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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

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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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NYT PR Defends Decision to Publish the Name of Officer Darren Wilson’s Street

NYT Building

Journalists are supposed to be our storytellers, our soothsayers, our trusted cohorts who are all given carte blanche to walk into our homes or places of employment and give us — as one sage orator once opined — “just the facts, ma’am.” Yet, ethical concerns come into play every day.

This week, the conservative Washington Examiner asked the question: is it ethically acceptable to publish the name of the street on which the key figure in the world’s most controversial story recently bought a home?

Eileen Murphy, VP of corporate communications at the Times, answered “yes” and defended the paper’s decision to do so.

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Target Takes to CNN to Reassure Customers Before Black Friday

The tip we received in May naming chief marketer Jeff Jones as the scandal-plagued Target’s new CEO turned out to be false, but Jones is working hard as the chain’s spokesperson this holiday season.

Target has good reason to worry as Black Friday approaches: Home Depot’s recent data breach may have broken the record set last year, but consumers still feel like their data is vulnerable — and Target wisely chose not to blame everything on Microsoft.

For example, yesterday’s CNN Money clip might as well be labeled “sponsored content”:

Note that Jones didn’t directly address the data breach (the company announced related “security and technology enhancements” back in April).

Also: can we add “social drives sales” to Monday’s “10 Client Delusions About Social Media” list?

Prince Is Not Thankful for His Online Fans

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Talk about a “controversy” making people “delirious.”

In the record span of two months, the enigmatic-genius-symbol currently known as Prince did the unthinkable — he gave his fans what they wanted and then took it all away…along with his entire video collection online.

And then he drove away in his Little Red Corvette and made all the doves cry.

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The Ticker: Black Friday Comms; BuzzFeed Makes Money; Silicon Valley Ethics; And More

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