The Absolutely Fabulous world of PR
For ladies of a certain age (in the AB Property Marketing office it seems to be 35 and above), the image of PR was forever defined by Jennifer Saunders’ unforgettable performance as Edina Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous.
Saffy: “I’m sorry, Mum, but I’ve never seen what you actually do”
Saffy: “Yes, but…”
Eddy: “PR! I PR things! People. Places. Concepts.”
Eddy: “Lulu! I PR them! I am, and if you’ve heard of me, I have PR. I make the fabulous. I make the crap into credible. I make the dull into…”
Eddy: “Delicious! I PR, darling!”
As the long awaited new Ab Fab film hits UK cinemas this Friday 1st July 2016, we cast our minds back to what the original series taught us about the world of PR and compare it with the reality we’re living today.
Sadly, the world of PR is not quite the endless whirlwind of lunches, Bolli-Stoli cocktails and designer shopping binges that us impressionable teenage girls were led to believe it would be. It turns out that sometimes you have to do some actual work – like writing press releases, going to meetings and arranging press trips.
Of course, working in PR does have its moments. Sometimes you actually get to go on said press trips. Plus the client liaison side of the business does seem to involve a touch more champagne drinking than many jobs entail. There are glitzy events to attend and fabulous outfits to select for them… but whereas Edina and Patsy drifted effortlessly from one event to the next, pausing only to fall out of the occasional taxi or drink their way through a flight to New York, the reality involves booking venues, arranging catering, managing lists (invites, attendance, maybes, drop outs on the day…) and a great deal of dashing around organising things with barely time to grab lunch.
The reality is that PR is a demanding profession. It’s hard work. Yes, it can also be great fun, but those companies that succeed are the ones that put work before play. Data from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) shows that there is a significant drop out rate once PR professionals reach their 30s. The CIPR’s public relations and policy manager, Andy Ross, observes,
“One thing I would say is that public relations definitely isn’t a lifelong career option for most. This is backed up by our State of the Profession data which shows that only 35 per cent of PR professionals say that PR is a career for life.”
The pressure of the industry isn’t for everyone. Many people who thrive on the pace when they first join do feel burned out by their early 30s. According to the Forbes Top Ten Most Stressful Jobs 2016, only enlisted military personnel, firefighters, pilots, police officers and event coordinators experience more stress in their working lives than public relations professionals.
But there are those of us who stick with it – the 35+ section of the ABPM office team who remember the original Ab Fab and still go into work every day with Edina Monsoon’s many formative pieces of advice firmly in mind. Who, despite the long hours, the ridiculous deadlines and the meetings cancelled at short notice when you’ve travelled for two hours to get there, believe that PR is an absolutely fabulous career.
Charlotte Ashton, Founder of property PR agency, AB Property Marketing and diehard Ab Fab fan, comments,
“I remember watching Eddy and Patsy in the original TV series back in the early 1990’s. As a young teenager I tuned into BBC2 each week from my bedroom, enthralled and appalled in equal measure by their antics but I distinctly recall thinking if this is what PR is, then I want to do it, it looks like fun!
“20 something years later my wish to work in PR has been fulfilled although it’s less Bolli filled and more bloody long hours filled than Eddy and her BFF made it out to be. That said, the appeal of ‘people, places, concepts’ hasn’t waned yet sweetie darling!”
Find out more about the absolutely fabulous ABPM Ladies at http://www.abpropertymarketing.co.uk/who-are-we/ or call 0845 054 7524.