I listened to the interview between Radio702 breakfast host John Robbie and new head of the GCIS Jimmy Manyi on Tuesday morning, 21 June 2011, and it finally dawned on me what the problem is. It's about measurement and advertising value equivalency (AVE).
Manyi is a PR person tasked with getting media coverage for the government and its many internal clients, and clearly he is being measured by the amount of positive coverage he obtains for his client. It's also abundantly clear that his results are impacted by negative coverage, or worse still, no coverage at all.
We all know how it works in the private sector. Our client measures us on coverage, positive coverage and how we are able to get retractions published on editorial. And we all have used the adspend budget to get some sections of the media to offer us editorial to go with the advert. A practice that's still prevalent in the trade titles, to a greater or lesser degree. In the less sophisticated sector of the media market, sales people offer editorial space as a value-add for placing advertising. This is what Mr Manyi is asking for.
So when Manyi threatens to centralise all government adspend, he is sending out a warning. The subtext is that he wants positive coverage because that's what he is measured on when his performance appraisal and salary review happens. He is looking after his own interests, pure and simple.
Any doubt that he is looking after his own interests should be immediately apparent in his designation - CEO. CEO of a government department? Really. How does that work? Ah... what I wouldn't give to see his KPIs.
So before we all get our collective knickers in a twist, take a moment and consider that this has nothing to do with a fight between the government and the "media". It's about an individual ensuring that he gets a favourable salary review when his boss sits down with him in nine months' time. It's about measuring the positive column centimetres he can buy in the build-up to the elective conference next year...
PS - Dear Mr Manyi - if you're reading this opinion piece, I have some prime spots where you can advertise your various service and product offerings... My email address is...
Angelo Coppola runs his own PR shop (Channel Managed PR), when not looking for something worthwhile to champion. He specialises in tactical content, media liaison & strategic and tactical PR. He's an ex-financial journalist. Email him at , follow him on Twitter at @angelo2711 and read his musings at www.posterous.com/angelo2711.
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