Phil Gomes

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Phil's Blogservations

Friday, March 31, 2006

Posted by philgomes 6:52 PM
earSHOT: Vol. I, Ep. 2 -- Perspectives On Katrina

earSHOT: Vol. I, Ep. 2 -- Perspectives On Katrina

(Cross-posted from Edelman sources.)

The latest episode of earSHOT is online.

Members of our Tourism & Lifestyle practice went to the frontlines of the hurricane Katrina devastation as part of a volunteer cleanup effort with Tourism Cares For Tomorrow.

While the team was in Mississippi, they phoned in their observations and impressions of what they saw. Along the way, they captured the thoughts and impressions of the residents and the other volunteers.

Participating in the volunteer effort was an incredibly rewarding experience for the team. Likewise, it was a unique pleasure for me to bring their experience to our listeners.

If you are interested in perhaps volunteering, please visit the Harrison County Volunteer Center.

You can download the episode as an MP3, or subscribe to the podcast feed to ensure you get the latest episodes automatically.

Show Notes (Runtime: 00:23:35)

00:10 - Jennifer Elving, Edelman: "There are all sorts of clues about the memories that they made here and what happened here..."

00:45 - Phil's introduction of Cathleen Johnson, General Manager, Tourism & Lifestyle Practice

01:10 - Cathleen Johnson, Edelman: Edelman's participation in Tourism Cares For Tomorrow

02:06 - Lou Rizzardi, Alderman, Pass Christian, Miss.: "Right now, six-and-a-half months later, we're trying to get the place cleaned up... This area of town, the east end, still stands a good chance of coming back."

03:23 - Stephanie Aenchbacher, Edelman: "It is incredibly difficult to put into words the destruction that we've seen."

04:31 - Pat Henderson, National Tourism Association: "You could make a donation and you can pray for the people, but my wife and I just kept talking about 'we'd like to just get down and do.'"

07:10 - Cathleen: "Everybody talks about what happened after the storm. That's the true measure for everything in this region right now."

12:24 - Sam Lacy, student, Transylvania University: "Didn't go to Fort Lauderdale. Came down here to help with the cleanup, and I'm glad I made that choice."

13:22 - Chip McDermott, Mayor Pro-Tem, Alderman: "We've got a tremendous amount of devastation, but we have a tremendous amount of help."

14:25 - Kimberly Price, Gaylord Opryland Resort And Conference Center: "If you look at the trees, they tell a story. Even the trees look so tired."

15:46 - Amy Patti, Edelman: "The whole experience can leave you speechless, which is pretty odd for someone in PR."

18:30 - Tiffany Fessler, Edelman: "I think the one word that comes into my head when I think of this whole experience is 'resilience.'"

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Posted by philgomes 10:18 PM
Sleuthing Strumpette

Sleuthing Strumpette

My colleague Mike Krempasky has done some investigating on Strumpette. His conclusions map to the early comments that Mike Driehorst made on Robert French's blog, which were since taken down.

Curiouser and curiouser...

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Posted by philgomes 2:31 PM

"You'se A Ho... HO! You'se A Ho... HO! I Say Dat You'se A Ho..."

"You'se A Ho... HO! You'se A Ho... HO! I Say Dat You'se A Ho..."

Great... 'Effing great...

I give talks and lectures every so often. I used to have a pretty regular gig at SFSU. One of the things that would break my heart was when it was clear that a student's only idea of PR was that Kim Cattrall's character in Sex And The City. Indeed, though not in huge numbers, far too many students looked at PR as "party-planning" rather than a real communications discipline.

Though it can't compete with Hollywood, my thought that the PR blogosphere would help turn that corner. I mean, there they are, for any student or professional who wishes to read... hundreds of online journals from folks who live and breathe this stuff every day. The knowledge I glean from this community (for free) is worth several times what a PRSA membership was.

But, then, over the weekend, we backslid. I bring you, Strumpette.

According to her own self-description:

Bottom line professionally speaking, I am 5’ 4” tall, athletic, Pantene shoulder-length black hair, perfect perky boobs. I present well and am most accomodating. I’ve slept with clients. I sleep with my boss. I am the consummate PR strumpette. When I was 7 my mother told me I'd "never get anywhere with that mouth." I've apparently dedicated my life in proving her wrong.
"Professionally speaking?" What profession, may I ask? The oldest one, perhaps?

It was only a matter of time... Now the "cleavage-for-coverage" crowd as a voice in the blogosphere...

"Amanda Chapel" is clearly a pseudonym. As Kami Huyse points out, for example, there aren't any news releases out there with Ms. Chapel as a contact.

Over at Andrea Weckerle's blog, Robert Ricci says that "A Man, Duh" Chapel could be, well, a man. Hell... "Amanda Chapel" could even be a group of men. I mean, the name itself is an anagram for "Alan, Chad, Pa, Me."

Worth following, in a trainwreck, Whitney-Houston-Interviewing-With-Diane-Sawyer kind of way.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Posted by philgomes 12:19 PM
Read This, Laugh To Keep From Crying

Read This, Laugh To Keep From Crying

From a colleague, I give you this exchange between the Washington Post's Gene Weingarten and a representative from the National Funeral Directors Association.

A representative sample:

Me [Gene]: So, I kept reading [your pitch]. And, basically -- correct me if I am wrong here -- in an effort to garner good publicity for your clients, you are proposing a positive story on how funeral directors will be helping us bury our dead in the event of a terrorist holocaust that will annihilate thousands of people.

Heather [PR person]: Well, you are incorrect. That is not in context.

Me [Gene]: Okay, here's the context: "To follow-up on the articles being written in the Post about Bush's port deals, John Fitch, VP of Advocacy for the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), can discuss how America is planning to handle the potential mass fatalities from a terrorism standpoint -- and perhaps more importantly to you, how small business owners (funeral directors) will play an important role. Most funeral homes are owned by the same family for an average of four generations."

Heather: Well, yes. The roles they will play in mass fatalities.

Me [Gene]: I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think I love you.

Heather: Okay . . .

Me [Gene]: What is love but a feeling of intense empathy? I can't imagine many more difficult jobs than being the PR person for the Funeral Directors Association.


Not as bad as this one, but wow...

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Posted by philgomes 3:35 PM
John On My New Phone

John On My New Phone

My former colleague John Sun, host of Mobile Analyst Watch, has always chided me for the clunky mobile phone I used to carry around. Last night, I upgraded.

[13:31] John: u need a bluetooth headset too

[13:32] Phil: um

[13:32] Phil: no

[13:32] Phil: i don't want to look like Lt. Uhura

[13:33] John: it is actually a big help

[13:33] John: but, yes, you look funny

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Posted by philgomes 10:01 AM

Wisdom From John Henry Newman

Wisdom From John Henry Newman
Men, whose minds are possessed with some one object, take exaggerated views of its importance, are feverish in the pursuit of it, make it the measure of things which are utterly foreign to it, and are startled and despond if it happens to fail them. They are ever in alarm or in transport. (From The Uses Of Knowledge)
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Monday, March 20, 2006

Posted by philgomes 12:59 PM
Expense Report Hall-Of-Fame Entry

Expense Report Hall-Of-Fame Entry

From my IM:

[10:18] Friend: i am officially the coolest person ever. i just expensed condoms

[10:22] Phil: oh, that's brilliant... tell me more?

[10:22] Friend: well, i'm working on a condom account

[10:23] Friend: i asked my supervisor if we could get some samples

[10:23] Friend: she said that it would take too long

[10:23] Friend: and to go to the store and expense them

[10:23] Friend: so i did

[10:23] Friend: but it gets better

[10:23] Friend: i went to the store with my roomie

[10:23] Friend: and i FORGOT to pick up my receipt (i did self-checkout)

[10:24] Friend: so we went BACK to the store

[10:24] Phil:

[10:24] Friend: as if i haven't already called attention to myself with CONDOMS and A vibrating RING

[10:24] Friend: so i say "i just made a purchase and i need my receipt reprinted"

[10:24] Friend: she says "what did you buy"

[10:24] Friend: and i say "condoms"


[10:25] Friend: i get nervous

[10:25] Friend: and i say 'IT'S FOR WORK'

[10:25] Phil:

[10:25] Friend: that made it worse

[10:25] Phil: I'm falling out of my chair laughing.

[10:25] Friend: only a girl like ME could handle all that attention

[10:33] Phil: how does the vibrating ring figure into this scenario? did you expense that too?

[10:35] Friend: yes of course i expensed it

[10:35] Friend: it's a new product

[10:35] Friend: and i haven't seen it yet

[10:35] Friend: i can't promote a product i don't understand, right?

I guess someone would have to ask my friend whether this odd retail experience did "rubber" the wrong way?

I'll stop with the bad puns now...

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Posted by philgomes 10:23 AM

Amusing Flickr Report

Amusing Flickr Report

This morning, I logged into my Flickr photojournal and decided to see what the most-visited pictures were.

I got a kick out of this:

I mean... I know he bent a few people out-of-shape with his Wikipedia-tending, but jeez... *8-)

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Posted by philgomes 1:47 PM


ovn-roasted alligatr
ovn-roasted alligatr,
originally uploaded by Esthr.
Esther Dyson (the person whose photojournal inspired me to get my own Flickr account) uploads this picture.

I have actually had gator before. They're good eating. I first time I ate gater was in (I think) Pacific Grove, in a gumbo spicy enough to cause an aneurysm.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Posted by philgomes 8:06 PM
Ben Bagdikian, Where Are You?

Ben Bagdikian, Where Are You?

This is clout defined:

Tom Cruise got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night's South Park episode about Scientology by warning that he'd refuse to promote Mission Impossible 3, insiders say. Since Paramount is banking on MI3 to make money this summer, and Paramount is owned by Viacom, which also owns Comedy Central, the tactic worked. The South Park episode - which pokes fun at Scientology and shows Cruise, John Travolta and R. Kelly - was mysteriously pulled at the last minute.
In his classic work of media criticism, The Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian warned of the danger presented when too much media is owned by too few. Decades later, his premise continues to ring true.

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Posted by philgomes 4:34 PM

Sisters Of Mercy Tomorrow

Sisters Of Mercy Tomorrow

Anaheim's House Of Blues is probably just as bad about cameras as the one in Hollyweird, but I'll have a concert review up here at some point this weekend anyway.

In the meantime:

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Posted by philgomes 8:35 PM
I'm Seeing The Sisters Of Mercy This Weekend And You Aren't

I'm Seeing The Sisters Of Mercy This Weekend And You Aren't

Long distance information, just tell me where the manholes steam...
Well... Last I checked, that didn't include Anaheim, Calif., but I'll take it anyway...

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Posted by philgomes 7:48 PM

The Latest Earshot Episode Is Up

The Latest Earshot Episode Is Up

To tell you the truth, I'm kinda proud of the fact that Edelman is podcasting.

So much so that, from here on out, I'll be cross-posting show notes and that sort of thing here.

From my TalkShop post:

This time around, we have an interview with Andy Sernovitz, president of the Word Of Mouth Marketing Assocation (WOMMA). We also have a contribution from Michael Liskin, a Ph.D. candidate at USC Annenberg, who reacts to my comments in Eric Schwartzman's On The Record...Online regarding rhetoric and persuasion.

You can download the episode as an MP3, or subscribe to the podcast feed to ensure you get the latest episodes automatically.

Show Notes (Runtime: 00:19.24)

00:16 - Host Phil Gomes introduces the show.

00:33 - How to leave us comments.

00:44 - Phil intros this edition’s segments

01:05 - Phil introduces interview with WOMMA’s Andy Sernovitz

01:22 - Andy talks about "Why WOMMA and why now?"

02:32 - Andy discusses the "philosophy of word-of-mouth"

03:24 - "Scrutiny is good."

05:02 - WOMMA’s code-of-ethics

05:50 - "People are making this too hard."

07:46 - The opportunity in WOM

09:09 - Shout-out from Pam Talbot, Edelman U.S. president

09:14 - Phil intros discussion on rhetoric

10:08 - Phil’s interview with Eric Schwartzman, excerpted from On The Record...Online, a production of iPressroom Corp.

15:28 - USC Annenberg’s Michael Liskin: "Not a whole lot has happened since ancient Greece..."

16:33 - "Rhetoric": Connotation and denotation

17:33 - Michael: "It’s all rhetoric."

18:30 - Show wrap-up and disclaimer

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Posted by philgomes 9:54 PM
What I Do And What I'm Up To, Pt. II

What I Do And What I'm Up To, Pt. II

In my IM, regarding my previous post:

[19:51] Mike: nice post. I always knew that you were the Jerry Maguire of PR

[19:51] Phil: hahahahahaha

[19:51] Mike: wake up early at the next conference and stuff all the mailboxes!

[19:51] Phil: "You had me at 'seamlessly integrated.'"

[19:51] Mike: haha

UPDATE: This is a different "Mike" from this one.

Posted by philgomes 9:43 PM

What I Do And What I'm Up To

What I Do And What I'm Up To

From Robert French:

The one thing that could - realistically - happen? The collective family of Edelman Worldwide bloggers could write posts of their own about how to pitch bloggers, what they are doing, and how they will assure that these vaunted ideas of honesty and openness will be achieved.
Generally, I prefer to participate, rather than "pitch." There's a big difference — a wide gulf, actually — between the two. Over the past decade, this approach has proven to me, and others, that you can be in PR and still 1) serve your clients, 2) operate with respect for the participants in the various communications mediums you engage on their behalf, and 3) still be able to hold your head up. ("I know... I've seen me do it.")

Actually, that's how I addressed media and analyst relations at my last job and it's informed how I counsel teams to operate today in the blogosphere — be a trustworthy, informed, thoughtful, respectful, accessible, and engaged source.

It's what makes the job fun and it's why I got into PR in the first place. The rise of social media has kept me in PR.

(Whu? Did you hear that? Wait... There they go... The clickety-clack of keyboards... Some of my readers are about to chastise me for putting the word "blogosphere" and "media and analyst relations" comparatively in the same sentence. Some are just now preparing to look up from stirring their cauldrons just long enough to point, cackle, and chide me for "not getting it." Lying in wait... Ready to pounce on anyone who doesn't match inhale-for-inhale that particular type of breathlessness that causes some professional communicators to cease being advocates for the clients who sign their checks and, instead, stumble all over each other to "get there firstest with the brownest nose," as Burroughs used to say, in order to earn quick points with a particular set of opinion leaders who know better than to fall for that kind of ploy anyway. "Shame on the blogger!" they loudly proclaim. "Shame on his employer! I 'get it.' I know the way!" Whatever... Wanting more out of the discussion, I now read the work of those bloggers far less than I used to.)

NB: On a certain level, it doesn't matter whether you're talking to a blogger, journalist, analyst, neighbor, third-cousin twice-removed, or gallstone once-removed: You'll have a better relationship with that person if you can demonstrate that you have a sincere appreciation for what s/he is interested in and are able to converse intelligently on that level.

"It's not rocket science," Mr. Burns once said to Smithers. "It's brain surgery."

Of course, you must disclose your affiliations and your interest in communicating. A lot of the time, though, people only care that I'm constructively engaged — my agency affiliation doesn't necessarily make me the "damaged goods" that a lot of people would like to believe it does.

Oh, and I happen to have a blog. That helps, but I don't think it's an absolute requirement for engagement. All I know is that it works out for me. Communications consultants who believe that every company or company representative must blog are simply being irresponsible.

My colleagues Mike Krempasky and Marshall Manson — both considerable and thoughtful online voices in their off-hours — will continue to engage in their own communities and continue to work on behalf of WalMart. Likely, if you Venn-diagrammed their personal interests in one circle and their professional interests in the other, the overlapping part in the middle is the secret to their success. (Newsflash: That's the secret to mine as well.) Far from being mere infiltrators, dilettantes, interlopers, or marketroids, they are credible and respectful participants in online communities as well as capable professionals who take that understanding and apply it to their jobs. I have the utmost respect for their work; public affairs is a huge blindspot for me, personally, much like I would imagine the topic of 65-nanometer photolithography techniques falls well outside their peripheral vision.

As to what I'm doing? I know some folks are thinking that I was hired to build a mind control ray for Edelman, devise some kind of corporate MK Ultra program, or teach account executives to remote-view editorial board meetings at The Wall Street Journal, but my day-to-day life is not quite so "Fox Mulder."

I educate staff. I write proposals. I counsel account teams. I participate in new business pitches. I produce earSHOT and contribute to Talkshop. I read... a lot. I write... a lot. I travel... a lot. I participate in SNCR. I consume far too much coffee and, too often, I listen to terribly sinister music that will likely drive my officemates quite insane.

I have fun doing what I do. I get to work with great people. I am but a checkers champion in a room of 2,000 chessmasters.

As to openness? To be fair, the question "How they will assure that these vaunted ideas of honesty and openness will be achieved?" presupposes that Edelman was dishonest and less-than-open. Actually, the company is more "open" than most, in part because it doesn't have a three-letter holding company lording over it that has to answer to Wall Street.

Yes, I know, many of the company's clients are answerable to Wall Street. Their path to the Cluetrain station will be guided by the communications pros at the firm who are assigned to their accounts. Yes... As I'm fond of saying, even in the court of public opinion, there should be lawyers.

Some of these clients will dip their toe in, while others might be encouraged to yell "cowabunga" and cannonball-dive into the pool. In either case, it's a choice and one that is not (or should not) be considered lightly. Such clients will be counseled to do what's best for their communications programs and at a pace that is best for all involved. (That's what PR firms are paid to do.)

And, of course, folks always know where they stand (or might stand) with me when they read my blog. That helps too.

Back to work.

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Posted by philgomes 12:04 PM

An Opinion On Google Mars

An Opinion On Google Mars

From my best friend Richard, back in da nickle-dime:

[09:51] Richard: google mars sux boooty

[09:52] Phil: haven't tried it. what's the scoop?

[09:52] Richard: it's choppy and the graphics are not so kewl..

[09:54] Phil: well... the planet *is* several million miles away...

[09:55] Richard: yeah, well...Vice City is a fictional planet but I can run around and carjack fools....

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Posted by philgomes 1:46 PM
My Friends Send Me Cooler Links Than Yours Do

My Friends Send Me Cooler Links Than Yours Do

Voltron gets served.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Posted by philgomes 8:31 PM
No, As A Matter Of Fact...

No, As A Matter Of Fact...

I'm not the guy you talk to about Wal-Mart.

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Posted by philgomes 2:47 PM
Toilet Seat Guitar

Toilet Seat Guitar

And you thought my guitar-playing was shitty before.

Link via BoingBoing.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Posted by philgomes 8:32 PM
Eric Schwartzman Interviews Lil Jon

Eric Schwartzman Interviews Lil Jon

Here is a long, lost episode (MP3) of "On The Record...Online," where Eric Schwartzman interviews rapper Lil Jon.

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Posted by philgomes 2:09 PM

The Cost Of Fleeing California

The Cost Of Fleeing California

I was listening to talk radio yesterday and heard an interview with Steve Moore, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.

He offered an interesting test of whether a possible exodus from your state is in progress.

I tried his test myself.

I asked the U-Haul web site what it would cost for a one-way move from Los Angeles to Nashville on March 29. The result: $5,000 and above.

The reverse trip — Nashville to LA — was closer to $700.

Conclusion: People moving from California are depleting U-Haul's fleet in that state, driving up the price. In an effort to shift trucks from an area of low concentration to high concentration, U-Haul drops the price.

Try it yourself.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Posted by philgomes 3:42 PM
California's Finances: Good News, Bad News

California's Finances: Good News, Bad News

From California's Legislative Analyst's Office:

The current year will end with a reserve of about $5.2 billion, up by nearly $4 billion from the 2005-06 Budget Act estimate.
Good news: We have a $5.2 billion surplus.

Bad news: All that this means is that Californians were taxed too much by an average of about $140 per resident.

Found through TCS by way of Instapundit.

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Posted by philgomes 1:05 PM

Another Insanity Test

Another Insanity Test

Received in my inbox from cousin Dale:

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.
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Note that the views expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect those of Phil's employer, its business partners, its clients, or anyone or anything that doesn't come from Phil.
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