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Shawn Paul Wood

Shawn Paul Wood is a PR executive, copywriter and online strategist with more than 20 years’ experience in the field, with 12 of those years as an on-air host and radio news director. In his "free time," he also writes for Talent Zoo‘s Flack Me blog, PR News' Insider, as well as writes and edits for national blog Through The Fence Baseball. For more about SPW, follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood or his agency @WoodworksComms.

Did Al Roker Just Show PR Pros How to Get Noticed?

Whelp, it’s official. Al Roker has finally made his legend eternal by taking a bold step into the Guinness World Book of Records with a 34-hour uninterrupted weather forecast because dude had nothing better to do on a Wednesday morning.

Playfully dubbed #Rokerthon, the stunt was geared to raise money for Roker’s Crowdrise campaign, which benefits the U.S. armed forces and the United States Service Organizations (USO). NBC reported the event helped raise over more than $70,000 for the charity.

Admirable. Laudable. And yes, laughable. (I mean, they guy had to break a record set by some Norwegian meterologist, so that’s funny.)

And there’s your question PR pros: Is that really what it takes these days — stunts? Seriously?!

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APOCALYPSE WATCH: Black Friday Expands, Rebrands as ‘Black Week’

walmart-fights

Still wondering why we “can’t have nice things?” Two words: Black and Friday

It’s yet another unofficial American holiday during which people are allowed — nay, encouraged — to re-enact scenes from The Purge in hopes of scoring $400 off a big screen TV. The doors open, and may God have mercy on the soul of whoever is standing at that partition.

The stampede is on and the fights go viral faster than you can type #WalMartFights. However, if you think one day is enough of this madness, you better ask somebody. This year “Black Week” because it’s hard out there for a retailer.

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Obama Promotes Press Freedom Abroad, Has Media Relations Problems at Home

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address to the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative in YangonThe American President is no stranger to dust-ups with the leering media.

This is a man who inspired high-fives  in newsrooms across this great land of ours when he declared that he would have the “most transparent administration in U.S. history.” Regretfully, that promise lasted all of a few weeks.

Journalism groups have scolded him and his response has been a questionable finger pointed in their direction because they “spread cynicism.” Now the president, while traveling in China and Myanmar, says that the  the media should have greater access to do their job in those lands.

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Senator McConnell’s ‘No Shutdown’ Promise Looks Short-Lived

mitch mcconnell

Dear America, On second thought… 

There are only a few guarantees in life: death, taxes, gravity, and the fact that politicians will say and do anything for a vote. Many would sell their own mother, but given the fact most of those folks have been on Capitol Hill for more than two decades, mom probably bought the farm a few years back.

Anywho, several politicians have been raising the same old flags of truce and speaking longingly of bipartisanship since the Republican takeover of The Senate a couple of weeks back. Among those spreading the Sister Sledge harmony is the new Lord of the Flies, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), majority leader. Here’s his quote:

“Let me make it clear: There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt.”

Nice for a Kumbaya moment as McConnell stated at the weekly Republican policy luncheon late last week (source). Only one small problem, he has used that line before. Like, last year.

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RadioShack Forced to Stay Closed on Thanksgiving After Employee Mutiny

screen-shot-2014-11-12-at-12-10-49-pm

The formerly dominant personal technology super store, Radio Shack, is suffering in many ways.

This Dallas/Fort Worth-based company is laying off employees almost on a monthly basis. It is closing hundreds of stores annually. Its brand is considered so antiquated that self-deprecationwas in order for its last Super Bowl commercial. Now it is facing almost certain bankruptcy.

That said, there’s still hope: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all that they imply. Unfortunately, it seems that this business can’t quite get those right. Maybe that’s why they hired Weird Al: this story feels like a parody of how to get ready for the holidays.

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GOOD NEWS: Cops Buy Groceries for Great-Grandmother After Purse Snatching

Funny-Police-CarsLately, America’s finest boys and girls in blue have been getting a bum rap thanks to incidents in Ferguson, Mo. and elsewhere.

It’s almost fashionable to hate on the police. From talk shows to morning shows, and all over social media, trolls just want to repeat that old N.W.A. mantra. And while I do not advocate that song at all, I understand why folks may feel that way.

Police officers these days not only need to protect and serve, but also create some shtick to garner community trust like ‘Junior Deputy’ badges or funny cop cars (seen here).

However, if a good circus trick isn’t available while on duty, community service for a great-grandmother who had her purse stolen will always help a department earn serious brownie points. Read more

The Top 5 Things Overheard in PR Agencies Today

hunter PR stuff people say

No, they are “saying” a lot here too.

A couple of years ago, Hunter Public Relations of New York provided us with the YouTube homage “Stuff PR People Say.” Many of the points in the video will make you laugh, giggle, and really look at yourself in the mirror.

Yes, folks. We do say these things: “I made a few tweaks,” “Did you get my email,” “Need by COB,” and of course, “Let’s brainstorm around that.” However, there are other sentiments that may be more client-centric or agency-centric that didn’t make this video.

And that’s what got us thinking about this week’s #5Things: The Top 5 Things Overheard in PR Agencies Today. You know, “just a thought.”

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Kraft Foods Sides with PR: ‘It’s Not You, Ad Agencies. It’s Us.’

new kraft foods

Late last week, Kraft Foods announced it was parting ways with many of its advertising agencies. Seven of its 11 ad agencies were unceremoniously shown the door.

The company believes having that many chefs in the kitchen can be bad for cooking. That many agencies playing the game of ‘Telephone’ proves the theory of lost in translation. So, Kraft Foods decided to greatly reduce the white noise. The move to go less with advertising is an effort to align its brands “more strategically with the particular strengths of agencies on our roster.”

Here’s the thing: the company is keeping all 12 of its PR firms on retainer. Strategery!!

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UPDATE: MSNBC Is Ready for a Rebranding

MSNBC Opinions

It was October 2010 when MSNBC pushed all of its chips to the left side of the aisle with the ad campaign “Lean Forward.

Minneapolis ad agency Mono even procured the talents of Spike Lee to direct the commercial spots announcing the change. A big campaign. A big name. A big change for American network news. It was a gamble that network execs believed would pay off. From Rachel Maddow to Chris Matthews, the network was set to become the antithesis to FOX News.

And then the bloodletting of 2014 happened, causing the network’s president Phil Griffin to reconsider its position. Our sister site TVNewser broke the story yesterday via an internal memo.

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The Real Streets of Monopoly May Need Some PR Services

monopoly

The year was 1904 when a young woman named Elizabeth Magie created “The Landlord’s Game.”

She applied for a patent, which was granted on January 5, 1904 (No. 748,626). She explained that the game was to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.” This became what we know today as Monopoly.

The game is greatness, unless you are playing with one those tools who refuse to trade properties.

But have you ever thought about what those cheap purple streets or the highfalutin dark blue streets really look like? One daring photographer with The Atlantic’s CityLab ventured to answer that unasked question.

(All pics via the artist, Mike Osborne.)

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