Government, WAC, Bend Minds With PR Dollars

The use of Public Relations firms to build support for everything from jails to street cars and now football bowl bids is reaching the level of absurdity.

Does anyone really believe ADVERTISING and promotion will influence coaches and sports writers to grant BSU a bowl game bid?

The most prominent recent PR exercise was the vote of the Boise City Council to dump $90,000 into a campaign to elicit support for the “Desire named Street car.” The CCDC has budgeted another $75,000 for PR on top of city’s$90K for next year.

Boise City and Greater Boise Auditorium District elected officials like to refer to media reports not generated by their paid publicists as, “misinformation and disinformation.” A City Councilor recently made reference to wartime-like efforts on the street car issue.

Boise pays for PR aimed at planting stories in the national media about the virtues of our fair city. We suspect the folks at “Sportstravel” magazine got some outside influence or cash to proclaim a Special Olympics event in Boise to be top sports event in the WORLD for 2009.

When Canyon County voters turned down a jail bond, the immediate response was to draft local businesses into supporting a PR effort–endorsed by a DAILY PAPER EDITORIAL.

Officials of city and county lobbying groups have retained the same PR firm hired by the football promoters to drum up support for a constitutional amendment that would eliminate voter approval of long term debt.

All of these public agencies have their own “public information” staffs. They hire the big guns to mold the minds of the public when their in house efforts to “inform” don’t get the desired results.

We think it is money ill spent. If the politicos come up with a good proposal and the public is willing to foot the bill, it will be approved. Just the facts please, no video or or razzle dazzle.

As for BSU football, we are avid fans, love the Blue, like to see winners. But, just as Boise is not ready for mass rail transit, we are simply not ready for the “big leagues” in college football. We are getting there, but our short history and small enrollment pale when compared to the Big Ten and PAC 10. True we have had some nice wins, but we will get a stronger schedule when other schools find it looks like a profitable venture to play BSU. Be patient, don’t try to manipulate the minds and votes of sports writers and officials because it is bound to backfire.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Office of the CEO
    Consolidated Widget International

    Dear Mayor Bieter:

    We’ve been looking closely at your community, as well as several other potential locations, for a major expansion of our widget manufacturing firm. (Our widgets are the best on the market, which is growing exponentially.)

    Boise was the “short list,” based on your college football team and your generous community support of the Special Olympics. Also because you are such a bike-friendly community; our employees are both community and outdoor minded.

    I regret to inform you that we’ve narrowed our plans down to either Little Rock or Cincinatti. For you see, although college athletics, community and the outdoors are all significant, we feel we can only attract the very best Widget people if we can offer them a Streetcar, as well.

    Best of luck to you and your pathetic little streetcar-less burg.

    Sincerely yours,
    John Dough
    Consolidated Widget

  2. Flyonthewall
    Nov 6, 2009, 5:19 pm

    Boise, one of the top ten cities to live without a street car or a football team that has BCS standings that are percieved as too low.

    Where does the hype stop and reality start to take over. I am reminded of the Movie Wag the Dog.

  3. It doesn’t matter how much you try to convince people that a sow’s ear is a silk purse. Eventually someone notices what is coming out from the other end of the pig. It is really frustrating to spend public tax dollars on something many of us don’t want! The Broncos are a great team, but can’t play at the level of some of the big mid-west and southern teams. This is not meant to be negative, just the real world. And the streetcar, Bieter is just plain nuts!! That was meant to be negative!

  4. Well campaigning seem to work for the Texas coach a few years ago and got them in the National Championship game. Not that we will be there, but it certainly can’t hurt. I mean when you hear that teams like Alabama, Florida,Iowa squeak by, the talking heads say great teams find ways to win, when the Broncos squeak one out, it’s because we are lucky and don’t deserve what we get when it comes to rankings.
    Look over the past 10 years, who has a better record in football other than the Broncos? I know it’s because we don’t play anybody. But if you can go undefeated in the regular season(this could be our 3rd year) it really doesn’t matter what level of competition you are playing, undefeated is undefeated. You have taken the best shots from every team and you still win.
    So let the PR firm try and sell the Broncos, and by the way if the Broncos get into the BCS it helps every team in the league with about an extra 1 million dollars to that school. Then they might be able to get better recruits, and make the league better as a whole.

  5. A correction: In our editorial on the Canyon County jail, Sheriff Chris Smith said a couple of private businesses have approached him about supporting a bond. We were advocating the use of private funding, not public dollars, as your headline says.
    –Kevin Richert, editorial page editor

    EDITOR NOTE–We have fixed the headline.

  6. sam the sham
    Nov 7, 2009, 9:35 am

    I am waiting to see if 90K is going to brain wash me. It should be an exciting experiment because so far just the idea of it has dug my feet in to be against both the trolly and the foot ball follies. I am certain that all 90K will be needed just to wash this one brain. Obviously, the idea is to just get to the easier minds… the ones which (they hope) rarely think for themselves. Or perhaps they are the ones who have been sold a bill of goods by the big PR firm at the expense of the tax payers.

  7. Sober Sentinel
    Nov 7, 2009, 9:46 am

    The fact is, these PR campaigns are effective. Otherwise, our representatives on the City Council wouldn’t be willing to spend so much of our money on them. Moreover, most of the general public won’t find out about these guys misappropriating $90,000 of our money because the local news media (aside from the local talk radio shows) only gives the briefest mention of what Team Dave is doing.

    No wonder Boise voters didn’t bother to show up at the polls to throw these guys out of office!


    There, I’ve subliminalized you and saved massive amounts of PR $$$ If only I could write this in blue.

    Note: I do NOT support the streetcar.

  9. And all this time I thought liberals were against torture! The lack of response from Bieter to the community, the “spinning” of the discussion, and “telling us” what the majority of Boiseans want is certainly “tortuous” to any level of common sense or logic!! Water boarding would seem like a picnic compared to what these idiots are trying to force down our throats!!

  10. Get a clue!
    Nov 7, 2009, 9:46 pm

    KJ Bronco, PLEASE!!!

    If the Garden Valley football team goes undefeated for 10 years does that mean they should play a 5-A school for the state championship? That is what you are saying. Using PR to make BSU SEEM big-time is not going to work. It was a stupid move on behalf of the WAC and the BSU athletic department. Now millions more people know how weak BSU is, especially after their showing Friday night. They just confirmed they are not BCS material and it is going to come back and bite them in the rear-end. I know this sounds harsh, but I am a huge Bronco supporter and season ticket holder. I am also a BSU fan who lives in reality. I went to undergraduate school at a BCS school and then law school at another BCS school. BSU IS like Garden Valley compared to any of these schools. But, there is nothing wrong with being loyal and excited about BSU. It’s our hometown team, kind of like our own child. And, sometimes its tough owning up the weaknesses and faults of our own children.

  11. PR worked for invading Iraq. What’s the big deal?

  12. sam the sham
    Nov 8, 2009, 8:22 am

    I would like to save the tax payers money:

    I now desire the streetcar.

    I now love the BSU Broncos and believe that this city should be renamed Bronco Nation, the name of the University here should be renamed Bronco Nation University. And only the colors blue and orange are allowed: homes, cars, the streetcar, clothing, hair, dogs. As long as this is what the wonderful Mayor and City Council wants. All hail to the Mayor and City Council.

  13. Get A Clue (PS)
    Nov 8, 2009, 12:51 pm

    PS (from Get a Clue) – The PR really helped up this week. TCU, who declined PR, moved up and BSU dropped to #6. And, I thought this was good perspective from an ESPN reporter today:
    Posted by’s Ted Miller

    What did we learn from Week 10 of Pac-10 action?

    1. The Pac-10 is out of the nation title hunt (again): With Oregon’s defeat at Stanford, every Pac-10 team now has at least two losses. That’s not going to get a team to the late game in Pasadena. Athletic directors and conference administrators might want to think about two things: 1. Less ambitious nonconference scheduling; 2. End the nine-game, round-robin conference schedule. The way to remain unbeaten — or to maximize win potential in the conference, top to bottom — is to play schedules like most of the teams that are presently unbeaten play. On the positive side, the Oregon vs. Boise State rankings debate is likely solved. At least in terms of its meaning within the BCS picture.

  14. PR firms just make sure hope keeps springing eternal. sigh

  15. What cost a streetcar? More lost jobs, early retirements for solid workers, more taxes, disrupted streets and businesses? In all seriousness, the PR dollars being spent in this state on frivolous projects during a recession are an absolute rape of taxpayers. As a contractor, I could do the job for a third of the cost. However, I don’t believe in the project. I hope the petition calling for a vote on the issue is successful and that voters get a clue and halt the effort before their jobs fall victim to elitist nonsense. Way too much emphasis and money spent on football. Unemployment figures rise weekly, foreclosures continue to climb, etc. To pretend that all is well is reason enough to dump insincere incumbents who continue the farce. 2010, 2011, 2012.

  16. Get a Clue, please use your name and ‘get a clue’ BSU went up to #6 this week. ANd are you saying that the football team in Garden Valley should not get a chance to play the 5-a schools? First of all let’s compare apples to apples, isn’t GV a 8 man team? If they were 11 man why not? The same thing with the BCS, why not let the non BCS schools get their chance. So far they are 3-1 in BCS bowls. Pretty good record I’d say. And trust me TCU is using PR to get where they are, might not be a specific firm but they are working the system. Nothing wrong with that either.

  17. Get A Clue (PS)
    Nov 9, 2009, 7:10 pm

    KJ Bronco:
    1) Where is your name?
    2) Even if GV was 11 man, your scenrio is just dumb. Again, get a clue.
    3) My brother is an administrator at TCU in athletics and he just confirmed for me an hour ago that are NOT have not been using PR firm tactics. So, get your facts straight. They have been playing better teams and doing everything right to become a BCS school. Hiring a PR firm when you can’t control the outcome each weak is just stupid. And, mark my words. This will come back to haunt BSU in the butt.
    4) Finally, they went DOWN to #6 from #5. Wow, the PR firm is working wonders. Now the whole world is aware of their weak schedule and their weak showing on Friday night.

  18. Get A Clue (PS)
    Nov 9, 2009, 7:12 pm

    Just in case anyone wants to verify that they went down, either google the two polls or check out the Statesman. It’s official folk, they went down. Maybe KJ is the pr firm trying to spin and confuse people.

    EDITOR NOTE–BSU moved UP one spot, from 7 to 6 in the BCS. Looks like everyone is correct because USA and AP both show BSU went from 5 to 6 in their rankings.

  19. Why to they think the answer to the jail problem is more and bigger . They could learn from “Sheriff Joe” in Arizona. Why don’t they? Why do they need bunks to sleep on? The homeless don’t. What’s wrong with mats on the floor. I asked the Statesman. They won’t print my letter !

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