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Posts Tagged ‘PBS’

Football’s League of Denial Concussion Controversy Is More Than a Century Old

Last night marked the debut of League of Denial, the PBS documentary on the concussion epidemic currently affecting American football from the pee wee leagues to the NFL Hall of Fame. We didn’t get a chance to watch it, but we’ll give you our take when we do.

In the meantime, these “Tweets of Old” are a brilliant reminder that this red hot controversy is nothing new.

It’s a bit of a wake-up call to realize that journalists in 1905 reached the same conclusion we’ve reached today: yes, “concussions of the brain” and “broken backs” are a problem—but good luck reforming football, because “the only way of reforming a bad dog is by cutting his tail off close behind the ears” (poor dog!!).

We’ll see if this doc makes a difference.

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Journo’s PBS Op-Ed Laments ‘the Growing Power of Publicists’

Not the guy.Disclaimer: If you’ve already read too many “journalists vs. PR” stories this week, then you might want to skip this one. Our bad.

PBS Mediashift contributor/John Jay College associate professor of English Devin Harner offered a reassessment of last month’s biggest PR story this week, and his comments on the Putin/Ketchum debate are worth reading in a “taking your vitamins” way. He sees our era as one in which the publicist has a growing power to shape the media narrative, and he’s not too happy about it. Here are some more of his more sobering takeaways:

“When I was in college, PR was a dirty word. So much so that one of my mentors, Dr. Jackson, would make fun of PR majors on the first day of class, before encouraging those of them who were competent to come over from the dark side, see the light, and work for the good guys.”

That’s not a fair take, but it shows us (as if we needed any more evidence) that this push-and-pull is nothing new and that it starts early.

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An Inside Look at Two Outdoor Event Venues

The redevelopment of New York’s Hudson Yards area got a major boost with Time Warner’s recent announcement of plans to relocate its headquarters there. Another company, Skylight Group, already ‘got in on the ground floor’, since it manages two notable outdoor event venues on the far west side: Skylight West (since 2008; photo below) and the High Line (In partnership with Friends of the High Line since 2012, photo at left). (both photos courtesy of Skylight Group) The firm also operates four indoor event venues.

“Event spaces become the visual backdrop for brands in terms of their look and feel”, noted Jennifer Blumin, Skylight Group’s president, during a recent in-person interview with PRNewser. “Now events are getting a larger piece of the marketing pie, due to social media, celebrities and their followers. Tech companies in particular host lots of events, and they like having raw space to customize. In turn, event organizers now are also more invested in technology due to state-of-the-art production needs and options such as livestreaming,” she added.

At Skylight West, located at Tenth Avenue and 36th street, only part of the event space is at street level. The rest of the venue, a converted parking garage, is on the penthouse studio and rooftop floors. As most New Yorkers and visitors know, the High Line park is situated on a former elevated freight railroad line between 10th and 11th Avenues. The section from Gansevoort Street to west 30th street is open to the public, while the last stretch from west 30th to 34th streets is still a work in progress.

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Can ‘Advocacy Gaming’ Inspire Social Change?

Half the Sky the gameIt’s all about “gamification” these days, right? Video games don’t just entertain us and distract us during down time on the train–they also help brands publicize new campaigns, encourage user engagement and even develop new products and promotional materials.

But can games truly educate the public in the interest of facilitating widespread social change? Games for Change certainly thinks so. We’ll refer to what they do as “advocacy gaming”–and it makes a lot of sense.

The brand’s latest, most visible project is a collaboration with New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, best known for his reporting on international human rights and gender equality abuses. It’s called “Half the Sky”, and it’s truly a multimedia effort: the Facebook game debuted this week, but it all started with Kristof’s book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (co-written with his wife and fellow Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn).

The book inspired a spinoff series on PBS–and then Games for Change got involved with the help of social gaming leader Zynga and other big-name sponsors.

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Adventures in Marketing: Downton Abbey Homewares

Downton Abbey PBS Masterpiece TheaterFacebook fans of PBS‘s “Masterpiece Theater” mega-hit Downton Abbey may have noticed a strange request today following the show’s third season premier: producers looking for new ways to monetize the Abbey brand asked followers to make suggestions for a planned homeware range.

Carnival Films, the UK production company responsible for the well-suited soap opera, wants to “bring the beauty and elegance of Downton Abbey to homes” of plebians like us via “Homeware, crockery, pots and pans, kitchen items” and the like. The Facebook post also mentions furniture and lighting, calling upon manufacturers to volunteer their own product lines for branding.

We’re all about the newest trends in crowdsourcing and we understand the value of giving the people what they want, so we came up with a few ideas and figured we could work them into the show itself:

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Kids’ Brands Go Mobile for Product Rollouts and Promos

Babies play with iPad Imagine for a moment that you work in the marketing/communications department at Nickelodeon, PBS Kids or any other huge kids’ brand. What better time to schedule your next big product rollout than right before Christmas! Need a strategic hook? Disguise your promo materials as educational tools—you can familiarize members of your target audience with your brand’s newest innovations while winning approval from their parents!

November brought news of kids’ network Nickelodeon creating educational apps for kids, and a recent New York Times article clarified the purpose of these apps: promoting Nickelodeon’s TV properties.

Think about it: As television ownership and cable subscription rates decline, parents “are increasingly putting mobile devices into preschoolers’ hands and laps”–which creates some great new promotional opportunities for brands that appeal to young kids.

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Calm Down, Everybody: Big Bird Will Be Fine

We’ll just go ahead and say it: last night’s debate was a big bore. Mitt Romney did quite well, Jim Lehrer did quite poorly, and a few million people became aware of the current President’s sleepwalking problem for the first time. (It is worth noting that, way back in June, Chuck Todd predicted that Obama would probably not win this first debate because “no one has cut his remarks short during his term in office”.)

The night’s most contentious moment, however, clearly concerned none other than Big Bird. When listing public entities that he would stop funding if elected, Romney took a moment to pick on perennial bogeyman PBS, telling Public Broadcasting employee Lehrer that he would have to cut funding for the channel despite the fact that “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.”

The Internet quickly made it a meme, and a predictable number of mildly amusing tweets ensued. So yeah, it was a weird line—but it wasn’t quite accurate. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this is a common problem in presidential debates.)

Unfortunately, we have to ruin everyone’s fun by calling an official end to this non-scandal. Take it away, Sherrie Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop–give CNN’s Soledad O’Brien some of that sweet, sweet damage control!

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Bill Nye’s Evolution Campaign: Good PR or Bad PR?

Bill Nye is most commonly known as “The Science Guy”, a popular children’s entertainer famous for making science (and general geekiness) cool for a generation of Americans now in their 20’s and 30’s. His Disney/PBS show ran for five years and 100 episodes, and it remains a popular in-class resource for American science teachers.

Last month, however, he decided to get political by taking a public stand on the “issue” of evolution in a short video produced by Big Think and encouraging parents not to teach creationism to their children or bring it into the classroom. The spot has gone viral with over 4 million views to date, inspiring a series of responses and online debates that continue to make headlines today as he travels the country lecturing university students on the value of scientific study and personal ambition.

Nye was quite blunt in an Associated Press interview, saying “The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old. It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”

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Ad Agency Run by High-Schoolers Lands First Paying Client

In the advertising world, the teenage demographic is perhaps the most highly-sought-after group of consumers; agencies use everything from focus groups to research consultants to figure out how to best reach the youth of our nation.

But how can a company be sure that their campaign truly speaks to teens? Well, they could let teens create and execute that campaign themselves, couldn’t they? That’s what PBS decided to do when they hired IAM Advertising, an ad agency run by students from the Innovation and Media High School in Brooklyn, NY.

IAM Advertising is the first accredited agency in the country run by high-school students, and PBS will be its first paying client. The National Black Programming Consortium/BlackPublicMedia.org will work with the students to promote its PBS documentary series, “DC Met: Life Inside School Reform,” which focuses on the lives of staff and students at an alternative high school in Washington, D.C. called DC Met.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

RLTV, the only cable network that specifically targets the 50+ audience, announced today the selection of boutique public relations and communications firm McReynolds Elek Communications as its public relations agency of record.

“The team at McReynolds Elek has a solid track record in delivering results that support the growth and success of cable networks, from startups to mature channels, and we look forward to partnering with them to help us grow our business and build our brand, both within the industry and among consumers,” said RLTV Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications E. J. Conlin.

BBDO, part of Omnicom Group, has reclaimed business the business of Visa; the credit card giant dropped BBDO in 2005 after a two-decade relationship. The move means that global lead creative duties will be reallocated from Omnicom Group sibling TBWA to BBDO.

A Visa spokesperson explained: “Our decision to designate BBDO as lead creative agency reflects our desire to deliver seamless communication across all channels in all markets.”

The National Black Programming Consortium/BlackPublicMedia.org has chosen to work with IAM Advertising, an ad agency run by students from the Innovation in Advertising and Media High School in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood.  IAM Advertising is the first accredited agency in the country run by high-school students and has been tasked with promoting a new PBS documentary series, “DC Met: Life Inside School Reform.” The series documents the lives of staff and students at DC Met, an alternative high school in Washington, D.C.

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