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Damage Control

Uber France Cancels ‘Hot Chick’ Promo for Being Sexist

Sometimes I think it’s a shame that sex actually sells. I mean, think of the kids. And the dirty old men.

It works on everyone…but not every time.

Uber France got a reality check the other day when its  marketing people concocted the idea to hire “incredible hot chicks” as its drivers. Maybe it’s all the bread up there, but some women with muffin tops took some umbrage to that in a loud fashion.

Here’s the site, which quickly went dark:

avions-uber-france

The promo website and app is called Avions de Chasse, which means fighter jets in Francais, but it’s also slang for hot chicks. (Don’t ask me; not even my Cajun or Canadian relatives get that one.)

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CNN Spins Its Breakup with Dish Network

CNN failThe year was like, 1980. 

Jimmy Carter was president and awaiting a defeat at the hands of this actor fellow from California. Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington state causing $3 billion in damages. John Lennon died in New York City. Blondie was at the top of the charts. Movember found a hero in ‘Magnum P.I.’ And gas was one dollar and eight cents a gallon!

It was also the year the mustachioed Ted Turner decided that what America needed was 24 hours of news. He invested $20 million into the launch of The Cable News Network and the rest is history. Today, people could care less and one satellite network has even decided its consumers don’t care at all…so they dropped CNN from its packages.

That was CNN. 

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NO MORE Unveils New Anti-Domestic Violence PSA Starring NFL Players

Today on TODAY, the National Football League made what looks like its biggest attempt to date to address the ongoing struggle with the domestic violence in its ranks.

This is the first concrete evidence of work performed by the league’s recently created “social responsibility team,” which includes its own community affairs VP Anna Isaacson and three (female) advisers, each of whom has extensive experience dealing with domestic violence and sex crimes.

The clip stars some of the league’s most prominent players, beginning with Giants quarterback Eli Manning:

This PSA was created to promote NO MORE, an anti-DM advocacy group founded by Law and Order actress Mariska Hargitay (who directed along with fellow actors Tate Donovan and Blair Underwood). You may note that it’s a variation on a PSA released last year that starred various actors.

That one after the jump.

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Why Gwyneth Paltrow Is to Blame for Whisper’s Failure as a Media Source

whisperEarlier this summer, Whisper — the creepers app that allows people to send and receive meme-ified messages anonymously — wanted to become a viable news source.

The idea: if you have real, possibly unflattering news to share and don’t want to be outed by the soothsayers at TMZ, you post it on Whisper.

Also: a legitimate source is now some dude with a smartphone, a happy trigger-finger, and an axe to grind.

Then, came along Gwyneth Paltrow to ruin all the fun.  Read more

Facebook Sues DEA Over Fake Profile Pages

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Facebook has tried, almost to a fault, to protect the identities of its users — as long as they’re real. See, for example, the site’s recent conflict that ended with the network allowing some users who dress as members of the opposite gender to use their stage names online.

The drama was based around fake profiles, which are highly frowned upon in Zuckerberg’s environment.

Recently, Facebook poked the Drug Enforcement Agency because it wants “assurances” that the feds are no longer using fake profile pages to conduct investigations. Read more

CDC: Dallas Nurse Contracts Ebola Due to ‘Inadvertent Breach of Protocol’

Dr. Mark Lester

This past weekend in the Dallas/Fort Worth region was supposed to be all about the Texas/Oklahoma game at the U.S. mecca of fried food: the State Fair of Texas. We had great weather, but something was looming…and it wasn’t good.

North Texas has been a little hysterical lately given the goings-on of the past couple of weeks. A man named Thomas Eric Duncan left Liberia, came to Dallas, and brought with him the first confirmed U.S. case of Ebola. Regretfully, he lost that fight, but not before the hospital caring for him entered an ongoing PR battle.

Now, one of the nurses who did the caring has contracted the disease. And the hospital may have a case of the PR yips.

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Aunt Jemima Sued for $2 Billion by Descendants of the Real ‘Mammy’

aunt jemina

Everyone is up in arms about the NFL team in Washington, and for good reason. Cries of racism have littered the nation’s capital and Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office for months. However, since the Commish is busy tackling an out-of-control crisis issue with domestic violence, #ChangeTheMascot has been shelved for a while.

Another mascot has risen to prominence recently, but it has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with your morning breakfast. Yes, we’re talking about Aunt Jemima.

The bandana-wrapped woman hearkens back to an earlier time in America — a time when people ate together as a family,  talked at the table instead of playing with mobile devices…and had a slave to do everything while they sat there.

Sure, it’s been a while since 1865 but the great-grandsons of the real Aunt Jemima are suing Quaker Oats for $2 billion of the pancake empire. Yes, that’s a lotta dough. (S0rry.)

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Microsoft Admits That ‘Much Work’ Remains to Address Its (Lack of) Diversity

diversity-boys-club-620xa

Sometimes, bad news becomes a big snowball. A small dust-up collects a little dirt and begins rolling downhill as people stand there, watching it gain velocity as it prepares to smash the little hamlet at the base of the mountain.

When you hear Microsoft, you would think that the company itself is the snowball. This time, however, it’s the village in peril.

Last week the company introduced Windows 10 (math skills be damned). And now, America finds out that Bill Gates’ baby has grown up to become one big boys’ club.

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Apple Damage Control Strategy: Blame Josh

Its appleAfter all the news and the pseudo-news and the record-breaking brand tweets, Apple finally responded to “bendgate” yesterday.

In many ways, the company’s actions show how far its strategy has moved away from the “take no prisoners” approach that an inside source described to us earlier this month. In that interview, the contact told us that the Apple of the past would never comment directly on anything. Yet he also noted that Tim Cook wants to “put a friendlier face on Apple”, and the company’s most recent moves seem to confirm that fact.

First, Apple release an official statement saying, effectively:

“Yes, a phone was bent, but it only happened to nine people (out of ten million).”

Apple even went further than that, inviting CBS to tour its previously super-secret iPhone testing facility to underscore the fact that everyone really needs to calm the hell down. The company even had some online brand advocates happy to let everyone else know that the “bend test” video you’ve all been passing around was a conspiracy dreamed up by a full-time hater.

Yesterday  brought a Bloomberg article that seemed to lay the blame for Apple’s performance issues at the feet of a single, unfortunate person. His name is Josh.

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‘Most Common Misconceptions’ List Details Ferguson Damage Control Strategy

ferguson.si

The town of Ferguson, Missouri has obviously made quite a few headlines over the past two months.

We followed the story but avoided posting on it until it became a formal public relations matter: the town hired local firm Common Ground to handle its considerable media relations responsibilities and the story became — for some — an angle with which to pitch clients to media outlets hungry for more coverage.

In a late August post published on O’Dwyer’s blog, Denise Bentele of Common Ground confirmed that her agency was not the only one involved:

“The Devin James Group, a nationally certified Minority-owned firm, has been working with St. Louis County and the City of Ferguson as an independent liaison to handle the public relations and long-term needs”

Last night, a document titled “Most Common List of Misconceptions in Ferguson”, which was apparently released at a town hall meeting on Monday afternoon, made its way around Twitter, Facebook and the blog world, giving readers some insights into how the town is attempting to handle a wave of media attention that has yet to recede.

The full document is a talking points memo that’s worth a read for anyone with an interest in crisis communications.

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