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Things We Don’t Like

5 Myths About ‘Viral’ Video Marketing

can-i-make-a-viral-video

Confession: I have been at this PR thing for a while. In that time, I have learned a few irrefutable truths:

  1. There will always be a client that thinks he or she knows more about the media than you.
  2. There will always be at least one agency that can — and will — do it cheaper, faster, and worse than you … and they will still get the business.
  3. There will always be a couple of PR pros on your team who believe the only way to get ahead is to place a knife in your back.

Recently, a new dogmatic fact has crept its way onto the scene, lifted its leg, and marked its territory with authority: Someone — client or fellow flack, it doesn’t matter — will always exclaim, “Oh, we can make that go viral. Easy.

Can we please take that animal out back and make it into glue? Like today?

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EPA Apologizes for Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ Mobile Game

If you have better things to do with your life than scroll twitter at 10:30 PM on a Monday evening, then you may have missed an amusing and bizarre promotional failure on behalf of your government.

Specifically, the EPA’s clean water division posted what certainly looked like a message hyping the (unfortunately) red-hot “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” mobile game, in which the user can–what else–turn him or herself into a celebrity.

Super-veteran House Rep John Dingell, who has served since 1955 and helped write the original act that created the division, summed up the Internet’s sentiments with a question:

For the record, we don’t believe for a second that he has no idea what a Kardashian is. Good tweet, though.

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The Spin Cycle (Borscht Edition): 11 Crazy Conspiracy Theories About MH 17

Are you one of the few who still believe that every big story has one true narrative? Did you not listen to Mike Allen?!

Our point: as Julie Ioffe notes today in The New Republic, the Russian public has a totally different understanding of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 than the rest of the world.

“Watching some of these Russian newscasts [where most of the television is owned or controlled by the Kremlin], one comes away with the impression of a desperate defense attorney scrounging for experts and angles, or a bad kid caught red-handed by the principal, trying to twist his way out of a situation in which he has no chance.”

“The discrepancy,” she writes, “does not bode well for a sane resolution to this stand-off.”

After the jump, 11 of the craziest conspiracies being floated over the Russian air waves. Read more

Sky News Reporter Goes Looting Through Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Luggage (for News)

sky news luggageJust when you think network news can’t get any worse, ratings rears its ugly head and forces reporters to do things you never thought possible outside of a lawsuit. This time, the ne’er-do-well culprit is the UK’s Sky News (a Rupert Murdoch joint).

Tragically, the victim is, again, Malaysia Airlines.

With MH370, the flight seemed to vanish into the ether, like all those horror stories about the Bermuda Triangle. And just when the airliner had that atrocious “breaking news” down to a minimum, the unthinkable happened over the Ukrainian coast as MH17 was shot down…presumably by separatists in the region.

And then Sky News went rummaging through the luggage of the dead passengers on live television.

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APOCALYPSE WATCH: A Kinder, Gentler Ku Klux Klan Using Candy to Recruit Kids

klan-candy

Yes, this is real. Yes, this is 2014. Yes, that is an untouched picture. Yes, the sardonic hicks of hatred known as the Ku Klux Klan have decided to get back on the campaign trail because membership may be a little low these days.

And so this loosely fit flyer made in Publisher because the economy was delivered across an Oconee County subdivision of northwestern South Carolina. Inside, was a candy cane and some family friendly paraphernalia reading  ”Save Our Land, Join the Klan.”

Sweet, right?

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Comcast ‘Provides’ What May Be The Worst Service Call Ever

comcast

There is no secret, no hidden truth, no mystery on this planet that refutes the abysmal customer service that call centers at cable companies provide. It’s like they all hire from the same discount store that shuttles HR rejects from the hotel.

The proposed Comcast and Time Warner merger? That’s a utopia of pleasantry just waiting for America (and one of those brands may vanish this year).  You would think the powers-that-don’t at Comcast would appreciate public perception.

Not when gems like this call to cancel service, which should serve as a crisis communications starter kit. (Oh, please take time to listen to these 10 minutes of bliss.)

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Kids Are Getting Rashes Because They’re Allergic to Their Tablets

children with tabletsUsed to be that kids would play in the dirt and come home with ringworm. Now kids are spending a whole lot of time playing on the couch or on the porch and still end up with suspicious skin rashes. What gives? Nickel.

Pediatrics is reporting that there’s an increased number of kids reporting cases of allergic contact dermatitis, a skin irritation that can happen when they come in contact with nickel. They’re coming in contact with the metal when they play on their tablet devices.

Says USA Today, “According to the Mayo Clinic, contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that is neither contagious nor life-threatening, but can be uncomfortable.” To treat it, steroid creams and antibiotics have to be applied.

For parents, this is a problem. For tablet makers, this could be a bigger problem.

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TechCrunch Has Had It with Your Spam Pitches

spam meat

Yesterday gave the tech PR world a small gift and a big warning: stop spamming TechCrunch writers.

Roman Dillet noticed that certain companies had been selling his email and those of his fellow contributors as part of a list that looks a whole lot like a tool enabling mass email pitches. In response, he posted a screed (URL “please-dont-spam-us”) implicitly urging everyone to stop sending him the sort of automated blasts that might as well bear “PLEASE DELETE THIS MESSAGE NOW” subject lines.

Dillet followed with some Pitching 101 advice, the most important parts of which you all know: do a little research on a given blogger’s beat so you can best determine who will be interested in the story you’re dying to share. And please at least give the appearance of time spent on personalization. Bloggers may be cynical, malnourished emotional discontents who desperately need a little more serotonin and a little less alcohol–but we’re not robots. They’re all busy writing AP’s financial reports.

TechCrunch blogger Sarah Buhr also simplified the idea in a comment on one of the press list providers’ pages:

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‘At The End of The Day,’ Even The New York Times Does This

likeThe catchphrase for an epidemic that ruins most new business pitches and PR interviews is “vocal crutch.”

It is that drastic moment when a flack runs out of something interesting to say, and needs a second to think. Instead of a well-placed pause to show consideration for using a brain, the audience — be it a prospective client, a member of the media, or even a PR director considering your future career — gets pelted with a deluge of “ums,” “uhs,” and “likes.”

Much to the chagrin of anyone having to sit through a conversation with anyone who hurls buzzwords or vocal crutches at anyone in their path, it seems America has found your leader: The New York Times. 

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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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