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Pop Culture

BREAKING: Music Publicists Witness Lots of Drug Use

shutterstock_171268937Yes, you read that right. This comes from a not-at-all-shocking story published last Friday in The Telegraph that elaborates on the experiences of an unnamed “press officer” who has been “working in music PR and A&R for 25 years.”

Here are some of the tales he recounts:

The singer for a band arriving in the US for the first time threatened to call it quits after receiving a package of free T-shirts. The band’s manager then “haul[ed] him up against a wall by the throat” until he reconsidered.

It gets more colorful:

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The Only #BreakTheInternet Response You Need to See

You know that a certain someone whose name we should probably include for SEO purposes managed to win the attention of everyone on and offline with a little tastefully exposed flesh this week.

BuzzFeed alone managed to turn the “event” into at least ten different blog posts, and various Internet peoples have had a good time altering the resulting images (as if they weren’t already Photoshopped enough).

Inevitably, “brands” began to use the hashtag to promote themselves, as we now expect them to do when such stunts occur. But the only one that impressed us came from the least likely source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Some people felt like the Met degraded itself in some way by joining the hashtag frenzy, and we can’t quite put our fingers on why this one seems effortlessly cheeky when the “memes” promoting cars and zoos and airlines felt desperate.

We would say that it’s the last thing you’d expect from such an established institution, but then we remembered that the Met had something to say about the 10th anniversary of Mean Girls as well. Met Store aside, this “brand” doesn’t even really sell consumer products — it sells experience and reputation.

So maybe the lesson here is “break the rules and surprise people, but don’t try too hard?”

The Real Streets of Monopoly May Need Some PR Services


The year was 1904 when a young woman named Elizabeth Magie created “The Landlord’s Game.”

She applied for a patent, which was granted on January 5, 1904 (No. 748,626). She explained that the game was to be a “practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.” This became what we know today as Monopoly.

The game is greatness, unless you are playing with one those tools who refuse to trade properties.

But have you ever thought about what those cheap purple streets or the highfalutin dark blue streets really look like? One daring photographer with The Atlantic’s CityLab ventured to answer that unasked question.

(All pics via the artist, Mike Osborne.)

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Calvin Klein’s ‘Plus-Size Model’ Plays Defense

Calvin Klein model Myla Dalbesio‘s appearance on TODAY this morning was quite interesting. You’ve almost certainly heard of the story: the fashion giant has earned bad press for calling her “plus-size” when she is anything but to the average person…”average” meaning “anyone who is not so deeply embedded in the fashion industry that he or she loses all sense of perspective.”

The first thing we learned: neither Dalbesio nor her employer ever used the phrase “plus-size” to describe her.

Her interview with Savannah Guthrie starts around the two minute mark:

Yesterday Veronique Hyland of New York magazine’s The Cut blog wrote, “Far better to have sidestepped the size question, and just presented Dalbesio as the new spokesmodel.” This was our initial reaction as well, but it seems like that’s exactly what Calvin Klein wanted to do.

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Van Morrison Settles Dustup with PR Exec Over Alleged ‘Love Child’

Van MorrisonThis morning we learned that the just-resolved defamation dispute between FleishmanHillard EMEA regional president John Saunders and Irish pop singer Van Morrison had more twists than the singer’s own epic “Madame George.” (Though, to be fair, that song only had one.)

Way back in 2009, Van Morrison’s official site posted the announcement that “Gigi and Van Morrison are proud to announce the birth of their first born son, George Ivan Morrison III,” and entertainment news sources attributed the statement to the singer himself. The problem? The baby’s mother was not his wife, former Miss Ireland Michelle Rocca.

The singer claimed the announcement was a hoax, and Saunders — who had worked with Rocca in the past — went on the radio proclaiming the story to be false and claiming that Morrison did not know Gigi.

It’s not clear whether Saunders was paid to give these interviews, but it is clear that Van Morrison did indeed know Gigi.

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The Only #AlexFromTarget Lesson Worth Learning

Here’s a super-quick clip from Fast Company in which Senior Editor Jason Feifer explains the only real lesson brands can learn from Alex and the brouhaha that followed his viral breakthrough. Stick with it for a minute:

Unlike Dorothy, most people on the Internet have no interest in seeing the man behind the curtain. We literally DO NOT CARE.* We also don’t appreciate brands claiming ownership of things they didn’t create, which is why Target’s hands-off approach works in this case.

*This statement might not apply to trade bloggers, but who pays attention to them anyway?

Taylor Swift Is So Mad at Yahoo Right Now


(Screenshot via BuzzFeed)

You ever have the experience where, due to a crossing of lines or mis-communication on some front, you release something before the rest of the world is supposed to see it?

This problem is so common that we posted about it a couple of weeks ago on our sister site AgencySpy. Today, however, the stakes are a bit higher: the guilty party is Yahoo, and the victim is Taylor Swift.

Here’s the director of her video for “Blank Space,” which was apparently not supposed to make its Internet debut early this morning:

This probably won’t end well.

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Jessica Chastain Can Only Promote One Movie at a Time

chastainHere’s a fascinating piece we came across yesterday in The New York Times about the challenges of promoting a movie.

Jessica Chastain is a big star now, but she also continues to appear in smaller, more challenging films. She’s currently helping to promote Christopher Nolan‘s epic space saga Interstellar, which opens today. Now check out this promotional stipulation:

“…Mr. Nolan and others, for the most part, are enforcing an agreement that says she cannot campaign for any film but Mr. Nolan’s from early October through early December.”

This means that she’s contractually obligated not to actively promote A Most Violent Year, in which she plays the lead role. That movie hasn’t been released yet but is already receiving heavy Oscar buzz.

Its promoters are relying heavily on Chastain’s star power to get people in the seats. And right now they’re out of luck.

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Lena Dunham Proves Some Stories About ‘Girls’ Go Too Far

lena grace dunhamAs it goes in Hollywood, most of the beautiful people have a golden fleece force field around them, which absolves them from having to act like the rest of us.

Very few times do they experience the standard blowback that comes from acting like a fool. Sure, they have to deal with the dregs of society known as paparazzi, but they’re rich…so they’ll be all right.

Lena Dunham, the creative wunderkind behind HBO’s hit series Girls, wishes she got that kind of consideration for a quite-possibly-embellished story about what some call “sexually abusing her sister.”

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Can ‘Weird Al’ Save Radio Shack? Can Tim and Eric Save Pizza Rolls?

DISCLAIMER: We still have a huge soft spot for “Weird Al” Yankovic. We lost track of him in the 90s, but your editor is not in any way ashamed to admit that he still knows ALL the words to “Fat” and “Eat It” (and most of “Dare to Be Stupid”). “Word Crimes” was the best thing we’ve seen/heard from him in years.

That said, the question posed by Radio Shack‘s choice of Yankovic as its new spokesman is, “How can a fading brand reassert its own relevance?”

Here’s the new ad, created by our friends at Austin agency GSD&M, that launched this morning:

It’s funny, but the ending joke illustrates the problem: when you think of Radio Shack, what do you think of beyond batteries? Cords? Earbuds? iPhone cases?

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