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Smartphone Breathalyzer Startup Partners with…Heineken?

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At first we thought that a partnership between one of the world’s largest beer brands and a startup using technology to prevent drunk driving would make for an awkward pairing.

Yet, earlier this month, an Israeli company called Alcohoot whose product turns smartphones into breathalyzers joined forces with Heineken and won a bit of corporate coverage in the process. How so?

The company’s founders pitched the product as something that would help the company more fully embody its own “drink responsibly” message.

Their backstory was fairly compelling too.

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Bad News for CNN Employees: Jeff Zucker Just ‘Went There’

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So, you think the economy has rebounded and your savings account can begin its weatherstripping for the colder days. Vacations are being planned, allowances are no longer declined and date nights are back in full swing.

Only one problem: You work at CNN.

In a corporate-wide memo recently sent to all Turner Broadcasting employees, CNN Chief Jeff Zucker and Turner CEO John Martin said that, as part of the company’s “Turner 2020″ plan, the company will unveil a new corporate structure “in the next two months.”

This is CNN.

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Roll Call: Alibaba and ABC News

Robert H. Christie, known as Bob the PR Guy on Twitter, will serve as vice president of international media for the China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba as it prepares for its pending IPO.

Christie, who was head of communications at Dow Jones before leaving to run PR at The New York Times in 2010, had his position eliminated as part of the ongoing NYT downsizing plans in 2013. His most recent role was that of managing director at Burson-Marsteller’s New York office; last night on Twitter, he confirmed that he will move to San Francisco to begin his new role on Septememer 1st. The release holds that he will be ”responsible for managing media relations for the company outside of Greater China”. Alibaba looks to go public soon after Labor Day, so Mr. Christie will be very busy. (Capital New York)

Tom Cibrowski has been promoted to senior vice president, ABC News Programs, News Gathering and Special Events. A veteran producer who has spent nearly 25 years at ABC, Tom has been part of the Good Morning America (GMa) team for 13 years, the last seven as senior executive producer and executive producer. Tom joined ABC as a desk assistant and then served as a producer for our bureaus in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle, covered the wars in Bosnia and Iraq, produced interviews with Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton. (Release) Also at ABC News, Michael Corn will become GMA’s new senior executive producer. Michael leaves World News as the program where he has spent the past three years as executive producer. Michael has deep ties at GMA, having been part of the morning team for nearly 10 years. (TVNewser)

Matt Damon Does Ice Bucket Challenge with Toilet Water to Send a Message

To date, so many people have dumped water over their heads for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that the effort has raised over $88 million for the ALS Association, and while that’s a whole lot of money for a very worthy cause, it also means a whole lot of fresh, clean water — a rare commodity for millions of people — being wasted.

This is why actor Matt Damon, co-founder of charity Water.org, had mixed feelings about accepting the challenge sent his way by friends Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck.

“It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in a video uploaded to the his organization’s YouTube channel, “But because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water — and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t — and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.” Read more

The Ticker: TWC ‘Maintenance’ Outage; Snapchat Valuation; NBC Apology; And More

Bingeing on…Radio? WNYC Makes #SmartBinge Happen


Want to be extremely knowledgeable at your next dinner party? Comedian Eugene Mirman has just the thing for you: #SmartBinge—it’s somehow both “the new black” and the driving force behind WNYC’s new hashtag-centric, digital, social and mobile advertising campaign that launched earlier this summer.

This campaign positions WNYC’s library of audio podcasts as content to be similarly consumed to the videos you would find on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu: in binges.

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5 Ways to Ensure That the Phone Pitch Doesn’t Die

keep-calm-and-don-t-call-meThanks to the Internet making things more accessible with email and social media, the phone is pretty much a paperweight for your client’s folders. And I get it: You don’t have to hear the gruff and grizzle of a reporter on the other end of the line telling you to piss off, or some such.

That said, the phone call is still one of the most important tools in any flack’s arsenal. For anything from a follow-up to a lunch appointment, never underestimate the power of speaking to someone on the phone.

Now, some PR professionals are making it very easy for our favorite journalists to never pick up a phone call again. Ever. Why? Here are 5 phone practices we can use to ensure that the phone pitch doesn’t vanish.

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‘High Tech Women’ in Underwear Promo: #PRWin?

In case you’re the one person on Earth who missed it, the technology industry faces some demographic challenges: recent reports from top tech names like Facebook, Apple and Twitter revealed an overwhelmingly white and even more overwhelmingly male industry.

The ensuing conversation is already old hat to many who work in the field, but it still presents both big names like Google (which recently named Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton to promote its “girls who code” initiative) and clients that go against this trend with a way to make themselves stand out to journalists, consumers and investors.

The latest company to win media attention is the bold underwear brand Dear Kate. Its latest “look book”, released online last Friday, starred a group of female entrepreneurs who work in the field.

Dear Kate

Two basic facts about this look book: 1) it has attracted a lot of attention for an unpaid promotion and 2) responses have been somewhat mixed.

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Aaron Paul’s Acceptance Speech Inspires Do-Gooders to Crash Charity Website

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In case you missed it, actor Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” won the 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series last night, and as award winners (and dutiful husbands) often do, he thanked his wife, Lauren Parsekian. But rather than simply expressing gratitude for her love and support, he took a moment to promote the charitable organization to which she dedicates her time, proving once again that the power of a celebrity endorsement is paramount.

Paul said: “My wife — my god, thank you for marrying me, thank you for dedicating your life to spread kindness around the world. We all appreciate it. If you guys don’t know what she does, look up Kind Campaign. Do yourself and your children a favor - Kind Campaign. ”

Shortly thereafter, the website for the anti-bullying organization crashed, thanks to the onslaught of visitors. Even now, many hours later, attempting to visit kindcampaign.com yields only a server error message. Read more

SEC Charges Investor Relations Exec with Insider Trading

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In news that points toward the darker side of financial PR, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced this morning that it would charge an executive at a top Manhattan investor relations firm with crimes related to insider trading.

The charge is surprisingly simple: Michael Anthony Dupre Lucarelli, director at Manhattan’s Lippert/Heilshorn Investor Relations, allegedly used clients’ unpublished press releases to guide his own investments — and made more than half a million dollars in the process.

The case is notable in that it differs from the common narrative regarding automated trades made with the help of robotic press releases that may run afoul of the law by giving certain traders an advantage that ultimately adds up to fractions of a second.

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