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How PR Tried to Take Away ‘Black Friday’

you have to fight

So here I am, wrapped in my Santa Snuggie with a Turkey hat, going in and out of a gravy-induced coma while beset by media coverage of “Black Friday.”

The mayhem. The carnage. The humanity.

I thought this day of delirium had to do with getting stores “in the black,” but then I stumbled upon a Big Friday fact that I didn’t know:

PR tried to kill it…or at least spruce up its reputation a bit.

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Man Tries To Save the Environment by Being Eaten By a Snake

rosolieIf you’ve seen any commercials on the Discovery Channel lately, you’ve seen the one where a group of people carry a ginormous snake while a man in a Hazmat-looking suit talks about how he’s going to let that snake eat him.

That snake is an anaconda and the man is environmentalist Paul Rosolie. He told Entertainment Weekly (sub req’d) that he’s doing the stunt to raise awareness about environmental degradation.

“People care about animals; they don’t make the jump to caring about the habitat the animals live in… So I wanted to do something that would force a dialogue about what’s going on here – and it’s working,” he told the magazine.

The man has got a point. But when I first saw the ad, I’m thinking, “This can’t be good for the snake.” (Please note: I know nothing about snakes except that they enjoy vacationing on New York City toilets.)

But a lot of others also had that same thought.

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Giving Thanks for the PRSA and The National Dog Show

Today we’d like to take a moment to give thanks for a few things we like: the PRSA, the many professionals whose hard work defines the public relations industry, and The National Dog Show. We mention them in the same sentence because they have something in common this year: John O’Hurley, veteran actor and TV presenter who we will always know as one Jacopo “J” Peterman.

Here he is discussing the show dogs’ “elevated sense of awareness”:

Coincidentally, Mr. O’Hurley also happened to host the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles PRSA’s annual PRism awards last week at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Details and pics after the jump.

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The Ticker: Giving Thanks; Macy’s Balloons; EU Google Vote; And More

Target CEO on Data Breach: ‘This Is an Industry Issue’

In a smart move, Target‘s CEO made an appearance today on The CBS Early Show to talk about all things leading into Black Friday.

With regards to the data breach, Brian Cornell framed the ongoing issue as one that the whole industry has to deal with, reassuring Gayle King that they’re doing all they can daily to protect customers’ privacy.

The company is finally starting to see some turnaround after a few quarters where the brand was badly damaged by the breach. Profits were up more than three percent in the third quarter to $352 million.

The other big issue he addressed were the Thanksgiving store openings. Every year, people kick up a fuss. Every year, the stores open on Thanksgiving Day. Every year the explanation is that despite the outrage, there are a lot of shoppers who want to be in the stores on Turkey Day.

Cornell’s response to that is interesting.

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It’s Time We Gave Bad Pitches a New Name: ‘MULGE’

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This is a guest post by Ed Zitron, EZ-PR founder, Inc. columnist and author of This Is How You Pitch.

Every industry has its own specific terminology and neologisms. The PR industry has done fairly well at creating a few – “pitching,” “source-filing” and more – but we don’t have many of our own straight-up words.

TV producers, bloggers and reporters regularly receive 400-word blasted emails that don’t actually say much of actually other than how good a given client is. As I’ve established in the past, it’s my belief that this is what everyday PR pitches are like. At no point should anyone in our industry pretend that this is not what goes out every day from most agencies, whether the messages come from an Account Executive or a Director.

Mail-merging aside, unread and unlovable email blobs unfortunately remain standard practice.

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Edelman, TransCanada Part Ways

transcanada

Today, more than a week after Greenpeace leaked strategic documents from Edelman to client TransCanada, the two businesses have ended their relationship.

Reports in The New York Times and CBC News portray the decision as TransCanada’s move to “cut ties with” Edelman, but the firm’s own statement is slightly different:

“…in the best interests of the project, Edelman and TransCanada have mutually agreed not to extend Edelman’s contract beyond its current term.

We stand by our strategy. It was both ethical and moral, and any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.

Unfortunately, the conversation about our efforts has become so loud in certain areas that it is impossible to have an open and honest conversation about the Pipeline project.”

TransCanada’s spokesperson asserts that the strategy had simply overshadowed the larger debate, restating that the company had never followed Edelman’s suggestion to further investigate the motivations driving the project’s opponents via third-party media contacts.

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Give Thanks for Richard Sherman’s Rant Against NFL Media Relations ‘Hypocrisy’

Anyone who still doubts whether Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is a sharp dude should check out this “press availability” he scheduled with fellow Seattle player Doug Baldwin yesterday.

He hits the NFL on several points regarding its hypocrisy:

  • The NFL sued Marshawn Lynch $100K for refusing to talk to the press but won’t allow players to discuss their own sponsorships
  • The league doesn’t allow players to sign deals with alcohol companies despite the fact that such companies are its own biggest sponsors
  • The league talks a good game on concussions but clearly doesn’t place the health of its players atop its priorities list

Unsurprisingly, the NFL had no response…but the Internet did!

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GOOD NEWS: Grandma’s Dream of Performing in Macy’s Parade Comes True

grandma boopMeet Grandma Boop.

We didn’t name her, but we sure want to meet her. You see, yesterday was her 83rd birthday. And for the past 30 years, every time she blows out those candles on her cake, she only wishes for one thing — to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Yes, way. Not watching it or sitting on the parade route. Girl wants to be in the parade. As in dressed like a clown.

How can you not love this woman already? There she is adorned like a turkey enjoying her family as she does every year. Following the opening of those get-a-gun-and-shoot singing cards, she has a fit that has to induce a smile or two for anyone within 50 feet of the broadcast.

Just watch this video. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.

Budweiser Isn’t Putting Its Clydesdales Down After All

Yes, the news that broke this week was that bad — Budweiser, amid efforts to trim its ad budget, would no longer feature the famed Clydesdale horses in its campaigns.

The Wall Street Journal reported that “the self-proclaimed King of Beers is more of an afterthought among young consumers (at) bars across the U.S.: Some 44% of 21- to 27-year-old drinkers today have never tried Budweiser, according to the brand’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch.”

For that reason, the beer boss of the NFL playoffs decided to put the horses back in the stable causing…well, you heard it, “mass hysteria.”

And then, conveniently, Anheuser-Busch put the kibosh on all that.

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