Bangers or Bagels – Looking forward to the PHA 5W Exchange Scheme

Did you know, the term ‘Public Relations’ was originally conceived in New York? First used by publicist Edward Bernays in 1920, he came up with the title in an attempt to make his occupation sound more respectable.

Since then, New York has been home to some of the greatest PR campaigns in headline history.

From stunts that will stand the test of time (like Bernays’ ‘Torches of Freedom’ march for women’s emancipation and Marilyn Monroe’s billowing white skirt shot to promote The Seven Year Itch – tactfully staged by her movie publicists) to more modern day media takeovers (remember McCann’s ‘Fearless Girl’ statue in Downtown Manhattan and TVC’s ‘Red Bull Stratos’ jump? – still blows my mind) I think it’s fair to say that the ‘Big Apple’ has continued to remain ahead of the ‘spin’.

Given the city’s history and reputation for PR greatness, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when it was recently announced (by our CEO wearing a particularly outlandish Uncle Sam stars and stripes hat!) that little old me would be taking part in The PHA Group’s first ever New York exchange scheme.

Jetting off from Heathrow Airport during the early hours of Tuesday morning, myself and three other lucky PHA-ers will be heading to ‘the city that never sleeps’ – to join (as Business Insider describes it) ‘New York’s Most Aggressive PR Spin Machine’, 5WPR, and catch a glimpse of what #PRlife is really like on the other side of the pond.

Having worked in London for my whole PR career, seeing how New Yorkers tackle the media in comparison to us Brits is (for me) the most exciting prospect of this trip.

Is The New York Times the ‘holy grail’ for client coverage? How difficult is it to get into traditional printed media these days? Do they read the Mail Online? Are consumer magazines in decline like they are in the UK? Are New York journalists friendly? Do they prefer to be hassled over email or over telephone – or over lunch? How much should I tip at lunch? Are there a million and one awareness days in the PR calendar? Do American journalists loath these days as much as UK journalists do? So many questions – six days to find out!

London red telephone box and the New York skyline

Having never been to NYC before, I will also be ticking off a very long list of tourist attractions during my visit. Shopping on 5th Avenue, cycling through Central Park, walking over Brooklyn bridge, enjoying views from the Rockefeller Plaza, seeing a production on Broadway, riding the subway, singing ‘Jenny from the Block’ in The Bronx – no park or landmark is too cliché. I want to see and do it all.

We’ve all heard the popular New York saying, ‘if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’ Well, it’s time for this London PR ‘gal’ to put that claim to the test.

Who will come out top – bangers or bagels? I can’t wait to find out!

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