Don’t be a Stooge When It Comes to Marketing

Don’t be a Stooge When It Comes to Marketing

Article at a glance:

  • If you hire a PR firm, let it do its job.
  • Go ahead and make waves – get noticed!
  • Never believe ‘no one’s interested in you.’

The guys I know are all looking forward to The Three Stooges remake opening in theaters this weekend. They think Moe, Larry and Curly’s harebrained schemes, silly missteps, and thwacks, smacks and blindside attacks are hysterically funny.

Heck, I don’t need to go to the movies for slapstick – I’ve got men in my life!  (Kidding, of course.)

Everyone – yes, women, too – can be a stooge now and then. Lifelong “Stooges” fan Alex Hinojosa, our senior campaign manager at EMSI, says if you watch enough of their films, you start seeing their personalities in the people you meet. And just like on the big screen, the Moes, Larrys and Curlys of the world get themselves into loads of trouble. It happens all the time with PR.

The Moe: He’s the client who knows everything. (So why on earth did he hire PR professionals?) Moe will bark and bang and bully to get things done his (or her) way even though he’s never coordinated a media campaign, never worked in radio, TV or newspapers and doesn’t know a tweet from a twit.

He’s the client who insists on rewriting his media pitches because he thinks they should be longer and more detailed. (Succinct communications are what catch the attention of busy journalists and show hosts, but he disagrees.) He insists his angle is much more likely to interest a talk show host, even though he’s never hosted a talk show. Would you perform surgery on yourself? Moe would! And, with disastrous results!

If you’re going to be a Moe, at least get a better haircut.

The Larry: Easygoing and passive, he doesn’t want to stir up controversy or offend anyone. No matter what the medium, he insists on appealing only to audiences and show hosts that already agree with his message, so he misses out on the opportunity to win over new fans – and their friends.

The Larrys are also easily forgotten. If they won’t do, say or write anything provocative during their marketing campaign, they won’t engage their audience, which means few will remember them.

The Larrys tend to quietly go along with everything their PR agency suggests. They don’t ask questions when they have them and they don’t contribute their ideas. Their campaigns may be a bit lackluster, because they’re afraid they’ll bother somebody if they actively participate.

The Curly: He’s the star of the stooges – and he doesn’t even know it. The Curlys are the clients with great stories, powerful messages and a big lack of self-awareness. “Why would anyone want to interview me?” they ask.

In truth, everyone has a great story and a pro will find it and use it. Nothing breaks my heart more than to hear someone tell me, “I was with an agency and I paid them thousands of dollars, but all I got was one mention in a weekly paper in Boondocks, Idaho. No one’s interested in me.”

What a cruel blow to a person’s self-esteem! PR companies that tell you “no one’s interested” are really saying, “We didn’t get results, so we’re blaming you.”

Yes, your message, the energy and interesting content you bring to the media and the quality of your book or product will determine whether you ultimately meet all of your goals. But don’t believe for a minute that no one’s interested in you. It’s simply not true.

From what Alex tells me, the actor who played Curly in the original “Stooges” was painfully insecure in real life. That led to heavy drinking, overeating and other self-destructive behaviors, which took a terrible toll on his health. He suffered a stroke in 1946, never fully recovered and died six years later. Such a sad end for a man who made so many people laugh.

The Three Stooges makes for great entertainment on the big screen, but if you want a successful media campaign, don’t be a stooge!  When you’ve hired a team of professionals with a strong track record and plenty of years in the business, trust them.  Let them do their jobs.

Be ready to participate in your campaign by asking questions, sharing ideas and providing any materials or information that might be useful.

And remember, you do have a story that others want to hear. You’re no less important than the next guy.  Don’t make me knock you over the head with a dead fish for you to believe that!


  1. Wow this is so right on. I am amazed at how many companies hire agencies and then try to micro-manage them rather than allow them to do their jobs. If you have given an agency hard metrics against how they are going to be measured than you should let them do what they have to do to reach those metrics without interfering

    • Rich, I’m so glad that you found my article informative! Have a great day!

      -Marsha 🙂


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