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Study

AT&T’s ‘It Can Wait’: Even Admirable Campaigns Can’t Wait to Succeed

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Back in my fare burg of Dallas lives the telecom behemoth known as AT&T. One of its largest undertakings was the PSA campaign for It Can Wait. The clarion call for no texting and driving was a necessary one — and one AT&T put few limits on spreading.

It started in September 2009, and five years later, it is still being heralded as one of the country’s best campaigns. Only one problem: No one that should care does.

Awards. Awareness. Accolades. They don’t really matter without any action.

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POLLING ALL PR TYPES: What Do You Want to Be Called?

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Here’s a serious question: What do you want to be called by your colleagues in the industry, pals in the media, partners and clients?

Everyone in this not-quite-fabled industry has an idea of what they like and don’t like, what they hear and ignore, what they answer to and what they wish no one would ever call them.

Some are accustomed to the big agency titles of account executive, manager, director, supervisor, and other synonyms for “hierarchy.” Others are interested in the boutique titles of guru, ninja, expert, and other nom de plumes that mean “badass.”

Before you jump, think about it: If you had to be labeled, what would your label read?

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The Art of ‘Um’ and ‘Uh’: Different Vocal Pokes for Different Media Folks

likeIf you have spent any time in PR, you know there are a fair number of media trainers. Typically, these are hacks-turned-flacks who understand how to help clients talk to the media without sounding like remedial English students.

That brings us to a lingustic affliction called Speech Disfluency.

SD involves speaking with “any of various breaks, irregularities, or non-lexical vocables that occurs within the flow of otherwise fluent speech”. You may think of stuttering or hesitating, but this definition also refers to the use of the universal word (and media no-no) “Huh.” (True story, look it up.)

We call those “vocal crutches.” And now — thanks to some deep, battle-of-the-sexes-type research, such crutches can demonstrate one’s gender you are during one of those deep throat interviews.

So, like, see it, um, after the jump…

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STUDY: Social Media Is Winning PR War for Anti-Fracking Groups

Signs protesting the process of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, are seen near the town of Calicoon Center, New YorkWe’ve written frequently about the PR war over hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” — anti-fracking and environmental groups VS. the energy companies that have adopted the controversial practice. Now, a recent study by Makovsky suggests that while both sides may be impassioned and dedicated to winning the debate, the war is being fought on two different battle grounds, and the side utilizing social media appears to be the side that’s winning.

The survey revealed that 57% of U.S. consumers believe that fracking is one of the three most important environmental issues today. Furthermore, 65% of respondents (71% in fracking cities) say they hear about the issue at least weekly, and 77% say they hear about it primarily from internet news sites and social media.

Now here’s the kicker: the study also found that the vast majority of social media mentions of the subject are coming from anti-fracking activists and groups. In fact, of the 1.3 million Twitter mentions of fracking from January through July 2014, anti-fracking activists generated 2000% more impressions than groups supportive of the practice. Let us spell that out again… two-thousand percent! Read more

STUDY: Government Approval Ratings Hit All-Time Lows

uncle-sam-gun-to-headIf you watch the news for any amount of time, you may notice that our government has a perception problem that transcends any intra-party squabbles: pretty much no one has a good thing to say about the U.S. government, the people running it, or even those most affected by it.

Now, the latest related poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, adds to the dogpile.

In the national poll, we discover that President Obama’s approval rating has plummeted to its lowest ever position at 41 percent. Even worse, 71 percent of Americans believe this country is headed in the wrong direction.

Good news though: the approval rating for Congress has increased from 11 to 14 percent, so there’s that.

Le sigh.

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PR vs. Advertising: Still the Same Competition?

shutterstock_166919984Forbes just published a piece discussing, in some detail, “the real difference between PR and advertising.”

This realness in difference begins with an old saying: “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” Or, boiled down even further, advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.

A simple maxim from a simpler time. But does it hold up today?

Author Robert Wynne believes that it does. Not only is PR still different from advertising — it’s still better.

“With advertising, you tell people how great you are. With publicity, others sing your praises. Which do you think is more effective?” asks Wynne.

The unspoken answer is supported by a 2014 Nielsen study on the role of content in the consumer decision-making process, which concluded that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising: “On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content…”

Expert sources also agree.

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America Officially Hates Sarah Palin

palin_mouthSurveys are fun because they offer insights into America’s red, white, and blue soul. This is especially true when the surveys are about divisive things like politics, healthcare, or Donald Trump’s fabled “Trump Toupee.”

Take Sarah Palin.

See there? The name alone makes hairs stand up, stomachs turn and glasses go foggy. So why is she in the news … again? A survey.

While it’s not like Sarah Palin is on a media hiatus or anything, she’s not as visible as she would like. And thanks to this NBC News/WSJ poll, we know she is still more vocal than anyone would like.

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APOCALYPSE WATCH: 47% of Americans ‘Can’t Last a Day’ Without a Smartphone

smartphone addictionSo, I love my phone.

I’m at a stop light — there’s my phone. I’m bored in a meeting — there’s my phone. I’m spending 5-10 minutes “occupied” — there’s my phone. Whatever the need, my phone is my trusty sidekick.

The difference between me and you (shout out to Dr. Dre) is that I can put the thing down, take a deep breath, and walk away. However, there are others who break out in hives if the thought even comes up in conversation.

And thanks to this study by Bank of America, we find that almost half of this country feels the same way. That explains a lot.

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The 11 ‘Worst Places to Work in America’

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It seems to be par for the course: gossip around the water cooler, gripe about the company brown-noser, plot an intricate plan to call in sick and go to the movies (or an interview) instead.

This is life at work for most of America.

Hearing that would make most people sad. Reading that could cause a rash of hopelessness. However, fret not: all is not bleak. For those who wonder if it could be worse, there’s always 24/7 Wall St.’s annual list of The Worst Places to Work in America.

At least you don’t work at any of these places.  Read more

Bad News: Poll Shows Confidence in News Media Very Low, Right Above Congress

we hate TV

500 channels and nothing on…

There is nothing more mesmerizing than our ability to ignore fact, figure, and logic.

Collectively, there are groups of people who can be so dense that one would think every highfalutin group walks around in wifebeaters drenched in sweat and beer stains. For example: It is no secret that the current Congressional body has the lowest approval rating in U.S. history, yet there they are, re-elected and sitting pretty.

Glowing in the spotlight of that single-digit love is one other group that just can’t take a hint: National Network News.

The numbers we have to share have nothing to do with ratings, but they probably should.

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