Saturday 1 October 2016

The Punt: Cheerleading exercise just the latest in a troubling PR trend

Published 14/12/2015 | 02:30

AirBnB
AirBnB

When is a press conference not a press conference? It's a question that seems to be increasingly difficult to answer. Last Thursday, AirBnB invited the ladies and gentlemen of the press to a "media briefing" to detail the economic impact of the company's room-sharing service on the Irish economy. A number of presentations were made, and then the floor was thrown open to questions. So far, so normal.

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However, of the six questions that came from the floor, only two came from journalists. The other four questions - which weren't really questions, more comments about how great AirBnB is and how great it is that it's in Ireland - came from representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce, Fáilte Ireland, the Department of Tourism, and an AirBnB "host".

In other words, this wasn't a "media briefing". Rather, it was a cheerleading exercise. Unfortunately, AirBnB isn't alone in running these sort of "media briefings".

They are becoming more and more common across business in general, not just tech.

A press conference should be just that. Otherwise it's just a waste of everyone's time, including the company's.

Irish Independent

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