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Under Armour’s Olympic-Sized Attempt at Damage Control

UA speed skating suit

Sure, it looks cute but what a drag. AmIRight?

Earlier this week, there was an international kerfuffle over Under Armour’s ingenuity and allegedly having a hand in the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Team sucking in Sochi. Although Shani Davis and Heather Richardson were trying to take the high road, be good craftsmen and not blame their tools, they took the road always traveled, wadded up the aerodynamic suit, dropped trow and blamed Under Armour.

Why? Back flap. Sounds like a problem for Weight Watchers, right?

Well, even the dietary wunderkinds there couldn’t help this foot-in-mouth disorder. The clothing maker was stumbling upon many tongues to figure out how to spin its way out of this. And now, it found a hero … actually, a heroine. She is the betrothed to Eldred Woods, U.S. injured downhill skier Lindsey Vonn.

Wait, what?

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Is This the ‘Most Secretive White House’ in U.S. History?

jillabramsonThat bold claim came forth last week, loaded with ire directed at one President Barack Obamaif that’s his real name [cue the Law & Order doink doink].

The vitriolic assertion ruffled a few feathers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, but it wasn’t some run of the mill “I-am-pissed-because-that’s-not-the-dude-I-supported” complaint—it came straight from New York Times editor Jill Abramson, as seen in the snazzy screen shot to your left.

ICYMI: Abramson was giving an interview to Al-Jazeera America‘s John Seigenthaler (former Washington bureau chief for the NYT) when she threw out this statement:

It is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering…I dealt directly with the Bush White House when they had concerns that stories we were about to run put the national security under threat. But, you know, they were not pursuing criminal leak investigations. The Obama administration has had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history. It’s on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with.

And that led to this

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#PRFail: You Know It’s Bad When the GOP Can’t Keep This Guy Happy

GOProud Jimmy LaSalviaMeet Jimmy LaSalvia. 

With his parted hair, used-car salesman smile and plush tweed jacket, the guy is a walking billboard for the Grand Old Party, no? Up until a few days ago, he was one of its most vociferous cheerleaders, too.

Oh, and he’s gay.

LaSalvia is founder of Republican activist/truncated fundraising group GOProud.org. You would think this guy resembles everything 2016 wishes it could be for Republicans, yes? Not so much.

According to Time, LaSalvia left the GOP for reasons this raging Independent finds baffling. Crisis communications lobbyists need to run to the nearest white courtesy phone.

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Cancer Charity Raises Over 300% of Goal Just by Sending Brad Pitt an Open Letter

A letter to Brad PittCelebrity endorsements are the bread and butter of no-brainer marketing–whether an organization is trying to sell sneakers or stop poverty, a famous face’s stamp of approval can go a long way to getting the public to do, buy, or donate to something. But what’s a small charity to do when they want the power of a major endorsement, but haven’t the money or clout to get it?

They get creative.

A fundraising move by Stop Darmkanker, a Belgian nonprofit dedicated to ending colon cancer, has both proven the power of celebrity (even when that celebrity isn’t actually involved) and finally answered old Will’s famous question, “What’s in a name?”

If that name happens to be “Brad Pitt,” the answer is: the ability to help an organization you’re not even involved with meet its fundraising goal…and then triple it. 314%, to be exact. 

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More on BridgeGate: Gov. Christie has a Potty-Mouthed Spokesperson

Star-Ledger-Eff-Bomb

Flacks, this is not how to impress someone from the media. 

Just in case you aren’t seeing this correctly: That is an email from a reporter with the New Jersey Star-Ledger and that is a response with a highly loaded eff bomb. Nice.

Meet Michael Drewniak, he’s a little bit of a douche for thinking he can talk to a member of the press like that (even if he intended it to be behind his back), but he’s also Gov. Chris Christie’s spokesperson. Yeah, hurts to miss that one. Just when ‘BridgeGate’ couldn’t use any more fire, here comes the Gov’s mouthpiece spewing out gallons of kerosene.

And, there’s more where that came from, of course…

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Alicia Keys’ Last Day As BlackBerry’s Global Creative Director Is January 30

alicia keysBlackBerry, in its continuing efforts to stem the tide of losses and reinvent itself in a hyper-competitive mobile market, has decided that it no longer needs the global creative director services of Alicia Keys. It was announced yesterday that January 30 will be her last day, one year after the company made a big show of appointing her to the role.

The move comes as BlackBerry looks to rebuild its customer base as the device of choice for businesses. In all honesty, with the exception of a few ads and promotional materials, it’s a little hard to pinpoint what all Keys did during the course of that year. Which isn’t really an indictment of Keys or even BlackBerry. It just goes back to the basic question of why a company chooses a celeb to be the face of its brand.

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Jean-Claude Van Damme Is ‘Split’ About His Viral Smash for Volvo

I’m a linguaphile, verbose as they come. I love the English language. I even read the thesaurus in high school, for kicks. That said, when I saw this video of martial arts actor and kickboxing legend Jean-Claude Van Damme (yeah, he really is), all I could do to describe my visceral emotion was “Effin’ Incredible!

You’re welcome. What you will hear is Van Damme in a voice over reading, “I’ve had my ups and downs. My fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. That’s what made me what I am today. Now I stand here before you. What you see is a body crafted to perfection. A pair of legs engineered to defy the laws of physics, and a mind-set to master the most epic of splits.”

If you haven’t seen this viral video for Volvo Trucks and Trailers, set back, dim the lights and enjoy. Oh, and according to “The Muscles from Brussels” (who is now 53 years old), this took one take! 

Now I don’t know if this makes me want to buy a $500,000 truck, but I sure as hell am breaking out my DVD of ‘Bloodsport’ and ‘Timecop’ tonight! Oh, BTW, it’s been verified: this is completely real. Again, dare I say, “effin’ incredible.”

Macklemore Makes Sense as the Spokesperson for the ACLU. Until He Doesn’t.

The ACLU wants you to become a member. And what better way to build that following than to get a famous spokesperson? And when you’re looking for a spokesperson, you want someone who is recognizable and is actually into the thing they’re talking up.

So it seemed to follow a logical train of thought when the ACLU decided to go with Macklemore as the face of their ACLU membership card. His songs have addressed equality for the gay community. He’s hip. All the youths recognize him. He’s sensitive but kind of goofy, as evidenced by his MTV Awards custom cape and his funny handling of crying babies while accepting a prize at the YouTube Awards.

But even things that follow logic can still end up being a bit of a train wreck.

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George W. Bush Wants to Help Convert All the Jews

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Say you’re an organization with a mission that might strike some (note that we said “some”) as…unusual. Provocative. Offensive, even. Who do you choose as a respectable public figure to help you raise money and get your message out there?

For the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, that person is former President George W. Bush. Keep in mind: the purpose of this organization is, in its own words, to “[help] educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy and thus save some of them.”

That’s an unusually blunt SOP, no?

It should be pretty obvious how this story relates to PR, and we’re far less interested in the politics than the optics and the underlying strategy.

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#PRFail: Newport Beach Marketing Director Fired Over LAX Shooting Tweet

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / November 4, 2013)

TSA agents leave flowers and say a prayer at a memorial at LAX. Funny, right?

If you are responsible for social media in any fashion, you strive to know what is trending in pop culture. That useless knowledge actually contributes to time-sensitive tweets and relevant posts. And then, there is what Jeff Soto, former marketing director for Newport Beach, Calif. did

You’ll remember the tragic shooting at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that left one agent dead and seven other travelers injured. While that left people reeling for days, Soto thought that would be a great opportunity to shill for his city and impress the corner office. To wit, he tweets this gem (courtesy of Mekahlo Medina of KNBC in L.A.):

I understand tourism dollars may be down with the economy, but is this fool serious?!

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