Hey Hagar the Horrible: You Got Public Relations Right the First Time

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

Okay. What’s “wrong” with the two cartoons that accompany this post?


Note to comic artist Chris Browne: I really am a fan of the “Hagar” strip. Source: Hagar the Horrible.

Need more clarification? What needs to be addressed and challenged from a public relations perspective?

First, some background on these “Hagar the Horrible“commentaries should will help.

The top strip was published six years ago.  In fact I wrote about it in this post from January of 2010, where I somehow merged an idea of how an example used in the upcoming State of the Union speech by President Barack Obama and the comic message from artist Chris Browne supported public relations.

(Yes, I’ve been known to steer the discussion of public relations down some truly divergent paths on occasion. But hey, it’s my blog.)

Back to the image.  The story in the top strip depicts a public relations consultant questioning a nobleman on the performance of Hagar and his viking raiding party following a pillage. This is good, because as we know, effective, strategic public relations is driven by research.

Now to the bottom strip, which appeared in the October 7 issue of the print version of the Chicago Tribune that’s delivered to our home each day.  Here, a disillusioned Hagar, hunched over a bar nursing a cocktail, seeks advice from friend Lucky Eddie on a source to “cook up a story” to mitigate past misgivings.

Well, Lucky Eddie says, the right person is at arm’s length away: The King’s Public Relations Director!

This is bad, because it infers — at least to me — that public relations tactics can mask unethical or perhaps even criminal actions through successful media relations. To many, Hagar is just trying to get some “good public relations” to solve his image problem.

Ah, Hagar, if it was only that easy.





That’s More Like It: Ten Replies to PR Straw Poll

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

What a difference a couple of days — and a little patience — makes.

I’m referring to my little “straw poll” issued earlier this month on the subject of the most pressing issue ahead for the public relations industry.

Public-RelationsIn my post from November 17, I announced that only two loyal readers cast votes. But on review this evening, the final day of November 2015, I’m pleased to announce there are 10 responses! Three visitors selected the “other” option and typed in short thoughts of their own.

To all who participated: Thank you.

You contributed to what should be an ongoing dialogue among public relations professionals on the state of the ever-evolving profession. We need to continually redefine the boundaries of what we do, need to tactfully address situations when “public relations” is misused and confused with some other form of communications.

Now, without further delay, the results:

1. Improved/enhanced measurement: 4 responses or 40%

2. Other: 3 responses or 30%

  • Actually doing PR, instead of just publicity
  • Better integration with the business world
  • Better PR for PR

3. Better integration with other communications disciplines: 2 responses or 20%

4. Need for greater transparency: 1 response or 10%

5. Managing a crisis in a digital world: no responses or 0%

Of course, I would have liked to have received 1,000 or even 100 responses to my poll. (An aside: If you would like to contribute to the conversation, please add a comment when you’re done reading this post.)

But these few answers do offer some very informal primary research on the state of public relations at year-end 2015.

And, of course, I can always revisit this topic next year. I trust there will be something relevant to discuss on the state of public relations.