Drayton Bird, the marketing legend, attacks a wrap-around newspaper advertisement by Volvo. The promise of the advert is hidden and vague. Drayton’s conclusion: bad advertising is to blame for Volvo’s European sales slumping 11.3%.

But his explanation of what caused the advertising to be poor interests me most. He writes:

What causes this sort of piffle – particularly rife in car and financial advertising? Not lack of talent. Lack of study. And conceit: a belief that it’s easy.

That’s just as true in public relations, because what PR people do seems obvious, when, in fact, it requires skill and knowledge.

Too few practitioners have even heard of the legendary figures of PR, such as Ivy Lee and Sir Basil Clarke, let alone read about them. But it does mean that those who put the time in to study how PR works – practically, not academically – quickly shine.