GOODBYE TO THE LOW PROFILE: The Art of Creative Confrontation by Herb with William Novak Schmertz

GOODBYE TO THE LOW PROFILE: The Art of Creative Confrontation

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Thoroughly engaging commentary with something for almost every taste--and bias--from the Big Oil minion behind assertive ""advertorials,"" Masterpiece Theatre, and other visible paradigms of corporate enterprise. A lawyer and arbitrator by trade, Schmertz (whose avocation seems to be political involvement at the advance-man level) joined Mobil 20 years ago as manager of its labor-relations department. Now vice-president for public affairs, he holds a wide-ranging portfolio that makes him a spokesman for not only his company but also the energy industry and business community at large. On occasion, these responsibilities put Schmertz and his clientele at loggerheads with media and other critics. He recaps a number of such set-tos, including Mobil's widely publicized news boycott of The Wall Street Journal for what it deemed overzealous investigatory reportage. As much memoir as manual, the text offers a wealth of instructive anecdotes and advisories on dealing effectively with the press, government, opinion makers, or other important constituencies with typically low levels of economic literacy. So-called issue advertising has been a key element in Mobil's remarkably successful efforts to communicate its views to a wide as well as influential audience. With examples, Schmertz reprises the long-running campaign whose first entry appeared on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, October 19, 1970--well before the Arab embargo put most international petroleum concerns on the defensive. Just as fascinating is the author's balance-sheet accounting of how Mobil capitalizes on its sponsorship of quality TV programming (imported from the UK for reasons of cost) on the PBS network. As the subtitle suggests, neither the self-assured Schmertz nor his equally forceful employer is reluctant to seize the initiative. The emphatic approach serves both well in this articulate and broadly appealing testament of an organization man with the courage of his convictions.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 1986
Publisher: Little, Brown