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Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Is This The World’s First Vine Press Release?

Today we may have witnessed a first: a press release delivered via 6-second Vine mini-video. The makers of Sonar, a “social discovery app” that allows users to find others by geographical proximity (which Mediabistro profiled in this Elevator Pitch video), just received a big investment from Microsoft‘s Bing Fund–and they chose a unique way of letting the world know about it:

TechCrunch hopes this move doesn’t become a thing. What do we think? Can you imagine companies announcing new hires or clients with little clips like this one?

Meet the New Yahoo!

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer continued her overhaul of the world’s least hip content/email provider today by introducing a new look for the site:

The new features mentioned by Mayer in interviews this week include “an infinite, Twitter-like news feed” and a collection of content recommended by users’ Facebook friends. Mayer signed content deals with the three major networks, switched from Microsoft to Google for ad services and announced plans to focus more heavily on Yahoo’s original properties like Yahoo Sports, movie listings and gossip site OMG.

Will Mayer’s plan to make Yahoo relevant again succeed? We don’t plan on making the site one of our chief web destinations or using its email platform anytime soon, but we will say that she is the best thing to happen to the brand in some time.

What Are America’s 10 ‘Most Trusted’ Brands? And Why?

A few weeks ago we gave you a list of the 10 brands Americans hate most and tried to figure out why. Today we’re taking the opposite approach with the help of Harris Interactive‘s latest public opinion poll gauging the most (and least) trusted brands in the country.

Here are the brands held in highest esteem by the 19,000 random people who participated in the poll (along with our attempts to figure out how they got there):

1. Amazon: It could be the fact that Amazon remains the first and biggest online retailer with a reputation for security and an endless inventory. It could be the brand’s truly innovative recommendation system. Or it could be Amazon’s plan to create its own “virtual” currency–because no dishonest individual would ever make his own money, right?

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Can Alexander Wang Make Samsung as Fashionable as Apple?

Apple‘s latest PR push and disappointing iPhone 5 sales have led some to wonder: Is Steve Jobs‘s baby no longer the king of all things cool? Have Samsung and Microsoft somehow managed to knock the reigning tech nerds off their perch?

We wouldn’t go that far, but it’s clear that Apple’s cheaper, less fashionable competitors are upping their game. This week, for example, Samsung officially launched a Galaxy promo campaign designed to combine several untouchably cool elements: New York Fashion Week, crowdsourcing and red-hot designer/Balenciaga creative director Alexander Wang. The campaign’s first video spot, released yesterday and titled “Be Creative”, shows Wang using his Galaxy Note II to do just that:

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Apple’s PR Team Gets More Aggressive with the Message

Apple CEO Tim CookFor a long time, it seemed like Steve Jobs and the team at Apple saw traditional PR approaches and tools like press releases as ancient relics. They were over it.

Things are different now, though. The Wall Street Journal tells us that, in the light of recent stock dips and disappointing sales numbers, Apple has decided to “subtly [increase] some of its PR—at least for now.”

What does that mean? Well, the team issued an honest-to-God press release to mark the all-but-meaningless evolution of its operating system from iOS 6 to iOS 6.1–and this was “the first time Apple has issued an official press release for a non-major mobile software” roll-out since way back in 2010.

That’s not all: In addition to posting an uncharacteristically large number of press releases so far in 2013, the company has also been more active about sending positive third-party media mentions to journalists. One of the pieces circulating is a study predicting that, by 2014, Apple will be “just as accepted in the enterprise as Microsoft“. Wait, a study predicting that your company will be as much a part of the status quo as your biggest, lamest competitor?

This is not the Apple we know and love.

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U.N. Outreach Event: How Can We Promote Sustainable Business?

Americans wondering what transpires at the U.N. got some answers on Monday when the United Nations Association of the U.S. (UNA-USA) hosted a day for members. Sustainability was first and foremost on the agenda for those attending, namely business and community leaders, the media, individual supporters and academics.

As Patrick Madden, executive director of UNA-USA said, “There are various conspiracy theories swirling around about what the U.N. does. In the U.S. it’s a particular challenge since most U.S. citizens don’t see the U.N. directly at work in their country. That makes it harder for most of the American public to see the benefits”. Minh-Thu Phan, UNA-USA director of public policy, added, “Many Americans care about these issues, but not enough to act on them or to call their congressmen.”

Sustainability is an area where the U.N. has been active, and one that has gained traction in the public and private sectors. On Monday the panel discussed the aftermath of Rio+ 20, a U.N. conference on sustainable development that was the U.N.’s biggest conference ever, with 50,000 attendees in Brazil last June.

“The message was simple: we need to re-think development”. Those were the words of Nikhil Seth, a U.N. director of sustainable development. He provided a broad overview of the Rio + 20 conference, and Eban Goodstein, director of Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy, focused on sustainable business issues.

Click through for takeaways.

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The Onion Helps Brands Discover Their Sense of Humor

The Onion is all about funny, satirical, almost believable stories. When we first heard about Vladimir Putin’s plan to pump up Russia’s fertility rate with a Boyz II Men concert, we immediately thought of the magazine.

But now we know that’s not all “America’s Finest News Source” can do. See, Digiday taught us something this week: The Onion also helps brands discover (or re-discover) their sense of humor via its in-house ad/marketing/advisory team, Onion Labs. This strange experiment all started last year when Microsoft Internet Explorer, desperate for a rebranding, decided to embrace its reputation as “The Browser You Loved to Hate” and ask The Onion‘s advisory team for ideas (one of which was this cute “Child of the 90′s” video). The project grew rapidly from there.

Onion Labs is still relatively new, but the group’s site features a series of funny spots for brands as disparate as Jack Links and 7-Eleven. They’ve also worked on social media campaigns like the #vacationitis project for Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

We can certainly see why the Onion Labs aesthetic appeals to so many brands–if you’re not comfortable making fun of yourself then you’re going to have trouble appealing to that crucial 18-30 demographic. Here’s one of the Lab’s commercials pitching Dove deodorant to men by making light of the fact that guys don’t really like to deal with their dry skin problems:

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Microsoft Goes Retro with ‘Child of the 90′s’ Video

Microsoft, a company that desperately wants to be in the now, decided to use its massive budget to rebrand one of its signature outdated products: Internet Explorer. In order to do this, the masters of “cool” created a viral video ad called “Child of the 90′s.” Everybody’s been sending it around today, so we guess it’s working.

It does make us want to go read Goosebumps, listen to Smashing Pumpkins and watch My So-Called Life re-runs. But it doesn’t tell us anything about how Internet Explorer has changed–or why we should be interested in the first place.

So yeah, cute commercial. But we’re still not going to use Bing or buy a Surface.

Spin the Agencies of Record

Asics Spinning the AOR is a marathon, not a sprint:

ASICS America, designer and manufacturer of athletic footwear, apparel and accessories, has selected Allison+Partners as its public relations agency. A+P will promote the company’s product launches, events and sponsorships as well as its cause marketing initiatives and its legacy-inspired Onitsuka Tiger collection of shoes and apparel. (If that left you breathless, wait until the next sentence):

The agency will also implement a national campaign incorporating athletic, business and consumer-focused media relations, awards and road tests, in addition to celebrity and influencer relations tied to numerous sponsorship opportunities including the New York City and Los Angeles Marathons.

Wellies Well, Well:

Hunter Boots, the UK’s leading wellington brand, recently launched a new global Facebook campaign from global social media agency We Are Social.

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Touchscreen Tables: The Newest Restaurant Revolution?

Moneual's touchscreen cafe tableAs food writers/enthusiasts, we know how difficult it can be to make your restaurant stand out–especially in a crowded market. Serving great food in a casual, well-designed atmosphere just isn’t enough anymore (if it ever was). Now, in the tradition of the “Instagram menu“, we bring you news of the latest tech gimmick for restaurants and cafes: the touchscreen table.

The concept is fairly self-explanatory, and it’s not completely new: both Apple and Microsoft have produced table-sized versions of their popular tablets. But Korean electronics company Moneual plans to begin mass-producing its touchscreen cafe table very soon; curious onlookers may get a chance to see this interactive furniture in action at next week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

We love the concept from a design perspective, and it will make for a great spot to promote other local businesses and events, but we have to ask: Will this newest tech toy become another promo tool for restaurants looking to make a name for themselves? Will it be another short-lived trend? Or will it simply become common practice like the iPad menu/register?

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