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ALS Association Wants to Trademark ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

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Can you blame them, really?

Yet some attorneys call the move “shameful”, comparing it to last year’s attempt to trademark the phrase “Boston Strong” in the wake of the bombing that shook that city.

Everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Anna Wintour, a robot and a smartphone poured water over themselves for advocacy this summer. Pamela Anderson and several big fashion names even sparked some ethics debates by co-opting the meme for their own purposes.

But this move undermines the campaign.

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NFL Promises to Crack Down on Domestic Violence

This afternoon the NFL attempted to fight back against one of its biggest reputation challenges by issuing stricter punishments for domestic violence among players.

Will this move pay off? Some details from commissioner Roger Goodell‘s letter to team owners after the jump.

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Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge with Toilet Water to Send a Message

To date, so many people have dumped water over their heads for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that the effort has raised over $88 million for the ALS Association, and while that’s a whole lot of money for a very worthy cause, it also means a whole lot of fresh, clean water — a rare commodity for millions of people — being wasted.

This is why actor Matt Damon, co-founder of charity Water.org, had mixed feelings about accepting the challenge sent his way by friends Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck.

“It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in a video uploaded to the his organization’s YouTube channel, “But because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water — and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t — and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.” Read more

‘High Tech Women’ in Underwear Promo: #PRWin?

In case you’re the one person on Earth who missed it, the technology industry faces some demographic challenges: recent reports from top tech names like Facebook, Apple and Twitter revealed an overwhelmingly white and even more overwhelmingly male industry.

The ensuing conversation is already old hat to many who work in the field, but it still presents both big names like Google (which recently named Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton to promote its “girls who code” initiative) and clients that go against this trend with a way to make themselves stand out to journalists, consumers and investors.

The latest company to win media attention is the bold underwear brand Dear Kate. Its latest “look book”, released online last Friday, starred a group of female entrepreneurs who work in the field.

Dear Kate

Two basic facts about this look book: 1) it has attracted a lot of attention for an unpaid promotion and 2) responses have been somewhat mixed.

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Good PR Averts the Sriracha Apocalypse

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For L.A. cool kids, the hottest ticket in town this weekend was a tour of the Sriracha hot sauce factory in Irwindale, California, which kicked off its grinding season with an open house (and much fanfare).

There, the company’s once-reclusive and sometimes-combative CEO David Tran greeted guests amongst red, green and white balloons next to an Instagram-ready cardboard cutout of himself.

Tran didn’t just set up a party to combat his company’s recent problems stemming from a bad reputation and an insurmountable odor: he opened the doors and let the world smell his spices.

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PSAs Focused on Ferguson Air During MTV Video Music Awards

MTV‘s Look Different campaign aired PSAs last night during the VMAs, clips that MTV president Stephen Friedman says could open the door for conversation about racism and the protests in Ferguson, MO.

“Eighty percent of our audience believes that bias is at the root of racism and prejudice… Ironically, part of the problem is that this generation was taught to be color-blind,” he told The Washington Post. “As a result, they feel like they’re going to step on a land mine if they say the wrong thing. In fact, our research has shown that fully 70 percent of our white audience grew up not talking about race in their households. They’re striving for fairness and equality and often just aren’t sure how to to proceed.”

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Chris Pratt Reprises ‘Star Lord’ Roll to Entertain Kids at LA Hospital

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Often, it’s simple, everyday things like being able to watch a much-anticipated movie that can make all the difference for a sick child relegated to a hospital wing. Knowing this, actor Chris Pratt teamed up with Marvel and Children’s Miracle Network to bring a special showing of the summer blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” to the children, families and staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on Wednesday. And while the kids may have been excited about watching the film, … for what happened next.

During the screening, Pratt briefly disappeared, and then returned dressed as his character, Star Lord. Pratt spent the next few hours in full costume, handing out movie-themed toys, taking hundreds of pictures, letting the kids try on some of his gear, signing autographs for everyone who wanted one, and just generally being awesome. He also visited patients in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and the Pediatric ICU, as they were not well enough to attend the screening. Read more

A Pumpkin Spice-Flavored Summer? The Too-Early Trend Making Us Crazy

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As has been made abundantly clear in previous posts about the pumpkin spice marketing craze, this PRNewser writer loves Fall. Like, really, really loves it. As a New Englander, there’s nothing more magical to me than a crisp October morning kissed by the scent of fresh apples, piles of leaves, and — yes — my mug of pumpkin spice tea. I’m a sucker for the Autumnal marketing madness and I’m not sorry. But though I may be a full-fledged Fall-ophile (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing), even I know there’s a time for nutmeg and Jack-O-Lanterns, and it is not — I repeat, NOT while the beaches are still crowded and kids are enjoying their last days of summer vacation.

We’ve been griping about the holiday creep for years when it comes to Christmas decorations lining store shelves before Halloween, and now, it seems, those pesky marketers have figured if they’re going to bulldoze Halloween for Christmas, why not just move the whole calender up a couple months and bulldoze summer with way-too-early Fall? I mean, the logic is undeniable.

We’ve been seeing Halloween candy in stores for a couple of weeks now; the seasonal Sam Adams currently being sold is Octoberfest; Starbucks is releasing its Pumpkin Spice Latte on August 25 (if you have a super secret passcode), and Twitter has even been aflutter over the potential introduction of Pumpkin Spice Oreos.

All way before we’ve even had our Labor Day barbeques. Read more

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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