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Biggest Stories of the Week

Roll Call: Hearst, Maroon PR and the PRSA

Jason Chupick, who you may know as the co-founder of a certain weblog covering the public relations industry, joined Hearst as Director of PR for Hearst Magazines Digital Media, reporting to the President of the division and to the VP of PR. The digital unit of Hearst Magazines is dedicated to creating and implementing the digital strategy for the company’s magazine brands and other sites including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, ELLE DECOR, Esquire, Good Housekeeping etc. as well as digital-only sites such as Delish.com and RealBeauty.com. The company also includes iCrossing, a global digital marketing agency. Chupick previously served as VP of editorial operations at MWW and VP of PR at Harper’s magazine.

Columbia, Maryland’s Maroon PR signed Mark Foglesong as Director of News & Multimedia. Foglesong, who previously served as the Bureau Chief & Senior Photographer for Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, will handle the creation/development of original content for Maroon clients. He will also advise clients in the sports, nonprofit, hospitality and entertainment sectors on content strategy. In his older role, Foglesong produced news magazine-style shows and documentaries for local sports teams including the Ravens and the Orioles.

The PRSA’s Entertainment and Sports Executive Committee named PR Founder & Sports Publicist Natalie P. Mikolich to its board. Mikolich, who founded both NPM PR and the sports PR blog Sports Publicity Spin, will play ”an active role assisting the Committee with their on-going initiatives and helping practitioners develop public relations and management skills directly relevant to their industries.

STUDY: How Many Brands Would You Call ‘Friends?’

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Is your favorite brand the kind that you might call…your best friend? How many brands would even qualify as casual acquaintances? And which ones do you come back to again and again like a well-worn pair of pants?

Yes, these are ridiculous questions–but they’re also very serious, because their answers go a long way toward determining where the average John or Jane spends his/her money. A new survey of more than 4,000 consumers worldwide by IBM-owned email marketing tech provider Silverpop addresses the very real idea that every business should personalize its service as much as possible.

As you probably know, a “best friend” brand is one that will regularly lead consumers to open and even actually read emails, therefore leading to more sales etc.

Some stats, then:

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JustReachOut Thinks It Can Beat Your Startup Pitches

Sherlock

This week, we’ve witnessed the further evolution of the “do tech startups even need PR?” debate.

Uber’s General Manager Chris Nakutis gave the concept a big thumbs down while contributor Paul Wilke of Upright Position Communications presented ways to try and dispel the sense of inherent distrust between the two parties.

Today, TechCrunch let us know that yet another company called JustReachOut wants to replace you(!) by making the email pitching process a little easier for those startup folks.

We can tell you’re curious…

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Obama Administration Locks Out White House Press Corps (Again)

obama white house

In a word… Yes!

To quote a poet laureate somewhere in the annals of baseball, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

You may recall a story last week about journalism groups, led by the Society for Professional Journalists, demanding the Obama Administration open up the doors to give them the access they were promised almost seven long years ago. Now, someone in the White House is at it again.

And this time, it gets even shadier because the meetings in question concerned two top Democratic Super PACs.

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The NFL Shows How Much It Cares About Domestic Violence

ray rice

With all the hubbub about civil unrest in the Middle East, Ukranian dissent and Comic-Con, you may have missed the slap heard ’round the world.

No, not the one that Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice landed on his (for now) wife that knocked her out so cold that he dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator.

We mean one the NFL delivered in response to that cowardly act by Rice: Suspended for two whole games. For those not in the know, if you smoke a joint and get caught in the NFL, you’ll be suspended for four games.

See the problem now?

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Will the YouTube/Michelle Phan Lawsuit Change the Influencer Game?

Michelle Phan

In case you missed it: Michelle Phan, the “make-up demonstrator and entrepreneur” who became a prime influencer by posting short YouTube videos with titles like “Beach Beauty Essentials” and “How to Take the Perfect Selfie”–and earning nearly seven million followers in the process–got sued last week.

The suit, which could be worth several million dollars, stemmed from the fact that Phan allegedly used music by Ultra Records artist Kaskade in her clips without permission.

Phan is at the forefront of the social media influencer movement, earning more than $5 million in 2012 thanks to brand deals and appearing in ads for YouTube itself. The suit filed against her marks something of a first and raises some big questions about the future of one of the hottest trends in marketing.

Will it change the way the influencer game works?

Eric Dahan, the CEO of Instabrand.com, who spoke to us about using influencers to market to Millennials last month, has some thoughts after the jump.

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The Ticker: Amazon Angers Investors; TMZ Primer; Pinterest Is a Boys’ Club; And More

Weird Al Went Viral, Topped the Billboard Charts


Weird Al Yankovic has been making musical parodies for 30 years if you can believe it. His latest album is “Mandatory Fun.” And for the first time in more than 50 years, a comedy album is topping the Billboard 200 chart, selling 104,000 copies in its first week of release.

To promote the album, Weird Al released a video a day for about a week, each one reaching different level of viral. He launched with a star-studded bang, releasing “Tacky,” a play on Pharrell’s uber-popular song “Happy.”

New York magazine has a few reasons why the album is doing so well. We have a couple of our own.

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Edelman Goes Bipartisan, Hires Two Ex-Senators

D and R

Turns out that the members of our country’s major “lesser of two evils” political parties can agree on a shared love of two things: golf and lobbying.

Today Edelman announced that it had hired former senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) as advisors. What does that mean?

Edelman created the new roles specifically for the two one-time lawmakers, who will “provide public policy and communications advice” to clients. Gregg himself told The Hill that he aims to help give members of the Edelman roster “a better understanding of Congress.”

Conrad and Gregg previously worked together on the Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan fiscal reform group convened by President Obama that couldn’t even manage to approve its own proposal; they now count themselves as members of a similar group called Fix The Debt, alternately known as Slash Your Social Security Benefits.

For the record, the duo do not technically qualify as lobbyists in their new roles: they will not be helping congressmen figure out how to make the laws that pander most directly to the interests of the industries that hired them.

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