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Banning Ketchup: Chef Knows Best or Bad Foodie PR?

keep-calm-and-hate-ketchupIt was just another day at Mad Fresh Bistro in Fort Myers, Fla., when a nine-year-old kid decided to ask for ketchup on a burger. Suddenly, skillets went flying out of the kitchen — along with an impressive array of expletives.

You may ask: why all this hullabaloo over ketchup (aka catsup, ketsup, catchup, or however the hell they are spelling it these days)?

For some inexplicable reason, this story about a chef refusing to offer the fruit/vegetable to kids has sparked a national debate over the number two condiment in America. And Chef Owner Xavier Duclos is just fine with that because press.

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Snapchat Makes Bad News Disappear in Six Seconds

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So did you hear Snapchat‘s big announcement yesterday? No? You’re not the only one — and there’s a good reason for that.

History’s frattiest startup confirmed yesterday that its third founding partner did, in fact, play a significant role in creating its app. By settling with “Reggie” Brown for what we can only assume was a multi-million dollar sum, the company effectively admitted that it had cut him out of the loop before hitting the big time and dissing Mark Zuckerberg.

The official statement from CEO Evan Spiegel goes against Snapchat’s years of official denials, in which it claimed that Brown had little to do with the company’s creation, launch and subsequent success:

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What Will Starbucks ‘Express’ Stores Mean for the Brand’s Culture?

I24905278_BG1f you’re addicted to your morning cup of Starbucks but are sick of waiting in long lines of giggling tweens ordering ten-word-long beverages before homeroom, the cafe chain has some good news for you.

In an effort to cater to busy commuters, the company plans to launch smaller, express-style stores with reduced menu items, mobile ordering, and digital payment systems, all with the aim of getting you on your way faster. This move comes as the coffee chain looks to further strengthen its already-successful drive-through stores, which make up about 40% of its US locations and already have a higher sales growth than its stores without drive-through windows.

Starbucks also plans to open at least 100 new stores in the next five years dedicated solely to its Starbucks Reserve small-batch arabica coffee line.

But if you don’t have to wade through a sea of aspiring novelists typing furiously on their iPads or listen to the Dr. Seuss-esque tongue twisters that are the epitome of drink orders, then are you really part of the Starbucks culture?

Well, in a word, yes; you’re just part of the other Starbucks culture. Read more

Designer Veggie Couture Spices up the Runway at Project SUBWAY’s Fashion Show

2014 Onion Runway FinalWhen an onion graced the runway at Nolcha Fashion Week in New York on Tuesday, those in the front row weren’t crying. Instead they broke into peals of laughter, since the onion was a novel dress and hat ensemble designed for the second Project SUBWAY contest.

This year ten up-and-coming designers and FIT students were challenged to create unique dresses inspired by vegetables found at SUBWAY® restaurants. Among the healthy fashion creations: spinach, banana pepper, tomato, jalapeno, lettuce, carrot, cucumber and green pepper. At last year’s show, designers created dresses made of non-edible materials from SUBWAY®, like sandwich wrappers, napkins and salad bowls.

Judging the contest was a tall order, and the panel included Oklahoma City Thunder basketball player Russell Westbrook, Olympic gymnastic champion Nastia Liukin, TV personality Bella Thorne and celebrity stylist Johnny Wujek. They critiqued the designs based on creativity, originality, beauty, fit and best representation of the vegetables, and remarked about the green pepper’s ‘aggressive’ shoulders and hourglass shape, the lettuce’s see-through design and the red tomato’s sparkle.

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Roll Call: Hager Sharp, Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Elasticity and More

Hager Sharp announced the appointment of Lisa Matthews, longtime planning editor for the Associated Press in Washington, DC, as vice president. Matthews organized national and international news coverage and is a leader in storytelling in today’s multiplatform media environment. Matthews is an award-winning journalist who has orchestrated AP coverage of major events such as the Olympics, the Summit on Africa, and breaking news across the country. She most recently served as planning editor at the AP, overseeing teams of video, radio, and digital journalists and working with AP print and photo divisions as well as bureau leaders across the country. Matthews has been twice honored with Edward R. Murrow awards, for coverage of 9/11 and of the economy. She is active in professional organizations such as the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Association of Black Journalists, and has served as a mentor for young journalists and students in programs sponsored by the Radio Television News Directors Foundation and James Madison University, her alma mater. (Release)

Lambert, Edwards & Associates (LE&A) announced the addition of Matt Magee as a director in the Financial Communications Practice. Matt adds more than a decade of experience in the financial industry to the firm, with a background ranging from investment banking to equity trading. In his new role, he will be responsible for developing and implementing integrated strategies for publicly traded companies seeking to engage the investment community and other pertinent audiences, providing full-service investor relations and corporate communications programs. Previously, Matt worked as vice president in the Financial Institutions practice of both Boenning & Scattergood and FIG Partners. He was responsible for advising executive management teams and Board of Directors from various financial institutions on corporate strategic plans and initiatives such as capital raising and merger & acquisitions. (Release) Read more

The Ticker: NFL’s Weak Defense; Tech Meets Fashion; Lippincott Acquisition; And More

Is an Infinity Scarf Appropriate Event Attire?

infinity scarfIn the midst of all the excitement about the new iPhone 6 devices and the Apple Watch, there was one person who managed to steal a little bit of thunder. He’s a game developer and he took the stage to talk about something that clearly very few people cared about because I just looked at a number of stories and could not find one mention of what this man talked about.

However, there was so much chatter about that purple infinity scarf that he got a hashtag, #scarfguy, and, of course, the scarf has a Twitter handle, though there is only one lonely tweet there.

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‘Secretary of Defense’ Tim Howard on Finding the Right Brand to Sponsor

Apropos of celebrities, here’s a short clip from Experian Marketing Services‘ recent “Storytellers” Client Summit in which the Secretary of Defense Tim Howard explains a bit about what helps him choose a brand to sponsor.

You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s his agent (and his moral compass):

“I don’t want to lend my name to just any old company…at this point I’ve put too much hard work into building my own brand.”

So far, Howard’s only partnership of note has been with Marriott. Where will he go next? Why not your client?

Full “fireside chat” interview after the jump if you’re interested.

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Q&A: Is the Future of PR Measurement Already Here?

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In case you weren’t aware, measurement will only grow more important in our industry moving forward.

In case you also weren’t aware, next week will be Measurement Week 2014 in our fair New York City thanks to a PR soiree hosted by Cision/Vocus that will include a slew of marquee names.

Leading up to the event, we spoke to two of the featured speakers to get their takes on the state of measurement: where it is now and where it needs to go.

First up is friend of the site and AirPR chief strategy officer Rebekah Iliff (follow her on Twitter; she’s quite good).

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Does Social Media Make Crisis Communications More Difficult to Manage?

Crisis-magnifiedMuch like the Internet changed the way people read the news, social media drastically altered the way PR pros develop our strategies.

Every aspect of media relations, public affairs, and client outreach has been influenced because every person has a voice on whatever online network he/she chooses. However, the one area in which most of us are just beginning to understand social’s influence is crisis communications.

All crisis communications plans are being rectified, teams are being reconstructed, and ideas are being changed because the information vacuum of social media can suck a little if you don’t prepare accordingly.

The question is: When it comes to social media and crisis communications, is “preparation” even possible? An answer may be in a story involving a canine hater and former CEO of Centerplate named Desmond HagueRead more

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