Public Relations and the Sunday Comics: A Perspective

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. This is true in many disciplines — the creative and culinary arts, business, architecture.

So, today, let me present the inspiration for this post, one that’s quite unconventional: Between public relations and the Sunday comics.

Please direct your attention to the image below, the introductory panel taken from the “Mister Boffo” strip published in the color comics section of many fine newspapers across the nation. I read the strip in the August 28 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Mr Boffo

The source for the image above: “Mister Boffo,” produced by Joe Martin, a very talented artist and commentator on modern culture.

Of course, those of us who practice effective, ethical public relations don’t follow “rules,” per se. We adhere to principals and, if one is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, are bound a Code of Ethics.

But I am inspired by the thought on public relations presented by “Mister Boffo” creator Joe Martin, a talented artist and funny guy. (And, in full disclosure: I read “Mister Boffo” daily.)

The inspiration: Sometimes those of us in the public relations industry — and probably many others — take the profession way, way too seriously. In today’s world, sometimes it’s productive to step back and recognize that ideals that guide our profession can have a much lighter side to the public at large.

Frankly, I’m hoping comic strip hero Mister Boffo and his “wonder dog” Weederman offer future comments on public relations. Wonder what he has in mind for Rule Number 2?

What Drove the Surge in “Small Town Wisconsin” Post?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Since this humble blog was launched way back on September 2, 2009, I had minimal expectations in terms of its reach.

Attracting millions of followers? Ha! No way in a crowded digital space dominated by sites like Huff Po, TMZ and Mashable. (Although I understand Gawker faces an uncertain future; see — it pays to be nice some times.)

Maybe with Gawker out of the picture, The PRDude blog will rise in the rankings. Maybe.

Maybe with Gawker out of the picture, The PRDude blog will rise in the rankings. Maybe.

No, I began blogging to chronicle the challenges faced with continuing my career in public relations in the midst of the Great Recession, then added “other stuff” topics to keep things interesting.

Early posts were somewhat cathartic.

So, when I learned a recent post/travelogue generated a whopping (for me) 439 visits plus 68 visits to accompanying images over the past three days, I had to ask: “What was so compelling and fascinating about this post?”

The one in question was published July 23 and featured thoughts and images — all taken by yours truly — from a four-day vacation to communities in east-central Wisconsin.

The “what I learned in small town Wisconsin” commentary was promoted via my social media channels, and I also sent a link to the Heidel House Resort and town of Green Lake chamber of commerce.  But that was more than three weeks ago.

In light of the rioting that plagued Milwaukee a few days ago, I’d like to think that the July 23 post may have been cathartic to some readers, be they from Wisconsin or elsewhere.

And, for those who might want to read more thoughts from The PRDude — or find some solace — there are 309 other posts to read.

Rest assured non qualifies as “Gawker material.”

One Image, One Question: August 9, 2016

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Way back in August of 1979, a scion of one of the most powerful and successful political families of the 20th century demonstrated the need to be prepared when put on the stage in search of the highest office in the land.

The scion: Then U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, (D-Massachusetts), brother of a president and brother of senator who was running for president– both, as you know — assassinated.

Trump

Mr. Donald Trump, Republican candidate for president, do I have a question for you.

The situation: The Senator was being interviewed by CBS News reporter Roger Mudd on what should have been Kennedy’s chance to demonstrate why he deserved the Democratic nomination for president in the 1980 national elections. The interview took place in a safe and controlled environment: The Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port.

The question: “Why do you want to be president?”

The result: Senator Kennedy delivered a remarkably rambling, decidedly disconnected and certainly confusing response to Mudd’s simple question.

The outcome: Kennedy’s campaign was sunk. Sitting President Jimmy Carter was granted the Democratic nomination, but was trounced by Ronald Reagan.

(Read more from this online report, or view this video posted on YouTube.)

The relationship to the 2016 presidential race: Republican nominee Donald Trump, as you know, has been asked many questions since the campaign began last year, and unquestionably, he’s delivered some rambling, disconnected and confusing answers. But I’m not sure if Mr. Trump has been asked perhaps the most poignant question for any candidate running for president.

And, now for the question — pretty obvious I trust — and subject of today’s post:

Mr. Trump, why do you want to be president?

Throughout this often bizarre and contentious campaign, Mr. Trump has been asked a lot of questions, but I’ve not heard an interviewer pose the simple one above. Given his proclivity for bluster and bombast, I would guess Mr. Trump would not shrink and retreat in the manner as Senator Kennedy.

And, in the interest of fairness, I would pose the same question to Democrat Hillary Clinton. But I think we know what her answer would be.