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Posts Tagged ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’

7 Tips for Your Next Big Apology Tour

Last week brought news of disgraced general/CIA chief and potential presidential candidate David Petraeus‘s first post-scandal appearance. Petraeus used a speech before a University of Southern California dinner honoring the military to effectively begin his apology tour. We and everyone else in PR are obsessed with damage control, and we feel like Petraeus got it right. Now we’d like to take a moment to relay seven lessons from recent scandal-wracked personalities who didn’t quite get it right.

1. Make it public — but not too public: Whoever told Arnold Schwarzenegger that appearing on every interview show ever to talk about his affairs and his out-of-wedlock child while simultaneously hawking his new book was very wrong.

2. Be humble. Seriously: Jonah Lehrer didn’t get the message that being a public intellectual does not allow you to avoid taking the blame for your own failings by over-intellectualizing the whole thing and pontificating about the why and the how. “I need rules because I don’t trust myself to not be arrogant”? Come on, man.

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Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

First Lance Armstrong ‘False Advertising’ Suit Filed (by a PR Exec!)

We just couldn’t resist: today marks the filing of the first post-Oprah lawsuit against admitted liar and generally detestable person Lance Armstrong.

The issue at hand isn’t the fact that Lance cheated, ruined honest people with fake libel charges, or promoted a bunch of big brands after winning while on dope. No, it’s all about his books, see?

The two plaintiffs in the class-action complaint say that they bought Lance’s inspirational memoirs because they believed his story about a triumphant, dope-and-cancer-free return to the Tour de France. Upon discovering that the story was not exactly true, they felt “duped, cheated and betrayed” and decided to take his sorry ass to court for fraud. The suit accuses Lance and his publishers, Penguin and Random House, of committing acts of “false advertising” by selling the books as works of non-fiction.

Excuse us while we enjoy a guilt-free laugh.

The most interesting part of this story (to us) is the fact that one of the men filing the suit is “Rob Stutzman, a public relations executive who served as a deputy chief of staff for former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger“. He would certainly know a good bit about famous liars, wouldn’t he?

So will this suit go nowhere like the one against Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson, who fabricated portions of his books? Or will it lead to a settlement like the case filed against admitted fabulist James Frey? And what do we think about the fact that a veteran PR professional started it?

Schwarzenegger’s Press Tour Is Bad PR

The Austrian Oak, better known outside the bodybuilding world as former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has spent the last week or so hitting every conceivable media outlet to push “Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story”, which may just be the worst-titled “tell-all memoir” ever. Go ahead and roll your eyes—we did.

We’re sure Arnold had some big plans for this current press offensive, but we can’t see too many benefits. In fact, we’d question the wisdom of his big comeback tour–and we’re not the only ones.

We echo the question Jon Stewart asked him last night: Why write the book now? Couldn’t you give it another year or two to wait until the heat cools off? The public may have a short memory, but this is ridiculous.

And why confess to multiple affairs that no one outside your immediate family knew about or cared about (and to describe said affairs as “hot”)? This is pure tabloid fodder–and it makes Maria Shriver’s defense of her candidate husband in the wake of the infamous groping allegations seem even more bizarre. While Arnold did manage to say that his affair with his housekeeper was “the stupidest thing” he did during his marriage, we’re not sure that his performance has been terribly convincing. His “I’m not perfect” moment on “60 Minutes” was particularly lame.

Schwarzenegger admits that his kids aren’t comfortable with him airing his dirty laundry to anyone who will listen (ya think?), but his publicist didn’t seem to mind. Why is that? Oh right—he has a book to sell.

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Roll Call: Porter Novelli, Ogilvy, Portland Communications, and More

Barbara DeBuono

Dr. Barbara DeBuono has been appointed president and CEO of ORBIS International, a nonprofit that treats blindness and provides eye health care around the world. Dr. DeBuono was previously chief medical officer and global director of public health and social marketing at Porter Novelli. PN has appointed Susan Hayes to the global director of public health position. Hayes has worked at a number of firms previously, including her own, S. Hayes Consulting. In her new role, she’ll work out of the New York office reporting to Julie Winskie, global president, clients.

Lizelda Lopez has rejoined Ogilvy PR West as VP of the public affairs practice. Lopez was most recently an appointee in former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s administration. Now, besides her work in the public affairs area, Lopez will help with multicultural outreach in California.

Burson-Marsteller has appointed Lisa Travatello to the position of global consumer and brand marketing practice chair and creative director. She’ll also sit on the Business Operations Team, which is comprised the firm’s senior execs. She was previously EVP and curator of creativity at Current Lifestyle Marketing and has served as EVP and chief creative officer at Weber Shandwick.

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Edelman Hires Former McCain, Schwarzenegger Aide to Run U.S. Public Affairs


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Steve Schmidt has joined Edelman as Vice Chairman, Public Affairs, the agency said today. Schmidt was most recently a partner at Mercury Public Affairs, leading the firm’s operations in California.

He was also a key source for the best-selling book Game Change, which revealed behind the scenes information in regards to the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The above video is from Schmidt’s January 10th, 2010 appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” where he spoke about the McCain presidential campaign, and their decision to add Sarah Palin to the ticket.

Schmidt served as senior advisor to John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign; campaign manager for the 2006 re-election of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; and was deputy assistant to the President and Counsellor to the Vice President in the White House, where he played leading roles on the confirmation teams for the nominations of both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. In addition, he was a member of the senior strategic planning group that directed Former President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

Edelman says their U.S. Public Affairs practice has revenues of $60 million with a team of 170 serving clients including API, Business Roundtable, Monsanto, Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners, and Pfizer.

Yelp PR Head Discusses Company’s PR Challenges And Opportunities

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Two days after The New York Times asked Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, “If nothing else, do you think you have a public relations problem?” we caught up with Yelp VP of Communications Vince Sollitto.

The Times article, titled, “Running Yelp, the Site Business Owners Love to Hate,” refers in part to three class action lawsuits against Yelp on behalf of eleven businesses, which allege the company has tried to get businesses to advertise on the site by saying it could alter their reviews.

Sollitto has extensive PR experience, having formerly served as Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s handler and also head of communications at PayPal.

We asked him how he would respond to the Times headline, “the site business owners love to hate.”

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Outcast Communications Handles Bloom Energy Launch


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“Very few start-ups have created as much buzz overnight as Bloom Energy,” writes The Wall Street Journal. The company, which officially launched this past Wednesday, provides “fuel-cell technology that promises to generate electrical power affordably while cutting down on emissions.”

Next Fifteen owned agency Outcast Communications handled PR for the launch, and the agency confirmed to PRNewser they have been hired as PR agency of record for the company. Senior Vice President Reema Bahnasy is leading the account.

So far the media coverage continues to stream in. A Google News search for Bloom Energy today returns more than 1,300 results. Of course, a high profile launch event with the likes of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Google co-founder Larry Page and venture capitalist superstar John Doerr certainly doesn’t hurt.

Ogilvy PR Picks Up $9M California Rail Contract

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It seems Ogilvy PR should be thanking California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s administration for mismanagement. It helped Ogilvy pick up a $9 million contract with the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The bidding process for the contract was re-opened after Mercury Public Affairs – who was about to win the account – was deemed to have too many close ties to the Schwarzenegger administration. Government board members called the original bidding process, “insufficient.”

“Under a new bidding process, a staff selection panel that included three representatives from outside transit agencies chose Ogilvy over six other applicants. Mercury did not rebid, saying it lacked confidence in the new process,” reports the Fresno Bee. O’Dwyer’s says Ogilvy beat out Porter Novelli for the contract.