A Gallup poll this summer and reported in yesterday's ADWEEK.com shows 33 percent of those surveyed view PR and advertising positively, but 36 percent look at our business in a negative way. The numbers haven't changed from last year's survey.
The article says our industries are viewed more favorably than banking, oil and airlines. That's not saying much, is it? We'd actually have to work hard at getting a worse reputation than those fields. The computer industry had the most favorable rating, followed by restaurants, farming and the grocery business.
Those of us in PR might wonder if our pals on the ad side are bringing us down, and I'm sure the ad guys might want to point a finger at us. It might be interesting if our two fields could be broken out separately in future polls.
But let's get to the real issue. Why are we -- the image-makers and influencers -- so poorly regarded?
Maybe a little blame could be placed on "Mad Men," even though much of that bad and arrogant behavior makes for great TV. And even though so much of the sexism, raciscm and arrogance (much, not all) shown in the program was left behind in the 1960s.
On the PR side, the cable show that follows PR diva Kelly Cutrone as she makes her young employees shudder in their Manolos and break into tears also does wonders for our reputation.
Most of us in advertising and PR do our jobs professionally and don't behave like Don Draper. So isn't it just a bit ironic that our industries are still viewed with such low regard? Where are our trade groups -- The Four A's and PRSA? What are they doing to enhance our reputation within the business and the general population?Public relations and advertising, for the most part, perform legitimate and important functions that tell the public what our clients or employers do or how their goods and services can help us. It helps fuel demand that keeps the economic engine running.
So why can't we and the groups that represent us do a better job of building up our own reputation?