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Solar Energy Has a PR Problem: Massive Teepees of Doom are Killing Birds

Fried-Chicken-Set2Environmentalists had much to celebrate when the Ivanpah Energy Power Facility in California flipped its switch earlier this year and began powering 140,000 homes with clean energy.

Unfortunately, their joy translated into gloom for animal rights activists: somewhere between a thousand and 28,000 birds have since been fried to death in what’s been called “massive teepees of doom.”

Right now you’re probably thinking two things: first, tell me more; and secondly, that’s a pretty big range of alleged aviancide… is this truly a PR crisis for solar energy?

Credit goes to Esquire’s Michael Howard for an evocative piece describing how BrightSoure’s $2.2 billion plant is cooking birds alive when they fly through concentrated rays of sunshine:

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INTERVIEW: David Meerman Scott Discusses the Art of Newsjacking

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Last week, we offered ’5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Newsjacking.‘ While many PR folks appreciated the knowledge, we heard from others who were new to the term itself. And so, I issued a tweet to one David Meerman Scott, the guy who coined the word in the first place.

To my delectation, he responded in about two minutes (I may have squealed a little).

In his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas Into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media CoverageScott touches upon this growing social media strategy with keen insight. He humored me with some great responses to a few questions about the growth of newsjacking, its benefits and drawbacks, and the magic of real-time decision making in the process.

Get your notebooks ready. His Q&A with yours truly is after the jump…

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When It Comes to Shopping at Aeropostale, Teens Would Rather Not

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Earlier this week, Aeropostale fired CEO Thomas Johnson and announced his replacement: former CEO Julian Geiger, who ran the chain from 1996 to 2010 before leaving to lead Crumbs Bake Shop from 2011 through 2013.

You might be scratching your head at this one: it was Geiger at the helm when the cupcake chain went bust this summer.

But perhaps that little SNAFU can be explained away by the Peter Principle. At least that’s what this PRNewser reads between the lines in Chairman Karin Hirtler-Garvey’s description of Geiger as “an ideal choice” and her reminder that “Julian was the leader of Aeropostale’s strategic direction during a period of significant growth.”

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CSIS Wins This Week’s Edition of ‘The Intern Did It’

In what’s becoming a relatively common occurrence, the CSIS or Center for Strategic and International Studies posted a widely-seen tweet this week that just screamed “this did not go how it was supposed to go.”

We weren’t terribly surprised by this response; nor were we surprised to see an apology tweet later.

What did impress us, though, was the degree of detail in the organization’s official explanation.

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Walmart’s #PRFail Recognition May Win the Retailer $3 Billion

Aisles of a Grocery StoreIn the wild and wacky world of corporate PR, it seems the larger the brand, the more difficult it becomes to acknowledge mistakes. The more transparent a brand is, the more vulnerable it becomes.

That may explain what takes place in Bentonville, Ark. (the corporate home of Walmart) on a daily basis. Until recently, the brand has seemed only proactive about growth and global domination.

And then, a story in Time came out last April that read: “Walmart has cut employee hours so deeply that it doesn’t have enough associates on hand to get stuff from back-of-the-store staging areas to the shelves.”

That caused Walmart to do something differently — respond. Sure, it’s more than a year later, but they’re new at this thing. Let’s cut them a break.

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Why Uber Chose Obama’s Campaign Manager to Run Comms and Strategy

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Yes we can…connect you to an unlicensed driver using his personal vehicle to transport people around town for tips.

On one level, it makes sense that David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and one of the hottest speakers/strategists on the circuit, would join the “sharing economy” company that everyone’s falling over themselves to cover.

Still, the match strikes some as odd given the recent decision of the Republican National Committee to promote Uber as the prime example of business free from government regulation — regulation best embodied by the man Plouffe helped win the White House.

The answer lies in crisis communications and political infighting.

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Roll Call: Conservation International, Publicis Worldwide and Telemundo

Conservation International (CI) announced that it has appointed Meg Galloway Goldthwaite as its chief marketing officer. Goldthwaite will be responsible for CI’s marketing and communication efforts, including strategic partnerships, brand positioning and message development. Goldthwaite joins CI from Women for Women International (WfWI), where she served as senior director of strategy and innovation. Prior to that, she served as vice president for marketing and communications for the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund where she amplified Haiti’s need for rebuilding lives and livelihoods by amplifying the stories of Haitians now creating a better future through smart, sustainable development. At the World Wildlife Fund, Meg brought Earth Hour—WWF’s signature initiative—to the United States in 2008, growing US participation to more than 80 million by 2010. (Release)

Publicis Worldwide North America has appointed Julie Levin chief marketing officer. In the new role, Levin will partner with business development and communications teams in the agency’s offices in a bid to improve both organic and new business growth. Starting September 8, she will be based in the Publicis North America flagship office in New York. Levin was previously at the Martin Agency, where she led and won pitches for Stoli and Sparkle Georgia Pacific, among others. Earlier Levin was head of business development at BBH/NY. (MediaPost)

The Telemundo Station Group has announced changes in its sales leadership team. Matt Boxer was named VP of business development, Joe Napolitano was named VP of the national sales offices and Jenney Valverde was named VP of sales marketing. Boxer spent 18 years at Univision working in various sales leadership positions at Univision’s local stations in Miami and New York. He has also served as VP of marketing and strategic solutions for the Univision Station Group and as SVP of the client development group. Boxer comes to Telemundo from Meredith Xcelerated Marketing. In his new role, he will lead a newly created team of five business development directors. Napolitano will oversee the National Sales Offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Mexico City. He has worked at Telemundo since 2004. Valverde was most recently the senior director of sales marketing for the Telemundo Station Group. She started her career with NBCUniversal as a page 17 years ago. (TVNewser)

The Ticker: Fairchild Sale; Snapchat Ads; Social Media Save; And More

Your First #Ferguson Pitch

shutterstock_87109075Ed Zitron told us this would happen and we were skeptical, but yesterday Valleywag posted on PR promoting a client’s community alert-style smartphone tool as an “app for the Ferguson riots.”

While Sam Biddle predictably called it the worst thing ever of the week, we are conflicted. (The author of said pitch spoke to us back in February for a post on House of Cards‘ portrayal of the political communications game.)

The product, as we understand it, allows citizens to take pictures of crimes complete with geolocation info so they can more effectively alert law enforcement.

How good or bad is this pitch, though?

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P&G Wants To Convince You That You’re Just-Worn Clothing Needs A ‘Swash’

swashPicture it: It’s an ordinary evening. You’ve had a day filled with meetings, writing a press release for a client and lunch with a reporter. You’re finally home. You’ve pulled on your favorite sweats for an evening of wine and Dating Naked when you take another look at the shirt you wore that day, tossed over the back of a chair. You kind of want to wash it but you think, “Is it really that dirty?” What’s a person to do?

[Insert image of wide-eyed man/woman shrugging in an exaggerated manner.]

You Swash it!

At least that’s the conclusion that P&G wants you to come to. The company will sell a $500, four-foot-tall machine that uses “gel-filled pods” ($6.99 for a pack of 12 single use pods) to “neutralize odors,” rid a garment of wrinkles and restore its fit. It’s not really washing. Not really dry cleaning. It’s “swashing.” The machine will be available at Bloomingdale’s next month.

The target market for this item is what The Wall Street Journal calls the “re-wearer,” someone who feels the item they just wore isn’t really that dirty so they want to get one more wear out of it.

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