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Ethics

Florida School Stops Providing Mountain Dew Shots Before Standardized Tests

mountain dripping dew

Bottoms up, kid! Your grades count on it.

Next up in “Jacked-up Standardized Testing” News, we go to Melbourne, Fla. HELLO!

According to a story broken by Brevard County’s News 13 and later covered by NPR, some parents questioned officials at Dr. W.J. Creel Elementary School after they found out that teachers made Mountain Dew “available to the students” before they took part in the Florida Comprehensive Assessments Test (FCAT).

Oh, and this practice to get elementary school children amped up for the big test has been happening for the past 10 years. 

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Houston School Creates ‘Wall of Shame’ for State-Mandated Test … Motivation?

shame on you

We believe children are the future. Unless they are taking tests, then they’re idiots!

If you know a teacher, you have heard how deplorable some public schools are in terms of state-mandated, standardized tests. Some say that they are prejudicial. Others believe they are foolish. Overall, they put more of an edict of suckage on the teacher than the student. If the student fails the exam, the teacher gets punished.

He or she should have done better. The student may have poor study habits, apathy about whatever is in the classroom, or maybe an undiagnosed learning disability. None of that matters when it comes time to yank the teacher into the principal’s office.

And that’s why a group of teachers in Houston decided that public ridicule and shaming would be a great way to motivate students into doing better. Wait, what?

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How Did We Become ‘Spin Doctors’ Anyway?

what-is-public-relationsSo, there I was reading PR Week recently when I noticed its quote of the day: “PR professionals hate spin and what it stands for.” The fact that said PR professional shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition notwithstanding, the sentiment is right on!

Candidly, I have never been so smug with this craft to think I am beyond being called a “flack.”

It’s our nickname and it’s a term of endearment. Many journalists respectively celebrate their status as “hacks.” However, one term that is universally frowned upon in this establishment is “Spin Doctor.” 

Why? The term connotes ne’er-do-wells, people who suck at PR, and borderline used-car salesmen or, in the worst case scenario, lobbyists.

Unfortunately, the literal meaning of the term is even worse…

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CNN Asks Marketing Experts If the KKK Can ‘Rebrand’

CNN KKK rebrandWe don’t blame you at all.

If you had a blog, and said that one of America’s largest and “most trusted” news sources asked such a heinous question, we would have thought it was you smoking Rob Ford’s crack. Nonetheless, there’s the screen grab asking the earnest question “Can the Klan rebrand?”

In an effort to strike a chord with viewers (or strike a match and burn the network to the ground), CNN decided on a secondary story that would be fitting for a 73-year-old-bigot named Frazier Glenn Cross, a white supremacist and avowed anti-Semite, in the back of a police car, spitting, “Heil Hitler!”

And from there, we get a marketing question?! Yeah.  Read more

Yelp Going to the Virginia Supreme Court for its Fake Reviews

yelpHaven’t we been here before?

It seems like it was just March 21 when we brought a #PRFail editorial about Yelp and its fake reviews. In the post, we brought three lawsuits to your attention under the premise of Yelp’s plight of “free speech debate” could cause some serious drama for the ubiquitous ratings and reports website.

Whelp, we should have called Vegas because Yelp is in the news about its reviews. You know? Again. And this time, they are visiting the highest court in the land cloaking itself in the warm embrace of the First Amendment. (Well, highest court in Virginia, but you get the point. The s#!t is about to hit the fan.)

Good luck with that…  Read more

More #McFail: Managers Admit to Stealing Employee’s Money

mcdonalds-im-not-lovin-it

They’re baaaaaaaaaack! 

Unfortunately for the Clown, McDonald’s just can’t stay out of the #PRFail spotlight.

When we last left this saga, McDonald’s was accused of kicking some old couple out on their keisters – canes, walkers, and all — for sitting too long. And as shameful as that was, there’s also the open case of slave labor under the veiled threat of deportation because that’s good for team morale.

Next up in the Clown’s PR issues, we have a story of former managers admitting they stole money from their miserly paid employees. This should be good.  Read more

Stephen Colbert Responds to #CancelColbert Controversy As Only He Can

So, in case you missed it, The Colbert Report made fun of somebody via Twitter, and it became a threefold lesson in PR.

The tweet in question poked fun at the the owner of the controversially-named Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder, after his ham-handed attempt at shedding positive light on the decidedly non-PC team name by announcing the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.

The tweet read, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

In context, it’s a hilarious parody that successfully illuminates Snyder’s poorly-executed attempt at cultural sensitivity; but taken out of context, the statement could obviously be viewed as, well, culturally insensitive.

Therein lay the problem. Read more

OkCupid Blocks Firefox to Protest CEO’s Opposition to Marriage Equality

Anyone who has recently attempted to access dating site OkCupid using a Firefox browser has been greeted with the following message:

okcupid-firefox-boycott-hed-2014

This is a statement that’s pretty hard to miss–not only does it reach every single Firefox user attempting to log in to the dating service, but it calls attention to the inequality in question by literally blocking people from seeking companionship with the same ease and freedom as others.

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Resurrected Celebrities Hawk Everything from Booze to Chocolate: The Creeptastic Trend We Wish Would Stop

The message of celebrity endorsements is, at the heart, quite simple: Eating/drinking/using this product will make you more like your favorite celebrity — charming, successful, popular, and…long dead?

We’ve recently noticed (and been totally creeped out by) a trend of brands resurrecting dead icons to hawk everything from beer to chocolate. While it’s hardly a new phenomenon for marketers to utilize the images of legendary superstars to sell products, advancements in technology (and, apparently, nerve) have allowed advertisers to take the concept to a new, decidedly shiver-inducing level.

The one that jumped out at us the most (i.e. made us actually gawk open-mouthed at our TV and then mutter the non-acronym version of WTF under our breath), was this spot for Dove chocolate, in which Audrey Hepburn is brought back to life by a frighteningly-detailed CGI process.
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What Are America’s Most Ethical Companies for 2014?

shutterstock_154276742

Management consulting firm Ethisphere just released its “Most Ethical Companies” list for 2014. While the firm’s scoring and methodology page explains that this is not a perfectly definitive list, it’s still a group that most everyone would like their clients to join.

Honorees were chosen by an advisory panel tasked with reviewing each company’s compliance record, reputation, internal governance practices, CSR efforts and culture via both self-reported applications and outside research.

The list includes 144 companies from 41 industries around the world. They aren’t all household names, and the list does not rank them or inform the reader as to exactly how each individual business earned the distinction. But we’ve picked a few American companies that stood out to us after the jump, starting with the ones you’ll recognize.

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