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Archives: October 2013

Spin the Agencies of Record


Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts retained New York’s J Public Relations as its PR AOR. Jumeirah, a member of Dubai Holding, operates 22 hotels across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, including that crazy sail-shaped beach resort that you see everywhere.

For American tourists wondering what they might do on a vacation to Dubai, Jumeirah recommends the travel documentary Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Dubai also requires a liquor license to consume alcohol, but here’s a handy guide to buying it when you arrive and keeping it under wraps.


Small ship cruising company American Cruise Lines chose FleishmanHillard to promote its upcoming brand awareness program, created to share news about its status as the country’s largest river cruise provider. FH SVP Jeff Davis calls the Twain-style riverboat trips “a unique, luxurious way to rediscover America”—so they’re like international cruises, but slower and less salty.


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How Can PR Take Content Distribution Into the Mobile Age?

shutterstock_135797666In the age of the smartphone, using traditional email press releases to reach your target audience can feel a bit like performing brain surgery with a pair of scissors. So how can PR make sure the right message hits the right people at the right time—content and all?

Earlier this year we interviewed PR veteran Jeff Corbin on theIRapp, an application that helps those in charge of investor relations stay in touch with the people who matter most. At this week’s PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia, Corbin unveiled a new version of his product called theCOMMSapp, which he designed to serve the needs of a wider swath of the PR/corporate communications discipline.

Before the event, we had a chance to talk to him about the new product and about the PR industry’s need to go mobile ASAP. In the simplest terms, Corbin says it’s all about taking the message to them rather than making them come to you. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

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Hallmark Shows Off Its GLAAD Card, Revises ‘Deck the Halls’

HALLMARK-HOLIDAY-SWEATER-ORNAMENTWhelp, it’s a Christmas story…in October…before Halloween. Sigh.

And as opposed as I am to discussing the most wonderful time of the year before the time of the year has arrived, this story from HuffPo just didn’t light my Yuletide log in a blaze of glory.

So, before I rant, look at the “fun” picture. Notice anything? Hearing the melody of “Deck the Halls” racing in your mind? Yeah, so much for that tradition as the lovely people at Hallmark has decided to take folklore into its hands and change the lyrics of the song.

Why? You guessed it. Because of a word that had nothing to do with the world in which we live in 2013.

More about that word after the jump:

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Study: Teens Can’t Decide Which Social Network They Like Least

shutterstock_139231757This week Facebook admitted that it’s witnessed a big drop in use among teens, who apparently no longer want to post selfies where grandma can see ‘em.

If you work anywhere near social media, this might be a big deal—but then you probably hear lots of predictions as to which network will rule the crucial Millennial demo or which will be the new rising star (Hint: it’s Pinterest). Our reaction to the news? Meh.

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Baseball Orders A-Rod’s Rep to Snitch

Keep your head down.Yes, it’s Halloween, and yes, baseball season ended last night—but there’s some serious drama going on in the Alex Rodriguez case. This week, Major League Baseball subpoenaed A-Rod rep Michael Sitrick of Sitrick & Company, famous for boosting the profiles of shamed stars like Michael Vick. They’re trying to force him to say that he knew what he knew when he knew it about Florida steroid shop Biogenesis.

More specifically, they want him to hand over documents that he and Rodriguez supposedly took from the owner of the company, then pitched to Yahoo Sports in an effort to both obstruct the investigation and smear other athletes who did business with Biogenesis, thereby mitigating the damage done.

That didn’t work so well since Rodriguez is the only subject of the current steroid crackdown to fight the charges. He now insists he never stole the documents, and it doesn’t look like MLB has conclusive evidence that he did.

This is both a legal issue and an ethical issue, but those phrases have different meanings for someone like Sitrick, who has built his reputation on an ability to polish even the foulest client to a golden sheen. If that’s gonna be your shtick, this is one way to go about it. But if we were, say, someone who wanted to earn the genuine respect of the public rather than squash a lawsuit and sail into the sunset on our yacht while giving our former fans the middle finger…

State Farm Rescues ‘Meddling Kids’ in Spooky Scooby-Doo Spot

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there…with the Mystery Machine!

There are some things that all the Scooby Snacks in the world can’t fix — like a broken-down vehicle. But when Scooby and the gang find themselves in a tough spot in this State Farm ad, they use the magic “Like a good neighbor” jingle to summon an insurance agent. Not only does she help them with the Mystery Mobile, but the agent also helps them unmask the creeper that caused their accident.

The commercial, from agency Translation, was created with Warner Brothers, so it uses the official character graphics, voices and music from the classic cartoon. According to State Farm, the animated agent is actually based on a real person, State Farm agent Lucy Rodas, who “helps her customers get to a groovier state in Norwalk, Calif.”

“State Farm has been ‘like a good neighbor’ for customers since 1922, allowing them to help many different people across the decades,” Translation creative director Emily Sander told AdFreak. “Pairing with Warner Bros.’ Scooby-Doo allowed us to demonstrate that heritage of help in a unique way, showing just how far it extends—even to the animated, mystery-solving Scooby Gang of friends from 1969.”

Like, Happy Halloween, Gang!

Stephen Colbert Hosts StoryCorps Gala, Discusses the Art of Storytelling

Many of us love Stephen Colbert for his ability to stay in character, but last night he talked about other characters—and how their stories compel him.

The event was the tenth anniversary of StoryCorps, the NPR project dedicated to sharing the tales of everyday Americans and painting a broader, deeper portrait of our nation and its people.

After the event, Colbert talked to Vulture about the art of storytelling. Some key quotes:

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E-Cigarettes Have a Huge Cheerleader: Big Tobacco


Smoking ads are a skosh different these days

Smoking ads are a skosh different these days

The Marlboro Man. The Virginia Slims Gals. The Phallic Joe Camel.

These images have been engraved in our medulla thanks to a bajillion dollars in advertising budgets by big tobacco for the past six decades. For all those years, smoking was made to look cool, care-free and almost bitchin’. That is, until multi-billion-dollar lawsuits forced them way out of business. You know, pity and such. Boo-hoo. Whatevs.

In fact, according to this story from NPR, tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement in the past 15 years. 

Many thought that was the death knell for the industry. Until some foreshadowing a few years back, which was found in a movie that — no joke — is an absolute must for all PR professionals to watch, “Thank You for Smoking.”

In this film, and the last scene of the linked trailer, is this dialogue between Rob Lowe (agent Jeff Megall) and the great Aaron Eckhart (smoking lobbyist):

Jeff Megall: Sony has a futuristic sci-fi movie they’re looking to make.
Nick Naylor: Cigarettes in space?
Jeff Megall: It’s the final frontier, Nick.
Nick Naylor: But wouldn’t they blow up in an all oxygen environment?
Jeff Megall: Probably. But it’s an easy fix. One line of dialogue. ‘Thank God we invented the… you know, whatever device.’

Whelp, beam me up, Scotty. The future is definitely here and big tobacco is so digging them — E-Cigarettes.

In a story with a great headlineThe New York Times delves into this obvious cheering section to help bring smoking back to the forefront and coolness factor out into the open.

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Sexy Pizza Is The Last Straw! Have We Reached The End of the Skimpy Halloween Costume Trend?

Take Back Halloween's version of a pirate -- Anne Bonny

Take Back Halloween’s version of a pirate — Anne Bonny

For some people, it’s Halloween. But for some women, it’s Sexy Costume Day, the one day each year when they can wear as little as possible as say they’ve “dressed up” for the holiday.

We hear a lot about ghosts and goblins at Halloween, but what’s really scary is this trend in women’s costumes that has made everything under the sun “sexy”: pirates, devils, bears, strawberries, children’s characters, superheroes and, yes, pizza.

Feminist Suzanne Scoggins is tired of this nonsense, so she’s launched a Kickstarter campaign — Take Back Halloween — to fund a website that offers DIY costume suggestions for women and girls focused on goddesses and historical figures. No garter belts, high heels or short skirts necessary. The campaign has raised the goal three times, and now as more than $12,000 of a $13,500 goal with the campaign ending tomorrow.

Scoggins told The Daily Beast that she blames cheap manufacturing, advertising and the sexualization of women in society for this naughty costume trend. The one group she doesn’t blame is women and girls themselves. Scoggins says her friends started telling her that they didn’t have anything to wear to take their kids trick-or-treating and she started this site. “Everything was like something you wear for a film shoot with Charlie Sheen!” she said.

Is this what Halloween has come to?

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The Ticker: Matt Lauer Halloween; Spooky Tweets; Dr. Oz; Tech Critics; Muck Rack Faves