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Archives: April 2013

Twitter Hopes the Public Will Take Responsibility for Security Issues

Much of life is figuring out what, exactly, we as people are responsible for: ourselves, our communities, our social media accounts… At least this is how Twitter wants the public and private companies to handle their Twitter profiles.

With the recent hacking of the AP’s Twitter account and subsequent drop in the Stock Exchange, the world took notice of the power harnessed by a single tweet. Immediately, everyone began pointing fingers, setting into motion a public relations crisis for Twitter.

Customers clamored for better security features on Twitter, specifically a two-step authentication system that would block “spear-phishing” attacks and prevent hackers from gaining access to customer accounts. Twitter knows this will take time to develop and implement, and may also impede speedy access to accounts, which is critical to a social media platform dependent on immediacy. So Twitter isn’t keen on this additional security idea. It has a different plan.

Twitter is asking its customers to take more responsibility for their own security. That’s right. Twitter is pointing its finger back at the public and saying, “Hey, people, this is your responsibility.” And we have to admit, Twitter does have a point. Sort of.

As much as we hate it, complicated passwords and restricted access are responses to the realities of the world we inhabit, much like taking off our shoes is now part of air travel. Cutting corners only leads to trouble. We have to be responsible for ourselves. Read more

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After Initial Denial, ‘Benetton’ Addresses Evidence Tying it to Bangladesh Garment Factory Tragedy

Benetton is an Italian fashion line known for its social activism, including its creation of The UNHATE Foundation, which, according to its website, “seeks to contribute to the creation of a new culture against hate, building on Benetton’s underpinning values.”

Those “underpinning values”, however, are being questioned in light of the company’s denial that it had any ties to the garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh, that collapsed last week, tragically killing at least 377 people. The company tweeted on April 24: “In reference to the tragic news on the collapse of the building in Bangladesh, Benetton Group wants to clarify that none of the companies involved are suppliers to Benetton Group or any of its brands.” .

Since then, however, strong evidence suggesting Benetton clothing was being manufactured at the factory (known as Rana Plaza) has been uncovered. Photos taken of the rubble by the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse clearly show shirts with “United Colors of Benetton” labels. Also, one of the manufacturers that had been based at the factory, New Wave Bottoms, lists Benetton as a client, and labor rights activists said they found documents linking Benetton to the factory while they were digging through the debris.

In light of this hard-to-ignore evidence, the company released a statement on April 29, which said: “A one-time order was completed and shipped out of one of the manufacturers involved several weeks prior to the accident. Since then, this subcontractor has been removed from our supplier list.”

While Benetton is far from the only big-name company connected to Rana Plaza (Wal-Mart, Ireland’s Primark, and Canada’s Joe Fresh all made clothing there), the company’s dedication to social activism — coupled with its initial denial — seem to be making it a prime target for public ire. Read more

Budweiser’s ‘Buddy Cup’ Wants to Be Your Facebook Friend

Finally, it’s here.

If you’ve ever been out drinking and met someone to think only moments later, “Errr, what was her name again?” your prayers have been answered. Budweiser has released its “Buddy Cup” which (as the video above explains) allows fellow imbibers to become Facebook friends just by scanning their smartphones and clinking their cups.

That’s right, as if your Facebook profile didn’t have enough friends who were strangers, now you can add fellow drinkers as you high five each other and discuss the demise flip-flops as a fashion statement. For Budweiser, this is a wise PR move because it focuses less on the product—which is experiencing some tough competition as consumers gravitate toward more local brands—and more on the social experience of drinking.

We’re just guessing that if you’re the most popular and beautiful person with a “Buddy Cup,” you can expect a long night of spilled beer. You may want to wear on old shirt or something.

The Ticker: iTunes; The Weather Company; Brands on Twitter; Google ‘Now’; Twinkies

PR Jobs: MoMA, Quirky, PR.com

This week, the Museum of Modern Art is hiring a senior publicist, while Quirky needs a director of online marketing. PR.com is seeking a newswire editor, and Students for Education Reform is on the hunt for a director of communications. 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.

Virgin Galactic Space Travel Dream Has Universal Appeal

(Video does not have sound.)

Any adult who hasn’t had their inner child beaten out of them by life would jump at the chance to go to space. Who hasn’t dreamed of walking out of your kitchen only to pause and tell your spouse and kids, “Hey, I’ll be home a little late this evening. My spacecraft doesn’t land until 6:45.”

Today, Virgin Galactic took a major step forward with the successful test run of its SpaceShip 2 spacecraft, which reached an altitude of 56,000 feet and broke the sound barrier. Though SpaceShip 2 did not enter space, it did effectively demonstrate that its rocket and critical systems were ready for the next step. In fact, Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson said the brand plans on full space flight by the end of 2013—yes, this year. Cool.

As a child you probably thought we’d all be commuting to work in flying cars by now, but that’s what happens when you’re raised on The Jetsons and Star Wars. Reality, of course, is much different. Today, it doesn’t matter when you were born as much as how much money you have. And for a mere $200,000 you too can soon experience the miracle of space flight and even several minutes of weightlessness.

What does any of this have to do with public relations? Plenty. People want to be inspired. Deep within everyone’s DNA is the spirit of human adventure—that same cryptic drive that took mankind across tumultuous seas and frigid mountaintops just to see what lied beyond them.

We went island to island, continent to continent, and space is the logical next step. It comforts and excites the public to know that we’re not done. That we’ll keep pushing forward. Brands that can capture this dream will resonate with the public. So kudos to Virgin Galactic. You get us, and by us we don’t mean simply the people with a spare $200,000, but all of us.

Sure, there are aspirational brands out there that promise a life of exquisite luxury and decadent indulgences, but those promises only work for a certain demographic. Even the wealthiest and most perfectly tanned financiers who have just returned from St. Barts can’t compete with the pale geek who just returned from outer space. That’s just how the universe works.

‘Apple’ and ‘Volkswagen’ Unveil the ‘iBeetle’. Yes, Really.

So…it seems the iBeetle is a thing.

While a car featuring Apple-compatible features is nothing new, the Volkswagen iBeetle takes that integration to an entirely new level, working with your iPhone to allow both the car and the device to do things never before possible.

Because if there’s one thing drivers need, it’s more tech-related distractions!

Thanks to a docking station, drivers will be able to use their iPhone for navigation, hands-free calling, and listening to their favorite iTunes playlist. Also, a special Volkswagen app available through the App Store will include extra dashboard extensions and access to Spotify, social networks like Facebook, and the iPhone’s camera (so you can take a picture of the cliff you’re about to drive off while updating your Facebook status and rocking out to Justin Bieber).

The car even looks like an Apple product with its silvery color, sleek design, and chrome trim, so Mac enthusiasts who have always wanted to crawl inside their McBooks and live there will be able to make that dream a reality in the near future. The iBeetle will be abailable in two different models sometime in early 2014, and if you just can’t wait that long, you can pre-order the car in October 2013.

 

‘Coke’ Launches Teen-Targeted Digital Campaign ‘The AHH Effect’ With 61 New Websites

What exactly is the “ahh effect”? First, we feel we should clarify that the “AHH” in “AHH Effect” is meant as a satisfied sigh, not the exclamation that may appear in a word bubble above the head of a comic book character running around with his hair on fire. In a release announcing its new campaign, Coca-Cola described it this way:

The AHH Effect” is that multidimensional feeling of happiness, satisfaction and delicious refreshment one experiences after drinking an ice-cold Coke. It’s been described as the sound a smile would make if smiles made sounds, and it’s the centerpiece of a new teen-focused program from Coca-Cola. Bringing to life 61 dimensions of ‘AHH’ through a range of digital experiences, from games and films to GIFs, the program showcases all of the qualities of Coke and positions the beverage as the ultimate refresher.”

That is a magical marketing mouthful if we’ve ever heard one!

Targeted to teens, the campaign kicked off last week with www.ahh.com and seventeen other sites (each including one more “H” in its URL), all of which feature “a teen-worthy moment of randomness, creativity and delight that’s best experienced from teens’ favorite gadgets – their mobile devices.” Read more

The Ticker: Netflix CEO; Mattel’s Toys; Airline Fees; FleishmanHillard; Samsung’s Galaxy S4

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