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Stunts

Pope Francis Marries 20 Couples So They Won’t Be Shacking Any Longer

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In the past, our fearless leader at PR Newser suggested that Pope Francis has solidified his position as the Patron Saint of PR (though he has not ascended). And with all due respect to the now canonized Saint John Paul II, the Catholic Church desperately needed some good mojo.

And then the white smoke appeared introducing the world to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who later changed his name to Francis.

He has embraced the Twitter, left the grandiose Popemobile for a leisurely walk, proclaimed the Internet to be  a gift from God, scored his own weekly magazine, stated that no one should work on the Sabbath (yeah right), and excommunicated the Mafia.

But what he did over the weekend may have the Catholic Church looking as progressive as a non-denominational community picnic.

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Designer Veggie Couture Spices up the Runway at Project SUBWAY’s Fashion Show

2014 Onion Runway FinalWhen an onion graced the runway at Nolcha Fashion Week in New York on Tuesday, those in the front row weren’t crying. Instead they broke into peals of laughter, since the onion was a novel dress and hat ensemble designed for the second Project SUBWAY contest.

This year ten up-and-coming designers and FIT students were challenged to create unique dresses inspired by vegetables found at SUBWAY® restaurants. Among the healthy fashion creations: spinach, banana pepper, tomato, jalapeno, lettuce, carrot, cucumber and green pepper. At last year’s show, designers created dresses made of non-edible materials from SUBWAY®, like sandwich wrappers, napkins and salad bowls.

Judging the contest was a tall order, and the panel included Oklahoma City Thunder basketball player Russell Westbrook, Olympic gymnastic champion Nastia Liukin, TV personality Bella Thorne and celebrity stylist Johnny Wujek. They critiqued the designs based on creativity, originality, beauty, fit and best representation of the vegetables, and remarked about the green pepper’s ‘aggressive’ shoulders and hourglass shape, the lettuce’s see-through design and the red tomato’s sparkle.

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The Olive Garden Seven-Week All-You-Can-Eat Pass Sold Out In 45 Minutes

 

Olive Garden gets a lot of grief for being, shall we say, less-than-authentic Italian food. But there are a few people out there who are big fans.

In the face of softening profits, the restaurant chain offered up a limited number of all-you-can-eat passes. Good for 49 days, the passes cost $100 and offer unlimited pasta, salad, bread and Coca Cola beverages. The chain made 1,000 available starting at 3pm ET, which sold out in 45 minutes.

These all-you-can-eat stunts have become a popular PR measure at casual dining restaurants. And while this might provide a nice temporary fix, this isn’t really the way to improve a business that’s stumbling.

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Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge with Toilet Water to Send a Message

To date, so many people have dumped water over their heads for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that the effort has raised over $88 million for the ALS Association, and while that’s a whole lot of money for a very worthy cause, it also means a whole lot of fresh, clean water — a rare commodity for millions of people — being wasted.

This is why actor Matt Damon, co-founder of charity Water.org, had mixed feelings about accepting the challenge sent his way by friends Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck.

“It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in a video uploaded to the his organization’s YouTube channel, “But because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water — and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t — and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.” Read more

Good PR Averts the Sriracha Apocalypse

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For L.A. cool kids, the hottest ticket in town this weekend was a tour of the Sriracha hot sauce factory in Irwindale, California, which kicked off its grinding season with an open house (and much fanfare).

There, the company’s once-reclusive and sometimes-combative CEO David Tran greeted guests amongst red, green and white balloons next to an Instagram-ready cardboard cutout of himself.

Tran didn’t just set up a party to combat his company’s recent problems stemming from a bad reputation and an insurmountable odor: he opened the doors and let the world smell his spices.

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What Shall I Be When I Grow Up? Joey Skaggs!

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Today we bring you a guest post by Sal Cataldi, founder and president of New York’s surreal shop Cataldi PR.

What makes you want to be what you want to be when you grow up?

Like many a person with eclectic interests (writing, music, art, travel and, yes, cash) and the fuzzy liberal arts degree to prove it, I ventured off into the world of periadulthood with nary a clue as to what I would do to house and feed myself, much less the wonderful children I would be fortunate enough to have.

My professional calling didn’t arrive until my late mid-20s, after a few years spent bumming around the animation and video businesses, playing in rock bands and writing record reviews for freebie vinyl.  That’s when I stumbled into the broad world that goes by the narrow moniker of “public relations.” This shift came courtesy of a recommendation put forth for my varied interests by that bible for career changers and flounders, What Color Is Your Parachute?

So what kind of hype have I plied in my three decades in this business, with 26 of those years as head of my own boutique gang of guerillas?  It has been way more of the P.T. Barnum and John Waters spectacle variety than the barely-veiled liemanship of President George W. Bush’s smarmy spinmeister Ari Fleischer or his clueless acting successor, Dana Perino.

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A Few Reasons Why the Ice Bucket Challenge Has Been So Popular with CEOs

jeff bezos ice bucketEvery time you turn on the internet, someone’s dumping a bucket of cold H2O over their heads. It’s the the ALS ice bucket challenge and it’s for a good cause so go right ahead. A million times yes. As of Sunday, the challenge has raised $70.2 million.

Lots of ordinary folk are doing it. Of course, celebrities are getting in on the action. But surprisingly, a ton of CEOs are also doing it. From Mark Zuckerberg to Jeff Bezos, top executives from some big companies are getting in on the viral philanthropy action. This isn’t normal. So what gives?

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Taylor Swift Writes Her Name in the Clouds for ‘Skyline’

Don’t know about you guys, but we feel like this has been a tough week. Not only is the summer coming to an end, but the bad news just won’t stop.

On that note, here’s a reminder that the business of promoting stuff can sometimes be more than a little ridiculous.

Taylor Swift has a new album out. It’s called “Skyline”, and the folks behind her (who are now 13 Management but used to be Erickson Public Relations) dreamed up the idea of promoting it today by…writing in the sky.

The best part? The stunt was about raising awareness of both the album itself and the singer’s upcoming Yahoo live stream next week. Yes, you read that right.

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7-Eleven Launches Pop-Up Gay Wedding Chapel

Earlier today our own Shawn Paul Wood asked a serious question: is Target’s statement in support of same-sex marriage really a heartfelt advocacy move or just another publicity stunt?

Now we can offer you a counter-example via the oddest source: 7-Eleven. In Stockholm. To celebrate last week’s Pride Parade, the convenience chain (which amusingly compared itself to Uber in a recent strategy document) created a pop-up wedding chapel with the help of Swedish PR/marketing agency Wenderfalck.

Here’s the homepage, which certainly seems like a legitimate attempt to bring the tagline “Oppet for alla” (open for all) to life. The events even included “one of few openly homosexual Imams, who presided over the marriage of a lesbian Islamic couple.”

This kind of stunt isn’t technically new for 7-Eleven, which got a bit of press attention way back in 1992 for doubling as a chapel for a couple of lucky Detroit lovebirds. Still, we’d like to see Target pull a move like this.

Greenpeace Won’t Let LEGO Forget That Shell Thing

One thing we can all agree on regarding Greenpeace: they’re consistent. Once they latch onto an issue, they go all in.

In order to protest the LEGO company’s ongoing partnership with Shell (which the latter’s PR values at $116M over two years), the group created not just an online petition but a professional-quality PSA that looks like an outtake from the super-depressing director’s cut of The LEGO Movie–and then they protested its subsequent removal from YouTube.

Today the org went even further, recruiting “activists” in life-size costumes to protest outside the LEGO store near Rockefeller Plaza. Then they sent us pictures!

(Note: this all happened after the group’s “Protest-O-Matic” empowered said protesters to create their own tailored signs.)

Block Shell Protest LEGO New York

They look angry, but The Naked Cowboy did try to lighten the mood a bit…

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