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PR Fail

Poynter Calls Out the ‘Worst Pitches Ever’

email bad PR pitches

In case you want to remind yourself that many pitches are not successful, here’s a story via Poynter — actually, a public query — about the worst pitches certain journalists have received. Sad to say, it’s hilarious (and Mr. Senor Flack and Ms. Anonymous PR Girl, we’re thinking of you two sharing this cacophonous mess).

How so? This post will scream #PRFail!

So why point these bad pitches out? Just scroll through our #5Things and you will see the countless times we offer the PRNewserverse tip, tools, and even tricks on how to best represent this glorious industry. (Yes, for real.)

That said, we must do better — because once our journo friends have sworn us off for good, there is no reversing that mess. They are gone and you only have green flacks pitching and “oh so senior” mentors forgetting to do that part of their job to blame.

You’ll see what we mean after the jump…

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Chipotle Sticks Its Organic Nose Up at Pizza-Making Italians Everywhere

Chipotle PizzaEditor’s Note: Possibly not a Chipotle official photo. Also, possibly not an Editor’s Note.

Late last year, the progenitors of fast-casual food with a little added integrity decided that, because the burrito business has done them a solid for a minute, it was time to bring the Chipotle mania to another sector: pizza.

Much to the chagrin of the little box delivery chains across this great land of ours, Chipotle’s presence on the pizza scene is a legitimate threat. And although there are no holes to shoot in Chipotle’s dough, the burrito giants have decided to throw down.

Almost a year later, here’s the shot fired: Pizza people, you’re doing it wrong!

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Amazon, Sears Sell Swastika Rings as ‘Punk Rock Fashion’

searsswastika

Sears has been knocked down many times and, as the retail world turns, the company has been searching for ways to get in front of its competitors again. In another effort to stand out, it recently decided to sell some “punk rock fashion” to the coveted Goth/Emo demographic because of “upward mobility.”

Sears doesn’t have an “all black” clothing section, so there had to be another way. Inspiration apparently hit the buyers in the room, who recognized that a certain fashion icon named Adolf Hitler wasn’t getting enough exposure.

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The New York Times Makes Front Page News for the Wrong Reasons

Publishers have held countless recent brainstorm sessions in which they clutch a dry erase board and a glass of Scotch while trying to figure out how they can get subscribers back. Ideas on the accessibility front include more responsive design, exclusive member content, better UX, and a friendly suggestion that Mr. Gorbachev tear down that PAYWALL!

To its credit, The New York Times has been leading the industry with recent apps and different ideas to get readers’ attention. However, screwing up what should be “old hat” is not going to help.

Today’s story on the South Dakota Senate race begins in the middle of a thought. Maybe the “Grey Lady” is just getting too old to catch this sort of thing…

It’s all in the tweet from reporter David Gelles:

To Protect and Serve…Yourself? NYPD Allegedly Steals from Suspect

rainy nypd

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was THIS close to becoming a police officer.

Back when radio and news weren’t paying too well, I spent six years working as a police dispatcher in North Texas. Even taught a little self-defense. However, PR was calling me and I answered. Nonetheless, I love those boys and girls in blue.

No one really knows what those civil heroes deal with on a daily basis. In most cases, the folk who cause drama for the police simply suck. That said, when I see different videos like the one after the jump — which allegedly shows an NYPD officer stealing $1,300 from a suspect – I want to forget all of that.

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NFL Fumbles on Domestic Violence Again, Accused of Hiding ‘Hundreds’ of Abuse Cases

NFL-domestic-abuse

Typically, the question is “Are you ready for some football?” These days, as the NFL is drowning in sea of murky despair and hapless PR, that question would be, “Are you ready for some football…justice?”

It all started with Ray Rice being a despicable coward and knocking his then-fiancée smooth out in an elevator. There was Greg Hardy, who body-slammed his girlfriend onto a bed full of semi-automatic guns (because that’s what you check at the door for NFL parties). There’s Ray McDonald — who is still playing because Goodell is a dope — arrested for beating up his pregnant girlfriend. There is Adrian Peterson, who took the classy way out and left his estranged wife alone, instead opting to “whoop” and scar his 4-year-old son.

And now there’s this: a former NFL general manager says that, over his 30-year career, “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents were simply ignored.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods Called Sexist…by a 12-Year-Old Girl

giant and dicksIt’s never a good thing when a notable chain gets called out via social media, but unless a few trolls find it, the call out will usually cause little drama and vanish quickly.

A few things create a good viral customer complaint:

1. Something so strange that people just have to read it, then share it. 

2. Something so uncommon about the store that one wouldn’t suspect it to be called out.

3. Something so interesting about the customer doing the call out.

Thank goodness all those stars lined up against a chain with an unfortunate name.

A sporting goods store is accused of being sexist by a 12-year-old girl whose daddy happens to be a sports journalist.

If the sign fits…

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Taliban Spokesman Reveals His Location via Twitter, Claims Conspiracy

taliban-fighters-300x225You may be shocked to learn on this Monday morning that one of the world’s most visible terrorist organizations has some trouble managing its social media presence.

Nearly two years ago, we noted that the Taliban had inadvertently revealed its entire mailing list thanks to a spokesperson who mistook “cc” for “bcc” when sending a press release to media contacts (and friendly Afghan politicians/warlords). We had a laugh at his rookie error before getting a little upset over the fact that the group A) has a media spokesman, B) distributes press releases and C) included a disturbing number of the United States’ own “allies” within the Afghan government on its distribution list.

Over the weekend, the group proved once again that it isn’t the greatest on social: its spokesperson accidentally showed the world his secret location via Twitter’s geomapping feature.

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United Airlines Issues Response Addressed to ‘Mr. Human’

united bankruptEver since 2002, when United Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection, the company has been struggling to turn a profit and a few heads. Although the former has been difficult to do, the latter was achieved in resounding fashion just this week.

The beleaguered airline took must have included customer service in its cost-cutting measures because it seems United went the route of some terribly lazy PR agencies and “hired” robots to do the work.

How do we know? There’s no attention to detail. There’s no respect paid to needs. And, there’s no person addressed on the subject line.

Poor practices all around.

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Foggy Windows: How Microsoft Forgot to Count to 10

windows10

No company does a curtain raiser quite like Apple (horrible video streaming technology and forced rock star plug notwithstanding). Unfortunately, the company that knows this fact best is Microsoft.

As the number of Apple acolytes in this country swells up faster than Barry Bonds’ biceps, Microsoft floats in the raging ocean like chum waiting for sharks. We can only imagine the subject lines of its internal emails, though we assume that many include the letters W, T and F.

And then they got the epiphany that had been alluding them for decades: Windows 10!

What’s wrong with this lovely family portrait?

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