Posts Tagged ‘Beyoncé’
Over the past few months we’ve published a couple of posts indicating that publishing giant Condé Nast is adopting a new approach to PR and communications. Today we bring you more evidence of that fact via our sister site FishbowlNY: after parting ways with publicist Maurie Perl and shaking up its internal communications team, Condé Nast just named longtime Vogue editor Anna Wintour as its new “artistic director”–a role created just for her. Company CEO Charles Townsend explains:
The establishment of an artistic director is a reflection of our commitment to preserve and champion all that exists ‘Only at Condé Nast.’ In today’s business environment, it is critical to promote and foster our established creative authority. This is the ideal time to leverage Anna’s extraordinary vision and leadership to amplify and elevate the profile of Condé Nast U.S. both domestically and abroad. Anna is an icon in the worlds of fashion, business and the arts, she has the foresight and wisdom to influence the major trends of our society and is respected globally as an accomplished businesswoman.
So she’s going to use her famous name and face to promote the brand and its products via the power of association? Sounds a lot like a celebrity spokesperson to us. Apologies to Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Will.I.Am., Alicia Keys, etc.: this whole “big-name creative director” trend may be much simpler than we thought.
Something tells us this wasn’t what Michael Bloomberg had in mind when he started the “Demand a Plan” campaign–but it has potential. Hip-hop mogul Michael “Blue” Williams, whose clients include Cee-Lo and Outkast and who doesn’t claim to be the world’s best manager despite choosing the Twitter handle @TheBestManager, has proposed a campaign called “Guns for Greatness” designed to reduce the number of firearms on New York streets by offering “mentorships” and free Beyoncé/Jay-Z concert tickets to anyone who turns his weapons in to the police department.
Sure, it sounds a little ridiculous at first, but according to a letter Williams sent to the NYPD earlier this week, he’s already three quarters of the way toward his goal of raising $100,000 to fund the initiative.
Beyoncé, Jay-Z and the NYPD have yet to sign off on the proposal, but top cop Ray Kelly did tell the New York Daily News that “We want to get as many guns off the streets, and if this works, we’d like to support it.”
We all know that public relations can get a little…insane at times. Bad behavior, lawsuits, internal leaks…we’ve got it all, right? Sure we do–but when it comes to crazy we can’t even compete with China. A “shocking expose” first reported by the People’s Republic’s Caixin magazine and translated by the Tech in Asia blog reveals a seedy PR underworld in which firms earn millions every year on the strength of bribery and blackmail–all committed in the name of media relations and reputation management.
The primary players in this sordid saga are two firms called Yage Times and XinXun Media. What did these firms do, exactly? They specialized in getting negative news stories about clients removed from prominent websites–but it all goes much deeper than that.
Not only would these companies bribe site runners to delete “unflattering” posts–they also paid their friends in IT to have related search terms blocked on Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google. Imagine entering “Beyoncé lip sync” or “Burger King horse meat” into your browser and coming up with a big fat nothing and you’ll get the general idea.
Yet, despite all this immeasurably positive publicity, Bey’s PR team didn’t feel like the next-day coverage was quite as “flattering” as it could/should have been. You’d think anyone would love a post like BuzzFeed‘s “33 Fiercest Moments from Beyoncé’s Halftime Show“–the page has 33 thousand likes, for God’s sake. But the singer’s rep wasn’t happy, and she quickly responded by calling and emailing the site to “respectfully” request that its editors remove or replace seven of the post’s 30 still shots.
BuzzFeed’s editors, clearly annoyed at this nitpickery, decided to highlight the anal retentive PR request by re-posting the email along with the very pictures singled out as “unflattering”. While the site “redacted” the publicist’s specific email address, the post includes her full name and company–so any haters with time on their hands can easily email her.
Our question for readers: Who’s in the wrong here?
Did BuzzFeed overreact by brazenly “shooting the messenger”, or should the PR team have expected this kind of response to a completely unreasonable request?
Whatever your opinion, we think it’s safe to say the move backfired.
So Beyoncé held an unusual press conference today (her first since the lip syncing “controversy” broke). After asking all the media folk gathered in the audience to stand, she belted out an a capella rendering of the “Star Spangled Banner”, effectively telling her haters to shut the hell up before asking attendees if they might possibly have any questions (the final “bitch?” was all but implied). Here’s a crappy capture:
During the following question and answer session, Beyoncé explained that she didn’t have time to rehearse with the orchestra for the inauguration and did not feel comfortable “taking a risk” and singing without a pre-recorded vocal track (because it was “all about the President” anyway). So she sang live while the public heard the backing track, a practice that is “very common in the music industry.”
While she was technically lip syncing at the event, Beyoncé thought she’d take a moment to remind everyone in attendance today that she is perfectly capable of singing the National Anthem, thank you very much.
She just made a lot of people, ourselves included, look kinda dumb for making a big deal about this, didn’t she?
In case you aren’t a tech blogger, this morning’s hot story concerned the future of Research in Motion, one of America’s “most hated” brands.
Yes, people still get excited about smartphone companies that have fallen way behind the curve. Need proof? Journalists from every major publication showed up to cover today’s new product roll-out event (while sniggering under their breath). RIM, famous only for producing the BlackBerry, used the event as an opportunity to rebrand itself as…wait for it…BlackBerry.
The public already saw the new BlackBerry 10 before today’s big roll-out thanks to a badly staged PR stunt at a November Lakers game, but right now we’re more interested in the company’s decision to name “longtime Apple user” Alicia Keys as its global creative director. What will she do to revitalize the brand? What will she tell her 1.6 million Instagram fans, who still can’t use BlackBerries to follow her account? And won’t she get annoyed when everyone starts comparing her to Beyoncé? We certainly would. She didn’t even play a song this morning, by the way. We feel slightly robbed.
Yesterday Coca-Cola finally addressed its nemesis PepsiCo by laying its promotional cards on the table and declaring: “We’ll see your Beyoncé and raise you a Taylor Swift.”
Like the Beyoncé deal, Swift/Diet Coke will be a “long-term” relationship between everyone’s favorite low-calorie soda and everyone’s favorite musical memoirist that will integrate Swift “into all key marketing efforts” for Diet Coke’s Stay Extraordinary campaign. Her latest album title, Red, even complements the brand. It’s almost like she knew this would happen…
We think we get Coca-Cola’s strategy here: Swift, despite being one of the world’s biggest pop stars, has a reputation for being close to her (overwhelmingly female) fan base. The video she released announcing the partnership and encouraging supporters to visit Diet Coke’s Facebook page is a good example of this personal branding aesthetic in action:
So, you may have heard about the scandal of the day: Beyoncé did not perform the National Anthem live at yesterday’s inauguration. Quelle horreur! You think we’re joking, but people have been debating this online: Is she a horrible person? How should she phrase her sincere apology?
We’re not big fans or anything, but we don’t quite understand why some people think this is a big deal–and we certainly don’t expect any apologetic follow-up appearances. It’s not like she’s Milli Vanilli, who weren’t anywhere near the studio where their “hits” were produced. Even Yo-Yo Ma, acclaimed cellist who obviously could have played it live, chose not to play it live in 2009.
Still, she is a pop star, and public perception is very important to her career. We have a feeling Lady Gaga would have made a joke out of the fact that she wasn’t singing live–which is probably why no one invited her to perform.
The biggest story in the global branding game over the past few months was the innovative partnership between Pepsi and Beyoncé–a deal that gives an unprecedented degree of creative power to the world’s biggest pop star. Mark Bittman may not think it’s OK for celebrities to sell soda, but that won’t stop Pepsi’s new frontwoman from dominating America’s biggest PR stunt, The Super Bowl.*
One thing you almost certainly won’t hear Beyoncé discussing in 2013: the relationship between soft drinks and obesity. A certain other soda, on the other hand, just announced plans to address the issue directly.
This surprises us as much as anybody, but Pepsico‘s mortal enemy Coca-Cola just took a first step into the public health fray by creating a campaign designed to address America’s obesity epidemic–all in the company’s own best interests, of course.