Thursday, November 5, 2009

Now on the Spin Cycle: Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Connection"

Associated Press is reporting today that Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is taking over a joint venture between Warren and Reader's Digest because the multimedia project, the "Purpose Driven Connection," has collapsed. The project included a print magazine of the same name sold by subscription; the print edition will fold after its last issue prints this month and the magazine will be available on the project's Web site at no charge.

Warren's explanation for this made me laugh out loud: "The positive response from readers was so overwhelming we didn't want the content to be limited only to Americans who could afford a subscription to a magazine," Warren said.

The translation for people who don't speak PR?

"We didn't get enough subscribers to sustain what is essentially an ego-driven publication, but because of that ego, we can't admit failure. The logical response is to put the publication online to save face," Warren said.

I understand the need to spin a negative situation so it looks like a positive one. I'll even admit that I spent too much time on the spin cycle. But this one is just too . . . well . . . too spun. How about a little more honesty, a tad more authenticity, in the positioning? Why not just say, "We launched this magazine during the worst period in this country's economic history in decades, but we're not ready to give up. We're taking it online to regroup," Warren said. "This approach will also allow us to reach more people with our uplifting messages, which is never a bad thing."

What's the best PR spin you've seen lately?

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