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Archives: March 2013

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‘Recalling 1993′ Campaign Turns Pay Phones Into Time Machines

Time to end the week with a really cool promo campaign, right? New York’s New Museum is currently hosting an exhibit called “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.” Curators collected art created during that calendar year in order to give visitors a sense of what the city (and the world at large) were like 20 years ago. It’s a time capsule.

The Droga5 agency played on that theme for its extremely creative promo campaign. Its team built an audio database consisting of 150 snippets of New Yorkers’ recollections of the city during that fateful year. The way they set it up was even more interesting: they created a number that connects users to the database from any pay phone in Manhattan. Interested parties can call (855) FOR-1993 and the database will, through geolocation, play an audio sample related to the very neighborhood where the booth in question is located. Here’s the summary clip:

Wow, 1993: Your editor was in the 7th grade, Bill Clinton was president, Seinfeld was in its prime, Brad hadn’t met Jen or Angelina, Biggie and Tupac were still with us…it was a magical time. And this is a cool campaign.

But now we feel old.

Edelman’s Content Strategist Explains the New ‘Content Marketing’ Model

Steve RubelThis week we posted on Weber Shandwick‘s decision to publicize its new content-creation wing, Mediaco, and what that means for the future of PR. This morning we had the opportunity to speak with Steve Rubel, chief content strategist at Edelman PR, to go over how his firm is addressing this newest chapter in the ongoing “PR vs. marketing vs. advertising” debate.

How does the Weber Shandwick announcement relate to recent “creative” moves by Edelman?

There’s a lot of hype in the never-ending hunt for shiny objects in marketing, but the bigger picture here is that the economics of the industry have changed – demand side platforms (ad exchanges) have made advertising more efficient, which caused the price of CPM (cost per impression) and ads themselves to plummet. This is good for the industry but bad for publishers, because media outlets squeezed by tech developments can’t make the leap to other revenue streams like subscription, video, etc.

This has led to a greater willingness to open their platforms to branded/sponsored content, thereby empowering marketers to make good on their longtime desire tell their stories their own way on some of world’s largest websites (Ed. note: see The Washington Post). That is the big change here.

Some people say this is all old news. How do you respond to that point?

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How to Use Facebook’s Graph Search as a PR Tool

Photo courtesy of AP/Jeff ChiuA while ago we posted on how Facebook‘s newfangled “graph search” setup could help PR pros and marketers more effectively push their clients’ content to the general public and conduct market research. But here’s something we never thought about: what if graph search could double as a media contact database?

We recently spoke to Peter Axtman of Sunshine Sachs to learn how he used graph search to score a big PR win for a client with a very specific target audience.

Axtman was working to promote a client called Playground Sessions, an instructional app-maker that is “like Rosetta Stone for piano”. Axtman told us that, though the client had received some “mainstream tech coverage“, he “wanted to talk to niche piano publications” that might appeal more explicitly to the client’s target audience — people interested in learning to play piano or improve their form without in-person training.

So he turned to graph search with surprising (and encouraging) results.

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When Should PR Pros ‘Tell Journalists How to Do Their Jobs?’

Well here’s a highly fraught debate: to what degree should PR pros manage the message in content created by the journalists they pitch? When does “making helpful suggestions” turn into “telling journalists how to do their jobs?”

This week journalist Jim Romenesko (who everyone in media should follow on Twitter and Facebook) brings us a couple of cases in which he and some of his colleagues believe that PR pros went too far.

In the first instance, a reader who is also a newspaper editor received an unusually bold pitch from a man who claims to transcend the traditional role of the flack:

“I would like to propose engaging in a relationship where once in a while I supply you with fully developed stories (completed articles) that you can publish under your byline, with or without editing, at no fee.”

That’s right, this guy will write full articles (for a real physical paper, no less) and the writer will get credit for them. No real work necessary. Oh, and also:

“I placed a few expert quotes by some of my clients into the piece, so I am not looking for compensation or acknowledgement.”

Ah yes — there we go.

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Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola’s Charming Prada Promo Spot

We thought Brad Pitt’s painfully pretentious and nonsensical Chanel no. 5 ad had forever tarnished the concept of high fashion “content marketing” for us, but yesterday we finally came across a spot we can support.

The purpose of this three minute short film, directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, is to promote Prada‘s new fragrance Candy L’Eau.  The short features all the quirk, charm and sense of humor one might expect from its creators, stars the lovely French actress/model Léa Seydoux and follows a sweet storyline that pays homage to the love triangles of French New Wave cinema. Viewers will likely be so charmed by the spot’s characters and aesthetic that they’ll hardly notice the three explicit brand plugs.

We don’t know about you, readers, but we find this product rollout campaign much more enjoyable than listening to movie stars — however gorgeous they may be — ramble ceaselessly and unintelligibly about fate, life, and the universe (especially on a Friday!).

ABC Campaign Calls on Viewers to Help Save Its Own Show

Here’s an interesting twist on the “low-rated cult favorite on life support” trend: the ABC network has created an ad campaign urging fans of its admired but struggling sitcom Happy Endings to help save the show by…you know, watching it live.

It’s almost like a mirror image of the challenge faced by critics’ favorites 30 Rock and Community, whose stars Tina Fey and Joel McHale accused NBC (in classic passive-aggressive style) of failing to properly promote their shows. In those cases, the actors themselves encouraged fans to voice their support via grassroots social media campaigns.

Of course this isn’t really groundbreaking public relations news, but it’s interesting because we’ve never heard of a network pulling a marketing move like this before — and something tells us that it will become more common as the TV business model changes to keep up with every other form of content distribution. Here’s the spot:

There’s also a hashtag and some funny tweets:

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Roll Call: Fleishman-Hillard, Univision, The Wall Street Journal, EOS

International communications firm Fleishman-Hillard announced the hiring of Wendi Taylor Nations, who will serve as senior vice president, partner and leader of the health and wellness group in the firm’s Chicago office. Before joining Fleishman, Nations spent ten years at Porter Novelli, serving as healthcare practice director and managing director of that firm’s Chicago office. She also managed healthcare relations for Hill & Knowlton. Maxine Winer, general manager of Fleishman-Hillard’s Chicago office, describes Nations as “highly regarded in the health and wellness space”, and her responsibilities at Fleishman will involve increasing the firm’s influence among clients in that sector. (Release)

Univision Communications Inc. announced that Mónica Talán has been appointed executive vice president of corporate communications and PR, effective immediately. Talán, who was most recently the senior vice president of the same, will remain based in New York and report to Randy Falco, Univision’s president and CEO. She will continue to be responsible for overseeing all corporate and internal communications and programming public relations as well as the company’s media relations efforts. (Release)

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KFC Offers a Bucket Full of PR in New Kids Meals

It’s impossible to discuss public relations and the kiddie demographic without touching on the issue of parenting. Companies know that young children are an incredibly lucrative consumer group, and they’re willing to do just about anything to exploit that potential financial windfall.

However, as we pointed out in yesterday’s coverage of Victoria’s Secret’s marketing push to sell lingerie to tweens, parents own 100% of their own kids’ purchasing power. Savvy brands know that in order to reach children, they must go through the parents, not around them. Enter KFC’s new Lil’ Bucket Kids Meals.

The packaging tells the entire story. The Lil’ Bucket Kids Meals are vibrantly colored and playful, even offering QR codes and games that encourage youngsters to interact with the products. Kids’ Meals are nothing new; fast food brands have long relied on toy messaging to get their stuff into youngsters’ stomachs. Hey, most of us grew up eating them and we turned out just fine (ahem).

But times are changing.

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Mets PR Man/Butt-Dialing Champion Explains Himself to Today

Jay Horowitz, the man who has handled PR duties for the perpetual underdog New York Mets for more than 30 years, received more attention than expected over the past week thanks to his mastery of…the “butt dial.” A Wall Street Journal profile first outed him as “The King of the Accidental Phone Call”, and he showed up on The Today Show this week to make light of his cheeky tendencies:

We like the interview, though we would have loved an irreverent comment or two from one of our own favorite interview subjects, Al Roker (check out his Mediabistro clip!).

Horowitz also got some flack last week for tweeting an incorrect fact about his beloved Mets. The team’s last 20-game winner was R.A. Dickey, not Frank Viola. We still feel like everyone should cut the guy a break. He’s been loyal to a fault — and he uses a BlackBerry. Come on now.

Check out his original Wall Street Journal interview after the jump:

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