30 things no PR person EVER wants to hear….

  1. Journalist 15 minutes late for client briefing: “Hello” when phoning at home/in the office
  2. Voicemail alert: “Beep beep, beep beep” when getting off the tube 5 minutes before a media briefing is about to start….
  3. Client: So, we have to cut budget this year and we thought we would look at ways to reduce European content and re-use Global press releases and articles….
  4. Client: We know he needs media training, but we really can’t tell him…can you use him anyway?
  5. European partner/office: That is not going to work in <insert Western European country name> and if we have to do it that way, we will need MUUUUUUUCH more budget than that (or in fact than anyone else in the Western Hemisphere has ever charged)
  6. Junior team member: I couldn’t get hold of anyone, they were all on voicemail
  7. Journalist:  The supplement this month was smaller than we planned, so your client’s piece should be appearing online instead.
  8. Designer: On that budget, you can have it good, fast, cheap.  Now choose two.
  9. Prospect: Let’s make a video at our sales conference and put it on YouTube to make it go viral
  10. Actually just the word viral in a brief
  11. Sales person My editor passed your email along to me…have you thought about advertising in X
  12. 12. Client: our VP of sales is in the UK next month. There is no news but can you get the FT and some broadcast stuff lined up?
  13. 13. Client: thanks for lining up that day of meetings – unfortunately the VP isn’t able to make it now.
  14. Client (unprompted) to journalist – It’s been an interesting year. We’ve lost a lot of business and had to let a lot of people go.
  15. Client CEO: I want to have a blog / Twitter account and I want you lot to write it
  16. Prospect: The SEO agency does my PR, they send out the releases online
  17. Client: Can you go on Amazon | x forum and write some positive reviews?
  18. Message from reception: Watchdog wants to have your client on a panel
  19. Prospect: I don’t have any time, money or resources. What can I do with social media?
  20. Client: why weren’t we allowed to approve the piece before it appeared?
  21. Client: because of my budget cuts I’d like you to pay for expensive items such as my hotels etc – just temporarily – and I’ll raise a PO next quarter – is that okay?
  22. Journalist: your VP isn’t senior enough – I only want to speak to your client’s CEO
  23. Journalist: sounds interesting.  Send me an email about it and I’ll take a look
  24. Journalist to client on briefing call: Sorry, what’s this call about?
  25. The silence that fills the room like a gothic marshmallow after asking the prospect what is the desired ‘call to action’ out of a prospective online campaign
  26. Client Do you know where I can get a massage with all the trimmings and would it be possible for you to pay for it and charge it back to us on expenses?
  27. Boss: I don’t see the point of twitter.
  28. Client: I’ll be bringing somebody from procurement to the next meeting
  29. Prospect to pitch team: I know we said this was just a one stage non-competitive process, but would you mind pitching for a 4th time against a handful of other agencies?
  30. Prospect to pitch team: Can you include a detailed explanation of the current UK and EU regulatory situation with your initial proposal?

Wade in PR folks…any more faves?

(Thanks to the team at Ruder Finn for crowdpitching in with some of these)


  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 30 things no PR person EVER wants to hear…. « Becky McMichael’s PR Balancing Act -- Topsy.com
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  3. Jo Jamieson · December 10, 2009

    Brilliant, have heard all of those at least once….

    Prospect to pitch team: “We fired our last agency because they didn’t get us on the front page of The Economist.”

    Client: “Optimising news? Yes, good idea. Here’s our list of keywords.” Before handing you a three-page document, font size 8.

    • Rebecca McMichael · December 10, 2009

      *winces* good ones Jo 🙂

  4. Brendan · December 10, 2009

    Not frustrating exactly, but funny: Client: “Could you send me two copies of that PDF attached to your email, so I can forward one copy and keep the other for myself?”

    • Rebecca McMichael · December 10, 2009

      That is hilarious Brendan!

  5. Eleanor · December 10, 2009

    “I’ve just got some minor edits/comments” particularly when applying to:
    a) A presentation or new business pitch that you have to finalise within the next couple of hours, when it comes from a person more senior than you
    b) A press release that’s already been finalised by one client and sent to approval, and another client wants to give input
    c) An important email to a client…that you’ve already sent

    • Rebecca McMichael · December 10, 2009

      ha…..a) in particular used to drive me insane ! Night before a pitch…..arrgggh
      Hope you’re well Missus


  6. Chris Lee · December 10, 2009

    how about: “no, we want to go with [preferred expensive analyst house rather than consider other more creative and cost-effective ideas]”

    With you totally on no.12

    • Rebecca McMichael · December 10, 2009

      grrrrr I know!

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  8. Chris Davies · December 10, 2009

    I’ve definitely used no. 23. There’s no way I’m going to agree to write something when you catch me on the phone 🙂

    • Rebecca McMichael · December 10, 2009

      Ha….who hasn’t Chris…still a ballache hearing it all the time though 😉
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Becks

  9. Pingback: Tweets that mention 30 things no PR person EVER wants to hear…. « Becky McMichael’s PR Balancing Act -- Topsy.com
  10. RobArtisan · December 10, 2009


    frustratingly true


  11. Steve · December 10, 2009

    “..but what is the value of press”.

    From the lips of a CEO!

  12. Claire Thompson (claireatwaves) · December 10, 2009

    [client] It’s an amazing piece in/on [insert leading blog, paper or broadcast] but they got my job title wrong… can you ask them for a correction?

    or better still
    yes, i did say that, but it’s not quite right (or will get me into trouble). Could you ask them to priint a retraction?

  13. Sheryl Sisk · December 10, 2009

    “Gothic Marshmallow” should be a band name.

    I especially appreciate #29, as I’ve been on both sides of that conversation.

  14. Ian McKee · December 10, 2009

    May be travel/tourism specific but sure it applies further afield, how about:

    Client: Well [insert super star A-list celebrity name] has been to [insert glamorous sounding destination], why wouldn’t he/she come to our [distinctly un-glamorous sounding] trade conference/press launch?

  15. chris · December 10, 2009

    Client to new biz caller “well we don’t have a huge budget or any real idea of where we want to go with our brand next year, but could you come and present your PR ideas to us?”

  16. Josie Herbert · December 10, 2009

    Love it and certainly identify with 1) 12) and 13)
    How about
    Client: “We like all the blog ideas but we don’t want them to be positional or opinionated.”
    Client to journalist, the day after media training: “We’ve just signed a deal with [insert name of large brand] but we’re yet to announce this.”
    PR exec: “Has your customer agreed to be referenced?”
    Client to journalist: “Er..no…er “Off the Record?”

  17. Vegemitevix · December 10, 2009

    Client to PR: Can you just ask the journalist if I could see it before they print it, just to make sure they get it right!!!

  18. paulstallard · December 19, 2009

    As I said when I RT’ed this post. Genius. This sparked a lot of chat in our office and I know for a fact I have heard a fair few of those myself over the years.

  19. Iesha Rulison · January 1, 2010

    Thank you for the great post!

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