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Posts Tagged ‘Livestrong’

INTERVIEW: Ellen Barry, New PR Brand Champion for LIVESTRONG

livestrong mantra

Last week, we brought you a story on the brand re-awakening of a known advocacy team based in Austin known as LIVESTRONG.

Oh sure, you may have heard about the place. And you may recall the tumult caused by its founder a few years back. However, when you think about an iconic yellow bracelet, does anyone consider the magnanimity this organization has done (even still)?

What about the more than $500 million it raised to date in the fight against cancer? DYK 82% of those funds have gone directly to support its programs and services for survivors? Its numerous programs and partnerships on behalf of cancer survivors? Nothing, huh?

This is precisely why LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman has hired a stalwart for branding and perception management, Ms. Ellen Barry, executive vice president of strategic communications for LIVESTRONG.

And that’s why we reached out to her instantly and asked for an interview. Guess what? She’s after the jump… Read more

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! 

Jonah Lehrer Can’t Save His Reputation Now

Jonah LehrerAt first the Jonah Lehrer plagiarism story may feel a little too “inside the media” for its own good–but it’s a very relevant case study for anyone involved in PR and reputation management.

In short, Lehrer was a promising essayist/journalist/public speaker whose career crumbled after a few investigative writers discovered that he had not only copied and re-printed sections of his own work (which were published by different companies, thereby violating copyright laws) but also copied from other blogs and completely invented elements like quotes from Bob Dylan.

Now for the lesson in crisis comm: Lehrer’s first response to the controversy was denial. He eventually admitted to plagiarizing himself and inventing the Dylan quotes and lost his various media gigs, effectively killing his credibility. Today brings news of the first step in his rehabilitation campaign: he was hired to speak on his own misdeeds at a Knight Foundation journalism conference in Miami.

The journalists on Twitter aren’t having any of it, though.

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Roll Call: LIVESTRONG, Shout! Factory, Outbrain and More

The LIVESTRONG Foundation announced the appointments of Robyn Burchfiel as vice president of major gifts and Cameron Krier as director of government relations. Burchfiel comes to the Foundation with a wide range of experience in major gift fundraising and corporate management from her previous roles as director of gift and estate planning and director of leadership gifts at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Krier’s expertise in governmental affairs comes from a career devoted to public service. As vice president for federal affairs, advocacy and public policy for the Texas Hospital Association, she specialized in leading the development and implementation of federal legislative strategy for more than 450 members. (Release)

Jeffrey Thompson has been named vice president of digital strategy and business development at Shout! Factory. He had been VP of digital strategy and business development at Conde Nast. In the newly created role, Thompson will lead development of digital strategies and digital video partnerships to continue growing Shout! Factory’s cross-platform initiatives that leverage its content curation abilities. He reports to company co-founder and president Garson Foos. (THR)

Kate Solinsky was named senior director of brands and agencies at online content discovery platform Outbrain Inc. She had previously been account director at Time Inc. (Revolving Door)

Russell Peck, campaign manager for North Carolina’s newly elected Governor Pat McCrory, joins Mercury Public Affairs as a senior vice president. Peck expands Mercury’s network in the South, opening a new office for the firm in Raleigh, NC. Prior to his work with the McCrory campaign, Russell served as the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party. Mercury is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. (UnderTheDome)

Lance Armstrong’s Confession: A PR Win for Oprah?

Lance ArmstrongIn a breaking story that will surprise very few, sources close to Lance Armstrong confirm that he used his exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey (taped yesterday) to admit that he took illegal, performance-enhancing substances throughout his cycling career–and that he plans to testify against officials who “encouraged” the practice.

Even as Armstrong confessed to what pretty much everyone suspected, he also seems to have hedged a bit, using the “everybody was doing it” defense to argue that he was not, in fact, a doping “ringleader”. Given his extremely aggressive PR efforts in denying all relevant accusations for years, we’re not quite sure anyone will buy that line–but he clearly made a strategic decision in the interest of saving what’s left of his multimillion dollar reputation. By testifying against others involved in the scandal, he hopes to overcome his lifelong ban from competitive sports so he can continue to compete in “triathalons and running events” while raising money for his charity.

This is obviously a big story, and some within the industry see it as a major PR win for Oprah, whose influence has been slipping of late as her OWN Network struggles to gain viewers and seeks media attention via moves like a partnership with The Huffington Post. Oprah clearly aims to make the most of the interview–she’s splitting it into two parts, and directly after its conclusion she tweeted:

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Nike (Finally) Drops Lance Armstrong

Looks like public opinion has turned decisively against Lance Armstrong. According to a statement issued today, prime sponsor Nike (NYSE: NKE) officially terminated its contract with the cycling star.

Nike’s reversal of support for the embattled biker came after a report released yesterday indicated thatKathy LeMond–wife of that other American cycling legend Greg LeMond–testified under oath that, in a separate suit filed against Armstrong in 2006, Nike coughed up a $500,000 payoff to former Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) president Hein Verbruggen in order to cover up a positive Armstrong drug test.

Another day, another aftershock stemming from the reams of evidence made public by the USADA.

One bit of silver lining in this dark cloud: the sporting goods behemoth (and extremely spendy sponsor of countless athletes and causes) will continue supporting Lance’s Livestrong foundation: Read more

Lance Armstrong Doping Gambit: Blame Big Tobacco

Bonked. Cooked. Whatever bike racing term you use, it now applies to the reputation of Lance Armstrong and, more sadly, to the reputation of his 15-year-old cancer advocacy organization, The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF, or Livestrong).

Today the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a statement and a collection of documents detailing the extent of its conspiracy investigation against Armstrong, the entirety of which is to be sent to the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the governing body that oversees the Tour de France.

That’s not to say Armstrong isn’t attempting to fight back: Just this morning, USA Today reported that lawyer Tim Herman sent a letter to the USADA as an obvious “see what sticks” damage control tactic, writing: “This reasoned decision will be a farce, written by USADA with the significant assistance of lawyers from one of Big Tobacco’s favorite law firms at a time when Lance Armstrong is one of America’s leading anti-tobacco advocates. While USADA can put lipstick on a pig, it still remains a pig.”

That’s a bit of a wild conspiracy theory there, no?

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End of an Era: Lance Armstrong ‘Won’t Fight’ Dope Charges

For once, we didn’t see this coming: In case you haven’t heard, cyclist, cancer survivor and one-man-brand Lance Armstrong has announced that he will ‘stop fighting’ the cheating charges leveled against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. This means that Armstrong may well be officially stripped of his record-setting seven Tour de France titles. Yes, it’s a bit of a shocker.

How to respond? From a PR perspective, it seems as if Armstrong has chosen the best available option: By refusing to endure the “arbitration process,” he can continue to claim–as he always has–that the longstanding doping charges leveled against him amount to a “witchhunt” and highlight the fact that he never tested positive on any official drug test (though any commentors who use this fact as evidence of his innocence should remember that Marion Jones and many other disgraced athletes never tested positive while competing). Unfortunately, his decision all but ensures that supporters will never have a satisfactory answer to the question: If he is truly innocent, why not endure the process to the end and prove it once and for all?

Armstrong may have avoided suffering a fate like that of Jones, Floyd Landis and Barry Bonds, but the fact remains: No matter how many fans post supportive messages on his Facebook page, his brand is forever tarnished–and it’s a big one. Read more

Lance Armstrong Thought the Yellow LIVESTRONG Armbands ‘Would Be A Joke’

Left to right: Lance Ulanoff, Lance Armstrong, and Doug Ulman

Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong put aside the difficult year he’s been having to take the stage on Tuesday with the president and CEO of his LIVESTRONG foundation, Doug Ulman, at the second annual Social Good Summit, which wrapped up today in NYC. The two talked about the evolution of LIVESTRONG, which is devoted to improving the lives of people with cancer.

While Armstrong has lived the high-profile life of an internationally-known professional athlete, he didn’t expect the popularity of the yellow LIVESTRONG bracelet. Armstrong said he “originally thought the yellow armbands would be a joke.” Instead, as Ulman noted, “the yellow armband democratized philanthropy” by allowing people to give small donations. “They started the movement and changed the conversation,” he added.

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Livestrong Likely to Suffer Amidst Doping Investigation

Livestrong, or the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the cancer advocacy and awareness organization started by the megastar athlete, is likely to suffer a decline in revenue this year of between 10 and 20 percent. LAF pulled in about $50 million a year in 2009 and 2010, despite a sluggish economy.  The estimate came by way of a statement from Doug White, the academic director of New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising. It’s based on past examples of other charities that have faced scandal.

Public scrutiny intensified recently when former teammate and known doper Tyler Hamilton appeared on 60 Minutes to finally cop to using performance enhancing drugs for much of his professional career, and to reveal some very damaging things about Armstrong, the leadership of the U.S. Postal team, as well as details about how the drugs are doled out and when (before competition, not during).  The bombshell was Hamilton’s assertion that Armstrong has indeed tested positive, but worked with race organizers to cover it up.  If you look closely at Armstrong’s quotes in the media, they are always variations on never-tested-positive rather than never-doped.

Immediately after the interview, Lance’s camp went on the defensive with a terse, lawyerly letter to CBS EP Jeff Fager calling the story “recklessly presented.”
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