Ding-Dong! NYSE Needs Bell Ringers

Last Updated Oct 3, 2008 6:56 PM EDT

The New York Stock Exchange has long stood as the ultimate symbol of American capitalism. So the act of ringing the bell on the platform above the floor has long been a cherished PR photo op for CEOs, visiting dignitaries, celebrities, and other attention-seekers. The unmistakable message these bell ringers were sending: I'm a big fan of American capitalism!

So, in another symbolic sign of the times, the Big Board is having a bit harder time recruiting bell ringers, reports the New York Times:

"Right now, it can be a little bit like being asked to blow the foghorn on the Titanic," said Jim Haggerty, chief executive of the PR Consulting Group, which advises companies on communications strategies.
For its part, the NYSE denies that it's having a problem finding ringers:
"There is huge demand to ring the N.Y.S.E. opening and closing bells, and those people and organizations who participate are respectful of both the global recognition in doing so and prevailing market conditions," said Richard Adamonis, a spokesman for the exchange.
Nevertheless, even the fact that this story is being reported is proof-positive of the mood change that is rocketing through society, with major repercussions on PR and marketing messaging and strategies.

In fact, I've been surprised to see continued financial services ads on TV touting the same message as before The Meltdown. I doubt that these messages are having much of an effect, beyond sending the "pulse" message (we still have a pulse). Over time, I expect these messages and strategies to change, though how, I'm not sure, since this crisis is far from over.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.