Glossy adverts battle age-old architecture in Berlin

Having just spent a couple of days in Berlin, my lasting impression was the continual rebuilding of buildings damaged or destroyed by war.

In stark contrast to these old buildings though, newness can be found in pockets around the city. Rather out-of-place and out of character, the new creeps in via enormous glossy billboard advertising and an impossible-to-miss television tower that stands at 368 metres tall. 

Berlin's TV tower (right) standing in stark contrast to the city's cathedral (left). Image source: metrolic.com

Along with the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, this ultra-modern TV tower is now an undeniable part of Berlin’s tourist scene, but a visit to it feels like a trip to somewhere entirely different to the rest of the city.

While most European cities have found a way to seamlessly balance their character and history with much more modern aspects, it felt to me as if Berlin struggled so much more than many others. Ironic, really, since its history is far more recent by comparison.

While Rome, Paris and London boast bright lights, technology and plenty of old charm, Berlin seemed as though it couldn’t really accommodate the old and the new.

Perhaps that’s what sets it apart from the rest, but it’s sure to prove a challenge for many years to come for modern-day advertisers who wish to capitalise on Germany’s capital city by erecting billboards and perhaps even digital ad screens to promote their wares.

State of Play and the PR industry

I watched the film State of Play on Saturday night and, as is often the case nowadays, I couldn’t help but think about my professional life and this blog as the story unfolded – much to my other half’s annoyance!

The movie follows a Washington Post reporter (played by Russell Crowe) as he tries to get to the bottom of a political defence spending scandal.

Russell Crowe as a Washington Post reporter in State of Play. Source: Washingtonpost.com

The fictional reporter charms police detectives, runaways and even coroners to uncover evidence that would never usually reach the public domain. The reporter also uncovers evidence that helps the police team that’s investigating the case.

While it’s an entirely fictional scenario, it got me thinking about the real value of good contacts and the shared benefits that these relationships can bring.

For instance, in the PR industry, good journalist contacts can pay dividends. Being warned about a negative story before it breaks can allow PR professionals to contact those involved and prepare reactive statements ahead of time. It can also lead to lesser known clients being invited to comment on relevant, high-profile stories.

For journalists, a strong relationship with a PR professional can guarantee them exclusives on the biggest stories. It can also get them access to influential individuals who might not normally agree to be interviewed.

While this blog isn’t a place for movie reviews, I’d highly recommend State of Play. It was a smart, clever, engaging film that I also found a bit inspiring!