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PR Fail

Mike Ditka on Daniel Snyder’s PR Problem: ‘What’s All the Stink?’

Football Pro NFC  Games 1984 Devision Playoff

Funny how he’s looking away from this Redskins situation too.

Some people are celebrated for their lack of — or complete disregard for — a filter. If you want a true opinion, one without all the flowery crap, just holler at people like Donald Trump, Rosie O’Donnell, Sophia from The Golden Girls, or any uptown socialite with a little booze intake.

The NFL has someone like that: Hall of Famer, beloved coach and current ESPN broadcaster (for now) Mike Ditka.

For many months, people have stepped to one side or the other regarding whether the Washington football team needs to change its mascot. Some believe it is a regaled tradition in the NFL and that changing that mascot would be criminal. Others take a more human interest angle, arguing that the act of calling someone a “Redskin” is bad enough to warrant a change.

Guess which side ‘Da’ Bears’ coach is on…

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Walmart’s #PRFail Recognition May Win the Retailer $3 Billion

Aisles of a Grocery StoreIn the wild and wacky world of corporate PR, it seems the larger the brand, the more difficult it becomes to acknowledge mistakes. The more transparent a brand is, the more vulnerable it becomes.

That may explain what takes place in Bentonville, Ark. (the corporate home of Walmart) on a daily basis. Until recently, the brand has seemed only proactive about growth and global domination.

And then, a story in Time came out last April that read: “Walmart has cut employee hours so deeply that it doesn’t have enough associates on hand to get stuff from back-of-the-store staging areas to the shelves.”

That caused Walmart to do something differently — respond. Sure, it’s more than a year later, but they’re new at this thing. Let’s cut them a break.

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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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#PRFail: NBC Strikes Out on Meet the Press Announcement

david gregory

“Where is the love, the love, the love?”

It was the worst-kept secret in network TV, but after months of speculation NBC finally announced yesterday that Chuck Todd would indeed take over for David Gregory as the host of the Sunday morning coffee gathering known as Meet the Press.

In case you missed it, NBC has a history of mismanaging personnel announcements. Does the name Ann Curry ring a bell?

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5 Pitfalls to Avoid While Newsjacking

waffle-house-belgium-twitterAnyone remember this famous tweet? It happened during Team USA’s run in the World Cup. As you can tell, Waffle House got a little notoriety from that soccer success as well. This act of genius, according to a term coined by the great David Meerman Scott, falls into the “Newsjacking” category.

It has become a social media phenomenon that brands and people alike try to leverage for their benefit…with varying degrees of success.

To summarize, newsjacking is seeing a runaway story or a widely followed trend, riding on its coat-tails in the name of ‘brand awareness,’ and subtly exploiting that story or trend hoping to score exposure. It’s like photobombing an online conversation, and it works well if done properly. Then again, if it doesn’t, your brand will suffer.

Here is the latest 5 things list for your edification…

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Open-Ended Twitter Q&As Are Officially a Terrible Idea

“I knew there was going to be some negativity going into it,” FSU sports information director Elliott Finebloom said regarding the Twitter disaster that was #AskJameis.

Well, yes. Shouldn’t we all know by now — thanks to Robin Thicke, JP Morgan, McDonald’s, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the NYPD and the Washington whatever-you-want-to-call-thems — that open-ended Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea?

This is especially true when applied to a creepy R&B singer, a generally disliked financial institution or player who earned a great deal of negative attention for FSU thanks to accusations of sexual assault and “stealing $32 of crab legs from a local grocery store.”

There’s no need to post the most incendiary tweets here; you’ve probably already seen some of them.

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CNN Thinks All African Nations Look Alike

africa-map

ICYMI: The Ebola outreak in West Africa that has killed more than 930 people is scaring everyone. In fact, the World Health Organization has recently declared it a “public emergency.” The Center for Disease Control has given it, essentially, a DEFCON 1 rating.

For a brief lesson based on the picture above: Nigeria is the world’s 7th most populous country with more than 170 million people along the West African coast. Niger, which borders Nigeria to the north, is a landlocked country with approximately 1/10th of Nigeria’s population.

Confused? So was CNN.

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Anonymous Sexts Do Not Make Great PR

prfail

Pando Daily blogger David Holmes recently received a message “from a coworker, anonymously,” that read:

“I do not were panties today, and I’m in the same office.”

I don’t know about you, but there’s not one person in MY office from whom I would like to receive THAT message. Then again (as Holmes points out) no one in my office who’d write such an atrociously worded note.

It’s gross, it’s creepy, but it’s also kind of intriguing (at least for a man, I would reckon). Who sent me that sexually provocative note? Is it a stunt? Or am I being catfished? Read more

#PRFail: Fining Customers for Bad Reviews

sad wedding

Here’s why Airbnb is here to stay: PageSix reports that the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York, fines the recently wedded $500 for any and every negative review posted online by their wedding guests.

No, this is not a joke.

Per the Union Street Guest House policy on their website:

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Why the Redskins Lost PR Points by Hiring Burson-Marsteller

redskins_facepalmFULL DISCLOSURE: I am a proud former Burson employee.

That said, the Washington Redskins lost whatever integrity they had left when they hired Burson-Marsteller yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, the hire made sense. If B-M is known for anything, it is a powerful one-two combination of public affairs and crisis communications.

Those are two things that team and its thick-headed owner sorely need.

The problem is that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder didn’t hire them to help his football team do the admirable thing. He hired B-M to help his team continue to do the wrong thing.

And there goes his credibility, swirling down the drain.

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