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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.

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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The Ticker: Budweiser on the NFL; Facebook ‘Best of’; Attack of the YouTube Stars; And More

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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Walmart Comms VP to Resign Over Fake Resume

David TobarIn a peculiar story, David Tovar has announced his plans to resign from Walmart after spending more than eight years in various top PR roles at the big box chain. The reason? He was less than honest about his (alleged) status as a college graduate.

Tovar’s name isn’t new to us or our readers: he’s been a popular speaker at industry events like The Holmes Report’s 2013 Global Summit and PRSA’s recent corporate comms conference. He also made headlines by doing things like boycotting The Huffington Post over its “unfair coverage” of his employer, “fact-checking” an unflattering New York Times op-ed, and admitting that the Waltons sometimes have trouble keeping their shelves stocked.

In other words, he’s bolder than your average corporate communications executive — especially when it comes to massaging the truth about his background.

He tried to explain things to CNBC today.

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Radisson ‘Suspends’ Vikings Sponsorship; Will Other Brands Follow?

radissonDespite the “tsunami” of bad press that has begun to touch on NFL sponsors like CoverGirl via the hashtag #GoodellMustGo, we think it safe to say that most of the corporate names backing the world’s most profitable sports league will continue keeping the bench very warm until Roger Goodell does something that goes well beyond the poor management practices he’s displayed so far this year.

However, one brand did make headlines last night by becoming the first to drop its sponsorship: Radisson Resorts will (temporarily) suspend its relationship with the Minnesota Vikings. This move almost reminds us of the team’s decision to (temporarily) suspended running back Adrian Peterson himself when he was charged with abusing his son: the suspension lasted one game, and the team will allow him to continue playing while under indictment.

To answer the second part of our headline, then, the answer is almost certainly “no.”

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The Ticker: Agents Chasing YouTube Stars; Tim Cook Holds Firm; Clients on Native Ads; And More

STUDY: Media Coverage Has Little Influence on Consumers’ Travel Decisions

If only I'd read this BEFORE I bought tickets

Here’s an interesting, somewhat contradictory finding from our friends at travel blog Skift.

Turns out that media coverage of a given destination wields little, if any, influence when it comes to determining where consumers will take their next vacations.

If true, this finding might require some travel/leisure-focused firms to adjust their strategies…

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