Just before we recorded the show, I had lunch with Guy Skipworth, a friend, colleague and long-time listener.  He had an in-person comment for us: that we should talk about PR more…

Thanks Guy, good point.

So… in the spirit of the comment and the fact that summer movies are being released, we thought we’d look at a few films that depict PR.  And while most of them deal with stereotypes and preconceived notions, they shed light on why so many people have a negative perception about our profession.

Here’s the list:

  • Sweet Smell of Success – a brooding black and white drama about the darker side of PR with Tony Curtis as a sleazy press agent who will do anything to curry favour with a powerful columnist.
  • Days of Wine and Roses starring Jack Lemmon as a burnt out, former reporter and current alcoholic, whose job is less about messages and more about procuring women for corrupt businessmen. Billable hours anyone?
  • A more contemporary PR film is Wag the Dog, which features Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman.  The comedy revolves around a fabricated war that’s presented as a real event to take the heat off a president’s personal issue.
  • Other movies about PR include Thank You for Smoking and America’s Sweethearts.
  • Martin predicts the next big PR movie will be based on The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis.

What movies would you add? Please let us know.

In the second half of the podcast, we talk about Steve Rubel’s ‘scorched-earth’ approach to his blogs: he deleted all his content opting instead for a new online presence on Tumblr.

Gini starts by talking about the strong community she’s built at SpinSucks and why she wouldn’t want to leave it. She goes on to say that you can always recreate the content but not the community.

Joe advises everyone whose name is NOT Rubel – not to try this at home.  He feels Steve can do it because of his leadership position in PR and social media.

Martin asks about the notion of creation and the implications of deleting what is, in essence, a public record.

Joe says the nature of community is that we don’t own what we’ve created once it’s public-it belongs to the community. However, he also commends Steve Rubel and other thought-leaders who experiment and try the extraordinary.

Steve Rubel – do you have anything to add?  And, we’re interested to hear from all our listeners, too.

Do you have an idea for a topic you would like us to discuss? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Posted written by Martin Waxman .


  1. As a final year marketing student about to embark on a summer internship I would be grateful if you could discuss what you guys think makes a good intern, examples of good students you’ve had and common mistakes that you’ve seen them make.

  2. Paula McArthur

    I agree with the movies that you included on your list and have a few more I wish to add that show (sometimes with humour) the power and importance of PR.

    In “Chicago”, one of my favourite scenes and songs in the movie is “We Both Reached for the Gun”. In this scene, Richard Gere (Billy Flynn) puppeteers Renee Zellweger (Roxie Hart) as they “spin” their story about why Roxie shot and killed her husband.

    In “Arthur”, PR is depicted in a comical way with the main premise of the movie being that a fun-loving, alcoholic, child-like man is almost forced to marry a woman that he doesn’t love, all in the name of protecting the reputation and image of the family-owned business.

    In “Flash of Genius”, a simple man must fight against the giant PR and legal teams of the Ford Motor Company just to prove that he is responsible for inventing the windshield wiper for the car.


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