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Apple Damage Control Strategy: Blame Josh

Its appleAfter all the news and the pseudo-news and the record-breaking brand tweets, Apple finally responded to “bendgate” yesterday.

In many ways, the company’s actions show how far its strategy has moved away from the “take no prisoners” approach that an inside source described to us earlier this month. In that interview, the contact told us that the Apple of the past would never comment directly on anything. Yet he also noted that Tim Cook wants to “put a friendlier face on Apple”, and the company’s most recent moves seem to confirm that fact.

First, Apple release an official statement saying, effectively:

“Yes, a phone was bent, but it only happened to nine people (out of ten million).”

Apple even went further than that, inviting CBS to tour its previously super-secret iPhone testing facility to underscore the fact that everyone really needs to calm the hell down. The company even had some online brand advocates happy to let everyone else know that the “bend test” video you’ve all been passing around was a conspiracy dreamed up by a full-time hater.

Yesterday  brought a Bloomberg article that seemed to lay the blame for Apple’s performance issues at the feet of a single, unfortunate person. His name is Josh.

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Bad News for Journalists and PR: Coffee Is Terrible for Productivity

coffeeJust when you thought all was right with the world and your local barista got your order right (you know the one)…

A grande extra hot soy with extra foam, split shot with a half squirt of sugar-free vanilla and a half squirt of sugar-free cinnamon, a half packet of splenda, all in a venti cup. And fill up the “room” with extra whipped cream with caramel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top. 

…turns out that coffee might not be the world’s second greatest beverage after all.

It’s no secret that hacks and flacks alike are terribly addicted to coffee, but now a study tells us that coffee may be the worst thing for productivity.

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Step Aside, Iron Man: Marvel Revamps Captain Citrus for Florida Orange Growers

captaincitruscomic1-coverartwork_custom-54e3aa1b66fc348958b7d1012207a645a6dbc303-s40-c85

What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s…an orange-clad superhero bent on selling you Florida-grown citrus fruit?

That’s right, folks; taking his place in a long line of Marvel superhero legends like Iron Man, Captain America and The X-Men, is Captain Citrus, a collaborative marketing creation intended to help Florida’s citrus growers boost sales.

The original Captain Citrus, a long-outdated mascot for Florida’s orange growers, was more or less an orange wearing a cape. In an effort to bring the spokes-superhero up to date (and borrow some of Marvel’s lately-booming thunder in hopes of offsetting declining demand for products like orange juice) Florida’s orange growers commissioned the famous comic company to redesign the Captain, complete with rippling abs, his own digital comic, and even an animated trailer. Read more

Move Over, Oreo: #Bendgate Inspires New ‘Biggest Brand Tweet Ever’

KitKat was more fortunate than Derek Jeter this week.

The brand’s “real-time” response to the Apple #bendgate controversy has easily surpassed Oreo’s “dunk in the dark” to become the king of all corporate tweets. (For now, at least.)

Yes, it was clever. Credit goes to JWT London as we debate whether advertising or PR should own real-time social media marketing duties.

Why, exactly, was this particular tweet so popular?

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Roll Call: Waggener Edstrom Communications, Eastwick, Portland and More

Waggener Edstrom Communications announced the integrated communications agency has brought on industry veteran Chris Millward as general manager for its China operations. Millward is a veteran in the China market and has lived in Beijing continuously since 1994. He has worked with several of the world’s top public relations agencies including Edelman and Weber Shandwick and a host of multinational companies. Millward will report to senior vice president Matt Lackie, who oversees WE’s Asia Pacific presence, and work closely with other leaders in the region including Beijing General Manager Jason Cao, Shanghai vice president and general manager Cathleen Witter, and Hong Kong vice president and general manager Emma Richards. Millward takes over for Antoine Calendrier, who had been overseeing China from his home base in Hong Kong.  (Release)

Eastwick announced an expansion of its digital, social, editorial and research and analytics services with the addition of senior industry leaders to its team. Leading Eastwick’s Digital & Content Marketing Group is Sahana Jayaraman, vice president. In addition to her role as head of digital services, Sahana will lead the agency’s Content Marketing Group, responsible for branded content. Jun Quintana joins Eastwick as vice president to lead the company’s Research & Analytics Group. Jun brings more than 18 years of experience working in both traditional market research and communications/social media measurement. Michael Kanellos has been promoted to senior vice president and takes on responsibility for Eastwick’s Editorial Group, where he is continuing to build Eastwick’s strong tech-focused writing proficiency. Michael also continues to oversee Eastwick’s Cleantech practice. Joining Eastwick as senior vice president, client services, is Dave De Jear. Dave brings to Eastwick more than 20 years of experience in communications, public relations and marketing. Eastwick is also adding industry experts to round out global connections. Sharon Chan, who joined Eastwick from Hong Kong in 2012, has been promoted to Asia-Pacific (APAC) Industry Lead.  (Release) Read more

Ferguson Rep Fired for Previous Reckless Homicide Conviction Speaks to Local Reporter

One of the week’s most compelling PR stories concerned the apology delivered to Ferguson, Missouri residents by its police chief Tom Jackson. The video was produced/distributed by Devin James, whose Devin James Group was one of two firms hired by the city to handle the ongoing events following the August shooting death of Michael Brown.

Our friend Brad Phillips, aka Mr. Media Training, gave us a smart take on the apology itself:

This is especially relevant considering the fact that Taylor’s subsequent attempt to march with protesters backfired.

Unfortunately, the story got even more complicated yesterday: James is now out of a job thanks to a prior conviction for reckless homicide that was not shared with the “partnership agency” responsible for paying his salary.

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Scandal’s Back! Olivia Pope/Julia Baker Ditches The Bathing Suit for Her White Suit

Where in the world is Olivia Pope?

That’s the question we were left with at the end of last season. And we find out in the opening moments of the season premiere: On a secluded beach 100 miles off the coast of Zanzibar making out with his sublime hotness, the five-o’-clock-shadowed Jake Ballard. In between all the sassiness, she’s reading Gone Girl (product placement) and indulging in bottles of rare wine. Only now she’s Julia Baker, a clever play on the name of Diahann Carroll’s character in Julia, the last TV show to have an African-American woman in the lead role.

Spoilers ahead!

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The Ticker: Barra Comes Back; ‘Share a Coke’ Win; NFL Security Reveal; And More

Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson: ‘We See Dead People’

goldie and jate

It is no secret that Hollywood is a big cereal town. Full of fruits, nuts, and flakes, you know? Two of the latest big names who decided to uphold that reputation are Goldie Hawn and her daughter Kate Hudson.

Just in time for Halloween, these two decided that TMZ hadn’t been giving them enough attention lately — so Kate hit up Alan Carr’s Chatty Man Show in the UK.

That’s when she decided to tell the world that she once saw “a ghost of a woman with no face.” (No word on how close said woman was to the nearest plastic surgeon’s office.) Read more

Spin the Agencies of Record

NYCIFF

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