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Product Launch

Twitter’s New ‘Editorialized Tweets’ Feature Helps Highlight Earned Media Mentions

The big tech blogs have all reported on The New York Times‘ recent experiment with what it calls “editorialized tweets”. In case you missed it, the feature allows news organizations to highlight chosen quotes and sentences in a story and allow readers to instantly turn those sections into individual tweets with a simple click or a tap. The links that appear in those subsequent tweets will drop readers right into the section of the article where the lines appear. Here’s how it works:

This is obviously great news for PR teams: a key quote by or about a client will get even more attention if it happens to appear in one of the article’s highlighted lines. Twitter‘s research on the experiment is encouraging, too.

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$99 ‘Useless Box’ Makes it to Best Buy Shelves Thanks to Clever Prank

If you’ve ever had a printer break down on you mid-project, or watched helplessly as your ultra-expensive laptop crashed, effectively rendering all of your precious files nonexistent, you’ve likely felt as though you shelled out a ridiculous amount of cash for what, in the end, amounted to little more than a useless plastic box.

Playing upon this common frustration, street artist Plastic Jesus created a fake Best Buy product called “useless plastic box,” and stealthily sneaked it onto the shelves of five Los Angeles-area Best Buy stores. The accompanying (perfectly branded) tags listed a price of $99.99, and boasted a product description that included phrases like “will not work once you get it home,” and “battery life too short to be of use.” The warranty reads: “There is no warranty with this piece of crap. If you are dumb enough to buy it you deserve all you get.”

In response to the prank and subsequent media attention, Jon Sandler, a spokesman for Best Buy, told AdFreak: Read more

Man Tries, Fails to Promote New Website ‘Aimed at Women’

Good PR pros know: you have to understand and appreciate your audience in order to craft messages and content that will truly speak to them rather than at them or—even worse—around them.

The journalists on our Twitter feeds spent much of the last week mocking the “glorified press release“ that web entrepreneur Bryan Goldberg wrote to announce the fundraising achievements and subsequent launch of Bustle.com, his new “high-revenue [publication] aimed at women”. We’ll take a moment here to observe what, exactly, he did wrong—and how he could have avoided the poor response he received.

Goldberg, who regularly contributes to the tech site PandoDaily, wrote the announcement as a blog post and Q&A that that initially earned the Internet’s ire for quotes like this one:

My job, as CEO, is to hire the right people…Knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.

And this one:

Yes, we believe that a partner-track attorney can be passionate about world affairs and celebrity gossip. On the same day. During the same coffee break. And there is nothing wrong with that.

One more:

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Don’t Call Russell Simmons’s New ‘Digital Marketing Company’ an Agency, OK?

If Jay-Z can pretend to be a sports agent then Russell Simmons can pretend to be a marketing guru, right? Sure — just don’t refer to his new company Narrative, which offers “digital marketing, entertainment and technology” services, as an agency.

Why not? Because Simmons and partner Tricia Clarke-Stone want to help agencies, not compete with them. How does that work? Narrative‘s founders say they will use its nascent creative team to produce the “marketing solutions” and digital campaigns that said agencies will then promote. The group already has a couple of clients in Sprint‘s Boost Mobile and Simmons’s own site GlobalGrind.

Simmons and Clark-Stone aren’t exactly new to the promo game — GlobalGrind doubles as a marketing company that’s already served some big-name clients like Pepsi, Tide and Toyota. They see their new venture’s purpose as filling a “gap” in an industry ill-equipped to serve a public for which “urban culture is [now] the mainstream” regardless of race, background or geography. But how can Narrative not compete with agencies when its service description sounds so similar to those of its prospective “partners?”

Simmons has obviously done great work in the past, and we don’t doubt his promotional prowess — but this is a strange rollout, no?

Oh, Right: Facebook Did Something Today!

Calm down, everyone: Facebook will not provide you with a shiny blue smartphone. What it will do is take over the phone you’d planned to buy next month. Today’s Zuckerberg press conference served as the launch of the new “Facebook Home”, a sort of app cluster that will dominate a specially designed HTC Android phone. Facebook doesn’t want to create your mobile phone — it wants to become your mobile phone. Zuck called Home “the best version of Facebook there is”, and the company debuted this promo spot:

Looks…cool. But what does it mean?

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Google and Yelp Launch Mobile ROI Calculators. Why Do We Care?

Google Mobile "GoMo"No matter who your clients are and what kind of content you use to promote them, a growing number of people will read it on mobile. That’s why Google‘s release of its first “mobile ROI calculator” is a big deal. It’s true that the “Full Value of Mobile” calculator is more directly relevant to marketers and business owners than PR pros (especially since it’s primarily concerned with Google Ads or AdWords). But it’s going to be very important for your clients’ brands.

Why? Because it will help them better understand exactly how their mobile ads influence sales — and it will help client teams use real-world data to demonstrate the success of Google ads and cost-per-action (CPA) campaigns. According to Google’s blog post/announcement, a recent study showed that nearly 3 in 10 web searches lead consumers to visit a store, contact a business or make a purchase. So this is a big deal to any client who sells products online.

If you have any clients in the food/brick and mortar retail sectors, Yelp‘s announcement should be of interest as well: the site’s “revenue estimator” will show the owners of small businesses how many “leads” come directly from their Yelp pages and related promo campaigns — and make estimates as to the ultimate dollar value of that traffic.

So will we be using either of these tools? What effect might they have on our relationships with clients?

Pepsi’s New Bottle Is Ready for Its Close-Up

The public relations industry has all sorts of niche specialties and compelling areas of expertise, but for those interested in branding — and packaging in particular — the news that Pepsi is updating its bottle design is a big deal. Packaging geeks are like Star Trek fans; they take what they love very seriously.

And they should. Brands ranging from Heinz to Chanel to POM to Maker’s Mark define themselves at least in part through their packaging. In cases like these, the public can easily identify the brand just by looking at the bottle. Pepsi, of course, wants to be a youthful brand — parlance for a hip and carefree edginess that hopefully sells itself to one’s equally cool peers — and hopes to leverage that image with a new “asymmetrical” bottle.

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Meet the All-in-One Multimedia ‘Content Capsule’

In PR and marketing, we’re all about using different kinds of media to push the brand message and get the audience involved. We have to skillfully weave videos, print, email and social together in order to paint a larger picture and take the “big idea” to the consumer on the street (or the laptop).

But what if we could present target audience members, investors or even clients with all these different kinds of media in one self-contained, embeddable package? Marketing veteran/entrepreneur Tim Bahr thinks he has found the solution to this challenge with the NextWorks “content capsule”. Here, for example, is his company’s own promotional unit:

As you can see, it’s got videos, slideshows, links and social call to action tools that are easily shareable and embeddable via a single HTML code. We recently spoke to Bahr to get his take on it:

Burger King’s Turkey Sandwich Plays Chicken with Brand Identity

PR professionals are inherently interested in fast food brands because the trajectory of public sentiment has trended toward healthier eating habits. This puts fast food brands in an obvious pickle. As we all know, fast food chains are perceived as being anything but healthy.

So what are companies like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King to do as the human species shifts away from greasy burgers and buckets of soda? Well, offering healthier choices is the logical place to start. And Burger King is doing just that: the company just announced the Spring 2013 debut of its new turkey burger, which will retail for $3.99. This new offering is the latest in a not-so-new trend for fast food brands as they scramble to keep up with the public’s changing diet.

However, these changes also reflect a tacit admission by fast food brands that their traditional menus are unhealthy. As PR people, we advocate transparency and telling the truth. But we also recognize that by offering a turkey sandwich, apple slices or reduced fat shakes, fast food chains may in fact lose some of the public’s support. After all, how many times have you heard this conversation:

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Adventures in Marketing: Polaroid Will Make an ‘Instagram Camera’

As if Instagram weren’t easy enough already, last week we learned that the Socialmatic, aka the “Instagram Camera”, is really going to happen thanks to a deal between an Italian inventor and the folks responsible for the Polaroid name. We find the concept behind this product amusing, but it also represents the latest step in an interesting rebranding experiment.

The old-school camera company went bankrupt more than a decade ago, and the folks who bought the name quickly began making money by licensing it to other brands. PLR IP Holdings, LLC nows owns the rights to all things “Polaroid”. A licensee agreement with Fotobar LLC tied the brand even more closely to the smartphone craze with a planned series of “FotoBar” locations aping the Apple Genius Bar retail model.

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