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Archives: July 2009

Did Tumblr Hire LaunchSquad?


Business Insider’s Dan Frommer thinks that popular micro-blogging service Tumblr has lost some of it’s innocence by hiring a PR firm. Frommer was pitched by LaunchSquad to set up a meeting with Tumblr founder David Karp.

Did Tumblr hire LaunchSquad? We reached out to the agency and they declined to comment. Mediabistro readers may recall a feature interview with Karp from August 2008 when he was asked, “Why aren’t you doing any PR, advertising or marketing?” Karp replied, “Probably the same reasons most of the companies in our industry doesn’t. There’s no real attraction to it really, why would we do it?”

We reached out to Karp [pictured right] to get his take on this but he has not responded as of the time of this post.

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Revolving Door: 7.30.09


We’re going to start featuring PR and media items from mediabistro’s Revolving Door Newsletter on a regular basis, which can also be delivered straight to your inbox. This week:

Kimberly Cowser has been named senior publicist at Simon & Schuster. She had been publicist at HarperCollins. (Publishers Lunch)

Danielle Lynn has been named senior publicist at Simon & Schuster. She had been publicist at CBS News.

Alysha Walker has been named account director at DiGennaro Communications. She had been corporate communications manager at Starcom MediaVest Group.

Mandy Clark has been named digital journalist at CBS News. She had been video journalist at Voice of America News and Global News.

We welcome you to submit your job moves.

The Taliban’s Little Blue Book


The Taliban is going with a classic communication tool in hopes of burnishing its image: the pocket guide.

According to an analysis of the little blue “Rules for Mujahedeen,” the thirteen chapters cover everything from avoiding civilian casualties, discrimination, using suicide bombings only for high-value targets (gulp), approval for the execution of Afghan, Nato or public figures (double gulp), and an order for faction groups to step in line or disband.

It’s an interesting example of the oldest form of pamphleteer PR. Putting rules in a small, accessible book conveys a coming clampdown within the organization, and shores up existing civilian support amidst increased military pressure by the U.S.

By either leaking or losing a copy to Nato forces, the Rules are an external PR tool as well, getting extensive play on Al Jazeera’s Arabic service, finally reaching the Washington Times.

The ultimate example of messaging through pocket books has to be Mao’s red one. The Chinese government is said to have printed over 5 billion copies in just 12 years.

[Image from Wikimedia Commons]

HARO Hires a PR Firm

haro_logo170.gif (HARO), the source-to-journalist matching service quietly hired Propheta Communications as their agency of record recently.

is a New York boutique founded by ex-5WPR SVP Kevin Mercuri less than a year ago.

Considering the rapid growth of HARO (nearly 100,000 members), and the media-begets-media snowball affect Peter Shankman has cultivated, we had to ask why, and why now?

Shankman, the self-deprecating gadfly and former agency principal explained to us the move was needed to cope with growth–as was the addition of Thom Brodeur as COO. “As you know, I’m not the most organized person in the world – I’d rather have smart people who are.”

Propheta is mainly on board to handle media inquiries and pitching “WHERE APPROPRIATE,” Shankman wrote in all-caps reinforcing his rules of the road he laid out for his HARO members.

Shankman didn’t respond to our question of whether or not he was bartering retainer against access to placement for Propheta and its clients on his valuable email blasts.

Twitter Goes Search


What do you think of the new Twitter homepage? PC World states the obvious: “The decision to put search front-and-center gives further evidence of how Twitter hopes to monetize in the future.”

The Ticker: Obama’s Happy Hour, PR Saves Car Dealers, Mom Blog Swag…

PR Tactics: Block and Tackle

The phrase “block and tackle” gets thrown around a lot, but in PR, like in football, it can get quite literal. And the media love nothing more than to write about a PR person who abuses them.

Many remember the notorious Apple PR video where two company reps ambush an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 after an Apple exec is asked a question about iTunes being a monopoly. Ok, so the reporter used the “m word,” but the Apple exec should have been well prepared for that one and not just have looked over at PR to bail him out. “You’re focusing on a different agenda and we’d like you to focus on iPhone,” said one of the PR reps.

Apparently something similar happened at the season launch party for AMC’s Madmen this week. The LA TimesMaria Elena Fernandez complains that the interview everyone wanted, Jon Hamm, aka Don Draper, the lead character in the show, was very hard to get. That’s not entirely surprising and part of the blame goes to his publicist Erica Gray of PMK.

According to Hernandez, reporters tried to get time with Hamm, and they did. Hernandez has several lengthy quotes in her story. But after approaching him a second time, PR stepped in, “…before we could utter one syllable, Gray (does she make a lot of money doing this kind of thing?) led him away again,” she said.

Clean Up That Resume


Associated Content is looking for a Public Relations Director

Quinn & Co. Public Relations is looking for an Intern (Paid)

Blanchard Valley Health System is looking for a Marketing & Communications Director

Cornerstone Communications is looking for an Assistant Account Executive

Hachette Book Group is looking for an Online Publicity Specialist

What Kind of Beer Will Obama Drink at Thursday’s Meeting?

Tomorrow President Barack Obama will sit down for a beer at the White House with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley. And of course, beer makers everywhere are lobbying for what could be considered the mother of all product placements.

New England-based beer makers are especially making a push, given their geographic relevancy. However, these local breweries have lost out to the “All-American” but now foreign owned Budweiser. CBS News reports, “The White House has suggested that the president will drink Budweiser, the same beer he had at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.” The White House also stated that Sgt. Crowley will have a Blue Moon, and Mr. Gates either a Red Stripe or Beck’s.

Needless to say, we’re surprised to have not seen even more press releases and statements from companies trying to hop on to this mini-news cycle.

The Ticker: MSFT Yahoo Deal, NY Mets PR Help, Social Media for Job Hunters…