My Fun New Garbage Can
I bought a new garbage can last weekend (life in the fast lane, I know… I know...) and noticed the company described it as “affordable, useful, efficient and fun.” That gave me a hearty chuckle. I couldn’t help but think—FUN? How can a garbage can be fun? You don’t play with or in a garbage can? It doesn’t tell jokes or dispense candy, soda or wine. It’s not even motion-sensored—it’s just for rubbish. And, when you have to take the trash out—it’s what I would consider the exact opposite of fun.
Okay, so what does this random story have to do with PR?
If you ever have to explain how PR is different than marketing to someone who doesn't understand the difference, this makes a good analogy.
The claims the manufacturer makes on the box is a great example of marketing. You can say something’s “fun” even if it’s not, and that’s acceptable. Hey person walking by in the store—see this garbage can—buy it—it’s fun!
In PR, we need to back up statements with facts. We would have to say—this is a great garbage can because it’s FUNctional. Then we would make sure it made it into every story possible on garbage cans, submit it for the “best garbage can of the year” award, etc.