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Archives: August 2013

Burger King Launches the Best PR Strategy Ever Witnessed by the Human Race

As public relations professional we are constantly extolling the virtues of listening to the public.

Sadly, many brands feel most comfortable being A-type personalities and feel as if they must own the marketing room whenever they decide to walk into it. What does the public want? Why, we’ll tell them what they want. Though this strategy exudes confidence, it also requires significant energy and a product and service to back up a grandiose brand promise.

Telling the public what they want is like teaching a cat to play golf. Cats don’t like to play golf. Cats like to do cat things. The public likes do public things. And what does the public like to do? Put french fries in its burgers. In fact, the public has been sticking french fries in its burgers since the 1970s at least, and probably long before then.

Burger King, exercising our sage advice that it is always a good idea to listen to the public, to study the public, to talk to the public and hold the public’s hand and ask if everything is okay, and then go back to corporate headquarters and start brainstorming PR strategies and marketing campaigns. The public will show you what they want; brands just have to pay attention. Read more

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Biggest Stories of the Week

Broke Teenagers May Be Wearing Old Fashions in New School Year

When much of the public thinks about back-to-school sales we imagine forlorn kids beings prodded by their parents down supermarket aisles that offer the latest in educational gadgetry, classroom essentials, and overpriced organizers.

Teenagers, however, have their own–and very high stakes–back-to-school rituals that are less focused on education and more focused on (even obsessed with) fashion. Being cool in high school is paramount. Nothing else matters. And for decades corporate America has been ruthlessly efficient in fulfilling and cultivating the superficial needs of teenagers who would do or pay just about anything for a pair of the coolest shoes or the trendiest jacket. The ongoing recession, however, is changing all of that.

Brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters are struggling not only because the parents of these teenagers are having a difficult time making ends meet, but the kids themselves are broke. It’s easy to think of the recession as an adult problem, but many teenagers who relied on steady jobs for spending money are learning a critical lesson in the value of money.

Most adults would agree this is an overdue and healthy development. But let’s not forget the societal pressures of being a teenager. After all, they learned to be superficial from us. It’s difficult to preach to your children about the importance of budgeting when you’re holding a $4 cup of coffee. Nevertheless, as we all learn to do more with less, many back-to-school brands are finding themselves in the same predicament as their customers: How do you live with less money? Read more

The Friday Dump: Kris Humphries Thinks Lamar Odom Should Fear ‘The PR Spin Machine’

Today in Oh God, We Went There news, NBA free agent and E! Entertainment property Lamar Odom was arrested this morning for suspicion of DUI in Los Angeles after cops saw him doing that whole “driving erratically” thing. This is a terribly unfortunate story, yet despite the fact that we have never willingly watched the show that shall not be named, we almost feel like we saw it coming—and so, apparently, did Kris Humphries.

Earlier in the week, we received a totally unverifiable tip that a West Hollywood PR firm connected to that family had hired a crisis management specialist famous for rehabilitating the images of flailing celebrities, the implication being that this pro was there to either prevent or clean up a disaster.

We really don’t care, but according to yet another anonymous source who somehow found enough good will in his or her heart to contact Radar Online, Humphries wants Odom to know that the family’s “public relations spin machine” might damage his basketball career. Both men think that they used their PR connections to leak inflammatory stories to a certain gossip website (which might just happen to be TMZ).

We’re starting to think the entire city of Los Angeles and every firm within it should sue these people for defamation of character.

Oh, and a great Labor Day weekend to you, too! Make sure not to watch any Kris Jenner Show reruns.

*Photo via jdbartlett/deviantart

Here’s How Tech Journalists Choose Which Startups To Cover

Shutterstock: bringing stereotypes to life since 2003.

And now for a piece that every PR pro whose firm has ever represented a startup should read this weekend. Yesterday Jenna Wortham, tech reporter for The New York Times, wrote a cool interactive story speculating on which startups might blow up in coming months. Then, in what could only be seen as an act of charity to the tech PR world, she followed up with a post about how, exactly, she and journalists like her choose which startups to cover.

So what’s the secret? Let’s summarize:

But What Do All These Facebook Changes Mean?!?

OK, so Facebook announced quite a few policy tweaks over the past couple of weeks, leaving even the savviest surfers a little confused. We weren’t following the developments too closely, but we’ve done a brief run-through to sum things up.

Here’s what you CAN and CANNOT do on Facebook as we enter the big, long weekend:

Read more

Taco Bell Turns Tables on Tweeters with ‘Eat Your Words’ Stunt

Hey, Canadians: be careful with your spelling and grammar next time you tweet mean things about Taco Bell—your poorly worded rants might just end up on the very Doritos Taco Loco that you’re about to inhale.

Well, that’s probably not true: Taco Bell Canada’s “Eat Your Words” stunt was apparently a one-time event created by Toronto ad agency Grip Unlimited, and now we’re a little jealous because they get to do all the fun stuff. It’s still the best brand response to critics that we’ve seen all week.

George Washington University Seeks Director of Communications and Marketing

You could be headed back to school in no time, as George Washington University is hiring a director of communications and marketing for its School of Media and Public Affairs.

In this role, you’ll be responsible for internal and external communications strategies, event planning, promotions and more for the school. You’ll be based in Washington, D.C. as part of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, working with a faculty of cutting-edge scholars and award-winning journalists. Read more

Apple Really Wants to Trademark the Word ‘Startup’

You read that right: Apple wants full ownership of the word “startup”. In Australia. For some reason.

This isn’t the first time, either: the world’s leading fruit-themed brand tried to secure exclusive rights to the word in both Auckland and the great 50 as far back as 2011, when Apple lawyers claimed it was all about securing the rights to a new name for a not-so-secret retail initiative focused on providing tech setup services for new products. (Like a Genius Bar for people who don’t know how to turn their own devices on.)

Oh, now we get it—and it’s further evidence of Apple’s brand identity slipping away. They are no longer the little company favored by tech nerds everywhere; they are now every bit as ubiquitous and annoying as the brands they vanquished.

Yes, this is more a legal issue than a PR issue, but in our eyes it’s just the latest sign that Apple’s perch atop the tech field is no longer as secure as it was back in those halcyon days of 1998. It’s also a really stupid idea, so we’ll choose to blame Ashton Kutcher until we know better.

Pregnancy Test Creator e.p.t. Celebrates a Different Kind of ‘Labor’ Day

e.p.t, creator of the home pregnancy test, is putting a baby-centric spin on the upcoming holiday by taking advantage of the dual meaning of the word “labor” with their #MyLaborDay contest.

The promotion, geared toward celebrating women engaged in the ultimate labor of love, is Twitter-based. By tweeting the announcement of their families’ new additions (and a photo) @ept with the hashtag #MyLaborDay, new moms will be automatically entered to win one of five $500 “push presents.”

Considering the fact that late summer usually boasts particularly high birth rates, coupled with the timing of the aptly named holiday, we’re honestly a little surprised more pregnancy/baby brands haven’t used this clever spin. Read more