The Public Punching-bag Professional

I recently bumped into a fellow PR professional who was visibly upset after walking out of a media house. While walking towards me he gave such a disappointed look that his smile almost faltered. We exchanged pleasant hellos as we passed each other but didn’t stop for a brief conversation. I wanted to ask him what went wrong, but instead I tried answering the question myself by analyzing what possibly could have happened:

Being a Public Relations professional, this guy was smartly dressed. He carried a neat folder that contained press releases and other documents and held a blackberry smart phone. I believe his company was out with a new product, quarterly results or a CSR initiative and this guy was there to get the news published. By the look on his face it seemed as if he was not able to sell the story to the journalist and now had very few options left. He was apprehensive at the thought of going back to office and informing his boss about the development. Probably he would have gone back to his car to think of a brilliant excuse.

Some publications are very critical to crack as majority of its readers are your target audience. Not getting coverage in them means you are in deep trouble and soon you will be doing a lot of explanation to your boss (if working in Corp Comm) or your boss along with the client (if working in a PR Agency). Whose fault would it be? Obviously yours, the journalist will never come in the picture even if they had agreed to do the story earlier but backed out at the very last moment.

Life of a public relations executive is at times similar to that of a punching bag or a rookie in the ring with the likes of Mike Tyson or David Haye, here’s how:

Firstly PR Executives get a combination of jabs and sucker punches from the journalist when they call them for coverage, send them spam mails or call them to confirm if they have received the press release and if it the news will be out tomorrow.

If the news is not carried by the media then there are some upper-cuts, hooks and head-butts by your boss (it would end here if you are in a Corporate)

Lastly (if with a PR Agency) your boss goes on to meet the client to give an explanation as to why the coverage didn’t appear. Without doubt the meeting was a disaster and your boss was taken for a ride. The boss would return (without doubt this would be the final round) to deliver a combination of power punches and then KO or KTFO’D

At the same time, life isn’t that bad. PR Executives are mostly able to successfully pitch new stories to journalists and get ample coverage even in a highly competitive environment where several agencies are vying for limited editorial space. Journalist also can’t do without them as they’re often a source for stories and ingenious press releases. Above all, Public Relations professionals generally get fat pay-cheques.

Kenneth Peter —

Iron Man 2 – Review

The flamboyant billionaire with his superhero armor returns with Iron Man 2. The sequel has more of everything i.e., more characters, more action sequences, more destruction with more things being blown up, impressive special effects and cool moments.

As I didn’t follow the movie gossips and was only focused on the electric whips of Mickey Rourke while watching the trailers, I only learnt during the movie about Don Cheadle playing Col. James ‘Rhodey‘ Rhodes character replacing Terrence Howard. This came as a surprise as I wanted to see Howard in the Iron Man Mark II armor after he said “Next time, baby!” in Iron Man (2008)

The world knows the ingenious engineer, flamboyant billionaire and the ladies man – Tony Stark is Iron Man as he revealed his identity in Iron Man (2008). Iron Man 2 starts with a grand entrance of Tony Stark in the Iron Man armor to re-institute the Stark Expo in order to continue his father’s legacy.

U.S. administration exerts pressure on Stark to hand over the Iron Man suit to them for military usage and for the country’s welfare. However, Stark refuses declaring that he and the suit are one and claims that his competitors are years away from successfully recreating the technology.

Meanwhile Stark is also dying; he is slowly being poisoned by the palladium in his arc reactor and after several attempts he fails to find a cure. Due to his severe condition he appoints his former personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) as the CEO of Stark Industries and replaces her post with Natalie Rushman. Scarlett Johansson who plays Natalie, has something peculiar about her and she is not just another slinky recruit wearing tight outfits.

With all this happening, Ivan Vanko aka Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) makes his appearance at a Grand Prix in Monaco flaunting his armor suit equipped with an arc reactor and is armed with two electrifying whips.  With his electric whips he rips Tony Starks racing car into pieces. The background score as Whiplash whooshes his whips in the air is still going on in my head.

Mickey Rourke, remember him from his movie “The Wrestler,” for which he got nominated and won some awards, makes the perfect demented baddie from Russia. His body is entirely covered with tattoos and he has a dreadful Russian accent – “I want my burrd (bird),” – one of his dialogues.

The coolest thing you witness after the entrance of Whiplash at the Grand Prix is the portable Iron Man armor. This briefcase version of the Iron Man’s suit is totally awesome!

Sam Rockwell plays the character of Justin Hammer, the comical, nerdy rival industrialist to Tony Stark who later joins hands with Whiplash to defeat Tony Stark and the Iron Man.

Nick Fury (Director of S.H.E.I.L.D.) played by Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eye-patch has a limited role in the film; he only shows up in the film’s second half.

To sum it up, Tony is not the only one who has the arc reactor technology; he is being poisoned by the arc reactor and needs a cure; he needs to defeat Whiplash who after joining hands with his rival industrialist Hammer is building something more powerful and superior; S.H.E.I.L.D. has been keeping an eye on Stark; Government and military want the Iron Man suit; who exactly is Natalie and what’s her role.

Anticipation from Iron Man 2 had been high for months. While some critiques say that the plot could have been better and lab, lab, lab… I say the movie delivers what the fans want. I like the flashy character of Tony Stark and look forward to seeing more Iron Man sequels in the future.

My Rating: 3/5

Kenneth Peter —

Iron Man 2 Movie posters taken from www