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James F. Thompson

James F. Thompson, a caffeinated Manhattanite, specializes in branding, PR, marketing and advertising. He published A Taste for Absinthe and The Cubicle Survival Guide with Random House, and his career spans digital and print, including, Dos Equis and Field & Stream. He self-published the novel Dead Animal People under the pseudonym Marina Nguyen. He has also taught English in Japan and literature on a Navy destroyer.

Biggest Stories of the Week

The Ticker: E-book Sales; NCAA; Hunger Games Camp; Twinkies; NFL & Marie Claire

Spin the Agencies of Record

“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”—Oscar Wilde

TARA, Ink., a boutique public relations, creative marketing and special events firm specializing in the New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami Beach markets, is pleased to announce the addition of UK-based retailer Superdry to its roster.

TARA, Ink.’s charges include media relations, product placement, special event conceptualization, celebrity dressing, and influencer outreach. The agency will report to the North American President of Superdry, Stephen Cox.

The Superdry Womenswear Autumn/Winter ‘13 collection offers sophisticated street style with preppy flair executed in bright colors, bold stripes, floral patterns, hooded Eskimo capes and nautical-themed peacoats. The exclusive London Thomas Everest Collection makes its way to America, with the popular Everest coat now available in a bomber as well as longer styles. Other pieces include the Ernest dress in tweed herringbone, the sequined glitter ball skirt, signature style Windcheaters, Tin Tab tees, and colorful leathers.

“Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television.”—Woody Allen

Balsera Communications, one of the nation’s premier U.S. Hispanic public relations firms, has been named the agency of record by Vme Television, the first national Spanish-language public television network in the United States. Balsera will be leading public relations and public affairs strategies for Vme in the United States.

“Over the past ten years the U.S. Hispanic demographic has not only grown in numbers, but it has also become more sophisticated,” said President and Partner, David Duckenfield, Balsera Communications. “We believe Vme is uniquely positioned to provide this new, up and coming Hispanic market the unique and educational programming that it is craving while also catering to the bilingual lifestyle that they are now embracing.”

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”—W.C. Fields Read more

The Ticker: Yahoo Logo; Game of Legends; Amazon Art; Coffee Stunt; GE on Vine

Will the Public Believe Yahoo’s New Logo Equates a Rebrand?

Yahoo hired CEO Marissa Meyer to lead the company into a brave new world of changing technologies and evolving consumer habits—all during a prolonged and crippling global recession. So the public wants her, and the company, to do well. We just do. These have been tough times, and we’re all in the mood for a success story.

However, most the news the public has heard about Yahoo’s resurrection have been on relatively unimpressive issues such as not allowing Yahoo employees to telecommute. For many in the public, Yahoo’s next move had to be substantive, innovative and sweeping in scope. A prolonged and much ballyhooed logo change just doesn’t cut it. Sorry Yahoo.

Yes, as PR experts we understand how critical logos are and how obsessed people in our industry can be about logos, but the truth is logos by themselves are just that: logos, symbols of values and belief systems. Without penetrating and dramatic internal changes, Yahoo—which hasn’t changed its logo since the company was founded 18 years ago—is simply hoping the public will believe in the power of suggestion. Read more

The Ticker: Children’s Place; Bezos & WaPo; Facebook; YouTube; Taco Bell Waffle

Just What Is the Relationship Between Twitter and TV?

Marking another evolutionary step in the dynamics between the public and the ways we consume information, Nielsen has released its first survey measuring the impact of Twitter on TV audiences, and vice versa.

The study didn’t unearth any groundbreaking revelations. That’s the funny thing about studies meant to mine us, the public, for information: We’re not surprised by the things we do. The data from Nielsen’s “Twitter Causation Study” reveals that 29 percent of the time Twitter does in fact “meaningfully” affect TV ratings, particularly unscripted programming such as reality TV shows and sports coverage.

Anyone who has ever live tweeted the Oscars, the Super Bowl, or America’s Got Talent knows the appeal of being able to riff on funny, inspiring or entertaining moments of spontaneity. It’s fun, and the perfect example of how our lives constantly involve multitasking. We facebook the stuffed flounder at our favorite restaurant. We instagram holding hands with a lover. And, yes, we tweet while watching TV.

That’s just where we are. As PR professionals, our job is to figure out where all of this is going. So it’s smart to measure how social media and TV are evolving together, particularly since TVs are basically morphing into computers. Will Twitter mean that crowdsourcing is the future of successful programming? Or is there any future at all for TV? Just where is all of this heading?

Any ideas?

The Ticker: Bezos Buys WaPo; Bad Apple; M.L.B. vs. A-Rod; Stoic CBS; Chicken Craze

Is the Public, and the PR Industry, Ready for Test-Tube Burgers?

From the McRib to allegedly gluten-free products, the nexus of food and public relations has always been big business. Sadly, some of that PR involves companies and brands attempting to obfuscate the dietary content of their offerings. However, as the foodie generation grows older, consumers are becoming more discerning about the foods they consume.

So, this week, as the first test-tube hamburger was served pan-fried in London for all the public to see, PR professionals can’t help but wonder what this wonder food means to our industry. Is this simply a passing gimmick that will be buried in a grave beside New Coke, or are we witnessing a revolution in what and how the human race perceives food?

As a PR industry professional, what do you think the future of test-tube meat is, and what role will public relations play in its success or failure?

The Ticker: Tina Brown & Newsweek; PR Burnout; Journalism; Bad TSA; Blue Moon