Keep Peggy Olson’s ambition, but ditch the drab duds

Written by:Lauren Wasley, Creative Media & PR Strategist at energi PR, Toronto.

With Mad Men on its final run, it’s time to follow suit and modernize your workplace attire

We’re not accountants or corporate lawyers, but why do many PR agency professionals insist on dressing the part? This question plagues my mind at night as I toss and turn amidst bouts of insomnia, counting the tiny number of bumps in my popcorn ceiling.

Ok, that was mildly exaggerated, BUT it is a topic I often think about.

As a professional in a creative field, it makes sense to show a little bit of personality and style when dressing for the job. Now, I’m not saying wear flip flops and overalls to the office, because they’re never ok, but I do think it’s time to leave the 1960s rule book at home.  Yes, Don Draper is THE MAN, I get it, but restrictive suits, ties and (for women) nude pantyhose don’t need to be your every day.

Now there are times when it’s appropriate, of course. For example, your agency could be pitching a conservative client; attending a high level meeting or presenting at a global conference. All scenarios where you might want to find your Sunday best.

But what if you’re in a brainstorm for the latest energy drink? Or working with a fashion-forward new designer? As PR professionals we’re expected to be in-the-know and “on trend” and sometimes that ill-fitting tweed blazer with oversized shoulder pads isn’t the best demonstration of that.

Just like food, exercise and sleep, fashion trends should be used in moderation. Brightly painted nails, leather biker jackets, colourful socks and even (gasp!) jeans can be incorporated into your wardrobe if you’re properly prepared. Just leave a spare blazer and nice shoes in the office and you’ll be fancied up in no time. Seriously, Superman will have nothing on you.


Lauren Wasley

Lauren Wasley


After July 1st, will you be King of the CASL? Or Just a Dirty Rascal?

If there is any doubt about whether I am frustrated, cynical or just plain grumpy over this CASL law, the answer is yes to all three. I might feel differently if I was a lawyer, or could have one permanently on staff, but that’s not the case.

As CEO of energi PR, a mid-sized, independently owned, Canadian public relations firm, I am trying to understand why Canada’s anti-spam law needed to be so complicated and costly to implement. The law applies to all individuals and businesses sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) and so, ignorance or a lack of sophistication or resources will presumably not be an excuse to be deviant. And so the rational part of my brain says, wait a minute all you small and medium-sized business that form the cornerstone of the Canadian economy and are trying to do business, win business and stay in business, why would anyone want to penalize those Canadian businesses who do not send SPAM? Ours is the business of public relations. We tell stories. From important medical discoveries to the colour of a new lipstick – and everything in between. Those who take these stories and develop them for their audiences and communities generally want to hear from us and, even when they occasionally might become annoyed by a bit of persistence, they would hardly describe our email communications as SPAM.

Yes, we want to ENLARGE our client’s business and our own, but does this compare in any way with penis enlargement supplements, the latest weight loss scheme or an invitation to meet the woman or man of your dreams?

Make no mistake. energi PR is CASL compliant. We’ve distributed our consent requests, hired one of the country’s most knowledgeable internet law specialists, engaged our IT team, implemented a contact management system, ensured that our email signatures provide an unsubscribe function, trained our team, documented our procedures and anointed a Compliance Officer. Can you imagine any better use of our resources?

As I said at the start of this rant, I am tired and grumpy about all of the machinations and cost that CASL has imposed. But I am also sympathetic to those in PR and in other businesses who simply do not have the wherewithal to jump into the CASL action.. The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms, an industry association that represents more than 25 of Canada’s leading PR firms, of which energi PR is a founding member, has further supported its members by obtaining its own legal opinion that focuses on our stock and trade, including communications with journalists. The Canadian Public Relations Society webinar explaining CASL is another valuable resource for our profession.

I agree that SPAM is annoying and efforts should be made to eliminate it. I also don’t think that the authors of CASL were intentionally mean-spirited. But sometimes even the very best of intentions come back to bite one on the butt. My sense is that CASL will have little impact on the email junk we’ve received to date and convinced that unnecessary obstacles have been put in place for honest, legitimate individuals and companies that want to be profitable and contribute to Canada’s economy and society. I would have much rather have made a charitable donation than pour thousands of dollars into CASL compliance.

As a final note. I started in business before fax machines were invented. Who knows, maybe making the Canadian commercial email message such a villain will force us back into personal business interaction, which wouldn’t be so bad.


Carol Levine (@Carol_levine) is co-founder and Managing founder of energi PR, digital, communications, an award-winning independently owned Canadian PR consultancy established in 1990 with offices in Toronto and Montreal. energi PR is the Canadian affiliate of the Public Relations Global Network, providing expertise in consumer and healthcare public relations to national and multinational brands. Carol is the immediate past Chair of the Canadian Council of Public Relations firms and is a 2013 Inductee in the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame as well as a Fellow of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Feeling entitled? You won’t get a glass slipper working in PR.

Written by:Lauren Wasley, Creative Media & PR Strategist at energi PR, Toronto.

Maybe I’m getting old, but after almost seven years in the industry I’m beginning to feel a growing sense of disconnect between myself and many of the new graduates I’ve met lately. I grew up with parents who ingrained that hard work pays off ethic into me at an early age. My first job, at 14, was a paper route which I thoroughly despised (braving the elements with a cart full of newspapers is not my forte), and so as soon as I was able I get a “proper” job, I did. It was at a pharmacy and that job remained a constant fixture in my life for a good seven years as I went through numerous other part-time jobs and paid my way through school.

But I digress.

The root of this disconnect is this sense of entitlement that seems to exist in today’s young workforce. New PR school graduates may have the theory down, but doesn’t mean they are immediately capable of putting it into practice. A good PR practitioner has years of experience under their belt. Media monitoring and reporting, for example, is often viewed with disdain, but it’s actually an ideal task to ease new PR practitioners into their roles.  So what am I missing? Do they not realize the importance of this vital task? Securing and sharing editorial coverage is what we get paid for. Arguably, it is one of the most important tasks we do, alongside media relations.

The industry has also advanced a lot in the years since I was an intern. I remember having to come in earlier than my colleagues to read each newspaper and magazine. This was followed by ninja-like Google searches. Then I’d scan and format each clip one by one in a nicely formatted word document and evaluate MANUALLY to get a dollar value (ruler and calculator in hand).

Nowadays most agencies use programs like Cision which do all this for you – that’s right, all of it. See these new graduates are unlikely to ever experience a world where newspaper-stained fingers are a daily occurrence, or where sourcing event decor or product for a mailer meant running around Chinatown in the middle of a snowstorm in 4 inch heels. They can just go online.

I think what new graduates need to understand is that in every job, and at every level, there is some tedious (and maybe undesirable) work to be done. It’s inescapable. But, if you can check your ego at the door, you’ll be just fine, trust me.

Lauren Wasley

Lauren Wasley


energi PR’s position on the April 7th Quebec Provincial Election

energi PR is one of less than a handful of members of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms that began its business in Quebec before expanding to Ontario.  We hung out our shingle as Communications MECA in  1990 with a clear vision to be a national public relations consulting firm that just happened to be headquartered in Montreal. Independently owned, we were reportedly the only  PR “boutique” (ugh, we hate that term) that had bricks and mortar in two major markets. As such, we provided an option to clients who liked working with a smaller shop but who expected seamless service in English and French Canada. Born and bred in QC, we knew the market, had the connections, spoke the language and understood the political, social, behavioral and attitudinal differences. Counselling Quebec-based companies wanting to do business elsewhere in Canada and the US or firms wanting to come to the Quebec market, we bridged the gap ensuring that programs were neither Montreal or Toronto centric. We’re still here nearly 25 years later.

While politics and religion are two topics you want to avoid in a business context,  we believe it’s  important to our current and future employees, clients and colleagues that we make our views clear with respect  to the current government’s platform of sovereignty as well as to two specific pieces of proposed legislation – Bills 60 and 14.  Should the Parti Quebec government be re-elected with a majority government (not likely given recent polls)  it is our opinion that the way energi PR does business in Quebec and how YOU do business in Quebec will change, and not for the better.

If you live in the ROC it is likely you are bored by this cyclical “neverendum” referendum discussion and either could not care less or feel that you and your firms will not be affected. You may have read about PQ candidate Pierre Karl Peladeau, who in his fist pumping remarks on being named a candidate professed his determination to leave his children a country. He did not mean Canada.

The electoral campaign has gone downhill from then.

energi PR believes in a Quebec within Canada. We believe that the preservation and dominance of the French language and culture should not come at the expense of the rights and freedoms of other cultural and linguistic communities.  We believe that Bill 60 and its proposed ban on “ostentatious” religious symbols for public sector employees including day care workers, healthcare professionals and teachers, described in part as the hijab, turban and kippah is not only restrictive, but will escalate the fear, public humiliation, intolerance and violence that has already been manifested and felt by our citizens.

On Monday, April 7th, Quebeckers will vote to elect their government. We hope that the people speak with a voice of inclusion and respect.

Written by Carol Levine and Esther Buchsbaum, co-founders, energi PR


ABOUT energi PR
energi PR founded in 1990, is a full service, bilingual, independently-owned firm specializing in public relations, social media/digital and corporate communications. With offices in Montreal and Toronto, energi PR delivers integrated public relations services to national and multi-national clients in the consumer and healthcare sectors. energi PR is a founding member of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms and is the Canadian affiliate of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) that offers representation in more than 80 markets on six continents. Please visit:





When Crisis Occurs… Who Ya Gonna Call?

Written by:Jacqueline Zonneville, Account Director with energi PR’s Healthcare Practice in Toronto

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a training session focused on Communications for Risk, Issues and Crisis Management. The day was spent examining the principles/differentiating factors of risks, issues and crisis, and strategic approaches to effectively manage each. Following, my fellow participants and I had the opportunity to put theory into practice and apply our learnings to a uniquely designed mock scenario. A very rewarding experience!

As a PR practitioner focusing on health and wellness, I find myself more and more fascinated by the intricacies of crisis communications, and best practices to weather the storm so to speak. And here’s why (most of which won’t be new to my fellow practitioners, but hopefully of interest nonetheless):

  • Crisis never sleeps; it can occur at any time: Take the recent Malaysian Airlines crisis, for example. A round-the-clock communications effort was employed to keep the public up-to-date with accurate information, and to correct the multitude of inaccurate reports making their way onto various media and internet channels, etc. Not to mention, with the rise of social media, a whole new set of crises are making their way to the public eye!
  • Crisis requires a forward-thinking approach: When crisis occurs, there’s no going back. All companies can do is find an effective way forward, and to regularly communicate the steps being taken to course correct. Remember, Mohammed went right to the mountain. He didn’t run and hide or back away from it.
  • Crisis has punch: Depending on how an organization conducts itself during a crisis, it can allow for an opportunity to gain public support by demonstrating overall worth/goodwill throughout the crisis. I think we can all agree that Tylenol recovered well from its 1980’s laced-capsules crisis.

With healthcare communications comes a mixed bag of crises that companies could potentially face – from potential product recalls to black-box label warnings to loss of life, access to medications (or lack thereof) and everything in between.

Some Qs to ask:

  • Is the situation at hand truly a crisis, or are you being faced with an independent issue? Is there a way to contain the issue before it becomes a crisis? Keep in mind, the key differentiator between an issue and a crisis is that an issue relates to an incident whereas as crisis is a more ongoing situation.
  • When in crisis, what are the key messages that are important to convey? Is everyone on your response team in line with this message track and are they effectively communicating with the broader organization?
  • What solutions to address the crisis can/should be highlighted?
  • What are the benchmarks for success for your organization when it comes to effectively managing a crisis?
  • What are the short- and long-term strategies needed?

When all else fails, a friendly piece of advice I came across from Hallmark plaque: “Just take it one gigantic, earth-shattering crisis at a time.”


A “Patient First” Motto is not a USP

Most pharma companies want to be known for putting patients first, for unlocking the mystery of serious illness and for improving the patients’ quality of life. These are noble and well-intentioned goals. But they are also ubiquitous; common to most healthcare- focused organizations, and are often not based on an intimate understanding or regular exposure to the end user.  In the classic client customer dynamic, there are two key players:  the manufacturer/marketer/distributor and the prescriber, almost exclusively the physician. So, is the patient really first?

Consumers of healthcare, a.k.a. patients, increasingly see themselves as the preeminent advocate of their own health and this role may extend to others in their circle including a spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends and even colleagues. Therefore, it’s not difficult to see how a personal connection to acute or chronic illness can grow into activism and advocacy. Taking control over one’s condition; being aware and making informed choices is increasingly the profile of the savvy health consumer. To put patients first means accepting that at the end of the day, the patient voice is louder than you might think.

But how does that relationship work best, achieving everyone’s objectives and maintaining the integrity of the process? The principles may seem like common sense, but when applied diligently, they can make or break this kind of partnership.

10 tips to a happy Industry/Patient Advocacy Group collaboration

  1. Transparency is rule number one. Keeping in mind industry regulations concerning engagement, the groups need to be clear and comfortable with what each party wants to achieve through the collaboration.
  2. Write it down. Expectations should be straightforward and recorded in writing to prevent conflict down the road. This sets a reference point by which to measure progress.
  3. Define success. What is the end game? Describe what this will look like in terms of outcome.
  4. Soft skills. It is important to understand the inherent differences between large, professional, for-profit organizations and volunteer, community based not-for-profit groups. It should not come as a surprise that patient groups will view industry with skepticism.
  5. Trust. Trust is not a quick hit and must be earned over time.  When it is achieved (earned) it will signal the beginning of a strong relationship and greater support.
  6. Listening. The patient journey is more than a drama or the content of a news release. It is why the patient or family is devoting time, not only to help their loved one, but the broader constituency of sufferers. Don’t be afraid to enter their world. This may be about business for the company, but without genuine empathy, patience and compassion you risk being seen as opportunistic.
  7. Messaging. The devil is in the details and the words used in getting the points across will be more important than you may think.  Work together to develop messages that are real and compelling for both parties and each of the appropriate audiences.
  8. Training. Offer the patient advocacy group professional training and development in areas that will be relevant to the work you do together. This might include media appearance training, presentation skills; bring in speakers on public policy, market access, and best practices and show relevant case studies. Don’t discount individual and group needs to fully understand what and how things are done successfully.
  9. Accountability. You never want to ask or be asked about whether something was done. Set up a regular time to connect face to face as well as over teleconference to report and discuss progress. Determine how much and how often you need to communicate. Ideally appoint one individual from each group to be the key contact to avoid confusion.
  10. Don’t walk away when the mission is over. Far too often companies wait until they are desperate for the patient voice or endorsement before engaging with them. Successful organizations do stakeholder mapping early in the game and get to know the groups and key influencers well ahead of a need. By the same token, any good relationship cannot be turned on and off without consequence. Stay engaged at some level through a call or lunch meeting and a contribution to further the organization. And continue to provide information on your organization’s contribution in the areas of research, patient programs, awareness, corporate social responsibility and education.


Carol Levine, energi PRCarol Levine (@Carol_levine) is co-founder and Managing founder of energi PR, digital, communications, an award-winning independently owned Canadian PR consultancy established in 1990 with offices in Toronto and Montreal. energi PR is the Canadian affiliate of the Public Relations Global Network, providing expertise in consumer and healthcare public relations to national and multinational brands. Carol is the immediate past Chair of the Canadian Council of Public Relations firms and is a 2013 Inductee in the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame as well as a Fellow of the Canadian Public Relations Society.


Compliance, AEs and PAAB, oh my!

Written by Allison Goodman, Account Coordinator with energi PR’s Healthcare Practice in Toronto.

A friend and I recently attended a panel discussion and, while mingling with one of the panellists who previously worked in the healthcare industry, we discussed how rarely social media is used by pharma. My friend, who works in mobile advertising, immediately asked if it was just a question of who would do it first/best. The gentleman with whom we were speaking and my response came almost in unison: “It’s more so who’s going to do it first and not get in trouble.”

In today’s world, the integration of social media into a communications plan is almost essential. The pharmaceutical industry; however, is still trying to test the waters before fully taking the plunge. Why?

Well, firstly, there’s the need to be compliant with Health Canada’s regulations. As you may or may not know, the healthcare industry is extremely regulated. It goes something like this:

“A social media platform that encourages disease awareness? Sure, why not?!… Just make sure no one ever, ever makes a comment linking to a treatment or brand.” But how can this be done?

There’s the option on Facebook that allows sponsors to review comments before they’re posted, but doesn’t that bring the whole two-way, transparent conversation concept into question? What’s a disease awareness campaign to do?

In addition to regulation, there’s the issue of adverse event/AE (aka undesired side effect) reporting.  What if a patient broadcasts having a reaction to a treatment? AEs are incredibly serious and should not be addressed the way one might address bad customer service or annoying cell phone contracts. Patients who experience AEs should speak to someone immediately, but in a society where problems are solved with “to the Twitter handle, we go!” how can we ensure patients are connecting with the company in question or a healthcare professional?

And then there was PAAB, the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board whose mission is to “provide a preclearance review that fosters trustworthy healthcare communications within a regulatory framework for the benefit of all stakeholders.” PAAB is committed to ensuring all advertising and communications are equal, accurate, evidence-based and balanced. Its scope includes promotional product communication for prescription, non-prescription, biological and natural health products to professionals in all media…but what about social media? Does everything posted on a social media platform need to be pre-approved? User-generated content (UGC) can be found on the sponsor’s site, but the presence of this content on a sponsored property can go from compliant to non-compliant by the comments that have been made. For example, if users begin a conversation about a product, it becomes promotional and those discussions could be subject to the regulatory requirements of drug advertising. Thus to PAAB it goes.

Does this all sound like more trouble than it’s worth?

There will always be yea-sayers and nay-sayers, so before hopping into the social media world as a pharmaceutical company, it’s important to take the time to really ask questions and think it through.


–       Do you have the in-house capabilities to manage a social media community?

–       Does your company have a social media engagement protocol in place? If not, are you willing to invest in one?

–       Why do you want to join the social world? Who are you trying to reach? What message are you hoping to convey?

And if these questions get to be too much, never fear! Healthcare PR pros are here and want to work through these questions with you. We’re equipped and ready to get creative and social inside the regulation box!


agoodAllison Goodman is an Account Coordinator with energi PR’s Healthcare Practice in Toronto

On Friday February 14th energi PR will be Closed for the Day

Logo - ALKindnessIt was a throw-back to being in elementary school as I sat down last week with a stack of Valentine’s Day cards, an orange pen and envelopes. Yes, there was penmanship involved in this labour of love!

I had a vivid recollection of receiving such a card from a PRSA colleague more years ago than I now care to remember.  At the time I thought the idea was beautiful and especially warm and personal. There is something to be said for getting a Valentine’s Day card when you are an adult. In addition, I thought she was pretty cool to be shutting down her company for a day that wasn’t a statutory holiday. I had admired Patrice Tanaka, now chief counselor and creative strategist at PadillaCRT, from the first time I met her at Counselors Academy, PRSA. A maverick in our industry, Patrice is one of a kind and she ran her agency in the same way. Acts of Love & Kindness (ALK) was her idea and it ultimately had a strong impact on the US PR community.

My business partner and I talked about bringing ALK into Canada for years, but business kept getting in the way. And then something wonderful happened.

Last fall energi PR was engaged to provide strategic direction and execution for the media relations involved in the launch and promotion of the national My Giving Moment campaign, inspired by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. This campaign is all about giving, whether it takes the form of time, talent or money.

On the premise that timing is everything, things moved quickly from there and it didn’t take long for me to get Patrice’s blessing to be the agency to finally bring ALK over the border. Our company wide initiative will launch on February 14th.

Since we started our PR consulting firm in 1990, giving back has been a fundamental part of our culture and something we value 365 days a year. But ALK allows us to amplify the importance of being kind. We felt that closing the office for this purpose would send a powerful message about paying it forward. In time we hope to take the message further by inviting our global partners in the Public Relations Global Network to follow our lead and share a greater number of acts of love and kindness in their countries.

You are invited to follow us online on Facebook and Twitter on February 14, 2014 using the hashtag #energiPRALK.

The ‘Brand New Bag’ of Healthcare Communications

Written by Jacqueline Zonneville, Account Director with energi PR’s Healthcare Practice in Toronto.

As healthcare communicators, my colleagues and I have our own glossary of terms to understand and reference. Compliance, regulations, code of ethics, and governing bodies (Health Canada, PAAB, ASC) have quickly become part of our regular vocabulary.

And why?!

The world of healthcare communications has always been intricate, requiring a balance between innovative thinking and the Canadian regulatory guidelines. Today, more than ever, organizations struggle with how to uphold this balance. They look to us as consultants to ensure appropriate compliance, and to clarify the distinction between various forms of communications channels (i.e.) advertising, public relations, digital media, etc.

Specific to PR, we work with media as a conduit to disseminate important messages to key audiences through editorial coverage about a disease area, therapeutic advancement and so on, on behalf of clients. Here, the concept of editorial, in other words, earned (not bought), is the key! We constantly strive to push our thinking to the limit to ensure creativity that will peak media interest, while achieving brand-supportive messaging in light of the regulations. With that comes a shift in thinking about the use of brand placement.

Common questions that typically arise include: How is a key message document/Q&A used? When can a news release be issued and to who? What level of information can be included in a news release and the supporting media materials, and do they need to be submitted to the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) for review?

Net/net: as communicators in a highly regulated environment, we need to stay up-to-date and compliant with changing regulations, policies, as well as industry trends to deliver the best value to our clients. Reviewing Health Canada’s guidelines is the best starting point –

As the great James Brown made known, “Come here mama…. and dig this crazy scene. He’s not too fancy, but his line is pretty clean. He ain’t no drag. Papa’s got a brand new bag.”


JZonneville-300dpiJacqueline Zonneville is an Account Director with energi PR’s Healthcare Practice in Toronto.


When the elevator doesn’t go all the way up

This post was written by Marlo Taylor, Senior Vice-President and Practice Lead, Healthcare at energi PR in Toronto.

So, here’s the thing. I was at the Economic Club of Canada’s luncheon yesterday. The keynote speaker? Mayor Rob Ford. I admit, I was there out of morbid curiosity. I had yet to experience the Ford phenomenon in person and I wanted to see it for myself. As a PR practitioner and tax-paying Torontonian, I have been following Mr Ford with that looking-through-my-fingers anxiety I usually reserve for crime shows and Drew Barrymore movies.

As it turned out, our esteemed municipal leader arrived more than an hour late for his speech. My table was auctioning off the butter plate by the time lunch and Mr Ford arrived and we’d run through our entire combined repertoire of Ford jokes and impressions. At least we didn’t leave. One full table did.

When he eventually took to the podium, Mr Ford told us he had been stuck in an elevator. And, it seemed, no one believed him. Of course he was stuck in an elevator – wink, wink, nudge, nudge – and we settled in for a canned speech offering us the Ford Nation’s brash, unapologetic version of his accomplishments and contributions to our city. And thank goodness he did. Here I was, believing he had become an unmitigated and parasitic liability on the fine name and well being of our city when all the while he was saving us BILLIONS at every turn and we were living in unprecedented prosperity. Definitely good to know. My bad.

But watching him in action and thinking of him as a client and me as his PR advisor I was struck by a few thoughts. Importantly, it reinforced what I have come to know as immutable truths about public relations.

Most notably:

  • Tell the friggin’ truth. Your reputation is one lie or half truth from being a late night talk show joke. Tell the truth until it hurts. And, when it hurts, learn your lesson, say you are sorry and do better next time.
  • Use good manners. Always. There is no excuse for being late, lazy or lackadaisical. Please, thank you and the whole list of things our moms taught us go a long way to establishing a reputation as dependable, reliable and credible.
  • Understand and respect your audience. Time is valuable. Your time. My time. An audience’s time. If I offer you an opportunity to speak, respect the chance. I’m giving you my time. It’s valuable and I expect you to be relevant, respectful and real.
  • Answer the question. Elephants in the room (and no, that’s not a Ford joke) will continue to dog and flat out squash any PR progress you think you are making until you address the issues head on. Be brave and be transparent. Avoiding questions means you are avoiding accountability. Don’t do that. Own your situation and messages, whatever they may be.

Mr Ford may well have been stuck in that elevator. It’s an unfortunate development in addition to his recent public troubles. But the principles above would have meant that the elevator was a small, laughable glitch a crowd of reasonable business folk would have easily forgiven. But when you don’t adhere to the basics of good communication, you remove yourself from the bank of good will and help ensure that your messages fall on deaf ears. Sadly, Mr Ford’s elevator seems firmly stuck in the PR basement.