Nota Bene: Please note the date on which this post was originally posted and enjoy it with appropriate grains of salt.
April Fool’s, the longstanding day of traditional tomfoolery and silliness, is getting a swift kick in its pants from PR pros. Industry insiders and public relations associations confirm that this April 1st is no laughing matter.
“There are only 365 days in a year, and to devote one entire day to fake news, gags, and joke press releases is unacceptable,” said Bob Trout, CEO of Gold & Trout, a PR firm based in New York City. “That’s just one less day we can expect coverage for our clients.”
Studies have shown that on April 1st, the ratio of real news stories to fake news stories is about 2:1, not counting the normally fake news stories from fake news outlets, the reactions on blogs and web sites to the fake news stories, and the real news stories that cover the fake news stories. PR pros, already jockeying hard for dwindling traditional media coverage, are understandably frustrated by what they consider a slap in the face with a novelty whoopee cushion.
“Let’s face facts here: the media is hurting. Or dying. Or perhaps changing. Whatever it is that makes me sound like both an edgy, sophisticated thinker and a sympathetic friend to the modern journalist,” said Melissa Turnbolt, VP of Public Relations at Simper, Mews, Cots, and Wold. “What we need now is for the media to provide important, in-depth coverage on topics to the savvy American reader slash viewer. Spending an entire day covering Google’s annual April Fool’s prank is a waste of time. Especially when they could be spending that coverage on, say, an exclusive line of high-end baby foods made entirely from recycled semi-truck tires.”
When pressed, Turnbolt admitted, “Yes, that is a client of mine.”
Critics of the industry movement say that PR pros are showing a distinct lack of spirit in condemning what some see as a harmless tradition. But PR pros aren’t cracking a smile.
“There is nothing funny about PR,” says Trout. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call the animal wrangler and make sure the poodle we’re using for the satellite TV spot is ready to go.”
“We’re calling it a spokespoodle,” Trout added, his eyes glazed over with a faint look of bewilderment, his mind clearly pondering the cruel path that led him to this point in his life.
Trout, Turnbolt, and several other PR professionals will march down New York’s Madison Avenue today in protest of April Fool’s. The demonstration will both begin and end with cocktails; journalists who wish to cover the event are asked to supply statistics on their coverage area before an invitation can be extended. When asked for comment, the mayor’s office responded with, “What is this, some kind of joke?”
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