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Tonya Garcia

McDonald’s Going With a ‘Less Is More’ Strategy Now That Numbers Have Tumbled

via Andrey Armyagov /

via Andrey Armyagov /

McDonald’s is taking its menu in a different direction — one that’s a little more trim — in order to stanch the bleeding at its bottom line. For years, various groups have raised issues and questions about what goes into a McDonald’s meal. But with sales down (since October 2013) and the competition taking continuous nibbles out of the fast food giant’s consumer base, McD’s is putting some more significant measures in place.

To start, the menu is getting smaller. The company is ridding itself of all but one version of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese burger. There will only be one Snack Wrap left on the menu. And there will only be one chicken sandwich. There will also be fewer ingredients in their food. All of this is being tested in six markets.

And speaking of ingredients, McD’s has decided maybe it’s time to let people know what’s in their meals.

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US Birthrate Stats Show It’s Time To Rethink Outreach To Moms

pregnant woman

Image via Shutterstock

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that birth rates in the US hit a record low in 2013, down nine percent to fewer than 3.93 million. The number of births for women younger than 30 did all of the declining, down 10 percent among teens (yay!), three percent for women between the ages of 20 and 24, and one percent for women between 25 and 29.

However, for women older then 30, the number of babies born actually went up.

The stats indicate a number of things, but for PRs it means there needs to be a rethinking of outreach to mothers in order to stay relevant to this shifting demographic.

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TGI Friday’s Mistletoe Drone Fail, Cuts Photojournalist In the Face

tgifridaysDrones are the thing now. People want one for their backyard so they can spy on their neighbors. Filmmakers want them for their movies. Amazon wants them for deliveries. Skynet will take over humanity using cyborgs and drones.

Not to be left behind, TGI Fridays is using drones in its restaurants, sending mistletoe to people’s tables so they can kiss as part of its #Togethermas campaign. The drones, which started in the UK, landed at a restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn on December 4 and a local reporter went to the restaurant to check it out. This is basically why TGI Friday has these flying contraptions: introduce something kind of fun, kind of weird, very over-the-top and watch it get some media attention.

But the drone in Brooklyn promptly went out of control and cut a photographer’s face. Even better, the TGI Friday worker behind the controls blamed a reporter for causing the accident.

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Filmmaker Ava DuVernay Explains How Her PR Background Helped Her Movie Career

selmaAmong the many movies being released on Christmas Day this year is Selma, which recounts the three months of the civil-rights movement leading up to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Among the stars are David Oyelowo, who’s getting advanced buzz for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Oprah Winfrey.

The director of that movie is Ava DuVernay, who was given the director’s chair to the film after Lee Daniels dropped out. This is the first time DuVernay has ever directed a film with a budget as large as Selma, $20 million. Her other notable directorial work was for the independent film Middle of Nowhere, which was released in 2012 and had a $200,000 budget. She’s otherwise done a few other smaller projects like a clip starring Gabrielle Union for Prada and a documentary for ESPN called Venus Vs. about tennis champ Venus Williams.

Prior to becoming a filmmaker DuVernay was an entertainment publicist with her own firm, working on the big-budget films she may now be making. Among those were 2011 Oscar winner The Help, Dreamgirls (another Oscar winner for Jennifer Hudson) and Invictus with Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as a star South African rugby player. DuVernay says her experience as a publicist was useful background for her film career.

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Viewers Who Tuned in to Eaten Alive Disappointed To Find No One Got Eaten Alive

rosolieThere was no truth in advertising on this one. We’ve been hearing about the Discovery Channel’s Eaten Alive special for months now. And Paul Rosolie, the daring environmental activist who had volunteered to be eaten alive by a giant snake to save the planet was fueling the fires for this one.

“People care about animals; they don’t make the jump to caring about the habitat the animals live in… So I wanted to do something that would force a dialogue about what’s going on here – and it’s working,” he said in an interview we wrote about barely two weeks ago.

In that interview, he said he was still recovering from the experience. So you’d be reasonable in thinking, “Dang. That man got eaten by a giant snake and it was unsurprisingly traumatic. I must see this amazing thing that has happened.”

Well, after nearly two hours of watching blah blah blah last night, Rosolie was not in fact eaten by a snake. The snake hurt his arm and then he called for help.

Also last night, my neighbor’s giant cat scratched me while clawing at my sock. It was just as thrilling as this hot eco-mess.

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Strange Fruit PR Changing Its Name After Twitter Shows Them How Awful It Is


Do a search for Strange Fruit PR online and you’ll find nothing but blank pages. That’s because the firm has deleted its website and all of its social media accounts in order to come up with a new name after the backlash to the original moniker became a firestorm.

The Austin-based firm even got an unwanted shout out from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes over their name.


Time and again, the PR industry talks about how it needs to diversify. Firms are also quick to talk up their efforts to tap into various resources to get the best and the brightest to offer insight and expertise from different races, nationalities, from women and those with experiences from both inside publicity and outside of it, in all sorts of other areas and backgrounds. Firms far and wide say they’re working hard to be inclusive.

The fact that this firm took this name shows just how far the industry still has to go.

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St. Louis County Police Spokesperson Apologizes For Insensitive Social Media Post

With law enforcement across the country being scrutinized for their enforcement tactics, now is not the time to address the public with jokes, puns, plays on words, or anything other than facts. Moreover, if you’re speaking on behalf of your group on a sensitive topic, run your correspondence up the flagpole to make sure it doesn’t cause offense. Someone at the St. Louis County police department in Fenton didn’t get this message before posting a note this morning on social media referring to the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice at the hands of a police officer.

In a post that has since been removed, someone from this department sought to educate readers about Airsoft pistols and pellet guns, warning that “children should have rules for ‘toy’ guns that mirror the rules of real guns.” But before this person could get to the safety advisory, they opened with the question, “Kids will be Kids?” and then used Rice’s tragic story to illustrate the danger, admitting that they “[did] not know all the details of the story.”

The note goes on to warn parents to make sure that kids know how to behave if the cops are called because a toy gun can be mistaken for a real weapon. “They need to comply with officers [sic] instructions. They may be ordered to lie on the ground…” 

After the post went up, the St. Louis County spokesperson contacted Buzzfeed News with an apology and further statement from the Department Chief Jon Belmar.

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Is the CIA Taking Its Tweeting Too Far?

state of affairsWhen the CIA first joined Twitter, everyone chuckled a bit. But right away, the agency was determined to charm us. Since then, the feed has been a mixture of facts about CIA work and service, history and a joke here and there.

But now it looks like the CIA wants to add to its tweeting repertoire. It’s kind of live tweeting the NBC show State of Affairs. TMZ was in touch with the CIA spokesperson who said the show presented an opportunity “counter popular myths and misconceptions about the Agency …”

Is live tweeting a fictional NBC program (starring Katherine Heigl!) the best way to do that? Probably not.

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Dr. Nancy Snyderman Apologizes (Again) For Violating Ebola Quarantine

snyderman tweetDr. Nancy Snyderman made her return to the Today show this morning to once again apologize for all of the hubbub surrounding her outing during her voluntary quarantine. Rather than just saying she was sorry for breaking the rules, she and Matt Lauer got more specific about what exactly went wrong.

Besides “scaring my community,” she says she was guilty of “adding to the confusion of terms” that was happening.

Adds Lauer, “In your situation it wasn’t about what was medically right to do. It was about breaking a promise.” She agrees.

And with that, they hit the issue on the head.

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Reebok Becomes the Official Brand of the UFC


The UFC has entered into a big time brand partnership with Reebok, making the sports apparel company the official provider of the league. The company says it’s the biggest “non-broadcast” contract in its history.

“The announcement is a landmark in mixed martial arts and the first of its scope in combat sports. The deal will eliminate independent sponsorships in the UFC’s Octagon, which athletes have long relied upon to supplement fight purses,” says ESPN. All fighters will be outfitted in Reebok with the initial profits of the deal going directly to the “500 rostered athletes.” Other financial info about the deal is undisclosed. The contract goes into effect July 15, 2015.

Many of us can remember a time when the UFC and MMA in general was kind of like Fight Club, an underground thing that a few seeming outliers were into. Now, it’s more and more a part of the mainstream airing on television and getting play on various reality shows. And nothing says mainstream like a deal with a major clothing and accessories brand.

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