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Archives: July 2012

The Ticker: Chick-fil-A Gets Grilled; Penn State’s PR Plan; NRA; Twitter in Politics; China’s Taste for Wine

A Taste of Gen Y as They Enter Adulthood

“Gen Y has been the most studied generation ever,” observed Melissa Lavigne-Delville, NBCUniversal Integrated Media’s VP of trends and strategic insights. She spoke on Tuesday in New York about Gen Y related trends and new ways that this group has been experimenting with options to handle their work, family and social lives.

The occasion was the screening of a film called y Now, produced by NBCUniversal Integrated Media’s Curve Films. The short documentary portrays nine members of Gen Y as they transition into adulthood. The film, which is mainly being used for research purposes, was created to complement The Curve, their extensive report on the same topic.

Below are a few takeaways that cover both conventional wisdom about Gen Y’s mindset and more recent trends.

Growing influence. Gen Y includes 76 million people in the U.S. who were born between 1978 and 1995. Now they comprise the majority of those in advertisers’ coveted age range of 18 to 49. Given Gen Y’s large numbers and high degree of social media connectivity, they wield increasing influence on brands.

Optimistic perspective. “They grew up in a relatively positive political and economic environment, doted on by their parents,” Lavigne-Delville noted. “As a result, they have a more optimistic outlook on the recession than Gen X.”

New lifestage between adolescence and adulthood. “Gen Y has had an extended adolescence, or a soft launch into adulthood,” Lavigne-Delville commented. “Due to the recession, they have been ‘lifestalling,’ or sitting it out and reassessing their options. In fact, for many in Gen Y, they consider adulthood to start in their twenties. Also, there’s no agreement regarding what constitutes major adulthood milestones.”

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Why Apple Hopes the iPhone 5 Is Worth the Wait

For years now the public has been grumbling about spending hard-earned money on technological devices that become dated within weeks, or days, or hours of walking out of the store. It’s a terrible feeling. Brands such as Apple have been mercilessly efficient in integrating their products into our culture and creating the perception that anyone without the latest device is an unsophisticated, geriatric luddite.

However, a new report detailing the sluggish sales of iPhones indicates an important shift in the way consumers are spending their dollars: They’re waiting for the next version to become available before making a purchase. This, of course, means they will be in exactly the same position several months from now as another updated version inevitably debuts, but collectively it demonstrates the public has become wary of upgrades in technology and is consequently tailoring its spending habits. Fewer purchases mean fewer dollars for manufacturers—and a change in the relationship between our culture and the latest technology. Read more

Christian Bale, Star of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, Visits Aurora, CO Hospital

As we reported earlier this week, Warner Brothers studio has been commended for responding to last week’s tragedy in Aurora, CO swiftly and responsibly, by canceling the international press tour and pulling many TV ads for The Dark Knight Rises. Now, Christian Bale, star of the film, has chosen to express his respect and sympathy by visiting with victims of the shooting.

According to The Denver Post, Bale and his wife, Sibi Blazic, met with seven patients at the Medical Center of Aurora on Tuesday afternoon. Hospital interim president Bill Voloch said that Bale notified hospital officials that he wanted to visit the injured, and asked that the media not be notified in advance.

Bale and his wife also met with a number of doctors and first responders, and visited a memorial that has been set up near the movie theater. Officials from Warner Brothers have said that Bale decided to go Aurora on his own, and was not asked to do so by the studio.

The actor had released a statement in the wake of the tragedy, saying, “Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.” It’s one thing to release such a statement, but quite another to turn words into actions and make the direct, personal impact that Bale made during his trip to Aurora.

“It was good for the patients,” Voloch told The Denver Post. “We hope it was therapeutic for them, and all the staff really appreciated him coming.”

For the full story in The Denver Post, click here.

For a gallery of photos, click here.

Roll Call: MSNBC, Hawkins International, Here Media, and More

Lauren Skowronski has been named Vice President, Media Relations for MSNBC. In this role, Skowronski will manage internal and external communications for the network, including program publicity and the overall media strategy. She will serve as the chief spokesperson for the network.

Cybex International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYBI) has announced that Kenneth Kuperstein has been hired as Cybex’s director of marketing, planning and development. Mr. Kuperstein brings more than 20 years of experience in the advertising and marketing industries to the Company, having managed some of the world’s most recognizable brands.

New York-based PR firm Hawkins International announces a pair of noteworthy personnel changes. Corey Finjer, a veteran at Hawkins International (HIPR) has been promoted to Vice President, while Keri Prestia, an experienced PR professional with high-profile and luxury brand experience, recently joined the firm as a Vice President. Both Finjer and Prestia will oversee client management, strategic media relations campaigns and new business development. These two announcements come at the pinnacle of HIPR as the agency celebrates its 10th anniversary and has added ten new accounts to its portfolio since January 2012.

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The Ticker: McDonald’s Menu; iPhone Demand; NBC’s Gamble; Amtrak; Wal-Mart vs. Credit Cards

Old Spice Opens Olympics with PR Gold

The 2012 London Olympics may not officially begin for another few days, but our industry’s analysis of the Olympic commercials, celebrities, logo, events, security issues and PR campaigns has been underway for years. All of the build up and excitement has led to this long-anticipated week, which will showcase not only the hard work and discipline of athletes, but also the advertising and PR agencies behind the Olympics: the countless, nameless folks who have struggled with brand identity and public perception and thrown erasers at whiteboards and kicked mock ups of their brilliance down hallways full of concerned colleagues. So, who is winning early in the 2012 PR Olympics? Old Spice is off to a solid start.

Creating a positive bond with the public poses a myriad of challenges, but creating a deep affiliation between athletes and the public is helped by a common association, typically via a geographic region—how else could a 313-pound couch potato feel he has anything in common with a 175-pound baseball player? Why, we’re all New Yorkers, of course. Or Chicagoans. Or San Franciscans, etc. For the Olympics, we’re all Americans. But Old Spice has taken a novel approach by, instead of pushing our usual patriotic buttons, appealing directly to the hilarity of the notion that any of us could be Olympic athletes. Or heros. Or premium table cracker makers.

Can Social Media and a Viral Video Save a Town?

According to the The Wall Street Journal, Hamburg, Iowa needs to raise $5.6 million to reinforce its levee in order to protect its town from potential flooding. Since federal, state, and local resources have been exhausted, townspeople are now asking private citizens for donations of just $3 per person, saying, “for less than a latte, you can save a town.” In order to get the word out, they have created a website that features an inspiring, humorous video (above) of the townspeople dancing on Main Street to their own version of the classic song “Proud Mary.”

For the full story, click here.

Update on Chick-fil-A Backlash: The Jim Henson Company and the City of Boston Take a Stand

As we reported last week, there has been an outpouring of both support and outrage in response to comments made by Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A, about his anti-gay marriage stance. Despite Chick-fil-A releasing a statement meant to calm things down (the statement failed to actually denounce or apologize for Cathy’s comments), the controversy has continued to pick up steam, and is now not only costing the company some of its customers, but also its partnership with the Jim Henson Company and a potential Boston franchise.

And if movies and TV have taught us anything, we know that there are two people you really don’t want to tick off — a Bostonian, and Miss Piggy.

The Jim Henson company, which had been providing the “Creature Shop” toys in Chick-fil-A “Kids meals,” has severed its business ties with the fast food chain, saying in a statement:

“The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors. Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-fil-A to GLAAD.”

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The Ticker: Old Spice Olympics; Wary Voters; Murdoch Scandal; Penn State; Campbell’s Millennials