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Crumbs Didn’t Fold Because It Only Focused on Cupcakes

crumbs bake shopNow that we’ve all wiped away the tears over the loss of the Crumbs Bake Shop, people are wondering what the heck happened. (*Now we’re also wondering if the shop will actually make a comeback.)

The biggest problems were financial. The company kept expanding, which is expensive, and they weren’t selling enough cupcakes to cover the cost. The company also went public in 2011, which can lead to a whole separate set of business issues.

Tied closely to that is the belief that the whole premise of the company was a fad, destined to flame out from a drop in sales. Cupcakes shot to prominence with Sex And The City and a guest appearance by Magnolia Bakery, another cupcake bakery, in the early 2000s. The AP makes the case that other companies like Krispy Kreme and TCBY also grew to great heights based on a food trend then eventually came crashing down along with all of our sugar highs. Things like changing health concerns (people are more calorie-conscious these days), shifting taste buds and increased competition from others who are chasing a fad can hurt business.

We’ll propose that it was less the cupcake fad and more the Crumbs brand that played a role in the company’s demise. People still like cupcakes. Maybe not as much as before, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone turn one down. Part of the problem was that Crumbs wasn’t as fun as a cupcake business should be.

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Kate Hudson Can Thank the Edit Team for This PR Fail

instyle_kate_hudson_tallGood PR is tough work: its often thankless hours are usually spent for another’s glory. There’s the client’s win, of course, but also bragging rights for the journo or outlet that snatched the juicy cover story from its competitors.

We don’t need the credit, but perhaps a little respect for our craft would be nice.

PRNewsers, consider the following situation and ask yourself how a seasoned publicist would have handled it differently.

InStyle ran a cover story about Kate Hudson in its July issue without plugging her new release. Definitely an “oops!” for InStyle, which counts on maintaining good relationships with the celebrity publicists who bring them their cover stars, but was it an “oops!” that demanded a correction?

As reported by AdAge, InStyle’s editors thought so:

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Spin the Agencies of Record

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Seems Crazy, But Taylor Swift Was Actually a Good Choice for a WSJ Op-Ed

taylor swiftWhen I first saw a tweet expressing disbelief that Taylor Swift had written an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, I ignored it, thinking it was a mistake. But it turns out that yes, indeed, this story does exist.

As part of its 125th anniversary celebration, The WSJ included a column by singer/songwriter/everyone’s bestie during a break up, Taylor Swift. On its face, this is a stunt. The WSJ is considered stuffy and serious, usually not the place where you would see much about a country-pop music star, let alone a byline by one. But actually, it’s an inspired move that shines a light on the creative ways that you can present a brand to the world.

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Which Firms Pay the Big(gest) Bucks?

CASH MONEY BITCHES

This week the always-excellent Holmes Report published its annual World Report tracking the globe’s top PR firms by income and other metrics. It’s a very useful rankings source that you’ve probably already seen.

Interestingly, some firms provide both income totals and staffing numbers while others choose to be more…discrete.

As an amusing (and definitely not even close to 100% accurate) thought experiment, we scrolled through the list and did a little quick division to see which firms have the most reported income per reported employee.

As imprecise as this math may be, we still find the ratios fascinating.

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Upworthy: Paid Content Brings More Clicks Than Editorial

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…even if it’s sponsored

Yesterday we posted on a Contently survey finding that sponsored content (NOT general “content marketing”) usually elicits groans, irritation and a feeling of being “deceived” among average readers. The survey even found that such material often damages the credibility of the pubs in which it appears.

And yet, one of the hottest viral content sites on the Internet now claims that its sponsored posts drive more traffic than editorial.

You won’t BELIEVE what happens after the jump…

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‘At The End of The Day,’ Even The New York Times Does This

likeThe catchphrase for an epidemic that ruins most new business pitches and PR interviews is “vocal crutch.”

It is that drastic moment when a flack runs out of something interesting to say, and needs a second to think. Instead of a well-placed pause to show consideration for using a brain, the audience — be it a prospective client, a member of the media, or even a PR director considering your future career — gets pelted with a deluge of “ums,” “uhs,” and “likes.”

Much to the chagrin of anyone having to sit through a conversation with anyone who hurls buzzwords or vocal crutches at anyone in their path, it seems America has found your leader: The New York Times. 

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J.Crew Is Selling Clothes In Size 000 Because of Asia

jcrewJ. Crew, purveyor of the $250 Collection Jeweled Paillette Boy Shirt (pictured right), has added a new size to its spectrum: 000. Because 00 wasn’t small enough? Because we’re all dieting so much that we need something to wear before we disappear? Because obesity is a myth?

Actually the retailer says it’s responding to feedback from Asia.

“We are simply addressing the demand coming from Asia for smaller sizes than what we had carried. Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to run small,” a company spokesperson told CNBC. “To further put into perspective, these sizes add up to the smallest possible percentage of our overall sizing assortment.”

But others say that it’s “vanity sizing,” a manipulation of the sizing chart to make customers feel better. But seriously, does anyone feel better saying, “I’m a triple zero?”

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#PRWin for Frontier Airlines: Free Pizza for Stranded Passengers

frontier airlinesI know, right?

How many of you in PR land wish you were stranded on that plane? Most of us has been leave-in’ on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again … because of a client. And then, it happens. The engine bustles. The flight attendants gristle. And the plane stops for hours!

As we know, this is some of the most uncomfortable time you will ever spend anywhere. It is one of the very reasons some people abhor air travel, and following the recession, that is not a sentiment airlines can afford to have.

And then Frontier Airlines Captain Gerhard Bradner (seen pictured above) put an end to all that bickering because pizza heals all wounds.

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PR for the Recently Departed?

tombstone

Here’s an amusing piece that our friends at PR Doctor Chicago shared this morning involving public relations for the recently deceased.

In short: “best-selling Southern author and syndicated columnist Ronda Rich“, who also spent a good part of her career in PR/marketing, theorizes that the family of a certain wealthy but disagreeable someone “hired a P.R. firm to write his obituary like a star-gone-bad hires a firm to remake her image.”

Not so sure about that…

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