The Red Carpet PR Caper

red carpetI was speaking to an actress the other day who had been on a soap opera for a few years.  I asked her what her PR Company had landed for her, her response was that they had not landed any editorial coverage, but they had managed to get her to quite a few red carpet events.

I was then contacted by a prospective client who was working with an independent publicist who was scheduling him to make the red carpet walk at a minimum of two times a week.  The prospect had a toddler at home, was exhausted and wanted to know if that was the route he needed to take to succeed in the entertainment industry.  Again I asked what media he’d been featured in and again the reply was no traditional media, but a barrel full of red carpet appearances.

That got me thinking.  During the last few years, I’ve watched as red carpet events sprouted like weeds.  They are now ubiquities.  A restaurant changes its menu and they launch a red carpet event.  A club offers a new drink, so they roll out a red carpet event.  The weekend arrives, so, hey, why not, let’s have a red carpet event.

I’d wager that 99% of the general public would have trouble naming 99% of the people prancing down the carpets at the majority of these events, but apparently that’s no longer the point.  It appears that the point is now to be at as many of these as you possibly can, have your picture taken by photographers that are in place at every one of these things drink; mingle with a group of people you’ve never heard of and will most likely never see again; head home and get ready for the next one.

But why?

These events are great if you enjoy dressing up socializing, and having your picture taken, simply to have your picture taken.  But if you have a more specific PR or career objective, it might be worth rethinking this approach.   Will appearing at the majority of these events help your image, your career, or your brand?  I seriously doubt it.

I’m not stating that all red carpet events are useless, some can be very important.  The trick is not to focus on the fact that there is a red carpet, but on the importance of the event itself.  Sure, it helps if you’re a rising star to be seen at an event and have your photo taken with tried and true stars.  If you’re an established celebrity, these events can help keep your photo in the magazines.  Then there is that whole dance that designers, jewelers and celebrities do on the various red carpets.  But the true value of these events are seldom the photo ops, but the conversations to be had, meetings to be scheduled and deals to be discussed.

If you want to build your career and your brand through effective public relations and publicity, focus on landing media coverage and news stories.   Don’t get seduced by the red carpet and the photographers.  There are carpets all over town.  As a matter of fact, I found a red carpet in my cellar.  I think this calls for an event!

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014

Refusing Quentin

Levon-Biss_Quentin-Tarantino_071212-2890_V1Many moons ago I was a partner in a company that offered public relations and personal management services as well as video and film production.  We shared an office with a solo entrepreneur whose stepson used to spend a good deal of time there.  Eventually the stepson also moved into the office space.  He was well, unique.  You generally didn’t really have a conversation with him, you asked a question and then kicked back as he let go with an amazing machine gun, rapid fire monologue.  He spoke with his body, acting out his responses.

He was working on financing a short film that he was directing and starring in called My Best Friend’s Birthday.  He had run into money issues.  He knew we were involved in producing so he snuck us into an editing bay at UCLA to watch some of the raw footage of the film to see if we were interested.  It was a black and white short, but dialogue was great, the direction was rough but interesting.  Still, it was a short with no names and we were producing low budget horror films.  So, we passed.

The short was eventually completed and, by the title of this blog I’ve pretty much given away who I’m talking about here.  When we refused, Quentin, Tarantino he, in no uncertain terms, explained that we were making a colossal mistake because he was going to become one of Hollywood’s biggest (expletive) directors.  The prediction in and of itself was nothing new.  Having worked in the entertainment industry for a while, it was a prediction that I’d heard several times.  But never had someone said it so assuredly.   I had no doubt as to his sincerity, but I’m not sure of the odds that I gave to that particular prediction’s accuracy.

Well, the odds were on Quentin’s side, big time.

Fast forward about twenty five years. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 & 2, Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained...  The list is incomplete but it is impressive to say the least.  I’ll never know if Quentin knew he was going to be this successful, or if his bravado was part of what helped propel him to where he now sits.

Looking back I now see him as a great study in the emergence of an artist.  Quentin is unique in that he both writes and directs his films.  His singular vision is truly reflected in his films.  Few filmmakers have the talent to write and direct, or the pull to get their films financed at such a high level.

Back when I knew him he was still working at a video store, but he made that his university.  He ate, drank and breathed films.  There were times he would come to the office after having gone to see two or three films, something I couldn’t even imagine doing on a weekday.  He had a vision, but he also had talent and drive.  And, as he predicted that day as we walked to the parking lot after having viewed part of his film, he has become one of the(arguably the) major directors of the cinema.  Pulp Fiction changed the industry and spawned legions of imitators.  His stories, dialogue, direction are singularly his.

He’s also as brazen in his marketing as he is in his filmmaking.  During last year’s race to the Oscars, what other director had the gumption to have an image of him or herself in the film ads?  And here is where Quentin is a great study in creative marketing.  Working with Hollywood’s master marketer, Harvey Weinstein, they’ve turned the marketing of Tarantino into an art.

It’s been an amazing career to watch from both a creative and a PR and marketing perspective.  So, maybe I’ll pay closer attention to the next person who announces that they’re going to be the biggest (blanking) whatever in Hollywood.  Sometimes, as Quentin, illustrates, it happens.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014


Introducing PR Starter Packages


Public relations can be confusing for those who have never given it a shot. Often what stops people in their tracks is taking that leap into the unknown.  Then there is the cost and the commitment. 

To launch a truly effective campaign, it usually involves a monthly retainer fee along with a commitment for a number of months.  That can be daunting for a PR novice.

But what if there was a way to initiate a PR outreach without having to make a commitment to a full campaign?

Now There Is!

We launched the PR Starter Packages as a way for you to learn how to build your brand, reach your target market, increase cash flow and establish yourself as an expert in your field, without committing to a full campaign.

So, what’s keeping you from making the investment in yourself and your business to take you to that next level?

What keeps you from launching a PR campaign for you, your company, your service or your product?

What is it that stops you from moving forward to build your brand, increase your sales, grow your business and establish yourself as an expert in your field?

What is holding you back from making an investment in yourself and your dream?

Fear of the unknown?

Unsure of how PR works?

Hesitant to make an investment of time and money in an unfamiliar form of marketing?

All of the above?

Only PR reaches your target market, offers you the validation and credibility of being featured in the news, builds your brand and establishes you as an expert.

Still, making that leap and committing to a full campaign can be unnerving.

So now there’s a way to: learn how a campaign works, and come away with story angles, sound bites, a targeted campaign outline, a press release and a targeted initial media list?

Introducing Our PR Starter Packages

These packages allow you to learn the basics about launching a PR campaign. You’ll come away with three targeted pitch ideas to present to the media, a professional press release, an overview on how to talk to the media, and a specific media list tailored to your needs.

These packages allow you to learn the basics about launching a PR campaign. You’ll come away with three targeted pitch ideas to present to the media, a professional press release, an overview on how to talk to the media, and a specific media list tailored to your business and your needs.

Each package includes a minimum of one phone consultation.  You can use these targeted consultations to cover a number of topics including:

•           Developing your story

•           Pitching yourself, your company, your product, or your service

•           Securing media placement in both traditional and online media

•           Contacting appropriate blogs

•           Developing your sound bites

•           Establishing yourself as an expert in your field

•           Pitching your story ideas

•           Developing and presenting your press release

•           Contacting targeted media

•           Developing relationships for your current and upcoming projects.

The media exposure can pay off in:

•           More media coverage

•           Visibility

•           Credibility

•           Validation

•           A larger client and customer base

•           New business opportunities

•           & much, much more…

Doing PR the wrong way is worse than not doing it at all. These packages will teach you to think like a film publicist, a skill you will use for the rest of your life.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2014


Why the Best PR Meets the Media’s Needs First

media's needsThe media wants stories, but beyond that, not even the media knows what they want. They are constantly searching, trying out new angles, coming up with new ideas. When I worked as a magazine editor, a good part of my day was spent focusing on what stories would and wouldn’t work and coming up with new stories, hopefully with fresh angles for our upcoming issues.  Whenever I found a publicist who thought about my magazine’s needs, I would (selfishly) work with him or her.

Effective PR is effective storytelling. The media is looking for stories, but they’re looking from their perspective, not from yours.  Each media outlet has different needs and if you want to effectively pitch them, you need to understand what those needs are.  You have to study the various media outlets, review the different formats, study the types of stories they’ve run in the past. It’s a constantly moving bulls-eye, you’re trying to figure out what the media wants, and they’re trying to figure out what the public wants.

When launching a public relations campaign, don’t assume that what interests you, interests the media.  Your best starting point is realizing that you and the media have very different objectives and your best avenue to success is to make sure you meet their interests first.  You’re going to succeed by learning how the media thinks, not by assuming you think they know what they want. You have to prepare, do your homework, and study the various media outlets.

Think like an editor, think like a producer. Work backwards. Look at the particular media outlet you are targeting. Who is their audience? What is the basic age range? Does it appeal to primarily men or women? What type of stories does it generally run? Now put yourself in the place of the editor or producer – how could you fit a story on your business, product, or talent into the format of that media outlet? What story would work? What would the focus be?

Pitch the media according to its needs, not according to yours. Assume that the story you are dead-set on telling isn’t all that interesting to anyone besides yourself. Now, be creative, give it a spin. Give it a make-over. Make it newsworthy.  Do that and you and the media will be on the same team.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications, Inc. 2014

Want A Successful PR Campaign? You Need To Do Your Part

successful pr campaignNot long ago we were working on a PR campaign where we had most of the pieces in place, but not all.  We needed the client to help us by adding a call-to-action to our pitch.  We needed to take the pitch from the conceptual to the concrete.  We needed an event.   Something to point the media to.  We needed some ‘’there” there.  When we discussed this with the clients, their reaction was, “work with what you have.”

And there is a great example of disconnect when it comes to launching an effective public relations campaign.  That mindset can turn a potentially successful campaign to a mediocre one, or worse yet, a campaign that’s a dud.  Too often clients think, their job is simply to pay the fee and then sit back and wait for CNN and the rest of the media to come calling.  Wrong.

The most effective campaigns are those where the client works with the PR firm.  I’ve worked with clients who have gone that extra mile to help create a dynamic story and those are the campaigns that have thrived.  I’ve also worked with clients who have blamed the media for not realizing what a great story they (the client) had to offer, but refused to make any effort to make their story more compelling, more enticing, or more media friendly.

The reality is, the media doesn’t need you.  That may sound harsh, but if you start from a realistic starting place, the chances of success are exponentially increased.  I can attest to the fact that the media doesn’t need you.  When I worked as a journalist and as an editor, I was always able to find enough stories to cover, without the help of anyone pitching me their stories.  I honestly didn’t need outside pitches and most I’d reject or simply ignore.  But, when a savvy publicists pitched me an idea that was perfect for my readers, compelling and had a real hook, I’d work with them.  It made my job easier.  True, I didn’t need them, but working with PR consultants that understood and focused on my needs as a journalist made my life a heck of a lot easier.  Selfishly I wanted to work with those publicists.

But the stories that interested me had something to them.  They were thought out.  They met my reader’s needs.  They were not simply: “here’s a story we think is interesting, so you will too.”   Most pitches don’t work because they’re obvious, well-worn and run of the mill.  Clients often fall into the trap of thinking that because they find their business, project, service or company interesting that everyone will feel the same way.  That is seldom (very seldom) the case.  Most stories need to be developed, most need to be nurtured, grown, and at times created.  It is that process of turning a bland run of the mill story into one with a compelling narrative that makes media relations so interesting.

Our job is to find the words that make the story interesting and to present it to the media in a compelling manner, but the client’s job is to give us a story to tell.  We can help flesh it out, reframe it refine it and bring it to life, but the client has to work with us to help create a story that the media will react positively to.  For a story to go from humdrum to enticing, it needs to be worked.  Very few stories will sell themselves unless you have an A list star attached somehow and even then you generally need to work it for the story to be told the way you want it to be presented.

So if you truly want a successful PR campaign, you need to do your part as the client.  Simply hiring a public relations firm is not enough.  The most successful media campaigns we’ve launched and implemented are those where we and our client worked as a team.  Not every campaign can hit a grand slam, but if you work with your PR Company and give the campaign time to develop, chances are you’ll be amazed with the results.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications, Inc. 2014

An Insider’s Look at The PR Process

insider's lookPR can be a confusing process, particularly for a novice. When buying ad space or commercial time you know when that ad or spot is going to run.  You pay for an ad or for a segment and you know when it’s coming out.  PR is a more subtle, more refined process.  Although you can’t be guaranteed a specific placement, you can be guaranteed that your stories will be pitched to a number of media outlets, as opposed to just one, and when an article or segment does run, your story is going to be positioned, not as an ad or a commercial, but as the news.

It is often difficult for a client to identify the media opportunities that are available, and one of our primary functions as a PR firm is to recognize the stories that are of interest to the media.  We work with clients to identify their strongest media hooks and present them to the press in an interesting and informative manner.  In order to convert potential stories into actual press, we identify the stories, create the press material, utilize our ability to secure that our information gets into the hands of the appropriate editors and producers, and follow-up on the phone or (depending on the situation) in person.  Our aim is to keep a number of media hooks circulating at all times.

We begin by setting up a brainstorming session.  It’s actually a specialized process, which I’ll cover in a separate blog.  This is a process that I’ve designed over the years.  Here we’re looking for stories, media angles, etc., but it’s much more than that.  It’s a way to define a client’s brand, develop their voice and map out an overall strategy.  Once we finish the session, we write the initial press release(s) which we get approved by the client for the new campaign.  We then build the specific media lists to approach.  Once the release is approved, we start approaching the various media outlets.  We generally do not use paid wire services, since overall I’ve found them to be ineffective.  We utilize our proprietary media list; we then make follow up calls to each editor, writer or producer.  The follow phone ups are generally where most of the placements occur.

The media coverage can also be used to help generate interest in other projects or ventures.  We recently had HarperCollins offer a book deal to one of our clients.  We had established her as an expert in her field through media exposure.  That exposure eventually helped us garner a book deal.  A film director landed a distribution deal.  Media that we placed led an artist to develop a working relationship with Disney.

Public Relations is a process. It’s subtle, but does not need to be mysterious.  Correctly executed an effective PR campaign can build your brand, attract new clients, increase your cash flow and offer the validation and credibility that no other form of marketing can provide.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013





PR Tip: Using Your Media to Land More Media

iStock_000024056137XSmallTo launch an effective public relations campaign, use your TV and radio appearances and magazine and newspaper articles to interest other media and to more firmly establish yourself online and in your various social media outlets.  Make copies of articles and send them out, have links to your various interviews, articles and stories that people can readily access.  Place those links on your press releases, on your website and on all of the various social media platforms.

Take a page from the film industry.  They don’t simply mention that a film has been reviewed or featured in a particular media outlet.  They take the most flattering quotes they can find, highlight them and then put the media outlet under the specific quote.

Use that same strategy.

Use your media exposure to further establish you as a thoughtful leader and as an expert in your field.  Don’t simple list the media that you’ve been in, but pull specific quotes that establish you in the best light.  Try to find quotes that you can pull that focus on various different aspects of you and your expertise.

Now use those media quotes when pitching outer media outlets.  You want to be a bit judicious here.  For example you don’t want to pitch the Today Show with a quote from Good Morning America, but you get my basic drift.

The media wants to know that you’re news and news worthy.  Use your current media to make that crystal clear.

Work your press coverage, utilize your public relations efforts and more media will follow.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013


A Holiday Gift of PR

christmas-gifts45An interesting new phenomena is happening in PR, at least it’s new as far as this company is concerned.  A number of prospective clients who have contacted us in the last month were not looking for a public relations campaign for themselves, but to give a PR campaign to someone they cared for.  A public relations campaign as a holiday gift.

I’ve been in the PR world for more than two decades and this is new for me.  I’ve had people call to research our company and services someone else, but not to actually offer a campaign as a gift.

Over the years, I’ve had a number of spouses pay for a media relations campaign.  But these calls I’m referring to were not from spouses or parents, or from people who were romantically involved with the PR campaign recipient.  These calls were from friends, from people who wanted to give a unique, special gift to someone they cared for.

When I asked what prompted them to consider giving a public relations campaign as a gift to their friend, their responses were strikingly similar.  To paraphrase, they explained that they knew how important their friend’s career or company was to him or her and that they wanted to do something to spur them along and help them achieve their dream.

As one explained, “It’s not a tangible gift that you can unwrap and I realize it’s not a gift that comes with guarantees, but if I can help her get the word out about her and take her career to the next level, that would be the best gift I could possibly give her.  I don’t think she’d invest in herself this way, so I decided I’d invest for her.”  So the holiday spirit burns brightly this year and gift givers are getting more creative and thoughtful.

His response also got me thinking.  What are some of the ways that we’re not investing in ourselves as we could or should?  What truly important gift would you happily take from a friend, but not give to yourself?

Maybe this example of holiday giving can lead us all to start considering a New Year’s resolution –

Mainly that in the coming year we’ll invest in ourselves.

Happy Holidays to all!

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013

JenniferC, Flickr. “7 sites for Holiday Gift Inspiration” Photo. Mashable. 29 Nov 2013. 09 Dec 2013. < >

5 Holiday Marketing Tips & Happy Thanksgiving!

iStock_000018159844XSmallIt’s the holidays, so slow down, relax, breathe and be thankful for all you’ve been given.

Not that the holidays necessarily offers us time to slow down, relax and breathe, but we do have time to be thankful.

Below are some quick holiday marketing tips that you can utilize to help grow your business and boost sales, so your holidays can give you even more reasons to be thankful throughout the coming year.

Just about any business or service can utilize the holidays to boost sales. We generally think of the season boosting sales of clothing, jewelry or electronics, which is does, but those are just the obvious ones.

If you’re in the FBI or CIA, or a covert spy of some sort, the pitch might be a bit more troublesome, but overall, generally there is going to be a way that you can pitch your business, product or service during the holiday season.

1. Think about it, if you’re a florist, what better way to make the holidays cheerier. If you’re a psychotherapist, there is help for the holiday blues. If hairstylist, cosmetic surgeon or make-up artist, you can help create a new look for the New Year.

2. If you’re a restaurateur you can offer the perfect holiday meal. If you’re a marketer or business advisor, there is no better time to prepare for the New Year, you get the idea.

3. The last quarter of the year presents unique opportunities to get your story out to the media, your customers and your prospects. The holiday season is a time when people spend on others and themselves. It’s also a time when the media is looking for story ideas with holiday themed gift guides and a stories having to do with holiday gifts, gadgets and products.

4. What you need to do is drill down and develop story ideas that speak to the needs of the various media outlets. Remember during this time you need to tie your media angle and pitch to the holidays and you need to keep the needs of the various media outlets you’re pitching in mind. TV is a visual medium, so you want to pitch them a visual hook.

5. If you have a product that you can bring on and show, that helps, or if you do a quick makeover that that could work. Print publications need a strong story. If you can tie your product in with a cause, charity or local angle, that can give you a step up.

There is quite a bit of clever marketing and PR you can do during the holidays, which can pay off throughout the year.

But tomorrow, forget about marketing.

Focus on the day and being grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013

What Is Public Relations?

PRThat’s a question that I feel is seldom properly answered.

Generally people think that what PR professionals do is a form of advertising or direct marketing.

So, what really is public relations?

Here we go.

Waxing philosophical is an old English phrase which means to explain or discuss in a philosophical manner, or to approach a topic from a philosophical viewpoint. Unlike many of my how-to PR or media relations articles, hereI’ll admit to waxing a bit more than usual. But, I think the topic warrants it.

So – a waxing we will go.

Whereas PR is the name given to a form of marketing, the basic tenants of public relations go much deeper than simply marketing or promotion.

When I was working as a journalist, I interviewed a famous author who in answer to one of my questions responded that all history was perception.

I don’t think I fully grasped what he meant back then.

The more I thought about it, the more I understood. All history whether cultural, social or personal is to a great extent exactly that, perception.

We understand our lives by the stories we tell ourselves (and others) in order to give sense and meaning to our lives. Those stories shift our perception, which create the way we view reality.

Our stories define us. They are the stuff that makes us who we are.

This is not to say facts are irrelevant, but that personal and social history is not based on facts alone.

History is shaped by the way those facts are presented.

In that sense, we are constantly creating and recreating history depending on our perceptions.

In essence, our reality all comes down to the stories we tell.

We all have a story that frames our perception of the world and that perception creates our reality.

Our stories and the perceptions those stories form are the basis for our personal reality, our family reality and our social reality.

As we’re growing up, the messages that we receive from those we look up to as authorities (our validators) we internalize. These frame our story and our outlook on not only ourselves, but on the world. For example, if growing up we’re told that we have a great knack for art that becomes a part of our personal narrative. On the other hand, if we’re told that we can’t sing, or that we’re rotten at sports, that becomes a part of our story. Those facts could be false, but if we believe they’re true, they form our perception of reality. We then base our life decisions on those perceptions.

When we’re young,the validators are generally adults, our parents, our teachers, the clergy, etc. Their opinions and pronouncements are generally taken at face value. They, to a great extent, create our story that in turn shapes our perception, which, to a great extent, creates our reality.

As we age, the basic framework remains the same; it’s the validators who change. Adults, parents, teachers and others who influenced us as children begin to lose the clout they once held. But others come to replace them. As the initial influencers on our lives wane, other influencers take their place.

Enter Mass Media

It is at this point that public relations as we have come to know it begins to surface.

It’s a continuation but also a shift.

How does it affect us?

How can we more fully understand the process?

And how can we learn the tool to help us become actors and not simply reactors in our lives?

To be continued….

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

When Advertising is Actually PR: Spirit’s Wiley Marketing Approach

ad_return-of-the-milfWhen is advertising, actually a thinly veiled PR campaign?  When it’s in the hands of Spirit Airlines.  Spirit has mastered the concept of transforming advertising into PR.  The no-frills, budget airline knows it needs to be savvy with its marketing budget and has figured out that the most cost effective way to market is to develop controversial ads that will be covered by the media.

For example, right after the U.S. Secret Service prostitution scandal in Latin America, the airline offered one-way flights to Cartagena, Colombia starting at $19.80. The ad read “More Bang for your Buck” and ran with an image of a man in dark glasses with an earpiece and his finger over his lips.  In the background were four scantily clad girls in bikinis.  This came on the heels of the scandal when it was revealed that U.S. military and Secret Services members had been with at least twenty women in hotel rooms before the President arrived.

In 2011, another ad made light of  Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenneger split when it came to light he had fathered a “love child,” a son he had fathered nearly twenty years earlier.   “Fares so low, you can take the whole family… including that half-brother you just met.”

ad_bang-for-buckDuring the height of the Anthony Weiner scandal, Spirit launched an ad campaign promising fares so low they are just “too hard to resist.”  The promotion continued: “This scandalous sale is no secret so get socially connected with fares from just $9 each way, based on roundtrip purchase! Hurry to book now before this sale gets hacked!”

The Daily Ticker’s, Henry Blodget called Spirit’s approach a terrible marketing strategy, but then that is what this strategy is all about.  I doubt he had ever written about Spirit before, but these ads got his attention.  NPR ran a lengthy segment on Spirit’s ad campaign and other mainstream media have followed suit.  The bottom line is that these ads were designed as a clever public relations campaign and they worked.  The controversial ads were created to cause a stir in the media, the more media coverage that the ads garnered, and the more potential customers viewed the ads, even if only to see what the furor was all about.

Some of these ads were simply online or on their website, so they were relatively inexpensive, whereas the ads themselves reach customers, the big payoff came in the media coverage the ads generated.  In other words, the ads were actually designed as a PR campaign.

Copyright © Anthony Mora Communications 2013

Malone, Kenny. “A Spirit Airlines ad uses a crass reference as a way to wink at its customers.” Photo. NPR. 03 Sept. 2013. 30 Oct 2013. <;

Malone, Kenny. “Spirit Airlines has gotten notice — and criticism — for its racy ads.” Photo NPR. 03 Sept. 2013. 30 Oct 2013. <;


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