It’s (Not) the Real Thing

A number of authoritative voices I follow on Twitter today collectively glommed onto the long-simmering issue of PR-driven corporate speak under the banner “Worst Press Release Ever?”

The catalyst for the extra-carbonated Twitter cooler conjecture was a post by the Wall Street Journal’s “The Deal” blog titled “Coke: Most Unintelligible Press Release Ever?”

In it, The Journal’s Dennis Berman not-unrealistically imagined how such words ended up on the lips of Coca-Cola Company president and CEO Muhtar Kent:

“In fact, we’d like all Deal Journal readers to pay homage to Mr. Kent’s achievement by reading aloud the below paragraphs. We’d like them to savor his words, no doubt hand-picked by a team of attorneys, bankers, PR apparatchiks and outside consultants. Mr. Kent, you are our greatest living artist. We salute you and look forward to using our “passport to winning” so we may follow “the roadmap for winning together.”

Apparatchiks, huh? So what was the offending quote that fell so flat (forgive), and sent Twitter tongues-a waggin’?

“Our 2020 Vision calls for decisive and timely action to continuously improve and evolve our global franchise system to best serve our customers and consumers everywhere,” Kent said in a statement. “Consistent with the 2020 Vision, our roadmap for winning together, we act today as an aligned system….Our new North American structure will create an unparalleled combination of businesses, which will serve as our passport to winning in the world’s largest nonalcoholic ready-to-drink profit pool.”

Wait! There may actually be an aluminum lining in all of this. PR people everywhere now have proof that journalists actually read, and even extract quotes from press releases!