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Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

Lessons in Media Relations from Derek Jeter

Sure, Derek Jeter is a great athlete…but can he teach us anything about communications and media relations strategy?

Kwittken + Company CEO/friend of the site Aaron Kwittken’s most recent Forbes story says “yes”. In fact, Kwittken goes so far as to call the veteran shortstop “one of the greatest communicators of all time.”

His points:

  • Jeter sidestepped the sports media entirely by announcing his retirement on Facebook (which he primarily used to promote his charity in the past), prompting The Boston Globe to call him “the Yankee you can’t hate
  • When the frenzy around his search for that 3,000th hit got too hot in 2011, he turned not to ESPN but to HBO, which made a documentary about the story:

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Game of Thrones Shares Some Content with U.S. Olympians

Today in Things We Missed This Weekend, HBO’s Game of Thrones took a little extra step to increase the already-insane hype for Season 4′s April 2 debut.

Well before most viewers were settled in to check out the latest trailer ahead of True Detective (which just got really interesting, BTW), the show’s Twitter feed sent a few custom “sigils” to American Olympians who count themselves among its many, many fans.

Here’s the first one, for figurer skater Meryl Davis. We particularly like the co-opting of Twitter bio platitudes (hat tip to Henry David Thoreau):

The hope, of course, was that these athletes would share the custom graphics with their own Twitter/Instagram followers.

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HBO’s New Sitcom Will Entourage the Tech Set

shutterstock_110088764For a quick minute last week we had a theory that Sam Biddle of Valleywag and Evan Spiegel of Snapchat were engaged in a battle of wits to determine who could most successfully make the archetypal Southern California startup dude look like a douchebag.

We quickly deposited that theory in the overflowing “dumb thoughts we had today” box, but now it looks like the guy behind Beavis and Butthead might just beat them both to the punch.

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Hollywood’s Wary Embrace of Big Data

In recent years the movie business has used social data to connect with audiences and stepped up its reliance on quantitative data to forecast box office revenues. However, if data represented a person, that individual may get a seat at L.A.’s trendiest restaurant, but would still be seated in the back room. That was the gist of a Tribeca Film Festival Industry Talks panel on Tuesday in New York.

“There are three countervailing forces at play that we need to balance, namely the artistic creative side, technological advances and commercial considerations”, said Jason Kassin, co-founder and CEO of Film Track, a rights management company.

“Navigating the world with data points is different than it was five years ago”, added Eugene Hernandez, Film Society of Lincoln Center‘s director of digital strategy. The biggest change is the use of sentiment analysis to monitor audience reactions, though the benefits appear mixed:

  • Sentiment-based date is broadly used: “Big data has become socialized”, said Bill Livek, vice chairman and CEO of entertainment measurement company Rentrak. Their customers include not only big studios, but also independent studios and distributors across the country.
  • Social media monitoring yields massive, but imprecise data: Sentiment analysis measures movie reviews, ratings and audience comments. As Stacy Spikes, CEO and co-founder of theatrical subscription service MoviePass noted, “Going to the movies now is a communal experience”. Nevertheless, social media data isn’t projectable, the panelists cautioned.
  • Sentiment analysis can point to the right direction, according to Christina Warren, Mashable’s senior tech analyst. “But since monitoring is mostly done by machine, it’s best to use the tool to help target audiences and markets”, she explained. Livek concurred, adding, “A social media database can drive certain activities, but not content creation.”

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PR Faux Pas: HBO Rep Says Piracy ‘Is a Compliment of Sorts’

Most of the world’s biggest media companies have recently taken some time to endorse or promote the latest anti-piracy campaigns like the so-called “six strikes” law that would use web providers to mess with the service of people who share copyrighted properties.

Despite this fact, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo committed a PR faux pas during an interview with Entertainment Weekly in which he addressed Game of Thrones’s status as the most-pirated show of all time with an effective “meh”. Here’s the money quote:

“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.” (Ed. note: a concluding “bitch!” was strongly implied.)

How does this relate to PR?

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ABC Campaign Calls on Viewers to Help Save Its Own Show

Here’s an interesting twist on the “low-rated cult favorite on life support” trend: the ABC network has created an ad campaign urging fans of its admired but struggling sitcom Happy Endings to help save the show by…you know, watching it live.

It’s almost like a mirror image of the challenge faced by critics’ favorites 30 Rock and Community, whose stars Tina Fey and Joel McHale accused NBC (in classic passive-aggressive style) of failing to properly promote their shows. In those cases, the actors themselves encouraged fans to voice their support via grassroots social media campaigns.

Of course this isn’t really groundbreaking public relations news, but it’s interesting because we’ve never heard of a network pulling a marketing move like this before — and something tells us that it will become more common as the TV business model changes to keep up with every other form of content distribution. Here’s the spot:

There’s also a hashtag and some funny tweets:

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More Brands That Jumped on the Avatar Bandwagon (or Should Have)

Yesterday we posted on Bud Light‘s well-timed decision to offer Facebook fans its own variation on the very viral Human Rights Campaign marriage equality avatar. Now we’d like to showcase some other examples of brands that were, if not quite “bold”, at least attuned to news trends — and the interests of their target audiences. Here are some more branded variations on the avatar:

Equal artificial sweetener: We can’t confirm that the brand itself created this one, but if they didn’t then they certainly missed out on a great opportunity.

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Oreo Agency 360i Just Won HBO’s Social Media Account

Today AdAge brings news that 360i, the digital agency responsible for all those creative Oreo tweets you’ve read so much about this year, will now handle social media marketing for HBO — and this right after we posted on how Game of Thrones always has the best promo swag!

The premium cable giant, which brought its social operations in-house in 2007, chose 360i to create campaigns designed to stir the buzz among fans online. The agency’s team will rep HBO at the same time as the folks at Campfire, the NYC firm responsible for creating several innovative fan engagement campaigns on the channel’s behalf. According to an internal release, Campfire’s latest work for HBO involved the second annual “pledge your allegiance” campaign promoting the release of season 2 on DVD this February.

Click through for a case study video of the release date event, complete with awesome ice sculpture:

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Game of Thrones Still Has the Best Swag

We don’t know if you guys are crazy excited about the third-season premier of HBO‘s mega-hit Game of Thrones, which is less than a week away — but we are!

You may have heard earlier this year (or in 2011 via our sister site AgencySpy) about how GoT‘s marketing/PR teams are absolutely the best, but we’d like to take a moment to remind you why that’s true (and encourage you to check out this awesome print ad one more time). This year the GoT folks followed up on their promo winning streak and even took it up a notch by sending customized “kits” to various celebrities, aka “opinion leaders”, each of whom seemed to follow up by hyping the show on social:

We’re not sure what’s in these boxes besides Season 1 and 2 DVDs and some other assorted goodies, but does that even matter? And have you checked out the totally awesome Join the Realm site, where you can create your own family arms?

Here’s the lesson of this story:

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Sheryl Sandberg’s PR Push: Can Career Women Also Be Working Moms?

Photo by Jakub MosurConfession: we haven’t read Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg‘s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and we probably won’t. But we are very interested in the fierce debate that her recent press tour/PR push has ignited over the role of women in the workplace and the executive suite. It seems to be the most controversial media issue since every single journalist/blogger in the world debated the merits of HBO‘s Girls. We also think it’s relevant to a PR industry that is approximately 70% female.

Why? Because an increasing number of top PR firms will be led by women in the coming years. Sandberg’s thesis as we understand it is that the corporate world (including public relations) has made the act of being both a successful mother and a successful businesswoman incredibly difficult. She argues that success tends to lead to resentment but that, by resisting the urge to lead or “lean in”, many women limit their career opportunities in PR and other fields.

A significant portion of the public feels the same way.

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