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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

(Alleged) New Apple iPhone Offers Old-School Pawn Shop Trade-in Deal

It’s hard for the public not to roll its eyes at yet another Apple iPhone upgrade. The juggernaut brand is a PR master of that intersection between human desire and technological promise–a netherworld that offers the chance for elevated social status in the nerd universe of early adopters.

Throughout the years we’ve witnessed long lines of techie geeks, hipsters and wannabes sleeping in tents during sleet storms all for guaranteed access to the latest upgrade, even if the revamped version isn’t that different than the device currently buzzing in the pockets of their skinny jeans.

For outsiders, the upgrade game is wearisome and annoying because after a while it begins to feel less like a capitalistic scheme and more like a corporate scam. Seriously, does Apple expect everyone to simply hand over their current device in exchange for the latest version? Who has that kind of money, and time? Well, apparently, lots of people do. And Apple wants them in their stores. Read more

KIA Hamsters Shape Up for PR Red Carpet

The PR industry has its share of “It” factor sensations just like Hollywood, the music business and television. In today’s public relations, these aren’t compelling and highbrow artistic ideas that transform our culture like Apple’s legendary “1984” commercial or Coca-Cola’s iconic Mean Joe Green commercial.

Technology has changed many aspects of marketing and public relations. Digitally animated spokespeople, or spokesthings, such as the Geico Gecko and, yes, the KIA Hampsters represent a strange blend of marketing cuteness, humor, accessibility–and in this case Lady Gaga star power–that connects with the public. And it works. Read more

Would You ‘Follow’ Your Favorite Brands on Spotify?

And we were just starting to like Spotify.

Thom Yorke‘s least favorite streaming music service wants to partner with brands to create “sponsored playlists” and other sly promotional features that have yet to be revealed. In what might be the world’s most incredible coincidence, this announcement comes two days after Apple announced the coming launch of iTunes radio, which will be supported by such brands as McDonald’s, Pepsi and Nissan.

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Will the Steve Jobs Movies Be Good PR for Apple?

Today we stopped thinking of Ashton Kutcher as “Kelso from That 70’s Show” long enough to wonder: will the two upcoming films about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs create good press for a company that could use some?

Much of this week’s news concerns a bit of indirect back-and-forth between jOBS star Kutcher and Steve Wozniack, the company’s other co-founder. “Woz” pointed out inaccuracies in the movie while Kutcher told the Associated Press that filmmakers never had the chance to get Steve #2′s side of the story in the first place. Why? Because he’s “being paid” to promote Sony’s as-yet-untitled Aaron Sorkin film on the same topic—and he chose to make himself “extremely unavailable” during the production process.

Our question, though, is more about the company at large: could these movies help Apple overcome the common perception that its peak has passed?

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Back-to-School Ads Before Fireworks? How Early is Too Early?

Okay, we realize that the back-to-school shopping season is — next to the winter holiday season — the most important time of year for retailers, but as infuriating as it is to see Christmas lights in stores before Halloween, we find it equally jarring to see back-to-school ads running between spots for Independence Day sales.

As most families were planning 4th of July festivities, retailers like Apple and Walmart were already thinking about pencils, books, electronics and school clothes, hoping to get an early jump on the $84 billion in sales that back-to-school shopping accounts for in the retail world. But are people really receptive to school-related advertising just a week or two after the last bell rings?

Statistically, most people start stocking up on school supplies three to four weeks before classes begin (i.e. mid-to-late July through mid August). “In seven and a half years, I’ve never once seen so much emphasis put on back-to-school before July 4,” National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis told AdAge.

Since the start of the recession, the NRF has noticed a change in holiday shopping trends — rather than waiting until the last few weeks to shop, many people attempt to space out their spending by starting their shopping early. It’s possible that retailers like Apple and Walmart are hoping a similar trend may appear with back-to-school shopping. Read more

J.C. Penney to America: ‘It’s Not You, It’s Me. (Now Please Come Back.)’

Old-school retailer J.C. Penney faces several big challenges moving forward—but executing social media strategy isn’t one of them.

The company fired CEO/former Apple man Ron Johnson in April after a big sales dive and followed his exit with an all-media campaign designed to address the backlash over controversial changes adopted during his tenure. It all started with this apologetic TV spot:

JCP continued the campaign by turning its social media forums into customer service complaint lines, promoting the #jcpListens tag and asking for feedback on Facebook and Twitter in order to absorb frustrated shoppers’ many suggestions on how to improve the business.

The chain didn’t just ask for ideas; it got specific.

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‘Apple’ and ‘Volkswagen’ Unveil the ‘iBeetle’. Yes, Really.

So…it seems the iBeetle is a thing.

While a car featuring Apple-compatible features is nothing new, the Volkswagen iBeetle takes that integration to an entirely new level, working with your iPhone to allow both the car and the device to do things never before possible.

Because if there’s one thing drivers need, it’s more tech-related distractions!

Thanks to a docking station, drivers will be able to use their iPhone for navigation, hands-free calling, and listening to their favorite iTunes playlist. Also, a special Volkswagen app available through the App Store will include extra dashboard extensions and access to Spotify, social networks like Facebook, and the iPhone’s camera (so you can take a picture of the cliff you’re about to drive off while updating your Facebook status and rocking out to Justin Bieber).

The car even looks like an Apple product with its silvery color, sleek design, and chrome trim, so Mac enthusiasts who have always wanted to crawl inside their McBooks and live there will be able to make that dream a reality in the near future. The iBeetle will be abailable in two different models sometime in early 2014, and if you just can’t wait that long, you can pre-order the car in October 2013.

 

Damage Control in China: Bow Down Before Your Leaders!

PR in China: it’s a brave new world! Yet, despite all the talk of a dirty “black PR” industry and the impressive propaganda powers of a one-party government, damage control campaigns in the People’s Republic seem to be very simple. Based on the recent PR fails and recoveries of Western brands like Apple, KFC and Volkswagen, a big “yes sir” apology seems to be the way to go.

This issue is very relevant because, as the economy grows more global by the hour, every company that doesn’t sell artisanal pickles in Williamsburg, Brooklyn wants to build a strong reputation in China.

Here’s the backstory:

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Apple Releases iPlay Game Console…April Fools’!

Apple hasn’t demonstrated a terribly affable sense of humor when it comes to spoofs on its products or advertising, but that didn’t stop video game website IGN from taking an April Fools’ Day jab at the tech company’s iconic product marketing.

Riding the coattails of (rather sketchy) rumors that an Apple video game console may be in the works, IGN created this tongue-in-cheek spot for the fictional “iPlay”. The video actually starts with a voice-over from Apple’s own industrial designer, Jonathan Ive (granted, some of the words have been dubbed over, but once you hear that familiar voice, you’re clued in). Risky, but rewarding.

As many commenters have pointed out, the spot is actually quite believable…that is, until viewers learn that the only playable game on the iPlay is Angry Birds. From that point forward, the commercial dissolves into comically exaggerated camera angles and self-effacing monologues.

Given the expediency with which Apple’s legal team tends to get such spoofs taken down, we recommend taking a peak while you still can. Happy April Fools’ Day!

Former Apple Exec Thinks the Company’s PR Strategy Is All Wrong

Over the last few weeks, we’ve posted several stories about Apple‘s newer, more aggressive PR strategy in the post-Jobs era. Not only is the tech giant focused on pushing its own products; it’s also giving its executives more leeway to take shots at rivals like Samsung as they see fit.

Jean-Louise Gassée worked for Apple throughout the 80′s as the head of its French division and later directed Macintosh product development before leaving due to strategic differences with other executives. On Sunday he posted an op-ed on the Monday Notes tech blog with the ominous headline “Apple Is Losing the War–of Words“. Gassée‘s conclusion will surprise many in the tech world, because he thinks the Apple PR team should take a few cues from Microsoft and hire an outside firm better versed in the art of “verbal warfare.”

Wait, what? Let’s explore this a little further, shall we?

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