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Elizabeth S. Mitchell

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A Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Summer? The Too-Early Trend Making Us Crazy

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As has been made abundantly clear in previous posts about the pumpkin spice marketing craze, this PRNewser writer loves Fall. Like, really, really loves it. As a New Englander, there’s nothing more magical to me than a crisp October morning kissed by the scent of fresh apples, piles of leaves, and — yes — my mug of pumpkin spice tea. I’m a sucker for the Autumnal marketing madness and I’m not sorry. But though I may be a full-fledged Fall-ophile (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing), even I know there’s a time for nutmeg and Jack-O-Lanterns, and it is not — I repeat, NOT while the beaches are still crowded and kids are enjoying their last days of summer vacation.

We’ve been griping about the holiday creep for years when it comes to Christmas decorations lining store shelves before Halloween, and now, it seems, those pesky marketers have figured if they’re going to bulldoze Halloween for Christmas, why not just move the whole calender up a couple months and bulldoze summer with way-too-early Fall? I mean, the logic is undeniable.

We’ve been seeing Halloween candy in stores for a couple of weeks now; the seasonal Sam Adams currently being sold is Octoberfest; Starbucks is releasing its Pumpkin Spice Latte on August 25 (if you have a super secret passcode), and Twitter has even been aflutter over the potential introduction of Pumpkin Spice Oreos.

All way before we’ve even had our Labor Day barbeques. Read more

Roll Call: Conservation International, Publicis Worldwide and Telemundo

Conservation International (CI) announced that it has appointed Meg Galloway Goldthwaite as its chief marketing officer. Goldthwaite will be responsible for CI’s marketing and communication efforts, including strategic partnerships, brand positioning and message development. Goldthwaite joins CI from Women for Women International (WfWI), where she served as senior director of strategy and innovation. Prior to that, she served as vice president for marketing and communications for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund where she amplified Haiti’s need for rebuilding lives and livelihoods by amplifying the stories of Haitians now creating a better future through smart, sustainable development. At the World Wildlife Fund, Meg brought Earth Hour—WWF’s signature initiative—to the United States in 2008, growing US participation to more than 80 million by 2010. (Release)

Publicis Worldwide North America has appointed Julie Levin chief marketing officer. In the new role, Levin will partner with business development and communications teams in the agency’s offices in a bid to improve both organic and new business growth. Starting September 8, she will be based in the Publicis North America flagship office in New York. Levin was previously at the Martin Agency, where she led and won pitches for Stoli and Sparkle Georgia Pacific, among others. Earlier Levin was head of business development at BBH/NY. (MediaPost)

The Telemundo Station Group has announced changes in its sales leadership team. Matt Boxer was named VP of business development, Joe Napolitano was named VP of the national sales offices and Jenney Valverde was named VP of sales marketing. Boxer spent 18 years at Univision working in various sales leadership positions at Univision’s local stations in Miami and New York. He has also served as VP of marketing and strategic solutions for the Univision Station Group and as SVP of the client development group. Boxer comes to Telemundo from Meredith Xcelerated Marketing. In his new role, he will lead a newly created team of five business development directors. Napolitano will oversee the National Sales Offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Mexico City. He has worked at Telemundo since 2004. Valverde was most recently the senior director of sales marketing for the Telemundo Station Group. She started her career with NBCUniversal as a page 17 years ago. (TVNewser)

Nintendo Responds to Petition to Honor Robin Williams in ‘Legend of Zelda’ Game

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Nintendo has responded to a fan petition asking the company to immortalize the late Robin Williams in a future “Legend of Zelda” game. Williams had been an avid fan of the franchise since 1987, even naming his daughter after its heroine. The pair had recently been hired to promote the latest installment of the game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

In a statement, the company addressed its longtime relationship with the comedian and sent sincere condolences to Williams’ family, but did not outright promise to fulfill the petition’s request.

The statement after the jump.

Read more

Downton Abbey’s Classy, Charitable Response to ‘Water Bottle-Gate’

By now, you’ve probably seen the promotional image for Downton Abbey that’s had fans, history purists, and the internet in general in a multi-day frenzy, but in case you haven’t, here it is — out-of-place plastic water bottle and all:

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In response to the media madness, the cast of the hit show has released another image, and this one is chock-full of water bottles. Only this time, their presence is intentional, and intended to refocus the public’s attention on a worthy issue.

A spokesperson for British TV network ITV explained, “After seeing the reaction the picture caused earlier this week, the cast and crew came up with the idea of turning some of this attention towards an issue around water that really matters. They hope that by posing for this picture they will be able to raise awareness and amplify the work of international charity – WaterAid.”

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WaterAid is a charitable organization that has spent decades bringing water, sanitation and hygiene education to where it’s needed most.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: Read more

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Wins Positive Press for His Perfect Definition of Feminism

proxyThe word “feminism” can be a touchy one, especially given the wildly-varying definitions out there, and celebrities often seem particularly wary of stating their allegiance (or lack-thereof) to the concept. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, has no such qualms.

In a recent interview with the Daily Beast that’s now gone viral, the star explained why he considers himself a feminist, and then went on to give the word one of the most clear, simple, and positive definitions we ever remember hearing.

Gordon-Levitt was asked:

I read that you consider yourself a “male feminist,” and you credit your parents who are educators and really taught you about the history of feminism. But nowadays, you have a lot of young stars coming out against being labeled a feminist.

His response (below) has both women and men singing his praises in multiple publications and all over social media: Read more

Roll Call: Fox International Channels and Cardlytics

Fox International Channels (FIC) has announced the appointment of Cherry Yates to the newly created post of vice president, corporate communications, for the multi-media business.  This new global corporate communication function will spearhead a streamlined communications strategy across FIC’s more than 300 entertainment, sports, lifestyle, factual and movie channels, reaching more than 1.7 billion cumulative households worldwide in 180 countries. In her new role, Yates will be responsible for synchronizing internal and external communications efforts, working in close collaboration with publicity teams based in more than 60 offices across the globe. Yates will also continue in her role as vice president of global communications for National Geographic Channels International (NGCI), leading its global publicity efforts in 170 countries and overseeing NGCI’s corporate communications within the international trade media. (Release)

Cardlytics announced a key executive leadership appointment. The company named Kirk Somers to the newly created position of chief legal officer, underscoring plans for aggressive growth going forward. Cardlytics has tapped Kirk Somers Esq. to serve as in-house general counsel, beginning July 2014. A legal professional with a spectrum of corporate legal skills and experience, from securities to intellectual property, Mr. Somers joins Cardlytics from Think Geek, where he served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer responsible for legal, HR and facilities. Prior, Kirk was a partner at FisherBroyles and executive vice president – corporate affairs, for Concurrent Computer Corporation. Mr. Somers has also served as the assistant general counsel for Melita International Inc., and started his legal career as an attorney in the U.S. Air Force. (Release)

‘How You Webinar’ Turns Every Marketing Buzzword You Hate into a Rap Video

You may remember DJ Dave from that time he “got real” in the Whole Foods parking lot, rapping about the frustrations of trying to navigate an unreasonably tiny shopping cart through a sea of hybrid cars and reusable bag-toting yuppies. Now, the comedic rapper has taken on every marketing and business-building buzzword you love to hate in his latest video, entitled “How You Webinar.”

Some of our favorite cringe-worthy words are so much more fun when rapped, including: innovation, actionable, integrated platform, tweaks, social networking, marketing guru, interactive tools, digital space, and core competencies. Gagging yet?

Conservationists Use Twitter to Inject ‘Real Science’ Back into Shark Week

If you were to search #SharkWeek on Twitter right now, it would yield plenty of brand tweets reminding customers that the product or service in question is a perfect tie-in to the annual celebration of our toothy, aquatic heroes. In fact, with shark-themed doughnuts, cars, cosmetics, and whiskey, one might even be able to live this whole week without touching a single non-shark-related thing, however tenuous the actual connection might be.

But brands aren’t the only Twitter-users utilizing the #SharkWeek hashtag to further their own purposes; while it’s undeniably fun to buy into the hype, there are many organizations and individuals that would like to remind us that the heart of Shark Week is (or should be) science, education, and conservation, and they are taking to Twitter to hammer this message home.

While some are simply taking it upon themselves to spread awareness and education (like the examples above), others are taking direct issue with the programming on Discovery, lamenting the replacement of good old-fashioned documentaries with the increasingly-popular “docudrama.” Read more

Roll Call: APCO Worldwide, Weber Shandwick and KARV Communications

Tina-Marie Adams, former Ketchum senior client director and Midwest regional director, joined APCO Worldwide as the firm’s new managing director for its Chicago office. Adams joins APCO with nearly 20 years of agency experience. Prior to her roles with Ketchum, she served as MWW group midwest general manager and Hill & Knowlton regional labor relations, public affairs and health care director as well as having worked at Fleishman-Hillard and The Tierney Group. Over the course of her career, she has worked heavily in key sectors such as energy, health care, transportation, food and higher education and with some of America’s most iconic brands. In addition to her agency experience, Adams also served as a reporter for The Chicago Tribune and later as an editor for Gannett Newspapers. (Release)

Weber Shandwick has named Lee Noonan global chief technology officer. Noonan joins Weber Shandwick from Havas Worldwide Digital. A technology expert with nearly two decades of experience in enterprise software, internet infrastructure and web application organizations, Noonan will be based in New York and oversee the application and integration of existing and emerging technologies for both Weber Shandwick and its clients. Previously, Noonan built and managed a business development group for Metapa, a software company focused on automating data exchange between enterprises over the internet, as well as serving as director of strategic marketing and business planning at Digital Island. Prior to that, Noonan served as Principal Consultant at Oracle, managing multi-million-dollar implementations of decision-making software at several of the world’s largest international financial institutions. (Release) Read more

STUDY: Social Media Is Winning PR War for Anti-Fracking Groups

Signs protesting the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, are seen near the town of Calicoon Center, New YorkWe’ve written frequently about the PR war over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” — anti-fracking and environmental groups VS. the energy companies that have adopted the controversial practice. Now, a recent study by Makovsky suggests that while both sides may be impassioned and dedicated to winning the debate, the war is being fought on two different battle grounds, and the side utilizing social media appears to be the side that’s winning.

The survey revealed that 57% of U.S. consumers believe that fracking is one of the three most important environmental issues today. Furthermore, 65% of respondents (71% in fracking cities) say they hear about the issue at least weekly, and 77% say they hear about it primarily from internet news sites and social media.

Now here’s the kicker: the study also found that the vast majority of social media mentions of the subject are coming from anti-fracking activists and groups. In fact, of the 1.3 million Twitter mentions of fracking from January through July 2014, anti-fracking activists generated 2000% more impressions than groups supportive of the practice. Let us spell that out again… two-thousand percent! Read more

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