PR response without meaning

Some companies do things by the book – the PR textbook. The result is often an insincere response to the issue or crisis.

Take BHP, one of the world’s largest companies.

The Sydney Morning Herald (29 Dec) reported the company’s coal mining activities could damage a heritage-listed canal, which in turn could affect part of Sydney’s water supply.

With big dollars at stake, the company produced a mealy-mouthed statement from a PR spokeswoman.

The statement surely came out of a PR textbook: it was clinical, highly-structured and jam-packed with ‘quaint’ words like “stakeholders, infrastructure owners, structural integrity, rigorous risk assessment, independent peer review”. (See full story).

This is nothing more than BHP (the same company whose Ok Tedi mine gouges out pristine wilderness in Papua New Guinea) saying: “we went through the motions but we were always going to mine”.

I’d have thought they could have written it without the jargon. If they’re going to ruin the landscape, and perhaps part of Sydney’s water supply, they could at least sound sincere about it.

This type of amateurish PR response should be consigned to the archives.

For more information on BHP’s activities in PNG see CorpWatch.

This blog can also be found at the  PR Lab business site (


One thought on “PR response without meaning”

  1. Nice post.

    Unfortunately this is what our profession has devolved to. Ghastly, jargon-filled non-statements. Empty word with big consequences and a public discourse so corrupted that average people tune out… which is good for the paying clients I guess, because they get what they want. But the rest of us lose out.

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