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Secret Weapon in Communications Unveiled

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Secret Weapon in Communications Unveiled

Use All Five, a design firm, is deploying a secret weapon in its effort to save funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s using something called “the fax.”

Don’t laugh. Introduced in 1964 and widely used in the 1980s and 1990s, fax machines manage to hang on, despite the widespread belief that the technology is as obsolete as the homing pigeon and the Pony Express. Even Necco has dropped the “laughably outdated” “Fax Me” as a message on its Sweethearts Valentine’s Day candies.

One place faxes are still used is Capitol Hill. “We were trying to figure out the most interesting way to get the attention of Congress,” Use All Five CEO Levi Brooks told PRWeek. “I read recently that phone calls and emails are difficult to get in front of [members of] Congress, so we were trying to think of other mediums to reach them. Faxing is still widespread in Congress, and that’s an interesting model.”

Others that rely to some degree on faxes are lawyers and physicians. Both like hard copies of documents. But clever publicists now see the fax as a secret weapon. A fax can “stand out in an increasingly digital crowd,” PC World reports. “An emailed sales pitch or press release is easily deleted with a single keystroke, but faxes require more effort to discard and may actually receive a glance en route to the garbage can.”

Sending a fax is “an awesome trick that often works,” says Brian Chandler of Commonwealth PR.

In a time when tweets, blogs, likes and shares are becoming commonplace, maybe we should reconsider the power of this secret weapon.

Want More Information on This Topic?

Contact Nick DeSarno, manager of digital and communications practice, Public Affairs Council

Additional Resources

Check out the Digital Media and Advocacy Summit, June 13, Washington, D.C.