China Blogosphere: PR firms are not nice
Further Update: Salil in the comments has pushed me about specifics on BP so here is a clarification. BP is a nasty company and their rebranding by Ogilvy PR is greenwash, and they were involved in Nigerian abuses.
However, the company directly implicated in the arms scandal were Shell. Shell appear on Edelman's site, not Ogilvys.
Update: "T" says in the comments:
"I'm actually only a former PR company employee, and not nearly one as accomplished of as Messers Imagethief and Kuo above, however, 100% of the work I did, oversaw and even saw/heard about in the almost 2 years I was in the business was about trying to get people - whether consumers or other businesses - to buy services or products."
Same issue of trust, be it 'crisis control' or Greenwashing ... or trying to sell us stuff.
Among the most read 'experts' in the China English language blogosphere is journalist Thomas Crampton. And his latest post is announcing that he will join PR firm Ogilvy which also happens to be the home of another oft quoted blogger Kaiser Kuo.
The way in which they are linked and quoted without qualifying statements makes me wonder if half the people out there getting excited over them know exactly what an international corporate and governmental PR firm actually does?
Oglivy PR have many case studies and clients for browsing at their flashy website. It's all there in public. How about the rebranding of British Petroleum as a green friendly company? Yes, the oil company. Yes, the same one that responded to international actions against Nigeria military dictatorship following the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa by gifting them arms sales. That's called greenwash. What about their work with drug giant Pfizer and their work against HIV. Is that Pfizer who, along with others, tried to sue the government of South Africa when they tried to buy affordable medicine for poor AIDS sufferers? Pfizer one of many companies whose cynical policies hold the sick to ransom for modern drugs that should be easily affordable while getting all their r&d paid for by the state?
These people are not grassroots sources or trustable experts - they work in international PR and what's worse - their focus is how to manipulate social media. They may occasional have insights or something worthwhile to report, sure, but let's please keep it in perspective.
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