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PR Fail

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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September 11: How The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (of Australia) Forgot

never_forget“Never Forget.”

It was the rallying cry heard ’round the world following that fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001–and it’s still a very sensitive topic for many in the United States and beyond.

Paramount Pictures Australia came a little too close to that memory for comfort in promoting its upcoming film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–and had to issue a quick apology after social media took notice.

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Baby Products Company Gives Mom Bloggers Candy in Pill Bottles

Today we learned that a company specializing in baby products tried to promote its name at the recent BlogHer conference by hiding candy in the least acceptable place: pill bottles.

pill-candy-hed-2014

The bottles weren’t real, of course, but they looked real enough to create something of a stir at the event.

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Obama Administration Locks Out White House Press Corps (Again)

obama white house

In a word… Yes!

To quote a poet laureate somewhere in the annals of baseball, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

You may recall a story last week about journalism groups, led by the Society for Professional Journalists, demanding the Obama Administration open up the doors to give them the access they were promised almost seven long years ago. Now, someone in the White House is at it again.

And this time, it gets even shadier because the meetings in question concerned two top Democratic Super PACs.

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The NFL Shows How Much It Cares About Domestic Violence

ray rice

With all the hubbub about civil unrest in the Middle East, Ukranian dissent and Comic-Con, you may have missed the slap heard ’round the world.

No, not the one that Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice landed on his (for now) wife that knocked her out so cold that he dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator.

We mean one the NFL delivered in response to that cowardly act by Rice: Suspended for two whole games. For those not in the know, if you smoke a joint and get caught in the NFL, you’ll be suspended for four games.

See the problem now?

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