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The risks of factual exaggeration

By Leo Valiquette

Most of us in Canada are no doubt familiar with that amusing commercial from Rogers about a fellow bragging to his friend about his new high-definition flatscreen television, despite the fact that the picture quality is horrible because he lacks the HD box for his television to display a true HD signal.

Well, this week my eight-year-old antique gave up the ghost. I had long ago decided that, should the day come, I would go with a Sharp Aquos 1080p LCD television. Within 24 hours of the old TV’s death, I had the new one on the wall.

Now, to set up the new TV, I simply connected my standard cable without any HD box, fully expecting to be confronted by god-awful picture quality that would be unbearable to watch.

But, to my utter amazement, the picture quality was at least as good as it was on my old TV. There was none of the blurry distortion dramatized in that Rogers commercial. Maybe I am not enjoying the full HD experience, but I certainly do not feel a pressing need to rush out and buy the HD box.

Granted, this is my personal experience after having the new TV set up for only an hour. Perhaps I am missing something.

But before I even got the TV home, I was in the electronics store shaking my head at a split screen comparison of the quality difference between a regular DVD picture and a high-definition Blu-ray disc picture. Again, there appeared to be a little exaggeration at work. Later at home, I played a standard DVD movie on my standard DVD player through the new LCD TV. When compared to the split-screen comparison I saw in the store, the picture quality was much closer to that of the Blu-ray than it was to the standard DVD as it was portrayed.

Comparisons can be a very effective means of selling buyers on the merits of your product or service, but in the bid to create that ”wow” factor that allows your product to fly off the shelves, be cautious about massaging the facts. Your product may clearly be better than your competitor’s, or the status quo, but be careful about trying to present those advantages more dramatically than they really are. Sure, you may dupe the unsophisticated buyer, but, guaranteed, there are plenty of savvy people who will see through the gimmick and out you on — oh, I don’t know — a blog, perhaps?

September roundup: Memorable road trips and a new arrival

By inmedia

In case you missed them, here’s a roundup of our posts from September.

Francis:

Sept. 4: We regularly go to Chicago…
Sept. 8: The littlest inmedianaut
Sept. 11: BBC shipping container about to set sail
Sept. 15: Waterloo’s VeloCity launches
Sept. 19: Highlights from Red Herring Canada 08
Sept. 26: From doldrums to trade winds

Danny:

Sept. 5: 10 years of Google – a technology triumph
Sept. 15: Eventful PR
Sept. 19: Positive signs for CRM at Call Centre Expo
Sept. 24: Sage advice

Leo:

Sept. 8: Web 2.0 is a PR expansion pack
Sept. 12: The odd underbelly of media monitoring
Sept. 22: A great place to go brain picking
Sept. 25: How to become ‘a force to be reckoned with’

August Roundup: Corporate crises, social media and odd missives

By inmedia

In case you missed them, here’s a roundup of our blog posts from August:

Francis:

Aug. 8: Something very strange came in the mail …
Aug. 11: Ottawa has the best coffee (machine) in the world
Aug. 15: Robert Scoble touches the elephant
Aug. 18: Test your vocabulary, feed the world
Aug. 20: “If you persevere long enough…”
Aug. 25: Bloggers: To pitch or not to pitch…
Aug. 26: Great post on Maple Leaf’s crisis communications
Aug. 29: Zoom was the unofficial airline of inmedia PR

Danny:

Aug. 11: Are you ready to execute a PR program?
Aug. 25: Getting a return on analyst briefings

Leo:

Aug. 5: Laying claim to social media
Aug. 7: Where are all those eyes coming from?
Aug. 13: Even dead horses can learn new tricks
Aug. 14: The social graces of social media
Aug. 19: You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry
Aug. 21: Don’t worry, be happy
Aug. 28: Finding time to blow off some steam

July Roundup: Good tips, bad slips and farewell to Linda

By inmedia

In case you missed these posts the first time around, here’s a recap of everything we published in July.

Linda:
July 3: Blogging about blogging
July 9: A post for the word nerds
July 11: iPhone frenzy!
July 18: How times have changed
July 21: Marketing to different age groups
July 25: Home is where the workplace is
July 25: Everyone needs an editor (reprise)
July 29: How not to make a big PR splash
July 31: Over and out

Danny:
July 2: Keep on keeping on
July 9: Be proactive, but be visible
July 16: Media monitoring – can you really get it all?
July 23: Keeping your cool in the summer

Francis:
July 8: I wanna be on Page 1 tomorrow
July 11: Welcome to Post Number 250!
July 15: What internet advertising needs to do

Leo:
July 10: PR insights from the wise and otherwise
July 16: Community manager: A job title or a state of mind?
July 22: If the telegram is still around, then …
July 23: Test drilling and mining the network
July 24: Mediums for the message
July 28: Just the facts … no, these facts
July 31: Oh, the sweet serenity of white space

How not to make a big PR splash

By Linda Forrest

One word: Cuil.

This supposed “Google-killer” launched to much ballyhoo earlier this week. Problem is that the product itself is not yet ready for prime time and so it has, as many media have said, “stumbled out of the gate.” In today’s fast paced tech environment, it’s a costly misstep for a company to generate so much publicity when the product itself isn’t up to par, especially when it’s something so high profile as taking on the most successful search engine in history.

I’m sure the Cuil powers that be are questioning both their branding and their launch strategy this week, with influential bloggers being unable to resist the urge to deem the offering “Totally UnCuil.” Ouch.

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