but with your boss (Arrington . . . remember him?) on the record as refusing to honor embargoes under any circumstances (see this: http://answerguy.com/2009/01/05/virtual-vip-newsletter-january-2009/), it’s . . . well, it’s stupid.

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Support, Business Change Coaching and Virtual Assistant Services

    Answer Guy and Virtual VIP on Twitter

    • Steve O'Hear

      What the heck is a virtual VIP business coach?

      Fantastic.

      Keep the satire fodder coming.

      • http://answerguy.com Jeff Yablon

        Wow, Steve. Thanks for asking me to effective place a free ad here. Let’s hope our hosts are like you and . . . care.

        “Virtual VIP” is the brand. Business Coaching is . . . well, often it’s exactly what it sounds like; we coach small businesses in the way to carry on business day over day so they grow/become more profitable/gain market penetration . . . whatever it is they’re looking for.

        Sounds silly to some, but it really does work when people are better at the thing they are specialized at than at all the “other stuff” that goes into being in business.

        Thanks for asking!

        Jeff Yablon
        President & CEO
        Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Support, Business Change Coaching and Virtual Assistant Services

        Answer Guy and Virtual VIP on Twitter

      • Steve O'Hear

        Thanks for clearing that up. I can rest easy now :-)

  • taryn

    Absolutely hilarious. This made me laugh out loud today. I hate embargoes more than I love ‘em, but until every start-up can be convinced that announcing news or a launch the day it goes live won’t scupper potential traffic, we’re caught between a rock and a hard place.

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