Spin PR— Spinning Out of Control

This month E! premiered the reality show “The Spin Crowd” which follows celebrity publicists Jonathan Cheban and Simon Huck and their Hollywood PR firm Command PR — self-proclaimed as one of the ‘most visible’ PR firms in the country. When I first tuned into the show I wasn’t surprised by the overuse of stereotypical, shallow LA behavior, but I was disappointed at how little of this show was actually about PR. If you’re interested in good ‘ole mind-numbing reality TV, then The Spin Crowd’s overacted, overly dramatic, oversimplified depiction of celebrity publicity may be right up your alley.

I, on the other hand, was hoping for a real look at the behind the scenes world of celebrity publicity —which is seemingly chic and glamorous and something I’ve always been interested in. Instead of getting insight I could sink my teeth into —I got shallow, poorly acted Hollywood drama queens. I can’t help but feel let down as I was, in fact, hoping that this show would stand apart from its predecessors and really dive into celebrity promotion, publicity strategies and best practices.

I wanted to see how the firm handles big name events, the ever-changing celebrity social media landscape and maybe a crisis or two (and we know there’s plenty) for their superstar clients.  I wanted to see the day-in-the-life of a tireless PR maven — who would share new ideas and insight into the inner workings of the Hollywood PR scene.  But the more I watched, the more frustrated I became. The show loses complete focus of what PR truly is— connecting with others in a valuable and meaningful way—and who PR is truly about—the client. Instead Command PR chooses to take us down a rat hole of wasted money, poor self-images and bad attitudes.

Aside from the lack of PR focus—the show portrays one of the most ridiculous work environments I’ve ever witnessed. 99.9% of those of us in PR have never been exposed to anything like the office environment or behavior this show depicts. In the first episode, Cheban makes and pays for a lip injection appointment for one of his new employees—and when she refuses to get the permanent procedure—he bluntly states “you’re homely — no offense. But this is, like, Hollywood. You need to step it up.” Cheban also spends part of the episode stressing over his own physique — ultimately trying to “freeze” his back fat off.  Absolutely ridiculous. I guess when there isn’t enough drama in your reality show you have to create it and that’s seemingly what they are doing with The Spin Crowd.

PR industry outsiders they wonder — is this what PR is all about? An industry so far removed from reality, common sense and respect? An industry where your looks count for everything, you don’t need to be professional, respect others, work hard, think on your toes or strive to impress your clients? Let me answer for all of my fellow colleagues and the other 99.9% of PR professionals out there – THIS IS NOT PR. At PerkettPR, we work tirelessly for our clients – we know it’s about them, not us. We think. We listen. We ask questions. We constantly look for more ways to innovate. We challenge ourselves with new projects and ideas. We consistently measure our worth in how happy our clients are, how much respect we garner from the press and how our results stack up at the end of each quarter. And we work in a healthy, encouraging, and motivating environment.

So fellow PR professionals, if you had the bad fortune of tuning in and wasting a half-hour of your lives— tell us what you think about the show. Please share your thoughts so we can dispel some of these complete myths about our profession. We are especially interested in hearing from other celebrity PR firms. Do you think this is the way celebrity publicity should be depicted on TV? Are you offended or OK with it? Is there any truth to this? Anything redeeming about this program we missed behind the self-tanner?