Was This The Worst PR Event Of The Year?
0Overall Score

COMMENT: I am two hours out from having attended a Western Digital press conference that had to be one of the worst press events held this year by a technology vendor. Ironically the event was for a storage company that appears to have a problem sourcing 128K USB Drives.

The event for the launch of the WD Live Hub was so poorly run that two hours after the event, I have no digital media file or DVD with essential press information to write my story, for the simple reason that the PR company, GAP Marketing, only had hard copy print press releases which in 2010, when journalists are filing for online is a disgrace especially as the vendor was a storage Company.

The PR company running the event couldn’t even find time to email a press release despite the event finishing two hours ago.

Topping this off the function was held in a Surry Hills restaurant which was grossly inadequate for a launch of this type.

Not only were journalists unable to see the main presentation screen but several were left standing because of a lack of seating.

In today’s highly competitive PR environment we are seeing more and more press conferences being run at locations that are totally unsuitable. While a PR flunky may think it’s nice, the bottom line is that journalists are being invited in the hope that they will write a story about the product being launched.

One would think that the best they could do is ensure that all journalists got a seat and a view of the screen.
As a journalist, my job is to collect information and write a story that can be online in minutes. Often we file direct from an event or straight afterwards because of the competitive nature of the technology industry.

Having owned and run the third largest PR company in Australia it appears that some golden rules of good PR are fast disappearing and one has to question why. 

For example journalists often get given press releases after an event and not just before an event. I for one prefer to get a press release before an event so that I can absorb the content and then ask intelligent questions. 

By now, I should have filed my Western Digital story online, but I am not prepared in this day and age to sit down and have to re type key technical data about what is basically a hard drive in a box from a hard copy press release, when in seconds I can cut and paste the same data from a digital file. 


Last night at a Motorola press event journalists were given press images that were formatted as PDF files and not JPG images, which meant that journalists working to deadline had to firstly open up the PDF file, then save it as a JPG file, and then import it into a package like Adobe Fireworks for use online. This is time consuming and totally unnecessary.

What is critical for most working technology journalists is a chair, a desk and good information. Holding press events at totally unsuitable locations does not work. Acer held one recently in a night club where journalists had to crouch on stools with over 50 percent of those who attended left standing in a room that was totally inadequate for a fashion show and Smartphone reveal.

At the end of the day a location adds little if any value to a good story. What are important are good facts and an environment that is conducive to journalists being able to collect information and then turn it into a good story.

Especially if all you are doing is pumping up a ‘me too’ product like a 1TB hard drive that has been tarted up and re labelled as a media centre.