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Pop Culture

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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Conservationists Use Twitter to Inject ‘Real Science’ Back into Shark Week

If you were to search #SharkWeek on Twitter right now, it would yield plenty of brand tweets reminding customers that the product or service in question is a perfect tie-in to the annual celebration of our toothy, aquatic heroes. In fact, with shark-themed doughnuts, cars, cosmetics, and whiskey, one might even be able to live this whole week without touching a single non-shark-related thing, however tenuous the actual connection might be.

But brands aren’t the only Twitter-users utilizing the #SharkWeek hashtag to further their own purposes; while it’s undeniably fun to buy into the hype, there are many organizations and individuals that would like to remind us that the heart of Shark Week is (or should be) science, education, and conservation, and they are taking to Twitter to hammer this message home.

While some are simply taking it upon themselves to spread awareness and education (like the examples above), others are taking direct issue with the programming on Discovery, lamenting the replacement of good old-fashioned documentaries with the increasingly-popular “docudrama.” Read more

Edelman Has Some Thoughts on Using Robin Williams’ Death to Pitch

Fortunately, we have not received any such pitches. But because the unexpected death of Williams has dominated the news this week, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would tie the unfortunate news to the business of communications.

Yesterday the world’s largest PR firm did just that…and a journalist called foul.

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Kelly Cutrone Says Fashion People Don’t Care About KimYe

Kelly CutroneKelly Cutrone has never been one to mince words. You wanna cry? Take that elsewhere. If your body is disturbing, she’s gonna let you know. Certainly she’s not going to tone it down for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Speaking with the New York Daily News, Cutrone says point blank, “I don’t think there’s one person who really works in the fashion industry who gives a flying f— about Kanye West.”

There’s more!

“I think they have no influence in the fashion world whatsoever,” she continued.

Boom!

Notice, however, how specific Cutrone is about her comments.

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STUDY: Social Media Is Winning PR War for Anti-Fracking Groups

Signs protesting the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, are seen near the town of Calicoon Center, New YorkWe’ve written frequently about the PR war over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” — anti-fracking and environmental groups VS. the energy companies that have adopted the controversial practice. Now, a recent study by Makovsky suggests that while both sides may be impassioned and dedicated to winning the debate, the war is being fought on two different battle grounds, and the side utilizing social media appears to be the side that’s winning.

The survey revealed that 57% of U.S. consumers believe that fracking is one of the three most important environmental issues today. Furthermore, 65% of respondents (71% in fracking cities) say they hear about the issue at least weekly, and 77% say they hear about it primarily from internet news sites and social media.

Now here’s the kicker: the study also found that the vast majority of social media mentions of the subject are coming from anti-fracking activists and groups. In fact, of the 1.3 million Twitter mentions of fracking from January through July 2014, anti-fracking activists generated 2000% more impressions than groups supportive of the practice. Let us spell that out again… two-thousand percent! Read more

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