Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pinsky, Penn, & Press Release Quotes

Many years ago I got a job in a PR agency because I wanted to "write" for a living. Sure I really wanted to write novels and Godfather 4, but writing PR collateral on behalf of corporate clients provides the chance to write, although opportunities for creativity are generally few and far between.

The one chance to add a dash to creativity in press releases often comes when quoting an executive or official for their thoughts about the news being announced. (My first day in the agency I didn't understand the process, and laughs sounded when I asked for the phone number of the client CEO I was told to "quote.")

My personal favorite PR release quote was one I did for Robert Pinsky, back when he was the US Poet Laureate.

Our client, the first online wine retailer, had granted him a monthly wine allowance (through its wine club), just as the British had been doing for their poet laureates for centuries on end. So I whipped something up and sent it to Mr. Pinsky for his approval. To my pleasant surprise he made just a slight tweak on the back end and voila! The release was on the wire.

In the years since "working" with Robert Pinksy, I've enjoyed reading his poems and criticism, and watching him on televised programs like PBS's News Hour. I'll never forget his participation, however, on Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report. Here he is, having the final say in the Meta-Free-Phor-All between Colbert and Sean Penn:

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