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Bad PR

KFC Asked 3-Year-Old Girl to Leave Because Her Face ‘Scared Customers’

killed your dadI suppose after hearing this story, we will have an answer to the new marketing question #HowDoYouKFC? Answer: Sure as hell not like this.

This unfortunate story hails from Jackson, Miss. inside a KFC location. As the story goes, many people who work hourly shifts at fast-food joints are rumored to be unhappy fops and take it out on customers.

One such simpleton gnome blamed her miserable existence on a girl with a few cuts on her face. The KFC employee asked said girl to leave the store because “[her] scars made the customers nervous.”

Two things: The girl was three. The scars were caused by a pitbull attack. Your move, KFC.

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Chelsea Clinton Makes $600K from NBC News Because That’s Fair

Hillary And Chelsea Clinton Speak Host Discussion On Girls And WomenPaging Jill Abramson. You may want to add this chick to your hit list. 

In a world where networks with too much money hire people with too few qualifications (but a skosh of notoriety), there’s Chelsea Clinton. 

Mind you, this is also a world in which Jill Abramson can be the former executive editor of The New York Times, have tons of responsibility, and fight to make $475,000 while her predecessor Bill Keller made $559,000. And that’s to run one of the nation’s leading newspapers.

Back to Clinton, who received $600,000 for only her last name one month of reporting “acuity” on the now-defunct “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”

Your move, America.

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Detroit’s Gamble Could Be the PR Move Motor City Needs

motor city casino

Is this Detroit’s final bet for a fixed city?

Back in December, we brought you a story concerning the dire need for PR in Detroit. A plea to the public may be the only thing to rescue this once thriving epicenter of commerce and really fine music.

The government has failed it. The auto industry has failed it. And now the folks of Detroit are $18 million in debt with only one ironic source of hope — gambling.

According to the Wall Street JournalDetroit’s three casinos pull in some nice coin, which is what was offered as collateral in the 2009 negotiations with some big banks to secure lower interest rates on its excruciating debt. And that forces us to re-ask the same question: where is the PR?

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Dan Marino: ‘Sue the NFL? Not Me!’

Dolphins Dan Marino

Even the greats need crisis comms help. 

Poor Dan Marino. Poor, hapless, no-Super-Bowl-ring-earning, Hall-of-Fame-jacket-wearing, no-clue-having Dan Marino.

I sure hope all that tackle football didn’t mess with his head like it did to his former colleagues in the class-action lawsuit brought against the NFL. According to court documents filed last week in Philadelphia, Marino joined 14 other former players in filing the newest federal case.

Upon hearing the news, Dan Marino quickly disputed his status as poster boy for the suit, which alleges that the former players never got the facts about concussions in the NFL.

To wit, he said, “Count me out, bro.”

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The Number of People Killed by GM’s Defective Switch Will Soon Rise

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We’re all aware that General Motors is one of the world’s most challenging clients right now–and we can sit around all day and wonder why the company’s preferred strategy for dealing with its ongoing recall crisis can be summarized with the word “stonewall.”

But a report released by Reuters today indicates that this horrific story has only just begun.

The crux of GM’s defense holds that thirteen people–and only thirteen people–have died in accidents involving the infamously defective ignition switch that shuts down cars and their airbag mechanisms mid-drive.

Unfortunately, that number will change soon.

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Not-So-Breaking-News: CNN Says We Will All Die on March 35, 2041. Really.

cnn story

UGM — These three letters have pretty much meant the end of the world as we know it, to quote a notable lyric. Only this time, it was literal.

What does it mean? User-Generated Media. Have smartphone, will report. This means all that journalism studying done by serious reporters doesn’t amount to a thing if some schlep with a Samsung Note can tweet a shaky video to national news.

TMZ uses it. Discredited blogs use it. And even the biggies use it, most commonly CNN and its fabled “iReport.” Cute name. Terrible news. Like everyone dying by asteroid on March 35, 2041. Yes, March 3-5. That is not a typo, just really sloppy reporting.

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Rap Genius Co-founder Resigns After Disturbing Comments on Elliot Rodger’s Manifesto

RodgerWhen human beings do unspeakable things to their fellow man, society’s need to understand why such things happen often leads to mass speculation and a sort of fascination with the persons who commit these violent acts. As such, manifestos, journals, and other windows into the minds of such people are often widely shared and discussed. The manifesto of Elliot Rodger — who murdered six people in a shooting rampage near Santa Barbara, CA on Friday — is no exception.

Mahbod Moghadam, co-founder of annotation website Rap Genius, felt compelled to not only read Roger’s hate-filled manifesto, but to use his company’s website to leave comments and notes about the parts of the text he found most interesting. Most unfortunately, those comments were, for the most part, insensitive at best and deeply disturbing at worst. Read more

BAD PR: John Oliver’s GM Parody Highlights Real, Disturbing Details of Internal Company Practices

Let’s play a little game of word association, shall we? What comes to mind when you think of the following words: deathtrap; decapitating; grenade-like; powder keg; and rolling sarcophagus? If your answer to any of these is “a car made by General Motors,” then an internal GM memo specifically banning the use of these words (and over fifty others) must have failed.

This past Sunday on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver delivered a scathing breakdown of a decade’s worth of disturbing internal PR practices at GM, and then — as the final nail in the rolling sarcophagus — showed a pitch-perfect parody of a GM ad. And in case not enough people subscribe to HBO for this clip to contribute to the company’s already-sticky PR problem, the network has made the video available on YouTube (where it has already been watched almost 700,000 times).

Just like in Shakespeare, the fool often speaks the truth more boldly and honestly than anyone else, and in this case, while viewers may be laughing (we certainly are), they are most definitely not laughing with GM.

New York Times Publisher: ‘I’m Not Sexist. She Was a Bad Manager.’

New York Times Cities For Tomorrow Conference - Cocktail Reception

It would be a sweet picture, if — you know — that didn’t hate each other so much.

Last week, the publishing world stood still for a moment when it learned that 17-year publication veteran and three-year executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson (pictured above and left), was shown the door. And fast. (Followed by another classy headline from the New York Post.)

Her claim: Sexism.

In short, she was she was sorely underpaid for decades. Granted, no one is feeling bad for her when she made $425,000, but when your predecessor made in the sixes, you have room to gripe. She did, namely in the direction of her boss and publisher (also pictured above and right), Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. And now, he’s fighting back.  Read more

Kellogg Agrees: ‘All-Natural’ Means Absolutely Nothing

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Earlier this week, The New York Times columnist/nutritionist/penultimate “foodie” Mark Bittman wrote an op-ed about our consumer culture’s over-emphasis on the word “organic.”

His point? Eating better and living healthier lives has very little to do with whether the products one buys are technically organic–even though there’s a clear and important distinction between agricultural practices that qualify and those that don’t. Non-organic lettuce, for example, is far healthier than organic crackers–and the fact that Ben & Jerry’s products hew to certain production standards does not in any way mean that they’re healthy.

When it comes to marketing practices, of course, it’s a different story–and Kellogg is only the latest company to agree (under court order) that the phrase “all-natural” as it exists in the market today is completely meaningless.

Remember Naked Juice?

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