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Colorado Advocacy Group Runs Maureen Down-Inspired Weed Safety PSA

Here’s an amusing aside from Colorado, which — as Denver Post editor Ricardo Baca reminded us earlier this month — is now home to a large and quickly growing legal marijuana industry.

When something becomes a legitimate consumer good, its sale requires PR and marketing services. Longstanding advocacy group The Marijuana Policy Project and its CO-based spinoff Consume Responsibly have assumed those duties, responding to New York Times writer Maureen Dowd’s infamous “I ate too much pot and TOTALLY freaked out” op-ed with a mature PSA campaign and an outdoor billboard (note the red hair, which is obviously her natural color):

Consume responsibly

The campaign is fairly extensive: it includes a web presence and some print elements after the jump.

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Mobile Content Strategy

Mobile Content StrategyStarting September 24, learn how to write content for smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices! In this online course, students will learn how to publish across multiple channels and manage the workflow, optimize content for mobile devices, and  engage with their audience across screens. Register now!

Air Force Stops ‘Aiming High,’ Omits ‘So Help Me God’ from Oath

080528-F-2319R-005Prayer and the American military have gone together like bread and butter for as long as we can remember, but the United States Air Force has now apparently decided to count its blessings — because it doesn’t really need them anymore.

According to the Washington Post, the Air Force will now allow airmen to omit “so help me God” from enlistment oaths. 

The catalyst for this decision was an airman stationed in Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., who was denied re-enlistment because he purposely omitted that sacrosanct phrase when taking said oath.

He (along with the American Humanist Association) chose to raise a stink, and two weeks later we have this:

“We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.

“The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.”

This isn’t much of a surprise, but the Air Force should certainly prepare for blowback.

Sure, it’s haughty at the very least to think there are only Christians in this world or that everyone must profess faith in a Christian God (or any god, really) to serve his or her country. But will this decision lead to a slippery slope on which other airmen seek a pass from swearing to protect other things that go against their personal beliefs?

Time will tell — and so will more than a few Christian bloggers.

Mattel Shushes F-Bomb Barbie

Swearing-Barbie

NSFW or Home

Imagine that you are the dedicated parent of a sweet seven-year-old girl. Quite naturally, the girl can’t walk past a toy aisle without jonesin’ for a Barbie. While visions of brushing her fake locks of blond love dance in her head, you examine the price tags in disbelief.

Then you grab the new Talkin’ Barbie, much to your daughter’s delight. Good times.

Following the 38 minutes it takes to rescue Talkin’ Barbie from her plastic bondage, your daughter hits the button and you hear “What the F*ck!” Quite naturally, you rush to wash that sweet girl’s mouth out with soap … and then she tells you it was the doll.

This is (allegedly) a true story.

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‘Diversity Is the New Black,’ Says Omnicom’s Tiffany R. Warren

Tiffany-Warren-articleTiffany R. Warren is Omnicom‘s senior vice president and chief diversity officer, but her work on diversity isn’t just a day job. In 2005 Warren created ADCOLOR, a non-profit devoted to promoting and paying tribute to diversity in the advertising, marketing, media, PR and entertainment industries.

For our latest So What Do You Do feature, Warren describes how ADCOLOR went from awards show to social movement, how the work of diversity officers has grown and what it takes to be an agent of change:

You have to like people. You have to like when people are hot messes and when they’re not. When they’re scared, when they fail and when they’ve failed you. You have to like every aspect of the human nature in order to be an effective change agent. We’ve had some not so good times in our industry and that’s [when] I grew the most as a professional and as a leader — during those times when people were doubting whether this industry could pull itself out of the hole of this lack of diversity.

For more from Warren, read, So What Do You Do, Tiffany R. Warren, Chief Diversity Officer for Omnicom Group?

Under Armour Comms VP Explains Damage Control Strategy

Here’s a quick but relevant clip that our friends at AdAge posted yesterday.

Diane Pelkey — VP of global communications for Under Armour — explains how the brand tackled the fallout from the bombshell February Wall Street Journal story in which members of the U.S. speed skating team blamed the company’s products for their disappointing performance at the Sochi Olympics.

Pelkey’s point is simple, and it’s worth repeating: be transparent, don’t hide from the story and make sure to offer all relevant spokespeople to media contacts for comment.

While the success of the ensuing campaign may be up for debate, the logic behind the strategy is sound.

One Man Wants to Show You How to ‘Get It Right’ with Wikipedia

wikipedia1Have you ever had a client ask you to “look into” or “take care of” their Wikipedia page? Most likely the answer is “yes.”

For PR professionals and the clients they serve, Wikipedia matters. It is the planet’s fifth-most visited domain, and 53% of American adults consult it on a regular basis.

Take a look at your client or brand’s page on Wikipedia now — is it up to date? Is all the information correct? Are all associated images optimized?

Wikipedia’s volunteer community has created an incredible resource, but it does contain some major blind spots.

So what’s a PRNewser to do? Editing a Wikipedia page can be difficult on one’s own—the rules for writing and editing are constantly changing, and they’re governed by a community that is resistant to outside assistance.

They have their reasons: we’re all aware of the fact that certain firms specialize in Wikipedia “sockpuppeting”, and while a coalition of the industry’s top names did come to an “agreement” with the site’s community this year, problems remain.

(For a refresher, we spoke to seven experts on the ramifications of the agreement earlier this Summer.)

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The Ticker: Tim Cook on Privacy; Pepsi Supports Goodell; Most Powerful Women in Business; And More

Cartoon Network Launches Anti-Bullying Campaign That Reaches Adults and Children

The Cartoon Network has launched an anti-bullying campaign, “I Speak Up,” that coincides with the network’s Speak Up Week, taking place between September 29 and October 3. For the “I Speak Up” portion of the campaign, the Cartoon Network has gotten participation from Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. They’re also asking for help from all of us.

The network wants the public to submit videos with the hashtag #ISpeakUp that encourages others to pay attention and participate as well. Submissions to the campaign’s website that are selected by the network will become a part of clips that appear on TV and online.

In addition to AG Holder and Secretary Duncan, notable names including Robin Meade from HLN Morning ExpressAmerica’s Got Talent‘s Howie Mandel, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper are also participating.

This lineup of supporters is impressive. But just as important is the outreach that the network is doing to parents and educators.

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FOX News’ Tucker Carlson Suspects Kids Are ‘Learning Too Much’ in School

tucker-carlson-1024x682Someday, somehow, someone is going to invent a mute button just for certain “journalists.” If you have ever doubted a need for such a Rube Goldberg device, read this story, brought to you by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

As he took his frequent seat on FOX & Friends, Carlson began discussing the usual suspects — ISIS, the economy, Obama’s birth certificate — then took an abrupt detour, careened off the road, and ranted against the U.S. education system, public school, and the teachers in it.

Because if you want good PR mojo, attack the teachers. It’s right up there with harassing the elderly and making fun of someone’s mother. The unbelievable video is after the jump, along with his explanation. Read more

Journalist Reveals Ketchum’s Suggestions for Discrediting Him

Ecuador2In case you missed it, Bloomberg Businessweek published an intriguing story yesterday by veteran journalist Paul M. Barrett that ran with the headline “What It’s Like to Be Attacked by Putin’s Flack.

The “flack” in question is Ketchum — more specifically D.C.-based partner Kathy Jeavons, who “heads both the Ecuador and Russia accounts” for the firm.

For the record, Jeavons did not personally attack or even contact Barrett. But a source did forward him a talking points document that the firm wrote for Nathalie Cely, Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States. The doc included both well-stated observations about Ecuador’s history with Chevron and suggestions for casting doubt on the credibility of Law of the Jungle, Barrett’s upcoming book on the lawsuit that accuses the company of abusing its relationship with the people of Ecuador.

One such suggestion: use friendly media outlets to raise doubts about whether Barrett ever actually visited the country or met the individuals he interviewed for the book.

We spoke to Mr. Barrett today for more information.

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