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Posts Tagged ‘Drew Kerr’

T.G.I. Friday’s Hypes End of the World Party Campaign

T.G.I. Friday's Based on our Twitter and Facebook news feeds, we know that everyone is laughing at those poor souls who really do believe that tonight marks the end of the world (as we know it). We feel fine, though, because we’ve caught wind, via Drew Kerr at the New York Observer, of campaigns from brands that unexpectedly used the coming apocalypse as an amusing promo opportunity–most prominently T.G.I. Friday’s.

The re-heated dinner chain’s press release is really something: As “a brand born to celebrate the end of the work week, Friday’s felt it had an obligation to pay attention to the prediction” and to celebrate the end of…well, everything. The brand is going all out with this campaign, holding special “Last Friday” celebrations complete with Mayan-themed décor and drinks in Miami, LA and other cities.

The accompanying video is also funny in a couple of ways:

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Mark Cuban Clarifies His ‘Don’t Hire a PR Firm’ Comment

Entrepreneur published a 12-point list of tips for startups, courtesy of Mark Cuban, that included at number 11: “Never hire a PR firm.”

Well now you done did it Mark Cuban, because, of course, the PR industry will respond. On Forbes, Flatiron Communications’ exec/blogger Peter Himler (also a blogger) notes, “Trust me, Mark, many startups, especially those on the brink of losing their media virginity, will derive and be thankful for the considerable benefit a smart PR firm can bring to the mix.” In another article, Himler agrees with a couple of Cuban’s points, but shoots down a few others.

Four Corners Communication’s Drew Kerr also goes in on his blog, noting the media relations know-how that a publicist can bring, particularly when you look at the sample pitch that Cuban himself used.

“Weirdly enough, the subject line Cuban uses in his sample letter to the press — Tracking Traffic to Reduce Vacancies — looks like spam or a press release,” Kerr writes. Zing!

Cuban later clarified his comment further on his own blog, bringing up the cost to a startup of hiring a PR firm and the PR needs of a small business that’s just getting its footing. And today, the PRSAY blog has a Q&A with Cuban.

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Mashable Editor Is So Excited About Press Releases

The press release.  Nothing generates more debate and confusion in the industry and adjacent professions than the purpose of the not-so-humble press release. But what about the language within, and the use and abuse of executive and “expert” quotes to bolster such incredible stories?

Mashable’s business and marketing editor Todd Wasserman found so many releases peppered with the word “excited” he decided to Tumbl a daily stream of them–with links to PRNewswire and BusinessWire–on “Everyone’s Excited in Press Releases.”

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MTV to Abercrombie: That’s “A Clever PR Stunt”

Abercrombie & Fitch scored major press today by making an IR announcement stating that they will pay the Jersey Shore cast to outfit themselves in a different brand of clothing. MTV responded by calling it “a clever PR stunt.” That is correct.

By calling out the Jersey Shore cast, the retailer has appeared in the news pages of just about every major outlet today, alongside talk of its positive earnings outcome. (Stocks took a dip today but look to be on the upswing after hours.)

Just to make sure audiences and analysts didn’t miss the news, Abercrombie’s CEO Mike Jeffries made sure to ask during a conference call with analysts, “Is no one going to ask about the Situation?”

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Lionsgate to Movie Critics: No Advance Reviews of ‘Killers’

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Is Lionsgate trying to protect its upcoming film, “Killers,” from what it thinks will be bad reviews?

The studio announced it will only pre-sceen the film to press on the day of its release, June 4th, an uncommon move for a mass-market film. Instead, Lionsgate would rather have everyday folk post their own thoughts on the firm via social media.

“We want to capitalize on the revolution in social media by letting audiences and critics define this film concurrently,” Lionsgate said in a statement.

The statement continued:

In today’s socially connected marketplace, we all have the ability to share feedback instantly around the world. In keeping with this spirit, Lionsgate and the filmmakers want to give the opportunity to moviegoing audiences and critics alike to see “Killers” simultaneously, and share their thoughts in the medium of their choosing. We felt that this sense of immediacy could be a real asset in the marketing of “Killers.”

Four Corners Communications president Drew Kerr called the statement, “a masterpiece of redirected gobbledygook that will be hard to top for a long time to come.” What’s your take?

Is It Wise For Toyota PR To Attack ABC News Segment?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

As TVNewser reports, Toyota yesterday launched a PR blitz aimed squarely at ABC News.

“ABC News and investigative reporter Brian Ross have been delivering the most prominent television reports on Toyota’s recent electronic acceleration system issues,” writes TVNewser’s Kevin Allocca.

Toyota issued a press release titled, “Comprehensive Analysis Raises Concerns About Gilbert Congressional Testimony, ABC News Segment.”

Professor David Gilbert of Southern Illinois University appeared in the ABC News segment on Feb. 22 that led to widespread awareness of issues with Toyota cars.

In addition, the company held a news conference at their Torrance, Calif., U.S. headquarters, where company officials, an independent consultant and a Stanford University engineer analyzed Gilbert’s experiment and concluded: “No way, no how could this happen in the real world on its own,” reports The Washington Post.

We asked several crisis PR professionals what they thought of the strategy.

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Ari Fleischer Handling Mark McGwire Steroid Admission

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Former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer is in the sports PR business, in a big way. First came news he was handling the NCAA College Football Bowl Championship Series, or BCS, which continues to face scrutiny from fans who would prefer a playoff system.

Now, Fleischer is handling Mark McGwire as he embarks on his steroid use admission tour. The Times outlined the process as it unfolded yesterday, from statement to several phone interviews, to a full sit down interview with Bob Costas on MLB network.

“I like the door-to-door strategy, in that he is telling his story in long form and in less confrontational settings,” Kevin Sullivan, a former White House communications director who has his own agency, told the Times.

While it took Pete Rose twenty years to admit he placed bets on baseball, McGwire doesn’t have that same luxury as he had to come clean before he begins the season as a hitting coach with his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Drew Kerr, president and founder of Four Corners Communications, has represented sports brands including the Sporting News. He told PRNewser that while “it takes guts” to go through with the admission, this admission is challenging because “this is a career” rather than a “one time incident.” The same sports writers were around back then said Kerr, referring to McGwire’s hey-day in the mid and late nineties, and “their memories are long.”

Also, there is a corporate connection to McGwire doing his first televised sit down with Bob Costas, as pointed out by the Times: “Costas is represented by IMG, which owns half of Fleischer’s company.”

2010 Predictions: Bad Pitch Blog Edition

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For a “lighter” take on 2010 PR industry predictions, we turned to Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan, founders of “The Bad Pitch Blog.”

On business prospects for 2010:

Kevin: According to economists, we’ll be eating Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner until 2015. But I think PR business will be flat and any growth will be from companies simply doing more with less. Translation: longer hours for the same pay — if you’re lucky. But it’s how these things go in the service industry. It keeps us all thinking, reinventing and learning.

Richard: I will be up in 2010. Thanks to Viagra.

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Kevin: Let me guess, you’ll be stiff competition?

On PR M&A activity in 2010:

Kevin: There will be more mergers and acquisitions in general. TV will see the biggest shakeup. Perhaps We and SyFy channels will merge and become WyFy? OK, probably not, but TV’s decline is following newspapers in short order.

Richard: Nothing will merge because no one has the money to spend on an agency. Many will close. Some will merge with small shops. Some will do both. PS: Big success story: AOL! Yeah.

Kevin: You mean “Aol.”

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Richard: Oops. They could sue.

Kevin: I see more lawsuits in 2010!

Richard: Hmm. Yeah, it’s the new blackmail.

The biggest PR story of 2010 will be…

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“Douche Suit” Between Ronn Torossian and Drew Kerr Settled

drewkerr2.jpeg 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian sued Four Corners Communications founder Drew Kerr last December for $20 million. Torossian alleged that Kerr bought www.rontorossianpr.com, which at the time directed visitors to a douche ad, PRNewser reported at the time. Now, it seems the lawsuit has been settled, with no money changing hands. The website, however, has been taken down.

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In perhaps one of the stranger decisions written by the Supreme Court of the State of New York:

Moreover, to the extent that a statement that Mr. Torossian is a “douche” or “douchebag” can be inferred from the plaintiffs actions, this is also not a statement of fact, but rather, is one of opinion (see generally Gross v. New York Times Co., 82 NY2d146[1993]). An opinion, which is a person’s thought, belief or inference, is not capable of being proven false.

While the “douche suite” seems to have been settled, Drew Kerr has “filed a lawsuit of his own, taking on his insurance company to recover his legal fees defending himself against Torossian,” reports CityFile.

[h/t Gawker]

Michael Jackson’s Former Publicist Michael Levine Incurs Fan Wrath Over Opportunistic Pitch

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About an hour after TMZ.com first reported the news of Michael Jackson’s death yesterday, PRNewser received the following statement from Michael Levine, founder of agency Levine Communications Office:

As someone who served as Michael Jackson’s publicist during the 1st child molestation incident, I must confess I am not surprised by today’s tragic news. Michael has been on an impossibly difficult and often self-destructive journey for years. His talent was unquestionable but so too was his discomfort with the norms of the world. A human simply can not withstand this level of prolonged stress.

The Twitter reaction to the statement has been overwhelmingly negative. As Four Corner Communications founder and president Drew Kerr noted on his blog:

Instead of doing the classy thing and taking the high road, he belly-flopped right into the mud. Wow. Couldn’t the guy just stick with nice things to say about his former client instead of playing backstabbing armchair shrink?

Nonetheless, Levine certainly achieve his goal of getting some ink, as the statement was picked up by the Associated Press, NPR and Perez Hilton, among other outlets. Levine has not responded to a PRNewser request to elaborate on his comments as of the time of this post.

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