AgencySpy LostRemote TVNewser TVSpy FishbowlNY FishbowlDC GalleyCat SocialTimes

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Zinc Lobby Still Begging America to ‘Save the Penny!’

The Canadian government’s recent decision to drop the one-cent coin and gradually remove it from circulation in order to save money prompted many Americans to ask “Wait, why don’t we do that?” and brought attention back to an ongoing PR campaign run by an advocacy group calling itself Americans for Common Cents (ha ha).

The campaign, launched in 2006, urged Americans to swear loyalty to Abraham Lincoln and implore their lawmakers to “Save the Penny” from impending doom despite the fact that each penny costs two cents to produce(!)–and quite a few end up in garbage cans, drains and fountains around the country. When the Canucks first floated the idea of putting the penny down last April, the ACA placed op-eds in major papers defending our least valuable coin.

Of course, every successful advocacy campaign needs a celebrity spokesman, which is why the group somehow convinced the great Kevin Federline to endorse it back in ’06. (And we bet they paid him in pennies, too.)

The American “penny debate” is nothing new–during his 2008 presidential campaign, a certain junior senator named Barack Obama said he wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to Honest Abe’s favorite coin, joking that “I need to find out who is lobbying to keep the penny.” Well, as the always-on-point Stephen Colbert reminded us this week, the whole advocacy campaign is really a part of the all-powerful zinc industry’s dastardly scheme to retain its influence among the heavy metals.

Glad we cleared that up–but we’re still waiting to hear from Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny. Get on it, boys!

Roll Call: Weber Shandwick, CP+B, Virgin Media and More

Weber Shandwick announced that Cori Ashford has joined the agency as a senior vice president in the firm’s global Healthcare practice. Previously employed with the Chandler Chicco Agency, Ashford will be based in Chicago. Ashford joins the firm with more than a dozen years of experience managing global pharmaceutical accounts in disease areas such as oncology, cardiology, metabolic and autoimmune diseases, among others. Her past experience includes strategic counsel, issues management, data communications, regulatory milestones, national and international brand launches and consumer campaigns. Over the course of her career, she led the agency team responsible for global and U.S. communications activities for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s rheumatoid arthritis medication Orencia, spanning the pre-launch, launch and lifecycle management phases for this treatment. (Release)

McGrath/Power Public Relations and Communications has named Christina Armstrong VP of client service. Armstrong was previously MD of the b-to-b technology practice at Grayling Connecting Point. She has also worked as client services director at Phase Two Strategies in San Francisco. In her new role, she will work in conjunction with Kathryn Walker, SVP and partner, to provide program leadership and strategy for the agency’s client base. (PR Week)

Global Strategy Group hired Bill Burton as EVP and MD of its DC office. Burton previously served as co-founder and senior strategist at Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that worked to re-elect President Barack Obama to a second term in office. He served as national press secretary for the 2008 Obama for America campaign, then as deputy White House press secretary and special assistant to the president. Burton also worked as then-Rep. Rahm Emmanuel’s (D-IL) communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 electoral cycle. (PRWeek)

Read more

Microsoft ‘Comms Guy’ Challenges Google Rep to a Twitter Duel

Frank X. Shaw is Microsoft’s “top comms guy”. He doesn’t think too much of rival Google’s attempts to go highbrow in the PR sphere—and he let thousands of people know about it on Twitter this weekend.

Let’s unravel the roots of this little playground mud fight between two of the biggest PR pros in the business: Microsoft, still desperate to sponsor the Bing vs. Google fight that no one in the world asked for, just hired much-hated political operative Mark Penn as its top messaging man. You may remember Penn as the guy behind Hillary Clinton’s infamous 2008 “3 AM” ad implying that then-Senator Barack Obama was too inexperienced to run the country.

The New York Times ran a story on the hire, casting Mr. Penn as a negative messenger who would help Microsoft attack Google with “scorched earth” spots like this one that criticizes the company for ruining users’ search experiences by clogging results with sponsored ads. The article notes that Microsoft has “long attacked Google from the shadows” but now looks to take the fight to prime-time. A former colleague of Mr. Penn’s warned that Google should prepare to have “everything…thrown at them”—including the kitchen sink.

Sounds like a run-of-the-mill corporate PR battle, right? Well, the Times also contacted top Google spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker for comment. She said that, while Google employs lobbyists and PR firms just like its rivals, “…our focus is on Google and the positive impact our industry has on society, not the competition.”

Of course Frank Shaw did not like this one bit.

Read more

Lena Dunham’s ‘First Time’ Obama Ad Raises Eyebrows

Lena Dunham hopes young women will heed her advice before embarking on the journey that is true womanhood by losing their virginity–their voting virginity, that is.

In her now-viral pro-Obama video, Dunham reminds newly of-age girls that their first time should be with the right guy–an amazing guy, one who “cares whether you get health insurance, and specifically, whether you get birth control”. She assures us in her believable, girl-talky tone that her first time was “amazing”, and as she went to the voting booth, “pulled back the curtain, and voted for Barack Obama“, she knew she had crossed a line in the sand, transforming from a blushing girl to an empowered woman.

A clever double entendre–but not everyone is amused.

Read more

How Not to Do PR, by Donald Trump and Gloria Allred

Today in We Feel Dumber for Having Read This News: The Man with the Tan has, once again, offered a crash course in how to get attention while contributing absolutely nothing of value to society.

And he’s joined today in infamy (thank God) by his female equivalent, Gloria Allred. Do they realize that almost everyone is laughing at them? We don’t think they do! It’s hard to believe!

The Donald has finally released his anti-Obama “bombshell”, and it is—get ready–a press release stating that the world’s most famous hairpiece model will donate $5 million to the President’s charity of choice as soon as he releases (dum dum dum)…his college transcripts.

Well, that was a big letdown, wasn’t it? It’s not a “reveal” in any sense of the word. And of course we’ve seen the dude pull this kind of crap before. A serious question for all the RealTrump/World Net Daily fans who read our blog (we know you’re legion): what, exactly, might Obama be squirreling away in these mysterious transcripts? Did he get a C in Philosophy 2? Did he once take a course called “Fascist Dictatorships 101”? Was he a proud, card carrying member of Harvard’s famous Gay Muslim Communist Club? Anyone?

Lest we stick to the very lowest hanging fruit, here’s Allred’s equally earth-shattering “October surprise”: Mitt Romney once testified in the divorce hearings of friend, business partner and Staples CEO Tom Stemberg, telling officials that he was actually a pretty good dad. Yeah, that’s it.

Shocking! Appalling! Petty! Completely meaningless! Pardon us while we editorialize a bit, but we can say with confidence that only one word accurately describes these shameless publicity whores: pathetic.

(We already feel icky for giving them more attention. Our apologies for putting you through this.)

Post-Election: Where Will the Big PR Talent Land?

We’d like to take a moment to return to a great piece posted on Ad Age earlier this week about the post-election scramble for top PR talent in politics.

There’s no doubt that elections often attract the sharpest of the communications bunch. This may have something to do with the fact that campaigns—especially presidential campaigns—also draw from some of the country’s biggest bank accounts.

We’ll let MWW CEO Michael Kempner explain it:

“There’s no better training than a campaign. They’re working under pressure, unforgiving deadlines, speaking to diverse audiences and seeing the media impact with real consequences in every program they execute.”

This makes perfect sense. Who has better experience working with media outlets and personalities across the country (and the world) than the veterans of political campaigns? Of course they’re hot commodities.

Read more

‘Binders Full of Women’ Is a Thing Now (Updated)

Well that didn’t take long, did it?

We’re not going to spend too much time analyzing or fact-checking last night’s debate; you’ll already read more than enough of that business today if you so much as glance at any news feed.

We’re more interested in the meme that emerged, with stunning speed, right before 10 last night–call it Big Bird 2.0 if you must (please don’t). Let’s put it this way: Well before the end of the Hofstra rumble, someone created the “Binders Full of Women” tumblr based on this well-meaning but poorly executed Mitt Romney quip:

“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’” said Romney. “And they brought us whole binders full of women!”

This was Romney’s attempt to boost his standing among female voters by explaining the actions he took back in the day upon realizing that, when he was Governor of Massachusetts, his cabinet didn’t include many women. It was…awkward. Read more

Pizza Hut’s Cheesy ‘Lifetime Supply’ PR Stunt

This week’s political polls show us that the presidential race is heating up. Last week’s first debate pitted a spirited Mitt Romney against a feckless Barack Obama–and it changed the trajectory of the election by facilitating a virtual tie between the two candidates as we enter the final weeks of campaigning.

Our nation remains mired in two unpopular wars and a devastating, prolonged economic recession. And then there is the rest of world, which is increasingly either jobless or on fire. Americans are taking this election seriously, as they should. Pizza Hut, however, is not.

As PR experts we’re concerned about Pizza Hut’s latest publicity stunt, which offers a lifetime of free pizza to any attendee at the town hall debate—to be held at Hofstra University—who asks if the candidates prefer pepperoni or sausage on their pie. If you have a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or an unemployed family member, or if you just happen to care about fellow citizens that you don’t even know for some reason, the humor of this ill-conceived idea may be lost on you. Read more

KitchenAid Apologizes for Insulting Obama’s Grandma

To all those who work with social media: When was the last time we warned you to keep your personal and professional accounts separate? Well, it’s time to make that point again.

During last night’s presidential debate, moments after President Obama mentioned his late grandmother, appliance maker KitchenAid’s official Twitter account sent out the following tweet:

“Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics”

The brand’s account was immediately bombarded with angry responses, and the tweet was swiftly deleted. In its place appeared this apology:

“Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand’s opinion. #nbcpolitics”

Later, Cynthia Soledad, KitchenAid’s Senior Director of Marketing, began sending tweets from @KitchenAidUSA, trying her best to perform some acrobatic damage control:

Read more

Calm Down, Everybody: Big Bird Will Be Fine

We’ll just go ahead and say it: last night’s debate was a big bore. Mitt Romney did quite well, Jim Lehrer did quite poorly, and a few million people became aware of the current President’s sleepwalking problem for the first time. (It is worth noting that, way back in June, Chuck Todd predicted that Obama would probably not win this first debate because “no one has cut his remarks short during his term in office”.)

The night’s most contentious moment, however, clearly concerned none other than Big Bird. When listing public entities that he would stop funding if elected, Romney took a moment to pick on perennial bogeyman PBS, telling Public Broadcasting employee Lehrer that he would have to cut funding for the channel despite the fact that “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.”

The Internet quickly made it a meme, and a predictable number of mildly amusing tweets ensued. So yeah, it was a weird line—but it wasn’t quite accurate. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this is a common problem in presidential debates.)

Unfortunately, we have to ruin everyone’s fun by calling an official end to this non-scandal. Take it away, Sherrie Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop–give CNN’s Soledad O’Brien some of that sweet, sweet damage control!

Read more

<< PREVIOUS PAGENEXT PAGE >>