Post 26a, 2009: Why issue a press release if there’s no news in it?

This is a sequel to my last post, because once I finally got a hold of the folks who issued the press release, I found there was almost no actual news in it.
The release in question detailed two items, namely some new software and a new professional services practice.
The former was straightforward, but anodyne. It’s the kind of thing I ignore every day because it is worth a paragraph or two at best and the outlet for which I was interested in this release does very little news of that sort.
The second point was interesting, as it mentioned a new sub-brand of sorts and said the service had been “introduced.” As I track the industry in question closely, I wanted to know just what had been introduced.
More than 24 hours after the release crossed my desk (which is a FAIL) I was able to interview someone about this. The interviewee told me that nothing, in fact, had been introduced. Instead, existing services had been renamed and a small new service implementing the new software had been introduced.
I was also told that there were probably no new hires, but the interviewee could not tell me if the existing team had even been trained on the new software yet (this was later clarified).
Anyway … the point here is that this release contained almost no information. The vendor’s PR company had no idea about any of it, which makes me wonder just how it adds value other than hitting “send” in Outlook. The vendor’s in-house PR had little knowledge of the release, as evinced by the need for an interview to inform me about the release describing nothing more than a name change.
Along the way, both the agency and in-house PR also consistently referred to my inquiry as being about the product, when all of my correspondence with them contained a quote from the release about the services.
Then the crowning glory of the anti-news in the form of the “introduction” being a rebadging.
Needless to say, the whole experience became a colossal waste of time for all involved. Tempers frayed on all sides. Opinions of participants lowered.
Yet this kind of stuff never stops. Silly releases, ignorant agencies, defensive vendors. It never stops.


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