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Press Releases that Make No Sense… But Work Anyway

Have you ever heard the phrase “the exception that proves the rule?” When you have a steadfast, unwavering rule, it’s inevitable something comes up that breaks it entirely. But when it does, it just shows how true the rule was in the first place because the exception is so “huh?” worthy. 

Big question markThe same goes for press releases. 99% of the time press releases need to follow the rules. The other 1% of the time you come across examples that are weird, wild, and make no sense at all…yet still they do their job beautifully. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Delicate Steve 

Take it from someone who briefly worked at a radio station – there are just so many ways to word a band press release/bio. You talk about the band’s history, give some weird and usually incorrect comparisons to other bands, and top it off with ridiculous adjectives to further describe the music. Sprinkle in some claims of future stardom and you’re done.

That’s why the press release for Delicate Steve is so interesting. The first sentence is awful: “The critics unilaterally concur: Delicate Steve is a band who creates music.” The bio is nonsensical and totally fake. The comparisons to My Bloody Valentine are inept.

But the deeper you get into the story the more you realize how genius it is. If the point of a press release is to grab attention and not let go, this release accomplished its mission. It also manages to become a story in of itself by transcending the form and becoming a statement on the nature of public relations.

Groupon 

When you’re known for putting out one kind of statement but are suddenly forced to break that tradition, it can chase readers and customers away. They may think you’ve suddenly turned on them or “sold out” in some manner.

Groupon knew this when drafting up a press release to coincide with the filing for their IPO a few years back. The US Securities and Exchange Commission wouldn’t allow them to hype up the company or speak in their usual manner as they could’ve been accused of breaking some pretty serious rules. Groupon was in danger of chasing away some of their audience.

To counter this, they included a caveat at the top of the press release describing the rest of it as “yawn-inducing.” Not only did this put readers’ minds at ease about the company, it cheekily showed that not much was going to change just because the business was growing.

Sterling Cooper

Yes, even the world of Don Draper has examples of strange press releases. This one was actually sent out in the real world and is marked as being from 1968. It was sent out to TV reviewers and journalists immediately after the end of the penultimate episode of the latest season.

What makes it so strange is this is the first example I can recall of any show using a press release as an off-show teaser, though considering Mad Men’s focus it’s no surprise. What did it all mean? Did any of the info in the press release have anything to do with the show? No spoilers here, but needless to say the release caught everyone’s attention.

What’s the craziest successful press release you’ve ever seen?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html

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