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Archives: May 2010

Digital Gets Physical at the CLIOs with the ChalkBot

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[This post was contributed by Jen Mediano. Mediano is a freelance writer and veteran of top interactive agencies including Razorfish and R/GA.]

All marketing disciplines, including PR, are eying the growth of location-based platforms such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Bringing online messages to the offline world to actually elicit action is the ultimate for marketers. One interesting campaign that gave us an early look at connecting the web with people on the ground is the Nike Chalkbot during last year’s Tour de France.

The Chalkbot was a key element in Nike’s LIVESTRONG campaign for the 2009 Tour. Fans around the world texted inspirational messages for bicyclists that were printed in yellow chalk by the rolling bot on the roads during the three week race. Design firm Deeplocal and StandardRobot worked with Nike’s agency, W+K, to design and develop the pneumatic robot and software system.

The system included a text message interface, web based queue, camera and GPS capture system, Twitter integration, and all the hardware needed to spray the paint. Also built in was an approval system for tour officials, to block those with more naughty intentions.

Self-described Luddite and Deeplocal CEO Nathan Martin had the best stuff to say at the “Digital Gets Physical” panel discussion at the CLIO Conference this week. His work on Chalkbot reminded us that the physical world has different rules than the digital world. Technology has nothing to do with what makes a digital campaign successful. It needs emotion. It needs to be cool enough for you to tell your friends about it.

“If it’s just a machine painting stuff, who cares?”

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Susan Blond Offers Memorial Day Weekend Tips

Headed out of town for the holiday weekend? Are you a guest at someone’s vacation home? Publicist to the stars Susan Blond continues her “Blond Tips” series and provides advice to make sure your weekend goes smooth.

RELATED: Susan Blond Tells You How To Ride An Elevator

Lionsgate to Movie Critics: No Advance Reviews of ‘Killers’

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Is Lionsgate trying to protect its upcoming film, “Killers,” from what it thinks will be bad reviews?

The studio announced it will only pre-sceen the film to press on the day of its release, June 4th, an uncommon move for a mass-market film. Instead, Lionsgate would rather have everyday folk post their own thoughts on the firm via social media.

“We want to capitalize on the revolution in social media by letting audiences and critics define this film concurrently,” Lionsgate said in a statement.

The statement continued:

In today’s socially connected marketplace, we all have the ability to share feedback instantly around the world. In keeping with this spirit, Lionsgate and the filmmakers want to give the opportunity to moviegoing audiences and critics alike to see “Killers” simultaneously, and share their thoughts in the medium of their choosing. We felt that this sense of immediacy could be a real asset in the marketing of “Killers.”

Four Corners Communications president Drew Kerr called the statement, “a masterpiece of redirected gobbledygook that will be hard to top for a long time to come.” What’s your take?

rbb PR Acquires Haber & Quinn Public Relations

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Agency rbb Public Relations has acquired Haber & Quinn Public Relations, a Fort Lauderdale, FL agency specializing in the marine and healthcare industries.

H&B founders Geri Haber and John Quinn will join rbb. In addition, all H&B staff and clients will be transferred to rbb. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

rbb acquired another boutique firm, Cece Feinberg Public Relations in January 2009. The agency garnered attention after being named PRWeek‘s 2008 Agency of the Year and The Holmes Report‘s 2009 Boutique Agency of the Year.

It’s Official: Second Life is Dead, For PR At Least

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Remember when virtual worlds like Second Life were all the rage? Reuters even had their own Second Life “bureau.”

While many marketing executives have noticed interest in virtual words waning, the latest update from the USC Annenberg’s Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP) Study confirms their death. For PR, at least.

The latest part of the survey asked almost 400 communications executives about which “online channels” they are using or plan on using. A response of “1″ was low and “7″ is high.

Virtual words ranked 1.4 for current use and 1.6 for planned use. For comparison, video ranked 4.3 for current use, and 5.2 for planned use.

While communicators are largely ignoring Second Life, the company did report promising financials in Q1 2010. However, the company is also facing a lawsuit from a number of users.

All of this should keep Edelman busy. The agency won PR agency of record duties for Second Life creator Linden Lab in November 2009.

Recycled Pitches: Technology Keeps People Connected To Work During Vacation

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There are certain PR pitches that are recycled every year: tax companies offering advice during tax season, “Dads and Grads” product pitches in mid-June, “back to school” pitches in August, and of course who can’t forget the recent holiday shopping phenomenon “Cyber Monday.”

A popular summer pitch that we’re seeing again this year is: “Technology Keeps People Connected To Work During Vacation.”

The pitch explains that – shockingly – because of mobile devices and social media, people are finding it harder to disconnect from the office during their summer vacations.

A recent survey from InterCall shows that this trend isn’t going away. And it’s a pitch that can work for a variety of companies: management/HR consultants, mobile device companies, travel companies, etc.

So, what are you pitching this Memorial Day weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Financial Times Vet Jumps To Edelman

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Across the pond, Edelman continues to snap up veteran journalists. Longtime Financial Times columnist Stefan Stern is joining the agency as director of strategy.

This past February, Edelman hired BBC veteran Richard Sambrook as the agency’s first chief content officer.

How ‘Open’ Does Your Company Need to Be?

We caught up with Altimeter Group founder Charlene Li as she swung through town this week to promote her new book, Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead.

A former Forrester Research analyst, Li left the firm to start her own digital consultancy, and has worked with a number of large PR firms, including Ketchum, Edelman and Hill & Knowlton.

In her new book, she seeks to address a question that kept coming up over and over from executives: “How open do I need to be?”

M.I.A. Takes Media Relations Into Her Own Hands, Posts Times Reporter’s Cell Phone Number

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It seems that rapper and pop-diva M.I.A. is not happy with her profile in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. The above Twitter posting includes the cell phone number of Lynn Hirschberg, who penned the piece.

This line may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back:

“I kind of want to be an outsider,” [MIA] said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry.

“I find it kind of interesting that she would cast the spotlight on the story in any way, shape or form…I can’t say what she thinks of it. But it seems you would want it to go away,” Hirschberg told the Observer.

The Ticker: News consumption; Oil leak widget; Gaza Freedom Flotilla; Floyd vs. Lance

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