Jack O’Dwyer Misunderstands PRSA 2010 Assembly Flash Mob

PR news beat fixture and legendary curmudgeon Jack O’Dwyer actually wrote about the Flash Mob organized yesterday at the PRSA International Assembly.  (I know, I can’t believe it either).  His assessment is … less than accurate (which I know will be surprising to a lot of PRSA members):

“While talking to Stevens, about 20 delegates formed a line and began presenting us with pens.

Bewildered, we started accepting them since delegates were all smiling and this did not look like any criticism of us.

Most just walked away but one finally explained that our blogs on the APR issue had reached a “flashpoint” (gone viral) in Twitter and blogville and that we were being given pens as a recognition of our efforts to communicate.”  (Source)

First, I should say that PRSA had nothing to do with the flash mob.  It was a bunch of goofballs like me who happened to be delegates.  We thought we’d liven up the assembly and have some fun paying tribute to Jack for his tenacious (if occasionally misguided) work to cover PRSA.

I think most PR people would describe their relationship with Jack as similar to that of an exasperating relative; in the end we’re all family, but he can be frustrating to interact with.

We opted to present him with disposable pens in the same way the faculty of Princeton presented John Forbes Nash with their pens in the memorable scene toward the end of “A Beautiful Mind.”  We thought it fitting as both Nash and O’Dwyer occasionally have had difficulty matching their version of reality with the version experienced by others.  Using the power of social media (primarily Twitter), we coordinated a flash mob to go into effect at 2:45 p.m. when the assembly took a break.

This was the result:

It was a lot of fun, and we decided to extend the flash mob to the entire PRSA 2010 International Conference – so if you see Jack O’Dwyer in the hall, take a moment to present him with the “tribute” of a disposable pen.

3 thoughts on “Jack O’Dwyer Misunderstands PRSA 2010 Assembly Flash Mob

  1. Jack O'Dwyer says:

    Hi Derek:

    Thanks for all this attention!

    Here’s the story from the top. The O’Dwyer Co. with its five excellent products is the No. 1 competitor to PRSA.

    Their constant bashing of us springs from competitive zeal and is the normal operation of the competitive marketplace.

    PR pros who understand the tooth and claw nature of business will thrive. Don’t ever ask a company to judge the products of a competitor.

    Our website, with 10 years (as of Dec. 31, 2010) of stories, editorials, databases, etc., is the largest of its type and dwarfs whatever is on the Society website. Less than 5% of our content is about the Society so if you don’t follow us because of what the Society says you’re missing a lot.

    The website has about 525 advertisers including 400 PR firms who pay to be listed.

    Our Oct. magazine (now in its 24th year) had 60 pages including 18 full page ads and 12 partial pages. Strategist had 50 pages and only 10 full page ads.

    Each issue includes coverage of a specialty–where PR went about 20 years ago. These are healthcare, tech, financial, food, etc.
    The Society is far behind the times in talking about PR in general.

    Our 370-page Dir. of PR Firms lists 1,700 firms and brings them lots of business. We also have a directory of 1,000 PR services in 57 categories and a weekly newsletter. The Society has no printed directors (but should make its membership list available in PDF form).

    The net nut is that the Society, as a non-profit, has no business competing with any taxpaying business. It violates this.
    It cites Robert’s Rules but did everything to Robert’s except shred a copy on the state. Robert’s does no allow proxy votes.

    Robert’s says delegates should address each other “through the chair.” You and other delegates should have mounted the stage and addressed each other. What leaders do is put you in a subservient position and the delegates don’t even realize this.

    The Society, which won’t let us advertise our five products in Society media, is depriving its members of much valuable news, information and how-to articles.

    I would like the names of the others who gave me pens. I’m not going to hurt them.

    Also, if anyone around here is detached from reality, it’s the Assembly, as noted by Daryl McCullough of Paine PR. He said it’s about time someone told the Assembly it has “no clothes on.”




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