We’ve been talking with many digital PR executives this week, about how the Apple company mantra of secrecy and anti-transparency goes against so much of what we hear from the likes of digital communicaitons agencies, publications such as Mashable, companies such as Zappos and the latest Edelman Trust Barometer which said, “trust and transparency are as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services.”
And yet the company seems to suffer no consequences.
As one VP of digital at a large agency told us this week, “Their formula: Steve Jobs, big events with new products, a few coordinated press leaks, works for them. Not every brand can do that.”
PRNewser was intrigued this morning when we saw what seemed like an impromptu video interview between Steve Jobs and The Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg at the iPad launch event. (Video posted above – skip to 2:50 for the Jobs interview.)
While the interview did seem “impromptu,” as with most interviews with someone of Jobs’ stature, it was highly coordinated.
Most of the people gathered around Jobs and Mossberg were not fellow reporters hunting for a quote, but a squad of no-nonsense, plain-clothed Apple staffers who had formed a human cordon around their leader. The only other person allowed within the safe zone was Mossberg, and any reporters who attempted to get near were physically blocked and pushed back.
Conversations with Apple staff about the iPad itself proved equally trying, with the mere act of getting a company spokesperson to confirm or clarify a fact feeling like an exercise in the theatre of the absurd.
“How do I spell your name?” this reporter asked an Apple staffer following a short conversation to confirm certain basic features of the iPad.
“That’s not available for you,” the staffer replied, in an eerily robotic tone.
CNN delved further into the massive Toyota recall currently underway in a segment that aired today.
“This is supposed to be a company that symbolizes quality,” said RLM PR CEO Richard Laermer, who was identified as “Branding Expert” in the segment. “And now they’re going to have a long, long road getting back to that, and people are going to wonder, what can I say about Toyota because I can’t say quality.”
PR firm Murray Hill, Inc. is running for Congress in the D.C. suburb of Maryland’s 8th district. Not the agency’s President Eric Hansell, but the company itself. Hansell is merely the “designated human” behind the message.
Murry Hill, a firm specializing in pro-labor organizations, is running to make a statement about the recent Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Accord to its quote in the press release, “until now, corporate interests had to rely on campaign contributions and influence peddling to achieve their goals in Washington. But thanks to an enlightened Supreme Court, now we can eliminate the middle-man and run for office ourselves.”
Hansell and campaign manager William Klein plan to run a historic campaign that puts people second, or even third, and promises the aggressive use of automated robo-calls, astroturf lobbying and computer-generated avatars to get out the vote.
Murray Hill, Inc.’s campaign ad can be found on YouTube.
BusinessWeek has announced a few significant additions to its revamped editorial staff. New York magazine Editorial Director Hugo Lindgren joins as executive editor. Eric Pooley, former managing editor at Fortune joins as deputy editor.
PRNewser caught up with Shift Communications Principal Todd Defren at a party to celebrate the launch of the agency’s New York office last night.
The agency, which reported revenue of just over $12 million in 2009, already operates in Boston and San Francisco.
Defren, who pens the popular PR Squared blog, told us the move to New York was to help the agency service its increasingly diverse client base, which he said is now 50% technology brands and 50% consumer brands. “We need to be in the mecca of all these big consumer brands,” he said.
Also, many of Shift’s Boston employees began moving to New York anyways, so the agency thought they would provide them with an official office. Defren told employees, “You can’t work out of your apartments, we’re going to do this right and open you a nice office in Union Square.”
As PRNewser readers surely know, two major news events occurred yesterday: the launch event for Apple’s iPad tablet computer and President Barack Obama‘s State of the Union address.
On at least one medium — Twitter — Obama had more hype than the iPad. The State of the Union peaked at 9,000 tweets per minute, while the iPad Launch peaked at 7,000 tweets per minute, according to Retrevo’s Tech Buzzmeter.
The consumer electronics review and shopping site used the same data gathering it uses to report on real time consumer electronics trends and applied it to Twitter and real time news.
To compare, topics such as ‘Britney Spears‘ get about 10-20 Tweets per minute on a sustained basis.