TVNewser AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Claire Daniel

Comcast Cries Mea Culpa on ‘Hellish’ Service Call…But Does It Make a Difference?

bad customer service comcast

Comcast pissed off the wrong customer last week when it botched a service call with Ryan Block, former editor of the tech site Engadget and product developer at AOL.

NPR called it “condescending“; Gawker called it “hellish“; The Verge called it “a nightmare“; Yahoo called it “terrorizing.”

As fellow PRNewser Shawn Paul Wood posted earlier, “flacks who enjoy the various #PRFail called it ‘priceless’”. In case you missed it, you can hear what went down at the link: Comcast ‘Provides’ What May Be The Worst Service Call Ever. ”

A week later, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Dave Watson calls it “typical”, saying the incident was “painful to listen to” but that the rep “did a lot of what we trained him…to do.”

Read more

The Spin Cycle (Borscht Edition): 11 Crazy Conspiracy Theories About MH 17

Are you one of the few who still believe that every big story has one true narrative? Did you not listen to Mike Allen?!

Our point: as Julie Ioffe notes today in The New Republic, the Russian public has a totally different understanding of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 than the rest of the world.

“Watching some of these Russian newscasts [where most of the television is owned or controlled by the Kremlin], one comes away with the impression of a desperate defense attorney scrounging for experts and angles, or a bad kid caught red-handed by the principal, trying to twist his way out of a situation in which he has no chance.”

“The discrepancy,” she writes, “does not bode well for a sane resolution to this stand-off.”

After the jump, 11 of the craziest conspiracies being floated over the Russian air waves. Read more

Jill Abramson Talks to Katie Couric About What Went Wrong at The New York Times

In one of her first post-firing video interviews, deposed New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson spoke with Yahoo!’s Global News Anchor Katie Couric about what went wrong with her career at The Grey Lady.

On the “fired for being a woman” narrative:

“I don’t see gender as being…the whole explanation, by any means, of what happened, but it’s somewhat irksome to me to see so much focus on the issue of why was I fired.”

And yet…

“I think that women are scrutinized and criticized in a somewhat different way, and that certain qualities that are seen in men as being the qualities of a leader … are somehow not seen in as attractive a light when a woman is involved.”

Here’s our favorite line:

“How many people in the real world really care why Jill Abramson lost her job?”

We would say quite a few, actually. Couric didn’t ask Abramson how the NYT could have handled the firing better on the PR front, but someone could certainly write a book…

Could 18,000 Layoffs Be a #PRWin for Microsoft?

New-Microsoft-Logo-PPT-BackgroundsIf your stock portfolio contains Microsoft, today is a good day. If you happen to work for Microsoft, then it probably isn’t.

In case you’ve been living underneath a rock, the company announced this morning that it would eliminate up to 18,000 jobs, canning 14% of its workforce.

That’s a big deal on its own, but it isn’t the only story making headlines.

In fact, investors seem quite happy with the news.

Read more

Thank God Hillary Clinton’s ‘Book Tour’ Is Over

In case you missed it, Hillary Clinton appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Tuesday to “talk about her new book,” Hard Choices.

“No one cares” about the book, Stewart said. “They just want to know if you’re running for president.”

Talk about the elephant in the room—he must be tired after making appearances at every stop on Clinton’s book publicity campaign. Read more

Nordstrom Ads Feature Models with Disabilities, Generate Goodwill

Image via press.nordstrom.com

Fact: At least one-third of Nordstrom’s advertisements feature models of color and/or models with disabilities.

For Nordstrom, this isn’t just a commitment to diversity—it’s a commitment to accurately reflecting its shoppers. It’s also a smart move.

According to Meg O’Connell, a partner at the consulting firm Global Disability Inclusion, people with disabilities represent a significant marketing opportunity, with $225 billion in discretionary spending.

“Companies that understand this will have an advantage,” she says. “[Nordstrom] is a leader in this space and has been a long-standing supporter of disability inclusion not only in their advertising but also in employment and accessibility in their stores.”

The company has been using models with disabilities since 1997 and regularly advertises in minority publications including Essence, Latina, and Ability magazines.

Read more

Washington DC’s Top PR Players (Besides Jay Carney)

As you may have heard, former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is rumored to be Apple’s top candidate for their next head of PR. Uber has their sights on him, too.

This wouldn’t be his first foray into the private sector (Carney began his professional career in journalism, before signing on as Director of Communications to Vice President Joe Biden in 2008), but it certainly represents a step in a new direction: to the silicon-ed valleys of the west.

As a NYC-based former Washingtonian (well, Arlington, Virginia, to be exact) this move got me thinking: What would Frank Underwood say?

Read more

Best Practices: What to Do When Activists Come Calling

bpa_free_logoOne of my go-to quick-and-healthy dinners is a can of Amy’s Organic fat-free vegetable soup topped with slices of chicken sausage.

OK, yes: It’s still processed food (and I know I could and should do better!), but some of that guilt is removed thanks to a new sticker Amy’s has been putting on every can that reads: “This soup is canned in a BPA-free liner.”

Good move, right? This little sticker reinforces the notion that buying Amy’s Organic is the healthier choice. It’s also a perfectly proportional response to health concerns raised by groups such as the Breast Cancer Fund over the use of Bisphenol A, or BPA, in can linings. Other companies, such as Campbell Soup Co., have followed suit in removing BPA from their packaging.

As Advertising Age points out, processed-food companies—even seemingly “good” companies, like Amy’s Organic—are on the defensive as never before, and repeatedly under attack from online health advocates and activists.

The rise in attacks comes from, you guessed it, “social networking tools and digital media, [which] have created opportunity for groups of consumer advocates to target individual brands in order to influence company decisions,” notes Sanford C. Bernstein notes in a recent report.

So what’s a company to do? Should companies respond to every single threat? And how?

Read more

Kate Hudson Can Thank the Edit Team for This PR Fail

instyle_kate_hudson_tallGood PR is tough work: its often thankless hours are usually spent for another’s glory. There’s the client’s win, of course, but also bragging rights for the journo or outlet that snatched the juicy cover story from its competitors.

We don’t need the credit, but perhaps a little respect for our craft would be nice.

PRNewsers, consider the following situation and ask yourself how a seasoned publicist would have handled it differently.

InStyle ran a cover story about Kate Hudson in its July issue without plugging her new release. Definitely an “oops!” for InStyle, which counts on maintaining good relationships with the celebrity publicists who bring them their cover stars, but was it an “oops!” that demanded a correction?

As reported by AdAge, InStyle’s editors thought so:

Read more

PR vs. Advertising: Still the Same Competition?

shutterstock_166919984Forbes just published a piece discussing, in some detail, “the real difference between PR and advertising.”

This realness in difference begins with an old saying: “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” Or, boiled down even further, advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.

A simple maxim from a simpler time. But does it hold up today?

Author Robert Wynne believes that it does. Not only is PR still different from advertising — it’s still better.

“With advertising, you tell people how great you are. With publicity, others sing your praises. Which do you think is more effective?” asks Wynne.

The unspoken answer is supported by a 2014 Nielsen study on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process, which concluded that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising: “On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content…”

Expert sources also agree.

Read more