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Patrick Coffee

I write stuff for Mediabistro and NYMag.com, do freelance consulting work, and waste time on Twitter. You can send me pitches at patrick (at) mediabistro (dot) com or use the anonymous tip box.

Spin the Agencies of Record

columbia_business_school

  • Columbia Business School went with Coyne PR for counsel on ways to help reinforce its new positioning as the school “At the Very Center of Business”…the Upper West Side.

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Colorado Advocacy Group Runs Maureen Down-Inspired Weed Safety PSA

Here’s an amusing aside from Colorado, which — as Denver Post editor Ricardo Baca reminded us earlier this month — is now home to a large and quickly growing legal marijuana industry.

When something becomes a legitimate consumer good, its sale requires PR and marketing services. Longstanding advocacy group The Marijuana Policy Project and its CO-based spinoff Consume Responsibly have assumed those duties, responding to New York Times writer Maureen Dowd’s infamous “I ate too much pot and TOTALLY freaked out” op-ed with a mature PSA campaign and an outdoor billboard (note the red hair, which is obviously her natural color):

Consume responsibly

The campaign is fairly extensive: it includes a web presence and some print elements after the jump.

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Under Armour Comms VP Explains Damage Control Strategy

Here’s a quick but relevant clip that our friends at AdAge posted yesterday.

Diane Pelkey — VP of global communications for Under Armour — explains how the brand tackled the fallout from the bombshell February Wall Street Journal story in which members of the U.S. speed skating team blamed the company’s products for their disappointing performance at the Sochi Olympics.

Pelkey’s point is simple, and it’s worth repeating: be transparent, don’t hide from the story and make sure to offer all relevant spokespeople to media contacts for comment.

While the success of the ensuing campaign may be up for debate, the logic behind the strategy is sound.

The Ticker: Tim Cook on Privacy; Pepsi Supports Goodell; Most Powerful Women in Business; And More

Journalist Reveals Ketchum’s Suggestions for Discrediting Him

Ecuador2In case you missed it, Bloomberg Businessweek published an intriguing story yesterday by veteran journalist Paul M. Barrett that ran with the headline “What It’s Like to Be Attacked by Putin’s Flack.

The “flack” in question is Ketchum — more specifically D.C.-based partner Kathy Jeavons, who “heads both the Ecuador and Russia accounts” for the firm.

For the record, Jeavons did not personally attack or even contact Barrett. But a source did forward him a talking points document that the firm wrote for Nathalie Cely, Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States. The doc included both well-stated observations about Ecuador’s history with Chevron and suggestions for casting doubt on the credibility of Law of the Jungle, Barrett’s upcoming book on the lawsuit that accuses the company of abusing its relationship with the people of Ecuador.

One such suggestion: use friendly media outlets to raise doubts about whether Barrett ever actually visited the country or met the individuals he interviewed for the book.

We spoke to Mr. Barrett today for more information.

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STUDY: Readers Remember Print Placements Better Than Digital

like ugh right

A common challenge we’ve heard discussed among our PR contacts with “old-school” clients involves convincing them that placements on specialty blogs can be just as valuable (in terms of dollars and cents) as a mention in the Wall Street Journal.

No, you can’t hang them on your wall — but they can be even more important in terms of raising awareness of the client’s business.

A new study from the University of Houston does sort of throw a wrench into that line of thinking, though: it found that readers are more likely to remember things like, say, your client’s name and the products they sell when this information appears in print.

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Vast Majority of Firms Still Use AVE for Measurement

percentagesWe hope everyone’s taken something valuable from this year’s Measurement Week event so far.

In case you missed it, last week Peter Himler of Flatiron Communications and Rebekah Iliff of AirPR gave us their takes on the future of measurement, and yesterday our own Nancy Lazarus brought you 10 pointers from Monday’s event with Heidi Sullivan of Cision Vocus, Shonali Burke of Shonali Burke Consulting, Chris Penn of Shift Communications and Sharam Fouladger-Mercer of AirPR.

Here’s our favorite quote from Rebekah:

“We should not, would not, could not use the Advertising Value Equivalency (AVEs) to measure the value of earned media. Most PR pros I know have done away with this, but according to a Ragan’s study last year, nearly a third of PR/communications practitioners still use them. Ugh.”

This morning, we came across a post on the This Is PRable blog indicating that the problem is worse than that.

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LaForce+Stevens Talks Tying Scandal to Fashion on Social

Kerry-Washington-Scandal

A question for PRNewsers: are you excited that Scandal is coming back? And would you like to feel closer (in a fashion sense) to everyone’s favorite professional fixer, Olivia Pope?

The Limited hopes that the answer to both of those questions is “hell yes”, and they’re getting help from Manhattan firm LaForce+Stevens in promoting the fashion brand’s new partnership with the ABC drama. So far, the campaign and its well-fit coats have earned coverage via The New York Times, People, Forbes, Entertainment Tonight and others, so we’d say the collection is heating up.

We spoke to Megan Brown (follow her on Twitter), who manages digital/social at the firm, for more on the campaign and Kerry Washington herself.

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CBS Obeys Twitter, Agrees to Drop Rihanna from Thursday Night Football

CBS made a wise move last week by announcing plans to suspend for one week (sound familiar?) a Thursday Night Football intro segment including a performance by Rihanna and a comedy segment featuring Don Cheadle.

Early this morning, the pop star let everyone know how she felt about the decision:

This development really had nothing to do with penalizing Rihanna or diminishing her star power, but CBS heard that tweet and responded.

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