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Technology

Snapchat Makes Bad News Disappear in Six Seconds

snapchat

So did you hear Snapchat‘s big announcement yesterday? No? You’re not the only one — and there’s a good reason for that.

History’s frattiest startup confirmed yesterday that its third founding partner did, in fact, play a significant role in creating its app. By settling with “Reggie” Brown for what we can only assume was a multi-million dollar sum, the company effectively admitted that it had cut him out of the loop before hitting the big time and dissing Mark Zuckerberg.

The official statement from CEO Evan Spiegel goes against Snapchat’s years of official denials, in which it claimed that Brown had little to do with the company’s creation, launch and subsequent success:

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#AppleLive Event Encountering Some Technical Difficulties

Apple may aspire to “control” journalists in some ways, but it’s tough to prevent viewers from commenting when the world’s most-watched live stream keeps crashing, broadcasting Chinese translations over Tim Cook’s voice and creating some trippy visuals:

More fun after the jump.

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Apple Insider Spills Secrets: ‘This Isn’t PR. This Is Something Else.’

Apple cube

We recently posted on the biggest takeaways from 9to5Mac’s extensive inside look at Apple’s media relations strategy.

The piece provided a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the company’s one-of-a-kind culture, and as a follow-up we were fortunate enough to speak with a source close to Apple’s international PR team for an insider’s take on the story…and more.

What did you think of the 9to5Mac piece?

Nothing surprised me; the only thing I would object to is the part about shredding the strategic “white books” before events.  They were referring to “At a glance” docs, which are simply printouts. PR receives them a few days before each event and hands them back to management when it’s over.

And the part about PR doubling as bodyguards?

Yes, I did see a PR blocking a couple of photographers who were trying to take pictures of Steve Jobs at one event.

How did the Jobs-to-Cook transition affect internal strategy?

At the beginning it was not noticeable at all, but people saw that Cook seemed far more proactive on sustainability, CSR, workers’ rights in China, etc. In terms of general strategy, though, nothing changed.

How closely does the international organization work with the American PR team? Read more

PR Veterans Weigh in on Apple Expose

apple-logo-pngPardon us for being all Apple today, readers, but it’s hard to look away when the world’s most influential company makes waves (especially since we had a revealing conversation with someone close to its international communications team yesterday).

Earlier this week we reviewed takeaways from the extensive 9t05Mac piece on the company’s comms operations, and today three industry influencers gave us their impressions.

Dan Lyons, journalist-turned marketing fellow at HubSpot and creator of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs:

I think it was a great series. Very insightful. There is still more work to be done in exposing the collusion and coziness between Apple and certain bloggers and members of the mainstream media.

In fact, I have no problem with Apple being as manipulative as it possibly can. That is what PR is supposed to do, and Apple is very good at PR. The real culprits are the reporters and bloggers who play along.

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14 Takeaways from the Epic Apple PR Expose

Apple Store

ICYMI, the Apple-obsessive blog 9to5Mac posted a truly epic 9-part story last Friday titled “Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media”. The piece served as a long weekend must-read for anyone with an interest in the communications or technology industries.

The work was so deep that it almost demanded episodic recaps a la Orange Is the New Black. We didn’t finish it until last night because we spent much of the long weekend competing with ourselves to see how many IPAs we could drink in a 24-hour period (not really), but we thoroughly recommend it.

Senior Editor Mark Gurman sought to answer the questions: What sort of strategic advantage has allowed the company to play the media like a well-worn string instrument for the past decade?

Here, then, are 14 things we learned from the piece.

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Apple Reveals Very Little About iCloud Glitch Linked to Celebrity Photo Leak

Icloud

In a quick move that should surprise no one who read any of 9to5Mac’s exhaustive look into Apple’s PR department, the tech giant very quickly addressed concerns stemming from the weekend incident in which intimate photos of several media personalities leaked online.

The Next Web honed in on iCloud as a possible source for the leak soon after news broke, reporting that a glitch in the “Find My iPhone” service “appears to have allowed malicious users to ‘brute force’ a target account’s password on Apple’s iCloud”

Yesterday a company rep told Re\code:

“We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report.”

As soon as that story went live, multiple headlines claimed that Appleappears to have fixed” the problem. Read more

‘High Tech Women’ in Underwear Promo: #PRWin?

In case you’re the one person on Earth who missed it, the technology industry faces some demographic challenges: recent reports from top tech names like Facebook, Apple and Twitter revealed an overwhelmingly white and even more overwhelmingly male industry.

The ensuing conversation is already old hat to many who work in the field, but it still presents both big names like Google (which recently named Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton to promote its “girls who code” initiative) and clients that go against this trend with a way to make themselves stand out to journalists, consumers and investors.

The latest company to win media attention is the bold underwear brand Dear Kate. Its latest “look book”, released online last Friday, starred a group of female entrepreneurs who work in the field.

Dear Kate

Two basic facts about this look book: 1) it has attracted a lot of attention for an unpaid promotion and 2) responses have been somewhat mixed.

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Samsung Receives Editorial Smackdown for ALS Newsjacking Stunt

Newsjacking and the ALS ice bucket challenge were two of the big topics on this little blog last week, and on Friday Samsung and its in-house creative/marketing teams in the UK managed to combine them both in this ad (which somehow earned the “alcoholic drinks” tag on our sister site Ads of the World).

You’ll have to forgive us for failing to notice most of the ALS posts appearing in our feeds recently; they all start to blend together pretty quickly unless you happen to know the people involved. But this little play for attention was noteworthy in that it inspired something we never see: an editorial wag of the finger via TechCrunch.

Three million views is a fair number for such a large brand, but we’re more interested in two particular critiques of this not-quite-real-time-marketing stunt.

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The White House Doesn’t Care How You Nerds Dress

Did you know that the U.S. Digital Service is a thing? It is now. The White House established it in order to create “a customer-focused government through stronger IT“, aka hiring the people who helped fix healthcare.gov after realizing that the most talented programmers around do not happen to double as public employees.

One of those people was Mikey Dickerson — current title Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer, current LinkedIn status “pursuing a number of schemes“. He plays a starring role in this new “Day One” video:

While the group’s ostensible purpose is to “ improve the delivery of federal services, information, and benefits”, Dickerson wants you to know that the most important issue is the dress code — or lack thereof.

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Solar Energy Has a PR Problem: Massive Teepees of Doom are Killing Birds

Fried-Chicken-Set2Environmentalists had much to celebrate when the Ivanpah Energy Power Facility in California flipped its switch earlier this year and began powering 140,000 homes with clean energy.

Unfortunately, their joy translated into gloom for animal rights activists: somewhere between a thousand and 28,000 birds have since been fried to death in what’s been called “massive teepees of doom.”

Right now you’re probably thinking two things: first, tell me more; and secondly, that’s a pretty big range of alleged aviancide… is this truly a PR crisis for solar energy?

Credit goes to Esquire’s Michael Howard for an evocative piece describing how BrightSoure’s $2.2 billion plant is cooking birds alive when they fly through concentrated rays of sunshine:

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