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Steve Ballmer Gets a Little Excited About His New Basketball Team

A clip we somehow missed at EOD yesterday has helped us realize why Steve Ballmer may not have been the best fit for his former employer, Microsoft.

While Ballmer didn’t quite succeed in his ongoing attempt to make the tech dinosaur “cool”, he definitely convinced the folks in the crowd at yesterday’s L.A. Clippers press conference that he really likes basketball. Not that he ever played it, but you know…

We also think we’ve discovered the recently “retired” Ballmer’s true calling: a job as a WWE announcer.

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Ashley McCown Runs Down 2014′s Biggest Crises to Date

It’s time for another rundown of the worst offenders in 2014′s PR Crisis Sweepstakes.

In this exclusive clip, Solomon McCown president Ashley McCown runs down the ones you know: GM’s self-made safety nightmare; Donald Sterling’s racist breakdown; Malaysia Airlines dual tragedies.

We’re most interested in the #1 crisis — the one surrounding Boston’s Market Basket and the family disputes that led the company to fire popular president Arthur T. Demoulas.

The company’s board meets today, with New Hampshire/Massachusetts governors Maggie Hassan Deval Patrick attempting to broker a cease-fire of sorts in the interest of avoiding all unnecessary drama.

How do you think the dispute will resolve itself?

Meow Mix Takes Things Too Far With Traveling Mobile Sound Booth

Meow Mix is cat food.

To promote this brand of cat food, a mobile sound booth is traveling around New York City giving people the opportunity to sing the Meow Mix jingle. The words to this jingle are “Meow. Meow.”

This is the sort of thing that makes us question our sanity.

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‘How You Webinar’ Turns Every Marketing Buzzword You Hate into a Rap Video

You may remember DJ Dave from that time he “got real” in the Whole Foods parking lot, rapping about the frustrations of trying to navigate an unreasonably tiny shopping cart through a sea of hybrid cars and reusable bag-toting yuppies. Now, the comedic rapper has taken on every marketing and business-building buzzword you love to hate in his latest video, entitled “How You Webinar.”

Some of our favorite cringe-worthy words are so much more fun when rapped, including: innovation, actionable, integrated platform, tweaks, social networking, marketing guru, interactive tools, digital space, and core competencies. Gagging yet?

John Oliver Has Some Thoughts on Native Advertising

Different people in the media have very different opinions on native advertising. You may recall that Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker called the practice “a Faustian bargain” before his own paper jumped head-first into the trend by launching its own in-house native ad studio.

John Oliver laid out the terms of the debate on his increasingly impressive HBO show Last Week Tonight. If you have ten free minutes, this clip is worth a watch.


Of course, one of the funniest aspects of this extended rant is the seemingly legitimate paid promotion for Mountain Dew that appears between the three and four-minute marks. The fact that HBO ran a sponsored BuzzFeed post to promote this very show is also perfectly appropriate.

Yet therein lies the problem with Oliver’s rant: he has the funding and the independence to not only offer the public his (very strong) opinion on media trends but to also make fun of the very companies giving him money for a brief appearance on his high-brow television program.

99.9% of his colleagues in media do not have that option.

Still, he makes a great argument. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on Katy Perry.

Tony Hale of Veep Impresses the Ladies by Standing Up to Cancer

In Celebrity Cause Marketing news, today witnessed the debut of a spot promoting hotel search engine RoomKey and its Stand Up to Cancer initiative via Hungry Man Productions and Emmy winner Tony “Don’t Call Me Buster” Hale.

We very much like the fact that the spot satirizes the driving force behind most cause marketing campaigns (and, if we’re being honest, most charities): self-satisfaction mixed with a little third-party validation.

For the record, we hope more cause campaigns embrace this tone of self-awareness. It’s much more appealing than the guilt trip that fuels so many such initiatives.

Now, in case you doubted Mr. Hale’s acting prowess, click through for a clip of him promoting a very different kind of product…

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Johnson’s Baby Sort-of Apologizes to Concerned Moms

You may have heard at some point over the past few years that Johnson & Johnson’s massive baby products line encountered something of a credibility problem.

A quick recap: in 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics called upon the company to remove certain proven carcinogenic ingredients from its baby shampoos. J&J promised to remove the elements and earned a spot atop the Forbes “America’s most trusted brands” list for 2011. However, a subsequent report claimed that, despite the company’s promise to make safer products, one would have to buy its “natural” shampoo (which was twice as expensive) to ensure the absence of those carcinogens.

In January, the company announced that it had reached its goal of removing certain potentially toxic chemicals but continued walking a PR tightrope by both claiming that its current products are safe and promising to remove more such ingredients by 2015. This announcement only came after a series of embarrassing recalls led to the resignation of J&J’s CEO.

That long, winding damage control road leads us to this clip, released this week and produced by RF|Binder.

The message: we hear you and send you good vibes…even though your fears are completely unfounded. Here’s the corporate statement to go along with the campaign.

Will it work? Adweek notes that it’s part of a campaign that will “see 40 more videos released throughout the rest of the year”…but will the message resonate when the company has yet to complete its ongoing chemical purge?

Batkid Begins Trailer Brings Make-a-Wish Hero to the Big Screen

The tiny hero who launched a million* tweets is headed for the big screen.

In case you missed it (yeah right), #SFBatkid was the hashtag of the fall, scoring a whole hell of a lot of attention for sponsor Make-a-Wish, the city of San Francisco and partner-in-crime social media agency Clever Girls Collective.

Now, as revealed at Comic-Con this weekend, social media superhero Miles Scott will soon hit the big–or at least bigger–screen via Batkid Begins, a “feature-length crowdfunded documentary”; the trailer debuted online yesterday.

It’s quite a cinematic effort from “award-winning filmmaker Dana Nachman (Witch Hunt)”, who has raised “$45,500 of a $100K goal to date” in an ongoing Indiegogo campaign. This looks like another big win for both Miles and Make-a-Wish; does anyone doubt that Nachman will reach her goal?

Also: whoa there, Chris Taylor of Mashable. Don’t dive too deeply into our psyches.

One thing we know for sure: this clip will give you a more positive Monday morning buzz than the new Mockingjay trailer.

*Well, 400K tweets. But still.

Weird Al Went Viral, Topped the Billboard Charts


Weird Al Yankovic has been making musical parodies for 30 years if you can believe it. His latest album is “Mandatory Fun.” And for the first time in more than 50 years, a comedy album is topping the Billboard 200 chart, selling 104,000 copies in its first week of release.

To promote the album, Weird Al released a video a day for about a week, each one reaching different level of viral. He launched with a star-studded bang, releasing “Tacky,” a play on Pharrell’s uber-popular song “Happy.”

New York magazine has a few reasons why the album is doing so well. We have a couple of our own.

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Jill Abramson Talks to Katie Couric About What Went Wrong at The New York Times

In one of her first post-firing video interviews, deposed New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson spoke with Yahoo!’s Global News Anchor Katie Couric about what went wrong with her career at The Grey Lady.

On the “fired for being a woman” narrative:

“I don’t see gender as being…the whole explanation, by any means, of what happened, but it’s somewhat irksome to me to see so much focus on the issue of why was I fired.”

And yet…

“I think that women are scrutinized and criticized in a somewhat different way, and that certain qualities that are seen in men as being the qualities of a leader … are somehow not seen in as attractive a light when a woman is involved.”

Here’s our favorite line:

“How many people in the real world really care why Jill Abramson lost her job?”

We would say quite a few, actually. Couric didn’t ask Abramson how the NYT could have handled the firing better on the PR front, but someone could certainly write a book…

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