Much to my chagrin, zombies are having their moment in the proverbial sun. I am a self-professed weenie (it really is the most apt description) when it comes to the undead.
However, our rotting friends make for a delightfully apt metaphor for the industry’s current pet peeve: The AVE. Much like the hero at the end of a horror film, many PR pros find themselves screaming “why won’t you just die?!”
Recently, I had the pleasure of judging entries for a fellow PRSA chapter. I happen to find the process of judging to be inspiring. From campaigns that make you jealous you didn’t create them, to crisis communications that make you glad your days are a little boring sometimes, having the chance to look at well-executed PR, provides a creative jolt this girl can’t get enough of.
However, judging also brought me face to book with one of my biggest pet peeves: The AVE. I know that there are a lot of great articles out there about why AVE’s are bad and lazy and destructive to our plight for credibility. This isn’t going to be one of those articles.
This is an article calling for a PR war on the AVE. Surely if anyone can come up with a way to make every PR person in the nation (world?) embarrassed to talk AVE’s with clients, co-workers and cohorts, it has to be those of us in the PR industry. Our people were on the front line of turning smoking from the coolest thing you could possibly do to that sad activity people do outside of movie theatres. We can make quoting AVE’s that sad thing.
It’s not about providing alternatives; they already exist and have been well publicized. It’s not about making the case against AVE’s to those who use them. They have already heard that AVE’s are bad. It has to be about making clients understand that they deserve better. When they know to ask for real results that tie to business goals, silly guesses about value simply won’t stand.
PR’s who understand the new (and far improved) metrics will benefit from an informed client and clients will benefit from seeing real results. PR as a whole will benefit from finally being rid of a measure of success that’s a ridiculous as many outside our profession believe us to be.
It’s time to kill the AVE; kill it dead and make sure it cannot rise again.