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What Would Bill Do? Media Coach Bill McGowan Takes on the Week’s News

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To end the week, another edition of our series in which Bill McGowanClarity Media Group founder and coach to execs from Facebook, Airbnb and more — weighs in on the week’s most controversial stories.

“Bad” Brand Chemistry

A real controversy “cooked” this week in south Florida when everyone’s favorite chemistry teacher-turned crystal meth maker, Walter White  (Breaking Bad) appeared on the shelves of Toys “R” Us in the form of an action figure.  Also for sale, the Jesse Pinkman doll, resplendent in his one-piece yellow drug-making jumpsuit. Jesse comes carrying two detachable bags: one full of money, one full of meth.  The Walt figurine simply wields a gun.  It’s not hard to imagine what kind of action these action figures are gearing up for.

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Biggest Stories of the Week

Spin the Agencies of Record

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  • MWW will be PR AOR for Lapolla Industries, Inc., a manufacturer of “polyurethane foam insulation, reflective roof coatings and equipment” designed to reduce energy consumption. MWW will primarily handle media relations to spread awareness of the brand’s eco-friendly building materials. Lapolla already has some big-name backers: the company was one of those selected to participate in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and recently signed Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover as a spokesperson. (No word from Vanilla Ice.)

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Sound Insights on Storytelling and Branding at Communications Week

Telling brand stories may seem simple, but far more goes on behind the scenes than many realize. Creating “aha” moments, integrating messages across platforms and navigating multiple agencies can often seem daunting. Just when you think all is clear, newer tools like Whisper and SoundCloud make both literal and figurative noise.

The complex art of storytelling was the topic at a Communications Week panel Thursday night in New York.

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L to R  – Moderator Patrick Coffee (Senior Editor, Mediabistro), Brendan Murphy (Senior Partner, Design, Lippincott), Tiffany Guarnaccia (Founder, Kite Hill PR), Shoshana Winter (Executive Planning Director, Digital Integration, mcgarrybowen), Pam Workman (CEO, Workman Group Communications), Tyler Gray (Editorial Director, Creative Newsroom, Edelman)Andrew Fingerman (Media Director, MRY)

The event was hosted by Workman Group, creative comms industry group ADC was the venue partner, and the entire undertaking was organized by Communications Week.

PRNewser’s very own editor Patrick Coffee moderated, and panelists represented a mix of PR, digital and brand marketing agencies:

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Madeline Albright, Queen Elizabeth Win Twitter

On the lighter side of things, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright is on a roll, isn’t she?  Last week Wheaties called her a “champion” and this week she proved that she’s just as good at Twitter trolling as she is at statesmanship and spokesmanship (which IS SO TOO a word, autocorrect).

We missed this one while prepping for an event, but Conan got schooled on his C+ joke:

And she kept going.

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Uber France Cancels ‘Hot Chick’ Promo for Being Sexist

Sometimes I think it’s a shame that sex actually sells. I mean, think of the kids. And the dirty old men.

It works on everyone…but not every time.

Uber France got a reality check the other day when its  marketing people concocted the idea to hire “incredible hot chicks” as its drivers. Maybe it’s all the bread up there, but some women with muffin tops took some umbrage to that in a loud fashion.

Here’s the site, which quickly went dark:

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The promo website and app is called Avions de Chasse, which means fighter jets in Francais, but it’s also slang for hot chicks. (Don’t ask me; not even my Cajun or Canadian relatives get that one.)

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Roll Call: Waggener Edstrom; H+K Canada; Hemp PR; And More

Waggener Edstrom promoted Tiffany Cook from EVP to VP/head of its consumer sector. Cook, who has been with WE for 16 years, will oversee related efforts across the retail, consumer technology, automotive, and spirits industries. PR Week tells us that she will report to co-founder/partner Pam Edstrom.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies‘ Canadian operations named Dimitri Gourdin SVP and GM of its Montreal office. Gourdin, who earned a law degree at Paris’ Panthéon-Assas University and a masters’ from Paris Management School, previously served as VP of marketing/comms at BIOMOD, a biotech company serving the health and beauty industries. In the 90′s he worked in crisis comms at Burson-Marsteller’s Paris office and in 2005 he launched his own Montreal-based firm called Arcane Communications.

Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick, PR veterans and founders of both Goldman McCormick PR and Legal PR Team, have announced the creation of a new firm called, simply, Hemp Public Relations. We’ll let you guess which sort of clients they plan to serve — and it’s OK if you’re, like, a little slow

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Sen. Ted Cruz’ (Should-Be-Former) Staffer Connects Ebola and Obamacare via Twitter

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DERP DERP DERP

In the words of an ancient philosopher, “Let it go!

Ebola is gravely serious. We just cleared the scare in North Texas, and now Ebola has made its way to New York. This isn’t time for jokey jokes.

Yet, that doesn’t stop political satirists — otherwise known as politicians’ staffers — from getting 15 minutes of fame on the improv stage. Latest to the stand-up spotlight is Nick Muzin, deputy chief of staff for Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). His tactic: tweet about a connection between Ebola and Obamacare.

There’s never a rotten tomato to throw when you need one.

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GOOD NEWS: Elizabeth Vargas Returns to ABC Following Rehab

A Celebration Of Barbara Walters Cocktail Reception Red Carpet

This face used to be on the proverbial milk carton in the ABC News cafeteria — she’s 20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas.

On Halloween night, she makes her return to the show following a stint in rehab for alcoholism. Vargas, who has been brave and transparent with her addiction, has encountered some public turmoil because of this personal issue for her.

Last November, she tried to end her decades-long battle with the bottle. She did so again this past August. Unfortunately for her, the event that sparked the second trip was her husband, Marc Cohn, filing for divorce.

That’s usually what it takes: life stopping on a dime and you finally waking from the haze to pay attention to it.

I know, because I was there more than 22 years ago. It’s my birthday month: clean and sober since Oct. 20, 1992 at 10:42 a.m. (yeah, it was that bad). Many people can go to a bar, have a drink, and go back home with no problem. Good for them.

I couldn’t. Elizabeth couldn’t. And millions of people today still can’t. That’s why seeing people come back is really good news.

A Collection of 18 Statements on the New York City Ebola Case

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Pic via The New York City Mayor’s Office

There’s really no way you could have missed today’s biggest news: a doctor who had been treating Ebola patients in Guinea was diagnosed with the virus after returning to his home in Manhattan.

After the news broke, a flurry of official responses were issued by every entity from the hospital where Doctor Craig Spencer worked to the bowling alley he visited on Wednesday night before he came down with symptoms.

This is a very serious matter despite the many jokes that filled our Twitter feed last night and this morning. But reviewing all these disparate statements (some formal, some anything but) makes for an excellent case study in uncoordinated responses to a major crisis.

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