Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz appeared on the Todayshow yesterday to introduce that company’s new philanthropic campaign, which seeks to raise money that will help small businesses in need of loans. Launched in collaboration with Create Jobs for USA and the Opportunity Finance Network, Starbucks is getting the ball rolling with a $5 million donation. And each $5 donation from consumers will get them a wristband that shows support.
During the Today show appearance, Matt Lauer played devil’s advocate, asking Schultz to address any “cynicism” out there about this being a PR project. “I can assure you, this is nothing about marketing,” Schultz replied. He continued, in response to another question, “This is not about PR.”
Lauer said at one point, “You say it’s not PR, but it sounds a lot like a PR campaign.” Why can’t it be both philanthropic and a PR campaign?
We took some time this weekend to catch up on the print version of The New York Times, and, interestingly, continued coverage of the upheaval in Bahrain was published on Friday’s cover page, above the fold. The story goes into detail about the government’s crackdown on protesters, quoting human rights group figures: 34 people dead, 3,600 fired from their jobs, 1,400 arrested. Bahrain has 525,000 citizens. Unrest continued last week after the funeral for a protester killed by police tear gas.
The Times says it reached out via email to the government information office and a PR firm that the government hired for comment, but didn’t hear back. Qorvisand Sanitas International are working with the Bahraini government. When we spoke with Qorvis’ Matt Lauer last month, he said the firm is working to “highlight the changes” happening in the country and said the government “has worked hard to protect the rights and freedoms of people from all religious backgrounds and ethnicities.”
GulfNews.com reports that King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa will address the United Nations General Assembly this week, talking about issues in the region and the “modernization” in that country.
In an email to PRNewser, Matt Lauer, partner at Qorvis, said the work the firm is doing with the government of Bahrain is meant to highlight the changes that are happening in the country.
In a recent article, Salon notes that Qorvis has submitted a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing stating that it’s being paid $40,000 per month for reputation work on behalf of the government of Bahrain.
Lauer notes in an email to us that the firm has worked with the Bahraini government (“a long-term American ally”) on a variety of projects for more than a year. “We are actively working to make note of the reforms and progress currently underway in the country,” Lauer added.
Protesters in Bahrain on August 7. AP Photo/Hasan Jamali
We included this story in this morning’s Ticker, but we think it’s important enough to give it a little more detail.
Salon reports that Qorvis is working with the ruling family of Bahrain (the country’s King is Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa) at a rate of $40,000 per month (plus expenses) with the goal of improving the government’s image. The firm has issued a statement following a raid on what the government says was an unlicensed Doctors Without Borders office in a residential building. A spokesperson for the nonprofit denies this, telling NPR that the group has been upfront with the government.
According to the New York Times, Kanye tweeted that he went on the show to “express how I was empathetic to Bush because I labeled him a racist and years later I got labeled as a racist.”
During the interview (video after the jump), he became angry when a clip of the Taylor Swift/MTV Awards incident began to play while he spoke.
For a while after the MTV Awards incident, Kanye West kept quiet. But during recent months, he’s been just about everywhere – on Saturday Night Live, at a Brooklyn bowling alley, performing on a plane, etc. New York magazine even posted a list of the top 30 things Kanye West has done just this fall.
Besides promoting his music, is it time for Kanye to step out of the spotlight for a bit? He’s scheduled to perform on the Today show on November 26.
President Obama gave the first Oval Office address of his presidency last night, to speak about the Gulf Coast oil spill and the administration’s plan moving forward.
In the address, Obama said the government will fight the spill, “with everything we’ve got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.”
Last night and into this morning, observers from both the left and the right voiced opinions.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made the morning show rounds today, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Today” show, CBS’ “Early Show,” MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” and CNN’s “American Morning.”
The appearances come in advance of President Obama’s Oval Office address at 8 p.m. tonight, which will focus on the Gulf Coast oil spill.
“We are going to outline tonight…someone that will be in charge of a recovery plan,” Gibbs said on “Good Morning America.”
He also said that most of the spilling oil should be captured by the end of June. “If it’s capturing 50,000 barrels by the end of the month, that’s 90 plus percent, right?” asked “GMA” host George Stephanopoulos.
“Absolutely,” replied Gibbs.
On the “Today” show, host Matt Lauer asked Gibbs if the president’s recent trips to the Gulf Coast and tonight’s Oval Office address are “a little bit of theater.” Remember it was Lauer who got Obama to say the “a-word” in a recent interview. Watch Gibbs’ response after the jump.
Toyota is getting more aggressive this week, in terms of a media and PR campaign aimed at both customers and dealers to reassure them the company’s cars are safe, after a massive recall which is currently under way.
The “Today” show landed an exclusive today with Jim Lentz President and COO, Toyota Motor Sales USA.
“This will be under control,” said Lentz in regards to the recall and product malfunctions.
“Did Toyota drag its feet, knowing it had a serious problem, potentially life threatening problem, did your company drag its feet?” asked Today’s Matt Lauer.
“No, I don’t believe we did,” responded Lentz.
One of the things crisis communications experts evaluate in a situation like this is certainly any economic impact a crisis may have on a company. With Toyota, there are tangible numbers.
The recall will “likely cost the company a half billion dollars per month,” and Toyota’s stock has already fallen 18% since January 21st, said Lauer. Lentz did not dispute either of these figures.
What do you think of Lentz’s performance? If you are a Toyota customer or prospective customer, did he make you feel more comfortable that the brand is taking the right steps to remedy the situation?