January 17, 2008

#01-063: Snow Jobs: Public Relations Terms

several adults seated in folding chairs in a conference room, all taking notes, with a man with a camera in the background
Reporters take part in a public relations event.

Note: Like any aspect of culture, the business world is filled with idioms. Let's learn ten more, this time terms that can be used in "PR" or public relations.

Get Ready: Why is it necessary for companies to specifically nurture their relationship with the general public (beyond their own customers)?

Let's look at some idioms often used in business. The following are often used in the field of public relations ("PR"). Read the following short conversations, paying special attention to the underlined terms.

1. "Our competitor found out about our new product, and started an ad campaign against it before we could launch!"

"Aw, that's dirty pool!"

2. "Do you think our client knows how to maximize the benefits of the new ad campaign?"

"Sure! It's idiot-proof! Even they can't mess it up."

3. "Why did the CEO say that the mistake wasn't his fault?"

"Oh, that was just a knee-jerk response. He never takes the blame."

4. "Our client is firing us! What are we going to do?!"

"Let's not hit the panic button. We have several potential clients waiting to take his place."

5. "There isn't much time to create our campaign. Any ideas?"

"Let's ask Ed. He usually knows how to come up with a quick fix."

6. "How can we land that client?"

"Take him to dinner, buy him drinks, play golf with him. If we schmooze him enough, he'll sign a contract."

7. "Why did you tell the client that we would give 20 hours a week to his account? You know we have a lot of other clients."

"Yeah, but he signed the contract, didn't he? So my snow job worked!"

8. "Our product has been declared dangerous by a consumer's group. What can we do?"

"Let's get the Chairman of the Board to go on TV and do a song and dance."

9. "I made a long statement, but the news only played a little of what I said!"

"Don't worry, I think that sound bite was very convincing."

10. "Oh, no! A study shows that 5% of the people who use our toothpaste still have bad breath."

"Don't worry; we'll spin it to say '95% effective against bad breath.'"

[Note: Doing this is called "spin control," and a person who is good at it is called a "spin doctor."]


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_relations

Practice: Look at the underlined terms in the short dialogues above. Match the number of the dialogue to the letter of the explanation below.

  1. a brief statement on television news (or other sound media)
  2. a complicated effort to confuse someone
  3. a fast way to solve a problem
  4. a thoughtless reaction to a bad situation
  5. a way of persuading someone through flattery, exaggeration, or outright lying
  6. an automatic reaction to something
  7. an organized effort to make your disaster look good, or your competitor's success look bad
  8. socialize for business purposes, often insincerely
  9. something that will be successful, no matter who tries it
  10. unfair business practice(s)

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 17, 2008

This lesson received 228 visits on my old site between January, 2012, and July, 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. i; 3. f; 4. d; 5. c; 6. h; 7. e; 8. b; 9. a; 10. g