In light of Tom Ohle’s fine new blog, I started thinking about the value of the PR junket, of which I have attended several thousand. One must wonder, is there any value in the PR junket? The three-day trip to Europe? The two-day soiree in Mexico? Are video game events giant spectacles of over-powered marketing teams trying to sway impressionable video game journalists? Or are they valuable tools that benefit both the publisher and the journalist–as well as a good way for both sides to know one another?
Sometime shortly after September 11, 2001, the business of the video game industry changed. Unlike an earthquake that turns a crevice in the ground into a canyon, this American event shifted the plates underneath the ground, re-arranging pieces of the landscape.
Americans on the whole examined their daily lives and mourned the losses of those folks who died senselessly in New York. They examined the language they used. New military terms were introduced and became more familiar while, conversely, they were also examined more closely in everyday language. Many journalists thought twice about the terms “headshot,” “sniping,” and “blowing the shit out that guy.”
Well, OK, maybe some of thought about it…
Along with Los Angeles Times writer Alex Pham’s examination of a certain freelance writer’s “excessive” freelance lifestyle, which explored the potential hazards of industry writers and their relationships with public relation teams, things got real quiet on the PR front. Road trips, big-time PR spectacles, and ATV events vanished. As the country settled into a new reality, the video game industry’s events slowly but surely returned, if only a little more reserved.
While no US citizen thought the September 11 attacks were a good thing (just ask the families whose relatives and friends died), the attack, in retrospect, made us examine our practices and values. And the trivial matter of a simple road trip designed to promote a game was among those things. Is an extravagant trip necessary? Is it in good taste? Does it exaggerate the violence in the game?
Read the rest of the feature, “The Value of a Good PR Junket,” on GameInsano.com.