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GM Needs a New Spokesperson, Stat

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Not going so well for her.

This young week has already brought us two new job openings that sound great on paper but might just make you think twice: social media manager at U.S. Airways and director of communications at General Motors.

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the first execs to get the axe in GM’s ongoing recall drama were the heads of PR and HR. In yet another non-surprise, the company refused to tie the departures directly to the recall. (This is the kind of decision that makes journalists roll their eyes back as far as humanly possible.)

CEO Mary Barra’s most visible statement this week? A blog post encouraging employees to report safety concerns “whether openly or anonymously.”

Cue that eye roll again…

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Just in Time for Prom: KFC Introduces Chicken Corsage

Hey, prom-bound teenagers: unsure of your date’s favorite flower, or clueless as to which blooms would best match her dress? Fear not! KFC is here for you with a corsage that pairs flawlessly with everything (especially mashed potatoes and gravy).

Just in time for the prom-related promo season, KFC has introduced a new type of “arm candy” — a chicken corsage, which is exactly what it sounds like. For a mere $20, the savvy shopper can purchase a kit online, which will ship from a Louisville, Ky. florist, and comes complete with delicate corsage-makings and a $5 KFC gift card to be used for a drumstick. The only decision you’ll have to make is whether the morsel to adorn your date’s lovely wrist will be Extra Crispy, Kentucky Grilled Chicken or Original Recipe.

Just be forewarned of two things: First, it’s not easy to get grease stains out of chiffon. Second, if it suddenly seems as though your date is leaning in for a mid-dance kiss, she might just be leaning in for a nibble of her delicious accessory.

5 Things to Know About Choosing the Right Keywords

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The phrase is content strategy. And, whether you feel confident about it or not, my fellow flacks, this is slowly becoming your bag in PR. SEO is an ever-evolving thing. It’s like watching a child actor grow up — you know the brick wall is coming, it’s just when he or she will run smooth into the damn thing.

We are running into SEO and many flacks aren’t prepared because of all the many nuances behind keywords. What are they really? How do you use them? When is the best time to write them?

To wit, here’s our latest 5 Things listicle: What to know about choosing the right keywords. *High Five!*  Read more

The Ticker: Mozilla Chief; Google Email Scans; Data Theft; Pro Prankster; Hillary and Boeing

U.S. Airways Tweets Some Hardcore Porn

So now we now know which airline had the worst possible day on Twitter.

We’re not going to share the image in question because WOW, but we are currently trying to figure out what the hell happened.

Here’s the exchange that preceded what will almost certainly be remembered as history’s most unfortunate corporate twitpic:

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9 (More) Brands That Gave Us Their Takes on ‘Mad Men’

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While our own Tonya Garcia already offered a quick list of social media promos tied to last night’s “Mad Men” premiere, we couldn’t resist a follow-up.

See, there was one question we just had to answer: Is real-time marketing deader than Don Draper’s career?

Find out after the jump!

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Bad Headlines Keep Coming for Airbnb

airbnbA PR pro in Manhattan wanted to make a little money while out of town over a recent weekend, so she “rented” her apartment to a woman claiming to be an active service member who just wanted “a place to hang out before she got shipped out.”

The rest of the story is, at this point, predictable: the publicist got a call from the cops after a man who was visiting her apartment for a “massage” slashed the woman paid to provide it; on re-entering her abode, she found the telltale signs of illegal activity.

One anonymous sex worker (aka the world’s most reliable source) told The New York Post that “It’s more discreet and much cheaper than The Waldorf.”

So it is. The point here is that Airbnb’s promise comes with some very unique challenges.

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Bloomberg: ‘NSA Knew about Heartbleed Bug for Two Years’

nsa heartbleedAnd things were going so well with the National Security Agency’s community relations repair after the Snowden ballyhoo. No? Oh, then never mind. Let’s just pile on because this report is so many shades of crap.

Last week, the technology community were flipping its lid because of a nasty virus called “the Heartbleed bug.”

In essence, if you have any presence on social media, you may want to change your passwords, like now (check out this nice breakdown from the sages at Mashable). At any rate, it skeered a few million people and it turns out the NSA may have known about this thing — and exploited it for its benefit — for two years.

Whoops.  Read more

UPDATED: American Airlines Customer Service Includes Reporting Terror Threats on Twitter

In case you missed it, many in our industry feel that social media management and customer service teams should work in unison. The idea is that the fall of the silos separating these disciplines will improve the performance of both.

American Airlines is one account that blends the two well, but yesterday a very odd interaction demonstrated, once again, the challenges of engaging with users in real-time. From BuzzFeed editor Samir:

Of course, the user in question is 100% responsible. But what’s the correct way to respond to a message like this one?

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The Multifaceted Asian Consumer Market

Uniqlo Store SoHo Mannequins1 Cropped“Overall Asia is a market in flux, with radical changes and an influx of tech and global brands. It creates a society where consumers are being pulled in different directions”, said Bernd Schmitt. Not only are there distinctions between developed and emerging Asian countries, but he noted it’s also important not to generalize or stereotype Asian consumer and cultural trends.

Schmitt’s perspective is based on extensive experience living, working and traveling throughout Asia. He’s a visiting professor at Singapore’s Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) and professor at New York’s Columbia Business School. He recently spoke at an event in New York about his latest book, The Changing Face of the Asian Consumer. Joining him were panelists Colin Mitchell, Ogilvy & Mather’s worldwide head of planning, and Brian Buchwald, CEO/co-founder of Bomoda, a marketplace for Chinese consumers to purchase premium global brands.

The main takeaways focus on the interplay of economic, cultural, brand and market factors.

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