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Archives: December 2012

The Naked Cowboy Rents Skin Space to Tattoo Company

There was a day when selling out meant abandoning your dreams and caving into mainstream society’s financial, commercial and cultural burdens. However, New York City’s cultural maverick The Naked Cowboy, a.k.a. John Burck, is taking the concept of selling out to a new level by renting advertising space on his own body.

Of course an idea this classy is ripe for the streets of Manhattan, especially Times Square, the epicenter of everything loud, bright and cheesy. In fact, considering all of the millions of dollars invested in crowding Times Square with corporate brands, lousy restaurants and entertainment options, by going personal Wow Body Ads—the company that purchased space on The Naked Cowboy’s chest and back—may be outsmarting the competition.

The Naked Cowboy is a walking, guitar-playing tourist destination, who single-handedly created a personal brand worthy of Times Square real estate prices. The man elevated the pay-to-photograph me business paradigm to an unprecedented level through his hard work and passion. He earned his prosperity, so good for Mr. Burck for capitalizing on his own success. But a branded body tattoo—how is the public going to react to that?

We’re guessing not very well. Part of The Naked Cowboy’s allure for tourists (and New Yorkers alike—the City loves people who can bring some freak) is that his persona provides a personal experience to something larger than themselves, namely New York City and all of its quirkiness, vitality and creativity.

Sure, you can have your photo taken with the Empire State Building in the background or ice skating at Rockefeller Center, but The Naked Cowboy is a living human being who can say your name, ask where you’re from and make you laugh. It’s an experience between you and The Naked Cowboy. Until now, that is. Read more

Microsoft VS. Google in Santa Tracker Battle

To the joy and excitement of children everywhere, Google began developing a Santa Tracker in 2004. For anyone who hasn’t had to pause Christmas Eve festivities to virtually stalk Santa Claus, Santa Tracker allows kids (and adults) to look up what part of the world St. Nick is visiting at that precise moment.

In 2007, the North American Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD (yeah, we’re not sure how that acronym works, either), partnered with Google to make Santa Tracker the government-official means of following the man in red on his Christmas Eve quest. So when NORAD announced that they would partner with Microsoft this year instead, it was assumed that Google would would take a major marketing hit.

In actuality, the break from NORAD seems to have given Google the freedom to use its Santa Tracker as a marketing tool for its many other services. Not only could families track Santa this year, but they could interact with colorful and elaborate games and features, which the Microsoft/NORAD tracker lacked. Three different games starred Santa’s elves, and there was even a Google Voice-powered tool that allowed users to send friends and family customizable voicemails from Santa himself. The system also incorporated Google+ by allowing users to refer to the voicemail recipient as a Google+ Circle Buddy. Google even offered an extension of its Chrome browser for tracking Mr. Holly Jolly. Read more

The Ticker: Toyota; Political Starbucks; Wine Packaging; Pizza Hut; Macy’s

Starbucks Wants America’s Politicians to Compromise

Typically, it’s never a good PR strategy for a commercial brand to mess with politics. From Chick-fil-A to Papa John’s pizza, showing allegiance to any part of the political spectrum will ultimately alienate, if not infuriate, a segment of the consumer base.

So we’ll be watching with trepidation and awkward admiration as Starbucks jumps feet first into American politics on December 28, when the coffee juggernaut’s baristas will write “Come Together” on the cups of its customers throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

The goal, of course, is to connect with the public’s outrage over an inept and feckless Congress and by doing so make a very public point about the need for political compromise in light of the upcoming ‘fiscal cliff’ that will prolong our collective sense of economic intractability and general gloom about our nation’s prospects.

But will it work? From a public relations standpoint, yes. Starbucks and CEO Howard Shultz take great pride in the brand’s corporate values. Though the company has seen its up and downs, its moral compass has always kept it spiritually centered. Starbucks has directly confronted social issues such as employee health insurance and environmental sustainability efforts, so supporters of Starbucks won’t see this latest political statement as being out of character for the brand. The public believes that Starbucks actually cares.

Also, Starbucks isn’t choosing sides here. This move won’t alienate customers because it is aligning with the general sentiment of the American public. We want results, not process, from both political parties. Brands that understand public relations are never tone deaf to what the public is thinking, and the public has been vocal about what is on its mind: fiscal cliff. Read more

Gangnam Style Hits 1 Billion Views on YouTube

For public relations professionals, a YouTube video that garners 1 billion user views must have some level of inherent industry-related lesson, right? Our business, in part, is about determining what resonates with the public and what doesn’t.

So when PSY’s Gangnam Style became the first video to accumulate more than 1 billion views we wanted to know what, exactly, about Gangnam Style the public finds so irresistible, and how those findings could be repurposed into the business world.

The success behind Gangnam Style cannot be attributed to one single quality such as the catchiness of the tune or the horse dance or the snappy clothes or PSY himself. We love everything separately and collectively, and that’s the first lesson we can take away from this: it is imperative to have a diversified approach that connects with people on many different levels.

With PSY as the CEO of Gangnam Style, the song will forever have a charismatic spokesman and brand identity that makes us smile. Yes, PSY has had his public relations problems, but he admitted to his mistakes, owned them and was able to move on and even appear at The White House Christmas special. That’s what good business leaders do. Also, he works hard. The man is everywhere. No strategy will amount to anything without solid work ethic.

Ah, the horse dance. Even PR professionals can do the horse dance, which means anyone can. Accessibility is crucial to every public relations strategy that hopes to resonate far and wide. The best part about the horse dance is that it’s supposed to look ridiculous, and for many of us, that is exactly how we look doing any kind of dance. So kudos to PSY for inventing a global phenomenon and bringing the human race together at a time when it can appear more fractured and self-destructive than ever. Giddyup. Read more

The Ticker: Naked Cowboy; Gaming Tactics; Kraft; Burger King; Worst CEOs 2012

PR Jobs: McMurry, Intermarkets, National Audubon Society

This week, McMurry is hiring a direct marketing manager, while Intermarkets needs a marketing director. The National Audubon Society is seeking a media relations coordinator, and the American Academy of Physician Assistants is on the hunt for a senior vice president of marketing and communication. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

Find more great PR jobs on the PRNewser job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented PRNewser pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Biggest Stories of the Week

Adventures in Marketing: ‘Fifty Shades of Chicken’

Fifty Shades of Chicken Random House Today we bring you what is, without a doubt, one of our favorite marketing projects of the year.

First: You may have heard that Random House employees recently received hefty $5000 holiday bonuses thanks, in large part, to a certain obscure author/handcuff enthusiast named E.L. James.

In case you thought the publishing house couldn’t wring a single cent more from its whips-and-chains smash 50 Shades of Grey, you thought wrong: the company recently released a lighthearted companion piece in the form of a cookbook titled Fifty Shades of Chicken. It’s ostensibly a collection of recipes, but it’s really just an excuse to milk that juicy property ’til it’s bone dry.

Why do we love this project? We’re suckers for satire and clever, pun-filled copy, so we’ll just let the official Twitter feed speak for itself:

…and it keeps going, people. There is apparently no shortage of sexual innuendos in the culinary world.

Read more

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Launches ‘Demand a Plan’ Campaign

Mayors Against Illegal GunsThe social advocacy organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Meninio, has launched a new PR campaign via social media in an effort to push American politicians to pass gun control legislation. The group also released a petition this week urging Americans to “join more than 750 mayors and 750,000 grassroots supporters to demand that President Obama and Congress step forward with a plan to end gun violence” on a national level.

The three main objectives of the Demand a Plan campaign are:

  1. Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
  2. Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
  3. Make gun trafficking a federal crime, including real penalties for “straw purchasers”

Like most modern advocacy campaigns, this one gets creative with social media:

Read more