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Posts Tagged ‘good PR’

10 Reasons Why Pope Francis Is the Patron Saint of PR

Hate to break it to you, Saint Bernardino of Siena, but Pope Francis is the real patron saint of communications (if not “compulsive gambling” and “respiratory problems”).

Why, you ask? He’s only been Pope for a few months, and he’s already well into the project he’s prepared for his whole life: rebranding the Catholic Church for the 21st century.

The guy is, quite simply, a PR genius. Let’s review 10 reasons why.

1. He named himself after St. Francis of Assisi

He’s the first Pope Francis, and St. Francis was basically the original hippie. Raised rich, he chose to become a beggar, eschew all earthly possessions and live a solitary life communing with nature and straight up talking to animals like a scruffy Dr. Doolittle. You can’t get any more humble or anti-materialist than this dude.

What we’re saying is that the name alone sends a very strong message.

saint_francis_of_assisi_by_jusepe_de_ribera

2. He auctioned off his Harley Davidson for charity

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PR Win: Red Robin Encourages ‘Unbridled Acts’ of Kindness

Red Robin Gourmet BurgersToday in It’s the Small Things News, the manager of a North Carolina branch of burger chain Red Robin scored a big PR win just by being nice to a pregnant customer (and saving her a few bucks in the process).

The story: a man visited the restaurant with his (very) pregnant wife and their young son. As he explained to Consumerist, the  manager saw his family come in and stopped by to chat before their meal arrived; he was “extremely friendly and jokingly asked [the] wife if this was her last meal before heading to the hospital” before comping her entire meal and adding the message “MOM 2 BEE GOOD LUC” to the receipt.

Hearts were warmed all around.

A couple of caveats: We understand that any lower-level employee at a comparable restaurant who pulled a move like this would probably find him or herself filing for unemployment right about now. And of course that $11.50 discount comes right out of Red Robin’s budget. Still, we can’t overstate the PR value of “being a nice guy”. Customer loyalty is worth more than a few extra bucks, right?

In a follow-up post, the manager explains that he didn’t do it for the media attention:

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Netflix Gets Creative With Arrested Development Promos

Netflix Arrested Development Like most of the armchair critics in the civilized world, we regard Fox’s tragic Arrested Development as the second-best sitcom of all time. (Before you object, consider the fact that Seinfeld had nine seasons to develop–and if you even mention Friends, we will unfollow you on Twitter.)

We were both excited and skeptical last year when streaming king Netflix, in something of a PR coup, announced that it would produce an entire season of new episodes including everyone’s favorite characters like ham-lover Carl Weathers and always-capable attorney Barry Zuckercorn (aka The Fonz), who might just get a chance to jump that infamous shark one last time:

This week, Netflix got creative in its efforts to build the hype for Season 4, which will debut some time in 2013. In a sly move uncovered by the experts at SplitSider, Netflix added some of Arrested Development’s greatest fake shows and movies to its Instant Watch collection.

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Cerebrus Capital to Sell Maker of Fatal Rifle

Cerebrus Capital Management describes itself as “one of the world’s leading private investment firms”. The group frequently works with top PR firm Weber Shandwick. Cerebrus also owns Freedom Group, a holding company that includes the gunmaker Bushmaster (the same company that manufactured the weapon used in last week’s horrific Newtown, Connecticut shooting).

Today brings news that Cerebrus plans to sell all assets in Freedom Group in a coordinated act of damage control. We have reason to believe that Weber Shandwick advised Cerebrus to take this route, and we have to say that it was a very good decision.

Private equity firms generally don’t rely too much on public opinion, but pressure to act began building as soon as the public learned of Cerebrus’s significant stake in the nation’s largest gun manufacturer. See, quite a few Americans nursed pension funds directly tied to a company that makes semi-automatic rifles—and they didn’t even know it.

While this move will almost certainly cause Cerebrus to lose money in the short term (let’s not forget the massive profit margins enjoyed by companies that make weapons), we still feel like it’s the right decision, because continued ties to the Freedom Group could discourage future investors.

Cerebrus’s official statement on the matter reads: “We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so”. Yes, we can certainly see why they wouldn’t want to be involved in that debate.

Bloomberg also notes that the father of Cerebrus founder Stephen Feinberg lives in Newtown, but let’s be honest here—it’s all about the money.

PR Win: LEGO Sends Rare Train Set to Sad Young Boy

This, loyal readers, is the kind of positive PR that no campaign, no matter how interactive or innovative, can provide a brand. We somehow missed the story last week, but it remains every bit as adorable:

An 11-year old Massachusetts boy who happens to have Asperger Syndrome, loves train sets and describes himself as “your most loyal LEGO fan” wrote a letter to the LEGO company, telling them a sad tale of saving his allowances for two years so he could buy a limited-edition train set only to discover that it had been discontinued. He bought another model but it just wasn’t the same, so he asked the company’s customer service department whether they might happen to have an extra set hanging around corporate headquarters somewhere.

The company decided to respond in the coolest possible way. While we’re not sure that this move qualifies LEGO as “the BEST company in the world”, we can say without a doubt that this is what incredible customer service looks like. The company letter is excellent, and LEGO deserves all the positive PR:

Humanitarian Cop Hits The Today Show

The New York City police officer behind this heartwarming viral photo/PR win appeared on NBC‘s Today this morning to flesh out his story.

Jennifer Foster, the tourist who snapped the pic, joined him, describing his now-famous decision to buy shoes and socks for a freezing homeless man as “an act of human kindness…he had no intention of receiving any credit for it”. Officer Lawrence DePrimo downplayed his instant celebrity, calling it “surreal and humbling” and saying that he simply did “what any other officer in this city would do”. One has to admire his modesty.

NYPD’s Heartwarming Photo Goes Viral

NYPD Facebook PhotoWe recently reported on the NYPD‘s social media unit and the department’s new-found skill in using Facebook and Twitter to track down criminals. Turns out New York City cops and their spokespeople also know how to use social media to generate some positive PR.

Here’s the story: On November 14, a tourist wandering through Times Square happened upon an officer tending to a barefoot homeless man. According to Officer Lawrence DePrimo, “It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet”–so he decided to stop in a nearby store and buy the guy a new pair of boots. The tourist snapped this photo of DePrimo presenting the boots, shared it, and presto–it went viral, quickly accumulating 350,000 likes, 90,000 shares and 22,000 comments on the department’s Facebook page.

As the photo made its way around the Internet thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and others, thousands voiced support for the NYPD–even those who “have a grudge against law enforcement everywhere”. In a follow-up interview with The New York Times, DePrimo said he keeps the receipt in his pocket “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse”. Some commenters wondered whether the picture had been staged, but it still looks like a big PR win to us.

We understand why the NYPD would be very cautious when it comes to social media, but they’re clearly learning: A quick glance at the department’s photo stream reveals pics of the Macy’s parade as well as visits to senior centers and schools for autistic children alongside the usual gun seizures and awards ceremonies.

What do we think? Was this pic a fluke, or is the NYPD learning how to use social media to improve its image with the public?

Tech-Savvy Girl Scouts Break Cookie Sales Records

In case you thought the social media revolution was most important for giving political candidates a new way to pander and pundits a new way to argue, think again–turns out our new “everyone’s connected” world also enables the sale of even more Thin Mints, Samoas and Peanut Butter Patties than ever before!

That’s right–The Girl Scouts of America defied economic trends by breaking all sales records for their iconic cookies in 2012 thanks to a combination of technology and social media resources. In total, the Scouts earned $800 million by selling 214 million boxes–an impressive “143 boxes per small businesswoman.”

While product sales manager Amanda Hamaker credits public familiarity with the brand and its mission, we think the big total might have something to do with the ingenuity of dedicated scouts like the young lady who sold “2,000 boxes this year by reaching out to people as far away as Ireland on Facebook” or the genius who created the “Girl Scout Cookie Locator” iPhone app. The Scouts have yet to endorse direct online sales, but imagine what their numbers might be once they take that fateful step!

We’d like to celebrate the Scouts’ victory, but there is an election tomorrow. To all you undecided voters out there, we pose the ultimate question: where do the candidates stand on Girl Scout Cookies? President Obama, never one to court controversy, took a moment during a campaign event this summer to officially endorsed the ever-popular Thin Mint.

And yet, with only one day left before the election, we’ve yet to hear from his challenger. What’s your choice, Mr. Romney? Do you prefer the Shortbreads? The Lemonades? The Dulce de Leches? America needs to know!

Twitter Fight: Orbitz vs. Priceline

Today in social media brand wars, two longtime competitors face off on Twitter…with (sort of) hilarious results. In case you didn’t know, both @Priceline and @Orbitz claim to offer travelers the lowest available prices on tickets, rental cars and other accessories by “negotiating” with providers.

Priceline recently started an election-themed “Negotiator for President” promo campaign with the usual prizes and such–and Orbitz ran a similar “Vacation Party” campaign. Let the social media mockery begin:

It only got sillier from there. Read more

Hurricane a Big PR Win for…The MTA?

Yes, we’re still a little overwhelmed by all the Sandy stories, but we’d like to bring you another example of a brand that scored a PR win during the storm. This story is even more relevant because the brand in question, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), has a generally terrible reputation–the public almost universally sees it and the crucial service it provides as a necessary evil (again, we don’t have any nifty links, so readers outside the NYC area will just have to trust us on this).

And yet, a very interesting Buzzfeed piece reveals the organization’s up-to-the-minute social media documentation of the Sandy crisis and the public’s overwhelmingly positive response.

The MTA’s official Twitter feed, @MTAInsider, quickly provided information on service outages and changes well into the night each day this week, posting helpful resources like a constantly updated subway map. The feed also reported on less popular developments, like the fact that the group’s previously waived fees would go back into effect tonight at midnight. Even more impressive were the feed’s many links to the revealing, horrifying and sometimes beautiful photographs featured on its Flickr stream (with accompanying video clips).

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