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Your First #Ferguson Pitch

shutterstock_87109075Ed Zitron told us this would happen and we were skeptical, but yesterday Valleywag posted on PR promoting a client’s community alert-style smartphone tool as an “app for the Ferguson riots.”

While Sam Biddle predictably called it the worst thing ever of the week, we are conflicted. (The author of said pitch spoke to us back in February for a post on House of Cards‘ portrayal of the political communications game.)

The product, as we understand it, allows citizens to take pictures of crimes complete with geolocation info so they can more effectively alert law enforcement.

How good or bad is this pitch, though?

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Nintendo Responds to Petition to Honor Robin Williams in ‘Legend of Zelda’ Game

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Nintendo has responded to a fan petition asking the company to immortalize the late Robin Williams in a future “Legend of Zelda” game. Williams had been an avid fan of the franchise since 1987, even naming his daughter after its heroine. The pair had recently been hired to promote the latest installment of the game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

In a statement, the company addressed its longtime relationship with the comedian and sent sincere condolences to Williams’ family, but did not outright promise to fulfill the petition’s request.

The statement after the jump.

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‘Influence’ vs. ‘Expertise’: Which Is More Valuable?

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Everyone in contemporary PR knows that online “influencers” can, in some cases, be more powerful than any journalist or pop star in terms of delivering a client’s message — especially if the audience that client wants to reach is between 13 and 25 years of age.

While this fact has been obvious to some for quite a while, the recent lawsuit filed against beauty influencer Michelle Phan and a Variety survey which found that the five best-known celebs among American teens happen to be YouTube stars confirmed it for everyone else.

Yet, as we move forward, we will pay more attention to the difference between two words in the brand advocacy space: influence and expertise.

How are these terms different in meaning and application? We talked to Robb Henshaw, headof comms at content platform provider inPowered, for more insights.

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Ashley McCown Runs Down 2014′s Biggest Crises to Date

It’s time for another rundown of the worst offenders in 2014′s PR Crisis Sweepstakes.

In this exclusive clip, Solomon McCown president Ashley McCown runs down the ones you know: GM’s self-made safety nightmare; Donald Sterling’s racist breakdown; Malaysia Airlines dual tragedies.

We’re most interested in the #1 crisis — the one surrounding Boston’s Market Basket and the family disputes that led the company to fire popular president Arthur T. Demoulas.

The company’s board meets today, with New Hampshire/Massachusetts governors Maggie Hassan Deval Patrick attempting to broker a cease-fire of sorts in the interest of avoiding all unnecessary drama.

How do you think the dispute will resolve itself?

Edge of Tomorrow: Live. Die. Rebrand.

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For many, Edge of Tomorrow became the blockbuster that wasn’t.

Critics loved it, and so did its audience:

“Gripping, well-acted, funny, and clever, Edge of Tomorrow offers entertaining proof that Tom Cruise is still more than capable of shouldering the weight of a blockbuster action thriller.” [Rotten Tomatoes]

—only there were never enough of those fans to bring the Tom Cruise-led action flick into the black: It opened to a disappointing $29.1 million and today stands just under the $100 million mark, which is $78 million short against its $178 million budget (foreign grosses and marketing expenses aside.

So what went wrong? Warner Brothers Studio has apparently concluded that  Tis but thy name that is my enemy.

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Mr. Congeniality Gene Simmons: ‘If You’re Depressed, Just Kill Yourself.’

Kiss Gene SimmonsLast week, the entertainment world stood still as word of Robin Williams‘ death stunned everyone — fans and colleagues alike.

The only party that deviated even slightly from the narrative was Edelman, and they caught a whole lot of flack for it.

And yet you just knew that someone would have to play the bad guy. Just after quitting time on Friday, word broke out about KISS frontman/bass player/shameless self-promoter Gene Simmons and a interview conducted by SongFacts.com‘s Roger Catlin.

Why bring up Williams? During the interview, Simmons shared his thoughts on reality TV, touring with the band, his Arena football team… and clinical depression.

In advance, people have already wished Simmons would just choke on that thing.

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Downton Abbey’s Classy, Charitable Response to ‘Water Bottle-Gate’

By now, you’ve probably seen the promotional image for Downton Abbey that’s had fans, history purists, and the internet in general in a multi-day frenzy, but in case you haven’t, here it is — out-of-place plastic water bottle and all:

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In response to the media madness, the cast of the hit show has released another image, and this one is chock-full of water bottles. Only this time, their presence is intentional, and intended to refocus the public’s attention on a worthy issue.

A spokesperson for British TV network ITV explained, “After seeing the reaction the picture caused earlier this week, the cast and crew came up with the idea of turning some of this attention towards an issue around water that really matters. They hope that by posing for this picture they will be able to raise awareness and amplify the work of international charity – WaterAid.”

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WaterAid is a charitable organization that has spent decades bringing water, sanitation and hygiene education to where it’s needed most.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: Read more

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Wins Positive Press for His Perfect Definition of Feminism

proxyThe word “feminism” can be a touchy one, especially given the wildly-varying definitions out there, and celebrities often seem particularly wary of stating their allegiance (or lack-thereof) to the concept. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, has no such qualms.

In a recent interview with the Daily Beast that’s now gone viral, the star explained why he considers himself a feminist, and then went on to give the word one of the most clear, simple, and positive definitions we ever remember hearing.

Gordon-Levitt was asked:

I read that you consider yourself a “male feminist,” and you credit your parents who are educators and really taught you about the history of feminism. But nowadays, you have a lot of young stars coming out against being labeled a feminist.

His response (below) has both women and men singing his praises in multiple publications and all over social media: Read more

Taylor Swift Writes Her Name in the Clouds for ‘Skyline’

Don’t know about you guys, but we feel like this has been a tough week. Not only is the summer coming to an end, but the bad news just won’t stop.

On that note, here’s a reminder that the business of promoting stuff can sometimes be more than a little ridiculous.

Taylor Swift has a new album out. It’s called “Skyline”, and the folks behind her (who are now 13 Management but used to be Erickson Public Relations) dreamed up the idea of promoting it today by…writing in the sky.

The best part? The stunt was about raising awareness of both the album itself and the singer’s upcoming Yahoo live stream next week. Yes, you read that right.

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SeaWorld Finally Confirms a Blackfish Backlash to Investors

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SeaWorld has been very insistent in its messaging since CNN’s Blackfish expose surfaced with variations on “The documentary is skewed and it will not affect our business in any way.”

Despite this claim, the company and its firm 42West launched an aggressive campaign to counter the film’s influence and we posted extensively.

Time has revealed some small cracks in the  facade: Southwest Airlines, for example, recently ended its 26-year partnership with the resort while maintaining ties through the Southwest Vacations unit.

Today, however, the company officially changed its tune in a telling press release.

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