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Burson-Marsteller Will Help Handle the Texas Ebola Crisis

burson-marstellar-logoWe would have left this bit of news for today’s “Spin the AOR” post, but it’s a big one: a New York Times article shared by our friends at Everything PR revealed that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has hired Burson-Marsteller to improve its admittedly poor response to the Ebola crisis.

Note the line near the bottom of the article: “On Friday, the hospital hired Burson-Marsteller, the global public relations firm, to help tell its side.”

While the health org has repeatedly admitted that mistakes were made on both the operational and messaging fronts, news that a second worker has been diagnosed with the condition ensures that the story will only continue to grow.

For reference, the org’s handle has been tweeting links to related resources. The account also released a statement from Nina Pham, the first employee to be diagnosed with Ebola, two days ago:

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THIS JUST IN: the Most Uncomfortable Moment in Family Feud History

family feudThis story is why we created this category.

You see, during a slow news day — or when it every station is focused on a certain malignant, terrorizing disease — a PR professional needs a little levity. And on one of the seven days, God created game shows.

There’s a reason why the Game Show Network is so successful. Anything from newfangled game shows like The Chase to the oldies but goodies like Match Game can make the heart smile. And then there’s the awesome reboot of Family Feud, which purposely tries to trip up the audience, Steve Harvey, and the viewing public at large with asinine answers that are probably trolled from Gawker or BuzzFeed, as you can see pictured (and not Photoshopped!!) here.

However, this week gave us what had to be the most uncomfortable moment in Family Feud history.

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Neil Patrick Harris: ‘A Kiss from Burt Reynolds Made Me Gay’

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It’s not like a kiss from a 70s sex symbol is as contagious as Ebola, but if you ask the new host of the Oscars, Neil Patrick Harris knew he was gay following a kiss from Burt Reynolds.

Somewhere Dom DeLuise is shouting at Sally Field (they’re both of Smokey and the Bandit fame for all you young’uns out there) saying, “Girl, I know the feeling.”

Read more about Doogie’s revelation after the jump.

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HBO, CBS Score #PRWin at Netflix’s Expense

You may have heard that HBO made lots of headlines yesterday by announcing that its first standalone streaming service would launch in 2015. This was great news for people like us, who only use their parents’ HBO GO password when Mom and Dad are in town…super serious, you guys! Fingers not crossed!!

It was also a brilliant act of PR — and CBS followed it up today by doing HBO one better:

Going to have to agree with Brian Stelter – this release was definitely worth more than five bucks. So why was this such a big PR win for the two companies?

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Governor Rick Scott Doesn’t Respond Well to Fans

More specifically, the Governor couldn’t handle his opponent’s single fan, which former Governor Charlie Crist was apparently using to keep cool in the Florida heat at yesterday’s would-be gubernatorial debate.

The intro segment has to be seen to be believed:

This went on for seven full minutes before Rick finally rolled onto the stage. Scott’s subsequent attempt to explain his own juvenile behavior is even better:

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UPDATE: Sears Apologizes for Third Party Connecting Them with Third Reich

Sears-SorryYesterday, we brought you the distressing story of Sears and Amazon trying to serve the niche (and morose) market of Goths and Emos.

Why? Who knows, but there it is — a business plan to reach the supercilious and splenetic kids down the hall…swallowing razor blades and considering hematolagnia.

In short, they were selling Swastika rings not because of the whole Nazi thing but because it’s trendy. In less than 12 hours, Sears proved that it is still a retailer for the common man while Amazon proves it is…not. One communicated directly with the media, while the other chose to ignore headlines (and customer complaints).

By understanding its own crisis communications plan, Sears proved that it really does have everything.

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The Ticker: Pitching Bloggers; ‘Sorry Not Sorry’; ROI Update; And More

U2 Apologizes for Apple Album Giveaway

u2 q&aTrying to smooth things over after the rough release of their new album “Songs of Innocence” last month, U2 – or more specifically, Bono – apologized for the album giveaway fiasco that had many iTunes customers seething.

As part of a huge and longstanding partnership with Apple, U2 gave its new album to iTunes users, automatically downloading it onto people’s playlists. Some were so up in arms about the perceived intrusion that Apple introduced a tool to remove the music.

“Can you please never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to peoples [sic] playlists ever again? It’s really rude,” the group was asked during the Facebook Q&A.

Bono’s response: “Oops.”
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Pink Slip Mania: This Is (Now) CNN

CNN fail

Unfortunately for Turner Broadcasting Systems, ratings haven’t been kind to the network that invented — for better or worse — 24/7 news.

In fact, they have sucked a little. This consistent downward spiral has forced the muckety-mucks at Turner (parent company of CNN, HLN, TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, and others) to consider what many in media believe to be the inevitable.

Reports show up to 300 have been let go at CNN and HLN alone, and this afternoon our sister site TVNewser learned that the recently relaunched Crossfire had been put out of its misery (again).

Factoids on the dearly departed after the jump. Read more

STUDY: 83 Percent of Consumers ‘Unsatisfied’ by Relationships with Brands

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Edelman released its second annual “brandshare” study this week, and the project’s findings are both challenging and encouraging. In short, consumers are not completely satisfied by their relationships with the brands they know — and the industry is moving closer to determining what, exactly, such “relationships” should entail. Most importantly, brands that created “multidimensional” relationships with consumers saw big, measurable gains.

Some of the study’s findings serve as a good follow-up to a survey released by WPP in September, which found that 55 percent of respondents simply don’t see the point of “friending” a brand. Highlights:

  • 87 of respondents around the world say they want “meaningful relationships” with brands
  • Yet 66 percent say brands don’t share with them at all — and 70 percent say that, when they do, it’s only due to “a self-centered desire to increase profits”

Today we spoke to Jen Cohan, president of Edelman New York, to learn more about takeaways from this year’s brandshare.

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