Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: He's the anti-Tony Hayward

Marketing Week takes Tony Hayward and BP to task - not, of course, for letting acres of oil swoosh into the oceans and killing birds and fish and people, but for the far worse crime of not being that good at handling the PR.

Where, though, will Marketing Week turn for an example of how it should be done? Who is the king of the well-managed PR campaign?

Step forward Gennaro Castaldo, HMV's head of on-off record briefings:

The challenges facing PR are increasing for brands across all sectors, says Gennaro Castaldo, head of press and PR at HMV. “There are so many channels now, particularly online and via social media, beyond the control of companies or their marketers.”
Oh, yes. People actually having conversations about companies without the company controlling them. Horrific, isn't it?

Gennaro turns his sad emoticon upside-down, though:
PR executed well can result in positive branded conversations on news, blogs and social media sites, adds Castaldo. “Just as new channels present new challenges, the accompanying opportunities are also getting bigger.”
You'll have noticed that Gennaro has seized this opportunity by - despite not actually saying anything at all - getting his company mentioned in Marketing Week with the impression that they're good at new media.

Mind you, HMV is quite good at old media - witness a just-this-side-of-fawning full page on HMV's Simon Fox, filling an entire page of this week's MediaGuardian.

How did HMV get a sledge of prime coverage about a shopkeeper in a media supplement? Great PR people, pure and simple. Nothing to do with Fox being a non-executive director of The Guardian, that's for sure.

(To be fair to MediaGuardian, they do refer to his job with them in the piece. But it'll be interesting to see how many other entertainment stores - the ones without shared executives - get to enthuse over their digital strategies at length in their pages in the coming weeks.)