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Prudential Comms Chief Steps Down After 20+ Years

bobby dToday in End of An Era news, Bob DeFillippo, chief communications officer with Prudential Financial, is retiring after more than 21 years with the company.

The company’s press release has a lot to say about the career of DeFillippo, a true industry veteran who teaches at NYU and currently serves on the boards of both the PRSA and the Arthur W. Page Society (where he’s a treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee). In short, he is one of the few remaining members of the Old School.

From Vice Chairman Mark Grier:

“Bob has led the company’s internal and external communications during some of the most significant events in the company’s history, including its demutualization, the financial crisis and the company’s expansion into key international markets.”

The most interesting part about the announcement, though, is that Prudential will not (technically) replace DeFillippo.

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The Ticker: Year’s Best Stunts; Year’s Best Pics; Hollywood Unravels; And More

Spin the Agencies of Record

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Journalists Recommend Getting More Strategic with Event Invites

Tony Romm covers tech for Politico, so of course he would get multiple invites to the Consumer Electronics Show Las Vegas, or “the Global Stage for Innovation.

It’s not just him, though: we’ve received several invites ourselves from PRs repping ad agencies and ad tech companies; we even got one from straight from Time, Inc. CES is a big conference that’s been around since 1967, and the fact that it’s not open to the public makes it a prime stage for showing off the work of clients even if they have little or nothing to do with larger trends in technology.

That said, the lead-up to this year’s event has also seen some grumbling from writers receiving a deluge of form pitches. Friend of the site Ed Zitron got a bit of attention earlier this week for collecting all related emails and trolling the hell out of the PR professionals who sent them.

We definitely wouldn’t go that far; we have enough people angry at us on any given day. But we do feel like the event could be a great opportunity to stress the value of strategic targeting. We asked Alan Henry, tech blogger for Gawker property Lifehacker, for his take.

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More Influencers Hyping Big Studio Films on Social Media

Unlike The Interview, most movies don’t have cyber-threats and worldwide outrage to increase public interest.

For that reason (in addition to general shifts in the market), more major studios are turning to a newfound PR tool to raise awareness of their coming titles: social media influencers.

disney influencers

Above, for example, is a promo for the Disney film Big Hero 6 – which opens today in Italy — sent from Italian fashionista Veronica Ferraro to her 158,000 followers on Instagram and her 25,000 followers on Twitter. Her blog The Fashion Fruit has nearly two million likes on Facebook; that’s a lot of influence.

For more on that, we asked three experts for their takes on the influencers-promoting-movies trend.

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Harriette Cole Explains Why She Considers Alicia Keys Her ‘Best Student’

Harriette-Cole-ArticleThe business that media coach Harriette Cole literally dreamed up while working as fashion director at Essence has as its clients a roster of R&B royalty like Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and Erykah Badu, whom Cole has taught to show up in the best possible way in front of the press.

Cole calls Keys her best student because “she wanted it so bad.” That’s not the only criteria Cole cites as what makes for a promising client:

I’m working with people to modify their behavior or their communication. If you have a behavior that’s not serving you, it’s very tough to stop. For example, many people clutter their language with words like ‘Um,’ ‘like’ and ‘You know what I mean?’ Smart people with big jobs. It’s equal opportunity in our colloquial way of communicating. The best kind of client is somebody who’s willing to say, ‘OK, I see what you mean. Now what are the tools I can use to make the change?’

But before she was training others, Cole had to first train herself. Read more

Hollywood Sounds Off on Decision to Cancel The Interview

Every time something big happens in the world, there’s some sort of round up of Hollywood reaction on social media. On most occasions, it’s kind of like, “Who cares?” We don’t need to know what Selena Gomez thinks about falling oil prices or the elections in some faraway land. But Hollywood is sounding off on the decision to pull The Interview from theaters and this is something that is right in their wheelhouse.

The group (or country) behind the massive Sony hack that’s been topping the headlines sent out a warning that there would be repercussions for any theater that shows The Interview on its screens. Sony said they would respect whatever decision the theater companies made in response. Right away, the largest theater companies, from AMC Entertainment to Regal Entertainment and beyond, said they wouldn’t show the film. (In Dallas, they’re replacing The Interview with Team America*, which is why it’s trending on Twitter.) So Sony killed the whole thing.

The outrage from Hollywood has been fast and furious on Twitter, with many expressing anger and disappointment that there wouldn’t be a bigger stand for freedom of expression.  Read more

PR Weighs in on Sony’s The Interview Move

This morning The New York Post — which happens to be owned by the same company that once owned Sony’s prime competitor, 20th Century Fox — just told us that the scene that caused the world to, in the words of writer/cybersecurity expert Peter Singer, “lose our shit” has leaked.

Here, then, is a screenshot from your Kim Jong Un death scene, set (of course) to Katy Perry:

kim jong

That was relatively tame. (And no, the leak isn’t new — it’s just interesting to note that the Post chose to run it.) So what does PR think about the studio’s decision to pull the film entirely?

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Wikipedia Reveals Which Pages Were Edited Most in 2014

Following Facebook and YouTube, Wikipedia is the latest major web property to weigh in on 2014, the year that was. Their approach, however, is even more relevant to PR and assorted sockpuppets: which pages received the most edits over the past year?

That was a great rundown of the year in Things, wasn’t it?

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The Ticker: The Interview; Sony Hack Ethics; Year in Corrections; And More

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