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Posts Tagged ‘Ford’

Detroit’s Gamble Could Be the PR Move Motor City Needs

motor city casino

Is this Detroit’s final bet for a fixed city?

Back in December, we brought you a story concerning the dire need for PR in Detroit. A plea to the public may be the only thing to rescue this once thriving epicenter of commerce and really fine music.

The government has failed it. The auto industry has failed it. And now the folks of Detroit are $18 million in debt with only one ironic source of hope — gambling.

According to the Wall Street JournalDetroit’s three casinos pull in some nice coin, which is what was offered as collateral in the 2009 negotiations with some big banks to secure lower interest rates on its excruciating debt. And that forces us to re-ask the same question: where is the PR?

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Mediabistro Course

Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

Presentation Writing: Design and DeliveryLearn how to use storytelling techniques and visual content to create and deliver successful pitches and presentations! Starting August 6, Amanda Pacitti, the manager of learning at Time Inc., will teach you the best practices for presentations, from using software like Prezi and Powerpoint, to writing your script, and using images, audio, and video to drive your points. Register now! 

‘McDonald’s’ Apologizes for Unapproved Ad that Pokes Fun at Mental Health PSAs

This past winter, Hill Holiday launched a massive “Happier Boston” campaign on behalf of Samaritan, an effort aimed at lowering suicide rates in the city of Boston (which has suffered an increased suicide rate over the past decade). So, at first glance, riders on Boston’s Metro train system — “The T” — may have mistaken the ad at left for a genuine mental health PSA.

Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the woman depicted in the image is not suffering from depression or anxiety, but from the shame that comes with an over-abundance of love for McDonald’s Big Mac. The ad reads: “You’re not alone. Millions of people love the Big Mac.”

The 800-number provided on the poster connects directly to McDonald’s corporate office, which, considering the public’s less-than-fuzzy feelings about the ad, probably didn’t result in many amused phone calls.

McDonald’s apologized for the ad, and explained that the company never approved it for public release:

We can confirm this ad was not approved by McDonald’s. And, as soon as we learned about it, we asked that it be taken down immediately. We have an approval process in place, with our marketing and advertising agencies, to ensure that all advertising content is consistent with our brand values. Regrettably, in this incident, that process was not followed. We sincerely apologize for this error.

Arnold, the agency responsible for the ad, released this statement:

Arnold apologizes for its mistake to McDonald’s and to anyone who was offended by the ad. McDonald’s did not approve the ad, and its release was our unintended error. We’ve addressed the issue and have improved our approval process to ensure this does not happen in the future.

The poster was dreamed up as part of a larger (and still unapproved) campaign that spoofs stereotypical subway ads. The personal injuries lawyer poster promises to “get you the sausage you deserve”, while the continuing education parody reads, “It’s never too late for an Angus Bacon Cheese.” Both of which seem, at least to us, like they may have drawn a bit less ire.

This is the second time in the past several days that an unapproved ad released to the public went a little too far, resulting in a PR headache for both the agency responsible and the company being advertised. Earlier this month, Ford found itself in damage control mode after its agency leaked an ad featuring cartoon versions of the Kardashian sisters tied up and gagged in the back of a Ford Figo.

While some industry professionals feel that everyone just needs to lighten up when it comes to “offensive” scam ads (ads released without client approval), we tend to agree a bit more with AdAge columnist Ken Wheaton that such unapproved ads, especially when they rub the public the wrong way, do less to boost creativity and more to damage brands and undermine agency credibility. While it’s nice to imagine everyone “lightening up” and uniting in support of creativity and a sense of humor, until they actually do, an offended public is an offended public and there’s nothing good about having your brand attached to that.

Coke Clarifies: Social Buzz Complements Long-Term Sales

You’ve probably heard that everyone’s talking about Coca-Cola‘s social media reveal this week. According to the soft drink giant, the fact that more people are discussing its brand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube doesn’t necessarily mean that more of them are buying Coke products. But maybe “How many people bought a Coke after retweeting a call to action?” is the wrong question to ask.

In an effort to clarify its points and counter the media’s collective freakout, Coke’s SVP of integrated marketing Wendy Clark wrote a blog post arguing that social does, in fact, play a large role in boosting brand perception and audience engagement–which leads to more sales.

Her point, of course, is that the fact that data can’t directly link the number of comments on a Facebook post to the number of people buying Coke does not diminish the value of said content. This kind of “buzz” is only one part of Coke’s extensive branding/PR puzzle, which uses earned, shared, paid and owned media to encourage the brand’s ultimate goal: driving consumers to buy more soda in the long run.

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5 Great 2012 Instagram Branding Campaigns

InstagramThere’s been a bit of drama on the social media photo-sharing front recently, hasn’t there? We didn’t spend too much time following the playground Twitter vs. Instagramfilter fight” that had tech bloggers wondering which property would come out on top or the recent outrage over new privacy policies–and we still think Instagram will be the visual branding tool of choice for the foreseeable future.

On that note, we thought we’d highlight a few  successful Instagram projects from 2012 via brands that know how to do visual PR.

(Quite a few brands have great Instagram accounts, but for the purposes of this post we only considered theme-driven branding campaigns.)

Five names that stood out in 2012:

  1. Ben and Jerry’s
  2. Ford
  3. Burberry
  4. Urban Outfitters/Free People
  5. Bergdorf Goodman

Click through for some notes on each:

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Will Americans Buy into Energy-Efficient Cars?

The American public has had a long and complicated relationship with the automobile.

Cars once symbolized freedom, rebellion and adventure, and the open road reached out to all of us: rebellious teenagers, vacationing suburban families, slick hot rod enthusiasts, rootless counter-culture drifters and middle-aged husbands alike.

Then things changed.

The Ford Mustang, the classic Cadillac and macho GTO took a back seat to more energy-efficient cars made by employees living on the other side of the planet. Foreign-built cars were more reliable, less expensive and–most importantly–got better gas mileage. The American automobile industry has never been the same. Read more

Explosions, Car Chases and Cupcakes: Jack Bauer Reps Acer

Kiefer Sutherland is no stranger to the world of advertising — he’s done voice-overs for the likes of Apple, Ford and, most recently, Axe Body Spray. But in this new ad for Taiwanese PC-maker Acer, directed by Stink‘s Ivan Zacharias, Sutherland had to do a bit more than read a few lines in a studio booth. Here the actor channels his best-known character, dodging explosions and interrogating some shady third parties about a matter of utmost importance: cupcake baking.

According to AdAge, Acer Global Marketing Director Martin Schellekens said in a statement that the goal of the ad is to show how the brand’s S5 Ultrabook helps its users “explore a different side of themselves.” The campaign will reportedly also include other characters going “beyond their limits.”

While we look forward to seeing who those characters might be, and what hilarious endgames they try to achieve (James Bond deals with a bridezilla, perhaps?), we’re happy to settle for Kiefer’s explosive baking adventures for now.

Voters to Pols: TV Attack Ads Are Soooooo 2008

Negative election season ads are about as American as Ford trucks. We don’t necessarily like it when politicians interrupt our favorite sitcoms and sporting events with inflammatory messages, but we seem to accept the fact that it’s going to happen every other November, right? Well, maybe not.

The 2012 election will be the most expensive in history. By the time it’s through, an estimated $6 billion will be spent on various PR efforts by presidential and congressional candidates, and most of that money will go to buying time for TV ads. The problem? Fewer and fewer Americans are actually paying attention.

According to a Say Media study covered in Ad Week, the number of potential voters who watch live TV is steadily decreasing as more consumers watch video on their own time via DVR and streaming services. This trend only heightens the challenges for political PR teams desperate to reach undecided voters (is there really such a thing?).

Gee, we can’t imagine why Americans would get sick of commercials like this one:

Or this one: Read more

Dr. Seuss, Branding Genius

The doctor is inToday in unexpected nostalgia: By the time they come of age, most American children have in some way experienced the multimillion dollar brand that is the estate of writer/illustrator Theodore Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Multiple generations got to know the good doctor through his colorful, award-winning children’s books, TV specials and a string of hand- and computer-animated films of varying critical and commercial success.

Anyone with a soft spot for Seuss’s work will get a kick out of this online exhibit, recently made available by the Library of the University of California, San Diego. His instantly recognizable visual brand shines through in a series of amusing pre-war ads for companies as disparate as Ford, NBC, Ajax, GE and Standard Oil. Like contemporary Walt Disney, Suess knew that there was no better way to humanize a brand than with adorably anthropomorphic creatures; he was a master of developing a unique visual signature that somehow tied back to the product in question.

Does a cynical age embodied by the increasingly sarcastic tone of Disney and DreamWorks properties still allow for the whimsy of a Seuss? We hope so.

Generation Y: Brands Must Be Honest, Engaging

Anyone struggling to understand Generation Y, a.k.a. the millennials, and their relationship to brands has a lot of work ahead of him.

This generation is not defined by technology; it is very open, but distrustful; and it is at the center of a cultural shift. That info is among the findings in a new report by Onesixtyfourth, a New York-based brand consultancy. The sociological findings help explain the worldview of many millennials, defined as young people born between 1980 and1995.

To simplify: they like engaging brands, ones that are fluid and changing, and those that are open and honest with consumers. A brand has to stand for something. It has to own up to its mistakes. And it also has to want to make a difference in the world.

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Research Finds Women Really Like Gaming Apps

The Sims Social, a new online game, is coming to Facebook.

Research over the past three months conducted by Women at NBCU’s Brand Power Index found that more women than men have at least one gaming app on their smartphone; 75 percent of women versus 67 percent of men. Women be gaming!

Moreover, the research showed that those brands that offered games during that time period saw a spike in their Brand Index score. For instance, Stouffer’s launched a game on Facebook, “Farmer’s Harvest” in Farmville, with promotions and moved up from number 363 to number 303.

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