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Archives: February 2010

NBC Tests Media Relations Email System, To Annoyance of Some Reporters

Many reporters have been receiving the following email from NBC Universal today:

—–Original Message—–
From: PressRelease@nbcuni.com [mailto:PressRelease@nbcuni.com]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:39 PM
To: xxxx@mediabistro.com
Subject: Please Disregard This Email

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Press Release
818-840-7705
PressRelease@nbcuni.com

Please Disregard This Email

Please disregard this email as we perform a test of our email systems.

Thank You

Our editorial director Chris Ariens received six of them, which was fine, until the seventh and then the eighth arrived. We reached out to an NBC spokesperson who confirmed the company is testing their “Press Express” media relations distribution system.

PR hater and TechCrunch Editor Mike Arrington took notice of the emails as well, and wrote, “There’s no shaming this industry [PR] into normal human behavior.”

Of course, one can’t help but point out that “normal human behavior” at TechCrunch has recently included having a 17-year-old intern ask startups to give him free laptops in exchange for coverage on the site.

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Governor Paterson Ends Bid for Full Term

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At 3:17 p.m. today, New York Governor David Paterson ended his bid for a full term at a press conference, and addressed the media swarm that has surrounded him for weeks. “I have never abused my office. Not now, not ever,” he said.

“After three weeks, all rumors were dispelled in the end,” Paterson said, in reference to the media cycle precipitated by rumors of a huge New York Times scoop. We know now that it was his closest adviser David Johnson — who did work in a communications and policy capacity — that was the source of the biggest problems.

All the major news networks carried the presser live, except for NBC which was showing the USA vs. Finland hockey game. For more on that, turn to TVNewser shortly.

RELATED: No Damage Control Possible for Paterson in Third Times Bombshell

Sources Conflict on Gov. Paterson Crisis Strategy

Times Scoop on David Paterson Reveals PR Struggle

Pepsi Employees Break “Refresh” Campaign Rules

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When PRNewser interviewed PespiCo Chief Engagement Officer Frank Cooper on the day of his company’s “Refresh Everything Project” campaign launch, he said “this year it was time to actually walk the talk” in regards to PepsiCo and its social media efforts.

The Refresh Everything Project will dole out more than $20 million over the next year to fund consumer generated ideas that people “believe will make an impact on their communities.”

Pepsi has received mostly positive press for the campaign, however this week it hit a snag.

Via The New York Times:

“Materials submitted by the Joyful Heart Foundation, a charity started by Mariska Hargitay, one of the stars of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,’ to help victims of sexual assault, were updated by the staff at Pepsi after the submission deadline, which is against the contest rules.”

“That upset some of the contestants who wondered whether Pepsi was doing favors for a celebrity. ‘I can’t edit my own submission, so how did she do it?’ said one contestant, who insisted on anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his chances of winning.

“We didn’t follow our guidelines to the letter…the bottom line is that we’ve learned from this and we’re moving on,” Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer for the American beverages unit at Pepsi told the Times.

As of today, there are 729 ideas in the running for $1.3 million in funding for this round of the competition.

Outcast Communications Handles Bloom Energy Launch


Watch CBS News Videos Online

“Very few start-ups have created as much buzz overnight as Bloom Energy,” writes The Wall Street Journal. The company, which officially launched this past Wednesday, provides “fuel-cell technology that promises to generate electrical power affordably while cutting down on emissions.”

Next Fifteen owned agency Outcast Communications handled PR for the launch, and the agency confirmed to PRNewser they have been hired as PR agency of record for the company. Senior Vice President Reema Bahnasy is leading the account.

So far the media coverage continues to stream in. A Google News search for Bloom Energy today returns more than 1,300 results. Of course, a high profile launch event with the likes of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Google co-founder Larry Page and venture capitalist superstar John Doerr certainly doesn’t hurt.

Fake Hot Dog Stunt Dedicated to Legendary Coney Island Flack

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CNN fell for a pitch about a 140 year-old hot dog found underneath Feltman’s Kitchen, a Coney Island fixture now being demolished. The fake dog was designed to draw attention to the Coney Island History Project. The dog, bun and receipt, supposedly encased in ice under the restaurant, was cooked up in the grand “ballyhoo” tradition of flacks of yore, according to the Project’s spokesperson Tricia Vita.

Vita is unapologetic about getting both CNN and News 12 Brooklyn on board, and dedicated the stunt to legendary press agent Milton Berger, who came to Coney Island in 1952 after working on a Broadway show.

The segment is no longer appearing on CNN.com. You can still watch News 12′s report here (cable account number required)

Berger was that guy the media called when they wanted an estimate of the number of people on the beach–always about 2 million, rain or shine.

IPG Q4: PR Division Revenue Down 6.5%

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The Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (IPG) reported fourth quarter and full year 2009 results today. Fourth quarter profit fell 38% to $129.4 million, from $209.8 million over the same period in 2008.

Full-year profit of $93.6 million, is only about a third of the $265 million profit IPG reported in 2008.

IPG’s Constituency Management Group (CMG), which houses Golin Harris, MWW Group and Weber Shandwick, saw a 16% decline in yearly revenue to $915.1 million, from $1.09 billion in 2008. However, Q4 saw only a 6.5% revenue decline, compared to 14% in Q3. CEOs for the aforementioned agencies were not available for comment as of the time of this post. Inclement weather in the Northeast led to MWW Group’s offices being closed today.

“We think that the worst of the recession’s impact on our business [has passed]. Economic conditions appear to have stabilized, and we believe we should see improvement during the course of 2010,” said IPG CEO Michael Roth on a conference call this morning.

Sea World Suspends Shamu Shows, Twitter Account Amid Trainers Killing

As Sea World faces intense scrutiny after a 12,000 pound killer whale killed a trainer in front of horrified onlookers Wednesday, the theme park’s San Diego location has canceled shows, and the communications team has shut down the @shamu Twitter feed. The company’s blog has remained active.

Meanwhile, former “Price is Right” host and longtime animal rights activist Bob Barker is urging Sea World to release its sea animals.

“Their big task is to be honest with the public and the media as they conduct their forensic study on why the accident happened, because that will determine how SeaWorld is perceived in the future,” Dennis Speigel, president of Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Services Inc. told the Orlando Business Journal. We’ve reached out to Sea World’s PR team for comment. More to come…

MORE: At a press conference today, Jim Atchison, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said “all direct action with animals was suspended” at all three parks after the incident. However, killer whale shows will resume at the parks Saturday, although trainers will not be allowed in the water.

The Ticker: Newsweek‘s image; Backpack journalism; Seaworld’s challenge; Promoting blogs; PR + CSR

Corzine Defends Goldman Sachs, Recommends Speaking Less

Former New Jersey Governor, Senator, and Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine spent a long time on Bloomberg TV yesterday, discussing crises of the day including Toyota’s woes, Goldman’s image, and his own legacy.

When asked by the host about the “most vilified financial brand in history” Corzine elaborated on strategy, image, “ethos” and how you communicate, “there are always issues in how you explain.”

He also gave current CEO Lloyd Blankfein credit in the wake of the controversial “God’s work” comment, “Lloyd has done a much better job than the publicity surrounding him implies.”

“When you make an occasional mistake in public, it’s easy to misphrase something at the wrong time when you thought your toung was in cheek. Those type of things when people are extremely sensitive is extraordinary.”

On what Goldman should do now, “the best thing to do, kind of what the PR consultants said, speak a little less, do a lot to serve your shareholders and your clients…sticking to the knitting of the fundamentals of what your business is about is the way to try to meet those kinds of challenges that come from the public attack on the brand.”

RELATED: Goldman Sachs’ PR Strategy: ‘A Stiffly Extended Middle Finger’

No Damage Control Possible for Paterson in Third Times Bombshell

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The third New York Times bombshell on Governor David Paterson dropped today, confirming what we learned from sources two weeks ago. Paterson’s relationship with close adviser David Johnson has destroyed his image and his future in politics. The piece confirmed with Johnson’s ex-girlfriend that a beating occurred and that the Governor’s office hoped to cover it up.

Unlike the first story about Johnson which was actually well handled by the Paterson camp, or what’s left of it, this one left the embattled Governor with no damage control cards to play except to say that it was Johnson’s girlfriend who initiated the phone call to him, not the other way around. According to the story, she got the call just before she was scheduled for a court appearance that would’ve filed a protective order against Johnson. She failed to appear and the case was dismissed.

The story also shows that Paterson knew the exact nature of the bombshell when he met with the paper’s editorial board on February 8th, all while crying foul on accusations in the tabloids of marital affairs and influence peddling.

The other move left was for his office to issue a statement late last night, asking the Attorney General to open an investigation, and to suspend David Johnson without pay. The AG is of course, ironically, his challenger for re-election Andrew Cuomo.

One of our sources close to the “horrible” situation tells us Paterson won’t resign until he has another job lined up.

RELATED: Sources Conflict on Gov. Paterson Crisis Strategy

Times Scoop on David Paterson Reveals PR Struggle

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