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Victoria’s Secret Just Doesn’t Get It

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…or maybe they get it too well.

No, these Victoria’s Secret models aren’t wearing Halloween costumes — they’re just so heavily Photoshopped that one can barely recognize them as real-life human beings.

We don’t know about you, but we find the brand’s UK “perfect body” campaign to be a bit odd given all the recent studies telling us that consumers want more “authenticity” and emotionally rewarding “relationships” with brands. The tagline for this campaign might as well be “we’re perfect and you’re not.”

Shockingly, that public is less impressed with this campaign than jaded New Yorkers were with their new “ambassador” Taylor Swift.

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Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Make This Talking Point Part of a Winning PR Message

looking at your watchEvery day around the world, PRs are sitting at their desks, in meetings, with their colleagues and at conference room tables with clients trying to decide on effective publicity messages. Of course, you want to highlight all the things that make the product or service you’re promoting of value. And you want to call out all the bells and whistles that make what your selling better than the competition.

A new study indicates there might be one perk that your PR message should highlight.

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The 20 Most ‘Authentic’ Brands in the US (and Why)

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“Transparency” isn’t just a buzzword: as a 2013 survey by Cohn & Wolfe showed us, consumers around the world are demanding more in the way of honest communications from the brands they know and use every day.

The 2014 version of that survey, which the firm released this week, is larger and more all-encompassing. They keyword this time around: “authenticity.”

Here’s the big finding:

  • 87 percent of global consumers say it’s important for brands to “act with integrity at all times” while only 72 percent call innovation essential

Another key finding: product quality and the transparency surrounding it is the largest potential cause of crisis for a brand — and the public in general is NOT happy about data security.

After the jump, we list the 20 “most authentic” brands in the United States and ask Cohn Global Practice Leader of Corporate Affairs Geoff Beattie to tell us a bit more about the “why.”

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STUDY: Readers Remember Misleading Headlines

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Here at Mediabistro, we often get requests from reps to change or alter our headlines. We usually respond with annoyance, but a study featured in Fast Company yesterday explains why such demands can be very important: readers will remember a misleading headline even when they read the full article for a better understanding of the story.

The paper, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, makes a pretty basic point: headlines can be “misleading” without being incorrect — and the difference between the two is often lost on readers through no real fault of their own.

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

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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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Journalist Reveals Ketchum’s Suggestions for Discrediting Him

Ecuador2In case you missed it, Bloomberg Businessweek published an intriguing story yesterday by veteran journalist Paul M. Barrett that ran with the headline “What It’s Like to Be Attacked by Putin’s Flack.

The “flack” in question is Ketchum — more specifically D.C.-based partner Kathy Jeavons, who “heads both the Ecuador and Russia accounts” for the firm.

For the record, Jeavons did not personally attack or even contact Barrett. But a source did forward him a talking points document that the firm wrote for Nathalie Cely, Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States. The doc included both well-stated observations about Ecuador’s history with Chevron and suggestions for casting doubt on the credibility of Law of the Jungle, Barrett’s upcoming book on the lawsuit that accuses the company of abusing its relationship with the people of Ecuador.

One such suggestion: use friendly media outlets to raise doubts about whether Barrett ever actually visited the country or met the individuals he interviewed for the book.

We spoke to Mr. Barrett today for more information.

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Miss America Organizers Really Want You To Know They’re All About Educating Women

Last night, we crowned a brand new Miss America — Miss New York Kira Kazantsev. This marks the third time in a row that New York has taken the crown. Her talent was singing a version of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” while tapping cups on the floor, and during that performance an on-screen pop-up touted her love of “anything Jane Austin.”

Meanwhile, Miss Ohio moved her lips while singing a duet of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” with a ventriloquist’s dummy. And we learned Miss Virginia is “terrified of frogs.”

All of this is news in and of itself (sort of). But judging by the emphasis placed by the Miss America pageant organizers, the college scholarships that are awarded is really what they want all the chatter to focus on. I guess we were all distracted by the bathing suit portion of the competition.

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New York Press Club Doesn’t Care for de Blasio’s Media Relations Strategy

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Today the mayor of our hometown gives us a nice lesson in how not to please certain local journalists.

Mayor Bill de Blasio won office in a 2013 landslide thanks, in no small part, to the work of BerlinRosen Public Affairs.

Yet some of the journalists involved in the New York Press Club seem to think that the firm could have taught him a bit more about media relations.

The letter/official airing of grievances signed by NYPC president Larry Seary after the jump. A hint: it involves message management.

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Why Uber Chose Obama’s Campaign Manager to Run Comms and Strategy

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Yes we can…connect you to an unlicensed driver using his personal vehicle to transport people around town for tips.

On one level, it makes sense that David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and one of the hottest speakers/strategists on the circuit, would join the “sharing economy” company that everyone’s falling over themselves to cover.

Still, the match strikes some as odd given the recent decision of the Republican National Committee to promote Uber as the prime example of business free from government regulation — regulation best embodied by the man Plouffe helped win the White House.

The answer lies in crisis communications and political infighting.

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#PRFail: NBC Strikes Out on Meet the Press Announcement

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“Where is the love, the love, the love?”

It was the worst-kept secret in network TV, but after months of speculation NBC finally announced yesterday that Chuck Todd would indeed take over for David Gregory as the host of the Sunday morning coffee gathering known as Meet the Press.

In case you missed it, NBC has a history of mismanaging personnel announcements. Does the name Ann Curry ring a bell?

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