For years, the agencies have sent out these retardtastic reports, usually accompanied by a stack of clips or whatnot, that struggle to determine an "ad equivalency value" for all the media placements. Of course, everyone and their mother on both sides of the client wall has ALWAYS known that these claims were garbage ("This two-line mention in USA Today would be worth $450,000 if it were an ad. But it is EVEN MORE valuable because it is not paid media, so it has CREDIBILITY." Please disregard the fact that only the homeless, people waiting for their test results in VD clinics and dead-end mid-level business travelers read USA Today. Surely this placement is spot-on target for your desired stakeholder audience. [Sorry, I digress]).
We've all known FOREVER that there is no good way to measure PR "value." They even alluded to this on last night's season 4 premiere of "Mad Men" (Pete Campbell says, “It’s a PR stunt. We don’t do that?” When asked why not, he replies,”Because we can’t charge for it.”)
Media Bistro's PR Newser, a site that covers some PR stuff, had this report of people saying what the rest of us already know about these "ad equivalency" reports:
Today, Weber Shandwick endorsed the "Barcelona Principles" for PR measurement, which include a rejection of the reports.
The seven fundamental principles were published last week after being adopted in mid-June by 200 delegates from 33 countries at the 2nd annual European Summit on Measurement. We've listed all seven principles after the jump.
Some are vague, but the rejection of ad equivalency reports is included:
1. Importance of Goal Setting and Measurement
2. Measuring the Effect on Outcomes is Preferred to Measuring Outputs
3. The Effect on Business Results Can and Should Be Measured Where Possible
4. Media Measurement Requires Quantity and Quality
5. Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) is not the Value of Public Relations
6. Social Media Can and Should be Measured
7. Transparency and Replicability are Paramount to Sound Measurement.
And THAT, sum total, is it. There is ZERO mention of any suggestions for something to replace these meaningless exercises in lying to the client. So, brilliant job, WeberSandwich, you've just repeated the same complaint we've all been making for years: the reports are worthless, we need something better. So, WHERE IS IT? 200 FRICKING "delegates" (VPs and "account supervisors" in "social media and measurement" or some wankworthy title, I would guess) from 33 FLIPPING countries couldn't come up with ANY ideas? And we go round and round. Don't even get me started on this "Barcelona Principles" b.s. REALLY? You're gonna be so grandiose to give this a title that sounds like a disarmament treaty or something?
So, you wanna know the true value of PR, kiddies? I think maybe you're having so much trouble measuring it because it truly is WORTHLESS. Or maybe just all those delegates are, I'm not sure.
Thanks for reading!