Late last week, Arik Hanson had an interesting blog post about PR flameouts and asked if we’re hurting, or helping, the industry by talking about them.

His point was about the Ocean Marketing debacle (and also included The Bloggess when she called out a PR professional by name) and whether or not it’s helpful to continue talking about these things.

If you don’t know what happened with Ocean Marketing, I encourage you to read Kevin Dugan’s post about it on Bad Pitch Blog.  I won’t rehash it for you.

If you’re a regular reader of Spin Sucks, you know I’m an advocate of attacking an idea, but not a person. There is way too much agreement in the social media chamber. Unfortunately, if someone disagrees with you, they typically won’t comment or say anything. They just stop reading.

And that’s a shame. The only way we learn is to debate with an open mind. If we surround ourselves with people who agree with us all the time, we’ll stall.

Over here, when we see something that seems crazy to us, we blog about it. After all, the name of the blog is Spin Sucks.

But Arik made me stop and think about whether or not we’re doing our clients, prospective clients, and the industry a service by talking about the things everyone can learn from flameouts.

There are some really good comments on the blog post, but I especially  like what Scott Hepburn said.

While I agree with Scott, this also gave me reason to stop and think. Do we subconsciously do those things when we blog about mishaps? When I jokingly said we should have a weekly Moron Award, was I sending a message that Arment Dietrich is the only integrated marketing and communication firm that knows what it’s doing?

But the conclusion I came to is that, while I think both Arik and Scott are right and there likely are bloggers and “experts” who put people down in order to pump themselves up, our goal here is to provide professional development for PR and marketing pros. And sometimes that includes showing examples of how not to do things in order to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

When it comes down to it, there is a big difference between laughing at failures of others and learning from their mistakes. After all, if we had to learn everything all by ourselves, the world wouldn’t move as quickly as it does.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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