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The Barbie/Girl Scouts Partnership Is Not Going Over Well

girl scout barbieA Girl Scouts-themed Barbie doll is coming to stores this week. And, as one would expect, it is not going over well with parents who think that Barbie is not the best role model for little girls.

The relationship between Mattel and the Girl Scouts was actually forged last year, when the Girl Scouts began to offer a “Be anything. Do everything” patch, the first time the group signed on for a corporate partnership.

“Barbie is basically a terrible role model for girls, and she’s not about what the Girl Scouts’ principles are, which have to do with leadership and courage,” Susan Linn,  director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood tells the Today show.

However, the Girl Scouts have defended the partnership.

“Girls and moms alike associate this doll with the outdoors, camping, giving back in your community, and we think that those are really positive messages to all of our girls,” Kelly Parisi, spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA told the morning show.

The partnership appears to be a mutually beneficial one. But some women can’t get over the fact that a good chunk of Barbie’s appeal is superficial.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

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  • Formula PR will handle Dunkin’ Donuts’ planned California expansion with a one-year contract as reported in PR Week today. RF|Binder will retain its position as AOR for the chain on the national level as well as in the New York/Boston markets, but Formula beat out seven other firms to win the regional job. The firm will provide “boots on the ground” while the client will presumably hand out after-work treats.

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Survey Says Clients Trust Ad, Marketing Agencies Over PR Firms

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We don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but a recent survey of in-house marketers conducted by Marketing Week and Weber Shandwick tells us that, when asked to name a “primary strategic partner”, far more clients chose their ad and marketing agencies than their PR firms. Here’s a mixed-message quote:

“More than five times as many marketers say PR agencies are losing ground as say they are gaining ground on other specialisms. There is good news too for the discipline. Respondents agree that PR agencies take the lead on messaging and are a strategic partner, and that reputation management is crucial in a digital world.”

The news could be worse, though–and it is far worse for social media agencies.

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Uber General Manager: Public Relations Is a Waste of Money

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Last week Uber General Manager Chris Nakutis (follow him on Twitter) spoke to a group of entrepreneurs about his experience launching the e-commerce platform Short Stack–and became the latest heavy-hitter to weigh in on the “do startups need PR” debate. As you can tell from our headline, he answered in the negative.

Nakutis said that PR was not a valuable tool in growing his business and that the return on investment was not immediate or well-defined despite the good press.

Here’s the key quote: new companies “can almost jump over the PR process.”

Harsh words, but not unexpected from the tech industry. As PRNewser reported earlier, startups are leery of PR people. And they’re not alone. Read more

Apple’s PR Strategy Has Sprung a Leak

apple-logoAnyone notice a recent shift in Apple’s PR strategy?

The departure of longtime VP of worldwide corporate communications Katie Cotton seems to have marked the end of a certain phase in the company’s development, and way back in February 2013 the company announced plans to increase its PR spend and get more aggressive with message management efforts.

That news, along with Tim Cook’s decision to straight-up apologize for Apple Maps, clarified the difference between the new CEO and Steve Jobs (who would never admit to much of anything and held a notoriously tight grip on all communications).

Leaks are nothing new for Apple, but over the past week we’ve seen several:

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5 PR Catchphrases ‘Spinning’ Out of Control

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Much like niche cultures and mainstream industries, public relations has developed a glossary of its own. It’s not “‘In N’ Out” burger ordering off the menu’” cult-like verbiage, but flacks from all walks of life speak in the same universal code.

We understand each other when discussing work around a water cooler. We empathize with each other when commiserating about the cries of a client over an adult beverage. We share experiences as we exchange terminologies native to PR during a networking soiree.

And yet, there are a couple of phrases that we should really just stop repeating, at least in the way they’re used today. Here is this week’s 5 Things: The 5 PR catchphrases that are spinning out of control.

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Tried and True Moves from the Clinton PR Machine

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In the essay “My Battle With the Clintons“, completely objective reporter Daniel Halper (who just happens to edit the conservative Weekly Standard) gives Politico some dirt regarding his “It Happened to Me” moment going toe-to-toe with the Clinton PR team over his critical book.

“When I started to write Clinton, Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, I knew the reaction to expect… But even if I hadn’t known it, many, many people in Washington, on the left and right, popped up to warn me of what to expect from the Clinton PR team. Other authors—legitimate ones with serious pedigrees—who’d written about the Clintons said they were threatened and verbally attacked. Of course, nearly everyone in Washington has seen the much-vaunted Clinton PR machine in action. It’s very predictable.”

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Clintons know a thing or two about this PR biz. According to Halper, here’s how it works:

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Where’s the LUV? Southwest Airlines Kicks Passenger Off Flight for Tweeting

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In most circumstances, love (or LUV, Southwest Airlines’ NYSE Symbol after its home airport Love Field) does go a long way. In the case of Minnesota resident Duff Watson, it got him kicked off the plane.

According to his hometown CBS affiliate WCCO, Watson was asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Minneapolis because he allegedly threatened the safety of an agent via Twitter. His tweet called out an agent by name, gave her the distinctive title “rudest agent in Denver,” and directed it at @SouthwestAir shortly before takeoff.

The complaint didn’t work out the way he planned.

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UK Firm Goes to Outer Space and Back to Announce Rebranding

Today we learned that a service apparently allows users to send objects into space and film them there for YouTube-ready clips. We also learned that the UK’s Houston PR (nee Twelve Thirty Eight) used the service to highlight the World’s Highest Press Release as it hovered 27 miles above the planet.

It’s a pretty cool way to announce a name change.

Unfortunately–as our own Shawn Paul Wood showed us yesterday–the myths about our ability to make such clips “go viral” are just that (especially when said clips do not involve Walter White bobbleheads or George Takei action figures carrying gay pride flags).

The stunt is certainly fun–but Houston, we may have a problem with the font size…

(H/T AdRants)

The Ticker: New Walmart US CEO; Big GM Payout; Twitter Diversity Problem; And More

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