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Archives: January 2013

The Ticker: BlackBerry Rebirth; Oprah Tweets; Toyota Recall; Facebook; Condom Delivery

Is ‘PR Specialist’ One of America’s Top Jobs?

We already told you that “PR Manager” is one of the most stressful jobs around. It’s a 24/7 lifestyle, right? But can we also count “PR Specialist” as one of America’s top jobs? According to U.S. News and World Report, the answer is “yes!”

The gig is right there at number 51 on the list of “The 100 Best Jobs” in America, stuck between “construction manager” and “middle school teacher”. We like the magazine’s flattering description of the position and its relatively generous average salary estimate, but the list leaves us with some questions:

  • How can teaching middle school be a pleasant thing in any way (and why isn’t the median salary much higher)?
  • What’s so great about dentistry, anyway?
  • Who told marketing managers that they were so special?
  • How is architect so low on the list (#70)? Someone call Art Vandelay!
  • Do we really have to move to D.C., San Francisco or San Jose? (Please say no.)

U.S. News created the list by ranking individual positions based on “the number of openings, the chance to advance and be professionally fulfilled, and the ability to meet financial obligations”. What do we think, PR pros: why aren’t we #1? And how will we plan our revenge on the health care industry?

Ben & Jerry’s 30 Rock Ice Cream to Guest Star in Finale

Ben & Jerry's 30 Rock Ice CreamThe public loves to tune in to the end of anything. We’re still mad about the last episode of The Sopranos, saddened by the rumored death of Twinkies and, deep down, a little disappointed that the whole “2012 apocalypse” thing never came to pass.

Tomorrow marks the final episode of 30 Rock‘s last season, and we can’t wait to see how the 7-year-old show will end. This perpetual underdog of a sitcom resonated with certain segments of the public, who came to know the characters and quote them during office meetings and happy hours. But now it’s time to say goodbye.

Farewells, of course, bring big ratings numbers. Tomorrow night millions of Americans will watch as Liz Lemon, Jenna Maroney, Jack Donaghy, and that guy who plays Tracy Morgan ride off into the flat screen sunset along with Ben & Jerry. That’s right–the ice cream guys.

Ben & Jerry didn’t become ice cream moguls because they were quirky farmhands; they’ve been a savvy PR team from the beginning. This week, while other brands roll the dice and blow their entire annual marketing budgets on Super Bowl ads, Ben & Jerry chose to aim for a demographic that appreciates their brand of quirk. We have little doubt that fans will literally eat up their latest release, 30 Rock Ice Cream (not to be confused with the Alec Baldwin classic “Schweddy Balls.

Ben and Jerry’s doesn’t want to steal the show, however; the ingredients to the new flavor won’t be revealed until after it’s all over. Let’s just hope Tracy Morgan didn’t make the recipe.

Oh, and here’s Brian Williams explaining the project like only he can:

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The Onion Helps Brands Discover Their Sense of Humor

The Onion is all about funny, satirical, almost believable stories. When we first heard about Vladimir Putin’s plan to pump up Russia’s fertility rate with a Boyz II Men concert, we immediately thought of the magazine.

But now we know that’s not all “America’s Finest News Source” can do. See, Digiday taught us something this week: The Onion also helps brands discover (or re-discover) their sense of humor via its in-house ad/marketing/advisory team, Onion Labs. This strange experiment all started last year when Microsoft Internet Explorer, desperate for a rebranding, decided to embrace its reputation as “The Browser You Loved to Hate” and ask The Onion‘s advisory team for ideas (one of which was this cute “Child of the 90′s” video). The project grew rapidly from there.

Onion Labs is still relatively new, but the group’s site features a series of funny spots for brands as disparate as Jack Links and 7-Eleven. They’ve also worked on social media campaigns like the #vacationitis project for Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

We can certainly see why the Onion Labs aesthetic appeals to so many brands–if you’re not comfortable making fun of yourself then you’re going to have trouble appealing to that crucial 18-30 demographic. Here’s one of the Lab’s commercials pitching Dove deodorant to men by making light of the fact that guys don’t really like to deal with their dry skin problems:

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Break into PR with the Former VP of Corporate Communications at Playboy Enterprises

The past decade has seen both a significant spike in interest in the public relations field and an abundance of jobs. Get your foot in the door of this exciting industry with Mediabistro’s online Public Relations class starting Wednesday, February 6!

Instructor Linda Marsicano (left) is the former VP of corporate communications with Playboy Enterprises. Her experience includes prepping CEOs for appearances on 20/20, Dateline NBC, and The Today Show–along with every other aspect of the PR equation.

In her class, you’ll learn to:

  • develop a tactical PR plan that generates results
  • write dynamic biographies
  • effectively distribute your own news releases

By the end of the course, you’ll be impressing interviewees left and right. Spots are limited, so sign up soon!

Travel Providers Embrace PR as Industry Outlook Brightens

Velas Resorts Wedding PhotoArt galleries in the air, celebrity chef TV shows filmed in exotic locales, “destination wedding” social media contests– all illustrate the close creative bond between travel and PR. Fortunately, travel industry prospects have improved as consumers and clients move forward and the economy continues its slow recovery: travel experts and industry reports say 2013 is shaping up to be a good year.

The travel business is more cyclical than most, but the mood at two travel marketing industry events held in New York this week was upbeat. These events included the ATME/Association of Travel Marketing Executives Think Tank and the HSMAI/Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Digital Marketing Strategy Conference–and while the panels and presentations focused on a cross-section of platforms, PR’s signature mixture of digital and traditional media also got its due.

“PR is often an overlooked channel, and it maximizes the trend of grazing on content and making compelling use of news events. It’s about inserting our brands in a targeted way where it’s relevant. It allows you to go places where our other media efforts don’t reach”. That assessment from Simon Bradley, VP Marketing North America at Virgin Atlantic Airways, may come as no surprise. After all, Virgin’s founder, Sir Richard Branson has long been a PR master.

Still, Virgin is far from the only travel brand using PR to creatively address different communications issues such as generating buzz, building brand awareness and incorporating consumer stories into content. Click through for examples of how the conferences’ marketing executives from international airlines, hotels and destinations use PR to their advantage.

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RIM Spends a Ton, Rebrands Itself as…BlackBerry!

BlackBerry rebranding Alicia KeysIn case you aren’t a tech blogger, this morning’s hot story concerned the future of Research in Motion, one of America’s “most hated” brands.

Yes, people still get excited about smartphone companies that have fallen way behind the curve. Need proof? Journalists from every major publication showed up to cover today’s new product roll-out event (while sniggering under their breath). RIM, famous only for producing the BlackBerry, used the event as an opportunity to rebrand itself as…wait for it…BlackBerry.

The public already saw the new BlackBerry 10 before today’s big roll-out thanks to a badly staged PR stunt at a November Lakers game, but right now we’re more interested in the company’s decision to name “longtime Apple userAlicia Keys as its global creative director. What will she do to revitalize the brand? What will she tell her 1.6 million Instagram fans, who still can’t use BlackBerries to follow her account? And won’t she get annoyed when everyone starts comparing her to Beyoncé? We certainly would. She didn’t even play a song this morning, by the way. We feel slightly robbed.


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Vladimir Putin Hires Boyz II Men to Promote Russian Fertility

Boyz II MenJust a couple of hours ago we posted about a Chicago-based NPR affiliate relying on clever PR campaigns to encourage its fans to reproduce. Self-appointed Russian president Vladimir Putin has a simpler strategy: hire Boyz II Men!

While the Boyz claim to be very busy working on their Las Vegas hotel residency and their upcoming tour with New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees (stay out of it, Nick Lachey!), they still managed to find time to headline a February show in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall which–according to The Moscow Times–will serve as part of Putin’s ongoing PR campaign urging Russians to have more kids so the country can be more “influential.”

If you can’t see the connection between point A and point B, then you must not have lived through the early 90′s.

We only have two questions: Since when did Boyz II Men turn into a trio? And what happened to the slow-jam guy with the cane and the Barry White bass? He was all about making babies…

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Vatican’s Dove of Peace Attacked by Demon Seagull

During the annual Caravan of Peace this past Sunday, 2,000 members of the group Youth Catholic Action marched to the Vatican to hear the Pope speak and watch him release two white doves following the recitation of the Angelus prayer.

It was upon the release of these winged symbols of peace that things took a decidedly non-peaceful turn.

Accompanied by two children, Pope Benedict XVI released the first dove into St. Peter’s Square. After flying about in a somewhat disoriented state, the bird landed safely on a ledge above the Pontiff’s window. The flight of the second dove, however, did not go as smoothly. Right after landing on a ledge it was attacked by what one can only assume was a demon-possessed seagull from hell as the crowd of horrified youngsters looked on.

That–as any augur would likely tell you–could not have been a good sign.

Fortunately, the dove was able to fight off the seagull, once again reaffirming our faith that peace can win the day (but not without a bit of strife). Will the Pope offer up-to-the-minute commentary on this traumatic incident via his official Twitter feed? We don’t know–but millions around the world can’t wait to find out! Beat that, Bieber!

NPR Membership Drive Urges Listeners to ‘Go Make Babies’

When you hear the words “public” and “radio” together, your mind probably doesn’t turn toward hot and heavy procreation. But a Chicago-based NPR affiliate decided to go bold with its most recent membership drive/PR campaign, stroking its listeners’ fragile egos while simultaneously encouraging them to support NPR in the years and decades ahead by having more babies (who would presumably be “interesting” enough to listen to public radio). NPR Go Make Babies Campaign

The campaign includes lines like the one above in addition to such timeless brand statements as:

  • “We want listeners tomorrow. Go make babies today.”
  • “Do It. For Chicago.”
  • “We want interesting people to meet interesting people and make more interesting people.”

“Go Make Babies” isn’t just a snarky tagline, by the way. It’s also a Facebook app that includes a clever “assessment” quiz designed to tell fancy-pants NPR fans just how interesting they are before directing them toward the profiles of other, similarly interesting individuals (who just might be up for makin’ some babies at an unforeseeable point in the hopefully-not-too-distant future).

Can you tell how much we like this campaign?

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