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Archives: January 2013

Spin the Agencies of Record

Because who needed that first ‘E’ anyway…

Xplore Technologies Corp., manufacturer of the world’s “most powerful, longest-lasting and rugged tablet in the market” (whatever that means), selected multiservice communications agency Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE) to build and share the Xplore story with key audiences. These groups include the utilities and telecommunications, oil and gas, warehousing and distribution and military markets.

Isn’t do-it-yourself air conditioning called a fan?

Following a successful initial introduction by JMPR Public Relations in 2012, IDQ Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of automotive aftermarket air conditioning products, announced that it has once again retained JMPR as agency of record for the do-it-yourself (DIY) air conditioning brand, A/C Pro. Wait, what?

IDQ introduced A/C Pro in the spring of 2012 following more than two years of research and development. The product’s purpose? Eliminating barriers for the DIY-er who wants to perform his own automotive A/C repairs–and potentially saving drivers hundreds of dollars on expenses.

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Presentations: From Planning to Design

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Coca-Cola Insists Its Arab ‘Camel Jockey’ Ad Isn’t Racist

Earlier today we asked whether the new practice of releasing Super Bowl ad spots before the big game was a good PR move. Now further developments make the question seem even more relevant: multiple brands have already attracted accusations of racism based on these teasers.

First Volkswagen faced a racial insensitivity backlash for its “painfully white dude speaks with Jamaican accent, mon” spot:

Now Coke faces the same sort of outrage over its Mad Max-style “crazy desert race” ad, which happens to include some unfortunate footage of a stereotypical Arab man pulling a camel.

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Big Machine Agency Seeks Manager of Publicity

Calling all music lovers! Big Machine Agency is on the hunt for a new manager of publicity to join its New York office.

In this role, you’ll be responsible for creating and executing publicity campaigns for the company’s diverse music and entertainment roster. You’ll write press releases, while pitching reviews, features, column items, TV appearances and website coverage. Read more

Beyoncé Shows the World How to Respond to a Controversy

So Beyoncé held an unusual press conference today (her first since the lip syncing “controversy” broke). After asking all the media folk gathered in the audience to stand, she belted out an a capella rendering of the “Star Spangled Banner”, effectively telling her haters to shut the hell up before asking attendees if they might possibly have any questions (the final “bitch?” was all but implied). Here’s a crappy capture:

During the following question and answer session, Beyoncé explained that she didn’t have time to rehearse with the orchestra for the inauguration and did not feel comfortable “taking a risk” and singing without a pre-recorded vocal track (because it was “all about the President” anyway). So she sang live while the public heard the backing track, a practice that is “very common in the music industry.”

While she was technically lip syncing at the event, Beyoncé thought she’d take a moment to remind everyone in attendance today that she is perfectly capable of singing the National Anthem, thank you very much.

She just made a lot of people, ourselves included, look kinda dumb for making a big deal about this, didn’t she?

Fired HMV Employees Blow Up Company’s Twitter Feed

Message to companies like down-on-its-luck UK retailer HMV: if you plan to announce large-scale layoffs, make sure you have your brand’s Twitter feed under control. Earlier today, management announced plans for more than 190 firings (60 within HR alone) to the staffing department without considering the fact that some of the workers in that meeting had access to the company’s official Twitter feed.

Using iPhones, one or more staffers went on a rampage for approximately 30 minutes in order to let the world (and the rest of the company) know that they were about to be “let go” despite their loyalty to the brand and that HMV, which they “dearly love[d]” for some reason, was “being ruined.”

Administrators from consulting firm Deloitte later confirmed the news of the 190 firings. But they’d already lost control of the story–and they continued using the hashtag after deleting the offending messages!

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Papa John’s Firm Pressures Bloggers Over Reporting on CEO’s ‘Obamacare’ Comments

Papa John's CEO A few weeks ago we included Papa John’s on a list of food-and-beverage brands suffering bad PR thanks to statements by CEOs and managers about threats supposedly posed to their businesses by the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Founder/CEO John Schnatter aggressively fought the “inaccurate” reports by writing a blog post for HuffPo at his PR firm’s suggestion and insisting that he never said anything about closing stores, firing employees or raising prices on his company’s incredibly delicious pizzas due to regulations imposed by the law.

Now he’s gone even more “proactive”, using crisis communications firm Sitrick and Co. to make sure everybody gets the story straight; representatives have been contacting various sites to insist that they correct related stories.

OK. So what did he say, and what did they say he said? Let’s review:

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Pitch Fashion and Beauty Clients to Marie Claire

With a total readership of 3.8 million, Marie Claire offers a compelling and unpredictable mix of articles underscored with wit and attitude. Its readers are as passionate about human rights around the world as they are about the latest fashion trends to hit the runway, so there are many clients a PR pro could pitch to the mag.

Of course, fashion and beauty pitches are welcome, but publicists can also pitch stories about politics, women in the news and human rights. When pitching, keep in mind that the magazine plans issues several months in advance, so when it’s winter, think spring!

For more details and editors’ contact info, read How To Pitch: Marie Claire. [Mediabistro AvantGuild subscription required]

‘Bang With Friends’ App Makers Not Doing Themselves Any Favors

Facebook Bang With Friends appOne of this week’s creepiest stories concerns the new Facebook app Bang With Friends. In case you haven’t heard, the app promises to help users find Facebook connections who are up for a one-night fling. Classy, right? It’s all anonymous, though, because the only way anyone will know that you use it is if the same friend/friends also independently choose you to “bang.”

Our first response to this development was something of a weirded-out shrug until we encountered a very telling Daily Beast interview with the people who created social media’s latest flash in the pan.

Get ready for a shock: They’re three “college-age males” who “made this in two hours… with a lot of Red Bull and vodka” in order to “take rejection out of the [dating] equation”. Oh, and they insisted on remaining anonymous for the interview. We can’t imagine why…

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SodaStream Super Bowl Ad Rejected for Picking on Big Soda Brands

We recently told you about SodaStream‘s clever ad being pulled for “denigrating” the bottled drinks market — or, as we saw it, being a little too effective at competing with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Now, SodaStream’s newest spot, dubbed “Game Changer” and created specifically for the Super Bowl, has been rejected by CBS for similar reasons.

Because SodaStream is a direct competitor of the Big Soda brands that tend to be omnipresent during the Super Bowl — and because the proposed ad isn’t shy about taking direct aim at those brands — even the company itself isn’t surprised “Game Changer” was rejected.

CMO of SodaStream International Ilan Nacasch said in a release, “We understand that the ‘Game Changer’ ad may be uncomfortable to the Big Soda companies, but we are proud of the ad and the truth that it brings to the American consumer.”

That “truth,” according to CEO Daniel Birnbaum, is that “500 million bottles and cans are manufactured every day in the U.S and less than 50% are recycled, causing untold damage to our environment…Our ad confronts the beverage industry…by showing people that there exists a smarter way to enjoy soft drinks.”

A cool product with a save-the-world angle? No wonder the big brands are a little nervous. The rejected ad will air internationally beginning next week (but you, lucky readers, can watch it now below).

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Poll: Do Super Bowl Ad Leaks = Good PR Strategy?

Super-Bowl-Commercials-2013Isn’t it interesting how branding and advertising strategies converge around the Super Bowl? No matter how what kind of products they’re promoting, companies and agencies seem to play copycat in the run-up to the big game. This year it’s all about teaser leaks and hashtags.

The game has changed: two days ago NBC already had a post up ranking the leaked clips, and most marketing execs “don’t see any downside” to releasing ads ahead of time, thereby foregoing “the ‘aha’ moment” when viewers see future classic commercials for the first time. Their theory: all buzz is good buzz, and social sharing could make their ads even bigger. Just because people have seen or heard of them before doesn’t mean the public response will be any less positive.

Not everyone agrees, though: a marketing professor tells the New York Times that leaks only work for particularly “dynamic, innovative or exciting” ads, while “old school” ad execs prefer the “element of surprise” that comes from making the public wait. The Bleacher Report blog even theorizes that the leaks will lead to decreased viewership since so many Americans are more interested in watching the commercials than the game itself.

So let us know, readers. Click through for the poll.

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