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Elizabeth S. Mitchell

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Sexist Headline in The Telegraph Sparks Backlash, Social Media Uproar

When was the last time you saw a headline about a man’s job promotion that read, “Father of Three Poised to Lead Major Company?”

Oh, that’s right. Never. Which is why this recent headline in The Telegraph announcing the expected career move of Rona Fairhead, the former Financial Times chief executive who is likely about to become the first female chair of the BBC Trust, just didn’t sit well with readers.

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Is it true and accurate that Ms. Fairhead is indeed a mother? Yes. Is it a worthy and major accomplishment of which she should be proud? Of course. Is it the most relevant of her accomplishments with regard to her career? Nope.

The paper could have mentioned that she is a longtime businesswoman who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, or that she was a former employee at Bain & Company and Morgan Stanley and the former CEO of Bombardier’s UK Aerospace Services, or that she is currently a non-executive director at HSBC Holdings. But instead, the paper decided to focus on the novelty of a woman (a mother, no less!) holding such a position of power. Read more

Abercrombie Drops Logo from Clothing, Deprives Bros Everywhere of Identities

abercrombie-and-fitch-clothes-for-womenThanks to changing tastes of the teen demographic and the landslide of bad press the company has received over the past year, the Abercrombie & Fitch brand no longer wields the same power it once did. With sales continuing to flounder, the clothing retailer has decided to abandon its time-honored tradition of plastering its name and logo on virtually every piece of attire it sells, effectively robbing rich frat boy types of their identities.

“In the spring season, we are looking to take the North American logo business to practically nothing,” Mark Jeffries, CEO of A&F told investors on a conference call.  And in a note to investors Thursday, Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, noted that “it’s taking time to win back customers.” But he believes that the merchandise changes are “gaining traction.”

While much of the brand’s weakening can likely be attributed to the recent Abercrombie-only-wants-pretty-and-cool-kids-wearing-their-clothes controversy, this branding shift is also about keeping up with the changing preferences of teens, who are more interested in standing out as individuals (while all wearing the same trendy top from H&M or Forever 21) than fitting in under a universally-recognized logo. Read more

Roll Call: MWW and Grayson Emmett Partners

MWW  announced that Nicole Bott has joined the firm’s corporate communications practice as vice president. Bott, who will be based in the New York office, brings more than a decade of experience leading integrated account teams across media relations, content development, creative and digital disciplines for a variety of financial services and corporate communications clients. In her role at MWW, Bott will use her integrated project management and strategic media relations skills to help clients implement strategic communications campaigns.

Prior to joining MWW, Bott served as a senior manager, client relationships at Peppercomm, where she was responsible for providing strategic counsel and leading integrated account teams across the agency’s various service offerings. Her client work focused on leading the account teams for one of the Big Four, with a particular focus on the firm’s financial services practice and strategic growth markets business. While at Peppercomm, Bott also worked on a variety of corporate communications and crisis programs across a variety of industries, including professional services, financial services, technology, consumer and sports. Previously, she served as vice president at Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., where she specialized in generating high-profile media coverage in targeted national outlets for clients in professional services, transportation and real estate, among others. During her tenure at Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., Bott also served as a key member of the public relations team that advised on two acquisition announcements. (Release)

Keith Burton, who left his role at Golin to become a partner at Brunswick New York last year, announced that he will leave his position to start his own firm to be known as Grayson Emmett Partners. Burton officially left Brunswick in May but just announced the formation of his new firm to PR Week yesterday. GEP will focus on employee engagement for clients in the “banking and finance, manufacturing, and consumer products” industries. Burton told the magazine that he plans to continue consulting with Brunswick in the employee engagement space. (PR Week)

GOP Creates Video Game to Round up Supporters

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Well, if you ever wanted to assume the role of a conservative elephant (trunk and all) and use your massive feet to stomp out job-killing taxes and misguided liberal “mudslingers,” the GOP has just the thing for you!

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign has developed a multi-level online computer game called “Mission Majority,” which is made to look like a retro 8-bit video game (Millennials love nostalgia). Players can take on the persona of an elephant named Giopi (which sounds suspiciously like “GOP’), and spend their valuable time defeating enemy “taxers” and “mudslingers,” who, when vanquished, recite particularly unfortunate audio-clips from Democrats like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mark Pryor.

The point, of course, isn’t just to entertain the constituency, but to rack up contact information of like-minded individuals — in other words, potential voters, volunteers and donors. Hence the game requiring players to log in using an email address, Facebook or Google Plus. Read more

Roll Call: Alibaba and ABC News

Robert H. Christie, known as Bob the PR Guy on Twitter, will serve as vice president of international media for the China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba as it prepares for its pending IPO.

Christie, who was head of communications at Dow Jones before leaving to run PR at The New York Times in 2010, had his position eliminated as part of the ongoing NYT downsizing plans in 2013. His most recent role was that of managing director at Burson-Marsteller’s New York office; last night on Twitter, he confirmed that he will move to San Francisco to begin his new role on Septememer 1st. The release holds that he will be ”responsible for managing media relations for the company outside of Greater China”. Alibaba looks to go public soon after Labor Day, so Mr. Christie will be very busy. (Capital New York)

Tom Cibrowski has been promoted to senior vice president, ABC News Programs, News Gathering and Special Events. A veteran producer who has spent nearly 25 years at ABC, Tom has been part of the Good Morning America (GMa) team for 13 years, the last seven as senior executive producer and executive producer. Tom joined ABC as a desk assistant and then served as a producer for our bureaus in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle, covered the wars in Bosnia and Iraq, produced interviews with Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton. (Release) Also at ABC News, Michael Corn will become GMA’s new senior executive producer. Michael leaves World News as the program where he has spent the past three years as executive producer. Michael has deep ties at GMA, having been part of the morning team for nearly 10 years. (TVNewser)

Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge with Toilet Water to Send a Message

To date, so many people have dumped water over their heads for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that the effort has raised over $88 million for the ALS Association, and while that’s a whole lot of money for a very worthy cause, it also means a whole lot of fresh, clean water — a rare commodity for millions of people — being wasted.

This is why actor Matt Damon, co-founder of charity Water.org, had mixed feelings about accepting the challenge sent his way by friends Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck.

“It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in a video uploaded to the his organization’s YouTube channel, “But because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water — and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t — and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.” Read more

Aaron Paul’s Acceptance Speech Inspires Do-Gooders to Crash Charity Website

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In case you missed it, actor Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” won the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series last night, and as award winners (and dutiful husbands) often do, he thanked his wife, Lauren Parsekian. But rather than simply expressing gratitude for her love and support, he took a moment to promote the charitable organization to which she dedicates her time, proving once again that the power of a celebrity endorsement is paramount.

Paul said: “My wife — my god, thank you for marrying me, thank you for dedicating your life to spread kindness around the world. We all appreciate it. If you guys don’t know what she does, look up Kind Campaign. Do yourself and your children a favor - Kind Campaign. ”

Shortly thereafter, the website for the anti-bullying organization crashed, thanks to the onslaught of visitors. Even now, many hours later, attempting to visit kindcampaign.com yields only a server error message. Read more

Chris Pratt Reprises ‘Star Lord’ Roll to Entertain Kids at LA Hospital

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Often, it’s simple, everyday things like being able to watch a much-anticipated movie that can make all the difference for a sick child relegated to a hospital wing. Knowing this, actor Chris Pratt teamed up with Marvel and Children’s Miracle Network to bring a special showing of the summer blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” to the children, families and staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on Wednesday. And while the kids may have been excited about watching the film, … for what happened next.

During the screening, Pratt briefly disappeared, and then returned dressed as his character, Star Lord. Pratt spent the next few hours in full costume, handing out movie-themed toys, taking hundreds of pictures, letting the kids try on some of his gear, signing autographs for everyone who wanted one, and just generally being awesome. He also visited patients in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and the Pediatric ICU, as they were not well enough to attend the screening. Read more

Roll Call: Business to Business Network and Qillin Advertising, PR & Social Media

Business to Business Network (BBN) announced today it has added two new agencies—ComCorp in France and Singapore’s GetIT Comms—to its growing network. ComCorp will join as an associate member, while GetIT will be joining as an added value associate. Founded in 2013 by Charles de la Rochefoucauld, ComCorp is a consulting agency for corporate reputation and brands and has worked with well-known, global companies such as Cisco, Schneider Electric, Lilly and Ericsson. GetIT provides solutions for technology companies marketing themselves in Asia, such as Cisco Systems, Dimension Data, BT Global Services, Orange Business Services and StarHub. They have been engaged with BBN since late April when CEO, Anol Bhattacharya, was invited to serve as a BBN panelist on social media at the Business Marketing Association Conference in Chicago in May. (Release)

Quillin Advertising, Public Relations & Social Media is growing with the addition of four new hires. Julia Gilmour will serve as social media strategist. Her experience spans areas related to digital and social media marketing, having worked on multiple campaigns for national brands. Adam Porsborg joins as advertising account executive. His strategic communications experience will greatly benefit Quillin’s portfolio of clients, as Porsborg has successfully helped craft, oversee and execute campaigns for technology startups, financial investment firms, manufacturing companies and international corporations. Michael Speciale brings more than 30 years of marketing experience to his role as media buyer. With a perfected art in negotiations, Speciale is a native New Yorker who used his skills to teach media buying and planning courses at the University of Rhode Island. Marilyn Valenzuela joins the public relations team as coordinator. A recent graduate, Valenzuela attended the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies and obtained a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (Release)

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

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