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Archives: February 2013

Amazon Fashion Seeks Marketing Manager of Planning and Promotions

Amazon Fashion is hiring! The company is on the hunt for a marketing manager of planning and promotions to join its Seattle, Wash. team.

In this role, you’ll help drive seasonal marketing and promotions plans, and assist in leading a cross-functional team that’s responsible for executing the strategic plans for Amazon’s clothing, shoes, jewelry and watches businesses. Additionally, you’ll manage the promotions calendar, and partner with the editorial and site merchandising teams on various goals. Read more

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AC/DC Beer and Fans Should Sell Out Together

If an AC/DC song doesn’t rock its way through the jukebox of your favorite bar a few times a night, well, you’re probably drinking a martini anyway. So this piece won’t interest you.

But beer drinkers, be they NASCAR fans, tattooed Harley-Davidson riders, or sad-sack drunks, tend to like things loud–especially their rock-n-roll. So AC/DC and beer go together like tired moms and boxed merlot.

Merging AC/DC’s brand and beer, two incredible forces of nature, into one entity just feels like a natural progression in the evolution of the way things should be. Sure, diehard fans will accuse the legendary rock band of selling out, because that’s exactly what they’re doing. But AC/DC has earned the right to sell out the way your WWII veteran grandfather earned the right to mow his lawn in black socks and white tennis shoes.

You’re not allowed to judge them. Don’t even try.

Oh, and we definitely feel like beer is a better product than modestly priced wine for the guys who made this video:

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Spin the Agencies of Record

No, not Al Gore Jazeera’s Current…

Current Lifestyle Marketing, a member of the Interpublic Group of Companies, has been selected as the public relations agency of record for Wilton Enterprises. The agency will support the food crafting company with traditional public relations efforts including consumer inspiration and instruction for sweet treat making and new product introductions.

Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs and public relations at Wilton Enterprises, said “We selected Current because of the agency’s food and home category experience, and their efforts will ensure we continue to play a leadership role in competitive bakeware, cake decorating, candy and education.” (Homepage)

AOR gets schooled in Michigan…

Michigan’s only statewide public relations firm, Lambert, Edwards & Associates (LE&A), today announced it has added one of the nation’s premiere university innovation clusters to its growing roster of clients.

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Can Social Media Catch a Serial Killer?

Here’s an interesting study in using social media for the public good: Los Angeles Magazine recently published a story about a serial killer who terrorized the area in the late 70′s and early 80′s, murdering at least ten people. And they’ve created a sort of PR campaign around the story to encourage the public to join in the hunt.

Not only did they list emails and tip line phone numbers; they also created a Facebook page devoted exclusively to the case–and they’ve worked with the LAPD to release previously undisclosed evidence. This isn’t really the stuff of PR firms, but it is a fascinating example of using social media to engage the public, isn’t it?

 

How Brands Use Games to Develop Better Products and Marketing Campaigns

Gamification: it’s a relatively new buzzword, but you’ve probably been hearing a lot about it lately. Why? Because it’s now clear that digital games go well beyond your XBox and Farmville accounts. All kinds of brands can use games to promote their products: here, for example, Edelman PR‘s Robert Phillips discusses the firm’s success creating a digital bar distraction for popular rum brand Captain Morgan.

And companies don’t just use gamification to entertain customers and familiarize them with a brand–it can help them develop better products and figure out exactly what the public wants from them in the first place. We recently had the chance to chat with Julie Wittes Schlack, SVP of Innovation and Design at Communispace, to figure out how they help brands like Kraft, State Farm, Citigroup and Comcast develop better products and marketing campaigns with simple betting games known as “prediction markets.”

How does the public see “gamification”? Do they distinguish it from traditional video games? 

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Brian Williams: Doing Comedy ‘Shows That I Have a Personality and a Pulse’

Brian Williams Brian Williams took his trademark blend of levity and gravitas to New York’s 92Y last night. There, exactly an hour after his Nightly News broadcast ended, he provided an in-depth look at the highlights and lowlights of his life. He touched on his connection to the Jersey shore, his early jobs working in a DC college press office and as a broadcast trade association typist and his current post as NBC news anchor.

Williams poked fun at NBC’s pharmaceutical advertisers, vented his anger about the handling of Hurricane Katrina and made poignant comments about the Newtown shooting. However, none of moderator Jonathan Tisch’s queries or the audience’s pre-screened questions addressed his network’s recent ratings decline or the status of Williams’ struggling news magazine show, Rock Center.

Here are selected quotes from Williams on a broad range of topics:

His Early Years:

On food he ate growing up: “For us, mixed greens were something that came out of a mower.”

On his fondness for firefighters: “I still hang out at the firehouse. It’s like I’m their human dalmatian.”

On his education: “I did spectacularly poorly at community college. I’m still only a high school grad; I’m not into that completion thing.”

On his reaction when his mother told him he’d be a good TV reporter: “I’d only been on closed circuit camera at 7-Eleven.”

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University Lets Professor Who Created Its Online PR Program Go

Kent State UniversityKent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication earned a bit of bad PR today for pulling what we call “a dick move“: choosing not to renew the contract of a non-tenure instructor who helped create its groundbreaking online PR masters program.

The summary: Kent State hired Gene Sasso, a longtime PR pro, to help create a program that has “generated $6M in revenue” over two years and then told him that it would not consider his review and that he would not be returning as a lecturer.

It would appear that the school let Sasso go in order to save a little money (after he created the highly successful program for which they hired him in the first place). While non-tenured professors get a performance/renewal review every year, tenured faculty only have to do it every three years–and after passing their first review they receive additional “union employment protection.”

Students and faculty registered their dissent, submitting letters to university administrators urging them to reconsider,  chastising them for deciding to terminate a popular lecturer without consulting faculty ahead of time and questioning whether the school followed union collective bargaining practices.

One question: We understand the financial concerns at work here, but how did the administration, with their communications know-how, not recognize this move as a major PR fail?

Adventures in Marketing: Fanta Releases ‘Tastable’ Print Ad

Today in This Sounds Kind of Gross news: words on paper are somehow still around! This week sugary drinkmaker Fanta wants to turn its latest product launch campaign into something of a PR stunt with a new twist on that classic branding tool. The company and its agency, Dubai’s OgilvyOne, claim to have created the world’s first “tastable print ad” to promote its new “orange” flavor.

Intrigued? It’s a page that looks like this:

Fanta Tastable Print Ad

As you can see, the spot encourages dupes in the audience to “tear off a piece of this page, pop in your mouth & enjoy a Fanta”. What does it taste like? The team got a little creative with their copywriting, describing it as:

“…a burst of sunshine through a cool wisp of wind, it’s sweet and tangy, surprising and juicy. It tickles like a delicious secret that you cannot bear to share. And how lush it feels at every sip, like an instant whiff of a fresh bouquet of flowers in spring! With a quick sharp jolt of tart and a sudden burst of sugary-citrusy-sweetness, it leaves your tongue tingling pleasantly. Then, it curls deliciously around your taste buds, tantalizing your imagination & ripples happily down your spine.”

OK then! Here’s the video:

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Woodward-Gate: Flack ‘Threatens’ Hack, Internet Explodes

All the President's MenHave you been following the latest, dumbest political media scandal? We hope you answered “no”, because this one is a real doozy. It’s a classic case of “hack” vs. “flack” that will feel very familiar to anyone who has spent some time in PR or journalism.

To summarize: Bob Woodward, the veteran reporter who was one-half of the team that exposed the Watergate scandal leading to Richard Nixon’s resignation, had a mildly testy exchange with a White House rep over the pending “sequester” drama. Essentially, if the two parties can’t agree on a mix of new revenue and spending cuts, a big rash of cuts that they set up last year precisely to avoid this sort of showdown will go into effect. It’s basically President Obama versus the House of Representatives, so…politics as usual.

Alright, now what’s the “controversy”–and how does it relate to PR? Glad you asked!

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Is This The World’s First Vine Press Release?

Today we may have witnessed a first: a press release delivered via 6-second Vine mini-video. The makers of Sonar, a “social discovery app” that allows users to find others by geographical proximity (which Mediabistro profiled in this Elevator Pitch video), just received a big investment from Microsoft‘s Bing Fund–and they chose a unique way of letting the world know about it:

TechCrunch hopes this move doesn’t become a thing. What do we think? Can you imagine companies announcing new hires or clients with little clips like this one?

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