My career in public relations started on cruise ships.
After a stint as a d.j. on the ssRotterdam, then ssStatendam, then ss Volendam and becoming an assistant to the cruise director, I moved to New York. There I landed a dream job working at a successful theatrical press agency, Merlin Group, LTD.
But, alas, New York City had it’s quirks and hurdles. My significant other and I had gone to Florida, to my parent’s home, where I grew up, to pick up my VW I’d had in college. We got it back to the city. Even found a garage for it. Had it for a month and parked it on the street on a Saturday to take advantage of odd/even parking – we didn’t have to move it until Monday! This was huge. We were going to visit a friend who had been mugged in her elevator in her apartment building. When we went out to get in the car that Sunday, it was gone. Stolen. The police said there was no chance of getting the car back. “We’re dealing with professionals here,” the officer said. “I thought I was dealing with a professional talking to you,” I responded. As the song goes, “if I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere.” We decided anywhere else would be better. We moved to Sarasota, FL.
At the ad agency where I went after the stint in radio, I created a public relations department so we could offer clients a “value add” and this is where I started to do integrated messaging. In fact, the next three agencies I worked at, I created lucrative public relations departments and leveraged paid advertising with p.r. campaigns, news release writing and media relations.
It was a different time then. You could actually pick up the phone and contact a columnist or send something for possible pick up in the newspaper. And you could time it with your paid advertising campaign if you were lucky. No really.
I always felt integrated messaging – that is, messaging where you leverage both earned media (p.r. as most people know it) and paid (advertising), made an incredible amount of sense, and my career became a hybrid advertising and public relations. Today, I read a lot about how this is a “new” thing. Well, I created my first “integrated campaign” in 1988.