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Coke Breaks Up with American Idol

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In a sign of the times and shifting pop culture influences, Coca-Cola is the latest big brand to end its sponsorship of the formerly formidable Fox giant American Idol.

Today Variety reports that Coke explained its decision to drop Idol after more than a decade:

“After 13 years, we feel it is the right time for the Coca-Cola brand to venture into new spaces and pursue other opportunities to connect with teens and leverage music as a passion point.”

Ad spending on the show has dropped nearly 50 percent over the past three years, with AT&T and Ford also stepping away from the show in order to reshape a relationship with the network that “goes much deeper than any individual program,” in the words of a Ford rep.

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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

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!

Journalists Weigh in on the Ethics of the Sony Hack Stories

We all know how Sony, Aaron Sorkin, Brad Pitt and Rubenstein Communications think the media world should respond to ongoing leaks from the Sony Pictures hack: ignore them.

CNN’s Reliable Sources (hosted by the Brian Stelter, founder of our sister site TVNewser) asked the question on Sunday and got some mixed different answers. In the first part of the interview, Andrew Wallenstein of Variety frames the question as a serious one, saying, “I don’t do that lightly…it was going to get out there anyway, and we have to be part of the conversation.”

Dawn Chmielewski of Re\code was a bit more blunt on New Day:

Well, then. Check out Gawker’s explanation of the issue — which mentions the leak of a clip from The Interview depicting the death of the very Korean dictator at the heart of this story — to Mike Allen of Politico after the jump.

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Beard Baubles Are Sold Out, But You Can Still Wear ‘Christmas on Your Face’ For Charity

635538892045561108-BB3-hiresWith only days until Christmas, many have already lit their trees, decked their halls, and donned hideously awesome holiday sweaters, so they may be under the misguided impression that they simply have nothing left to decorate. There may, however, be one long-neglected potential canvas left to adorn with holiday sparkle; what about the beards?

As you may have heard, ad agency Grey London heard the cries of barren beards everywhere and responded with a solution that is not only undeniably decorative, but — in keeping with the holiday spirit — highly charitable.

Enter: Beard Baubles.

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Sony Hires Rubenstein, Threatens Journalists Publishing Hacked Data

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Sony Pictures has hired New York’s Rubenstein Communications to handle the fallout from its epic document leak, and the company made its first visible move to limit the ongoing bad press over the weekend by threatening to sue all who report on related materials.

Specifically, the studio’s lawyer David Boies (of Bush v. Gore and many other cases) demanded that all news organizations delete the “stolen data” they already have or will receive and agree to stop reporting on it. Essentially, Boies threatened to sue any organization that publishes future stories drawn from the emails and other materials leaked by hackers.

Sony tried to get the heads of other major studios to sign the letter but they abstained, noting that it might look like “a publicity stunt.”

The real conversation piece, though, is a New York Times op-ed from Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing and The Social Network. In summary, Sorkin tells journalists “You’re Giving Material Aid to Criminals.”

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Seth Rogen: Don’t Blame Me for the Sony Leak

Two people bear absolutely no responsibility for the Sony media hack that looks like the biggest data leak since Snowden: Seth Rogen and James Franco.

In a clip from Good Morning America set to air tomorrow, Rogen insists that his upcoming movie The Interview was never supposed to be controversial — and it definitely wasn’t intended to inspire a leak:

Key quote:

“At this point, it’s too late to have any [second thoughts]. We set out to make a movie that was really entertaining to audiences and I genuinely think we did that. And that’s where my job ends.”

So it’s a perfect storm of publicity for these two and a nightmare for everyone else employed by Sony. Of course, no one can confirm that North Korea was responsible for the hack. Why so quiet, James Franco?

Bill Cosby Talks to New York Post, Advises ‘Black Media’ to Stay ‘Neutral’

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Whoopi Goldberg/Jill Scott shout-outs aside, Bill Cosby made his first statements on the allegations and legal charges pending against him over the weekend. In what may seem like an unusual strategic move, he chose freelancer Stacy Brown (of the somewhat notorious New York Post gossip source Page Six) as his press contact of choice.

Brown called Cosby, who made a request:

“I only expect our black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism, and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind.”

The implication, of course, is that the rest of the media and the court of public opinion have already called him guilty.

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Ugly Sweaters for a Good Cause: Brands Celebrate UK’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’

proxyIn the UK, the donning of hideously tacky Christmas sweaters has gone beyond an ironic fashion statement and party theme; today, Friday, December 12, is Christmas Jumper Day, a day dedicated to celebrating all things sequins and yarn while supporting the British charity Save The Children. The idea is for every person who sports a Christmas “jumper” today to consider giving a small donation of £2 by texting WOOLY to 70050.

Curious to see how organizations and brands would take part, we took to Twitter to explore the XmasJumperDay hashtag, and found roughly what we expected: many seriously fabulous sweaters; companies and organizations decking themselves out while ensuring the charitable side of things remains the focus; and, of course, some brands hijacking the hashtag for their own purposes.

Here are some examples of brands and organizations keeping the clickbait classy by supporting Save The Children:

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THR ‘Most Powerful Women in Hollywood’ Is a PR Free-for-All

First, here’s Joel McHale and Hoda Kotb “roasting” NBCUniversal chairman Bonnie Hammer at this week’s Power 100 Women in Entertainment Breakfast:

We do appreciate Kathie Lee’s ability to take a joke and E’s insistence that McHale use every opportunity to remind viewers how terrible it really is.

Now here’s Hammer’s winning profile piece and here’s the New York Times article detailing the PR battle that precedes the event.

More inside baseball stuff below.

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Facebook and YouTube Remind Us What Happened in 2014

In the interest of years ending, new years beginning, and shared experiences, the two businesses that know us best (thanks, Big Data) have shared nostalgia for 2014 this week.

First, Facebook’s take: these are the things we kindly ALLOWED you to share.

This mystical “Facebook” is a bit more positive than the one we check every day, so maybe the video is part of a rebranding campaign.

Next, Google and YouTube offer their version of the year that was (which you’ve probably already seen because of course we’re a day behind on it).

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RHONJ Teresa Giudice Sues Former Lawyer, Blames Him for Jail Time

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It’s official.

Someone has figured out how to get retribution for a failed legal defense — sue the attorney that failed. 

Former “Real Housewife” of New Jersey Teresa Giudice, and her betrothed Joe, are leaving the small screen for a small room including three hots and a cot. ICYMI, they are going to prison because while they claimed they were bankrupt in 2009, they kinda didn’t disclose millions of dollars of rental income they thought the U.S. government wouldn’t notice.

And now it’s the lawyer’s fault?!

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