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Posts Tagged ‘PR win’

Toyota Recovers from PR Stumbles with Hot Pink Re-Branding

2013 Toyota CrownWe’d be hard-pressed to think of a bigger PR disaster for an automotive brand than the largest car recall in history followed by a massive tsunami wreaking untold damage on international supply chains. Heck, we didn’t even mention this valuable lesson about the dangers of automated spam messaging or this misguided effort to raise brand awareness among toddlers.

And yet, 2012 sales numbers tell us that Toyota has already recovered from a wide-reaching scandal that started in 2009 with reports of “technical difficulties” in its vehicles and ended with the recall of more than seven million individual automobiles. In fact, the Japanese company ended the year by reclaiming its place as the world’s most successful car maker.

Toyota obviously wanted to get people talking in 2013, so it came out swinging with a re-branding initiative fronted by a hot pink “executive” sedan. Japanese CEOs and their teenage daughters now have one more thing in common…a favorite color! Did someone invite Hello Kitty reps to participate in creative strategy meetings?

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Studio Screens New Star Trek Film for Dying Fan

Star Trek Into Darkness ParamountPromoting a Hollywood blockbuster is a massive project, especially when you’re working with a very well-established franchise. Sometimes it’s tough to break through the media onslaught and let your core fan base know how much they mean to the property.

Today Hollywood fantasy man JJ Abrams, whose Star Trek Into Darkness will undoubtedly be one of 2013′s biggest sequels, scored a bit of great PR that almost—almost—makes us forgive him for all the hours we lost to Lost.

Star Trek is one of the most resilient entertainment franchises around, due in large part to the oft-mocked intensity of its biggest fans. Right around Christmas, one of those fans posted a heart-breaking request to the Reddit Star Trek subgroup on behalf of a friend whose wife describes him as an “amazingly healthy film buff” who recently received a devastating diagnosis: a severe vascular tumor that leaves him with “weeks to live.”

The man had a very specific wish for his remaining days: to see Star Trek Into Darkness before its official release in May. The post made its way around the Internet after Christmas, and today brought news that Abrams had seen the request and responded. According to the sick man’s wife, he already attended a private screening of the film nearly six months before its official release date. We are very impressed by Abrams’s response–and by the Star Trek web community’s ability to rally around one of its own.

This is kind of a no-brainer, guys. The move doesn’t just make JJ Abrams look like a nice guy; it makes him look like a director who understands and values the passion of his biggest fans. That’s enough to make us smile and leave us looking forward to the film’s May debut. Well played.

PR Fail: It’s Another ‘Worst Job Listing’…Or Is It?

Dalkey ArchiveCourtesy of our sister blog GalleyCat, we bring you news of a relatively obscure nonprofit called the Dalkey Archive Press, which received a whole lot more media attention than expected this week for posting a ridiculous, nearly insane job listing. The weird part is: we can’t quite decide whether this event amounts to a PR fail or a big win.

The group, which “exists to publish, promote to readers, and preserve modern and contemporary literature and cultures from around the world”, is looking for a couple of good (unpaid) interns who will eventually make up “the pool of candidates” for future leadership positions.

But the given requirements for these positions are a little…unrealistic (emphasis ours):

 ”Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.”

Applicants also MUST NOT have “family obligationsdegrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.)”

Well, that disqualifies just about everyone, doesn’t it?

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North Korean Archaeologists Re-Discover Ancient Unicorn’s Lair

UnicornBefore we leave for the weekend we feel an obligation to share what is, without even the slightest doubt, the very best press release of the week (if not the year).

This one comes to us from the tragically, hilariously misnamed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its news agency, KCNA (don’t even bother clicking on the link if you want to retain your sanity).

According to the amazing release we’ve captured via screenshot below, archaeologists representing the DPRK and its Very Important History Institute “have recently reconfirmed a lair of the unicorn rode by King Tongmyong, founder of the Koguryo Kingdom (B.C. 277-A.D. 668).” Note the use of the word “reconfirmed”–it was there all along, but they just had to make sure.

Does it get better? Oh yes.

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Fan to HBO: Help Rebuild Atlantic City!

Fans of the well-dressed HBO drama “Boardwalk Empire” and its most important supporting actor, Atlantic City, may be upset by these striking photos of an iconic Jersey strip all but destroyed by yesterday’s storm (more footage here).

One particular viewer wants to see Atlantic City restored to its previous glory—and she’s decided to do something about it. Philadelphia resident (and presumed fan of conflicted gangsters) Hannah Sassaman launched a petition on Change.org last night “while watching ‘Boardwalk Empire’ as Hurricane Sandy moved past her own home.”

Sassaman’s plan: use crowdsourcing to convince the show’s cast and crew, as well as HBO higher-ups, to get involved in the recovery effort. There’s no doubt that Atlantic City will require millions of dollars to repair the damage done last night, and big names can certainly bring more attention to related fundraising drives; Sassaman says her effort was partly inspired by the surge in public advocacy that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Her letter, addressed to the show’s “producers, cast and crew”, reads:

“HBO has won huge acclaim and made millions with its captivating story about how Prohibition changed countless lives. With the horrible damage that Frankenstorm Sandy wreaked on the city’s businesses and homes, HBO can use its powerful media platform to raise money and support local, state, and federal relief efforts.

Please use the high profile of Boardwalk Empire’s writers, producers, and stars to raise money for Atlantic City at a time when it needs it so much.”

What do we think? Will Sassaman’s efforts help raise money for Atlantic City? And can the strip be rebuilt? We’d like to be optimistic: If HBO can build such a period-appropriate model of the boardwalk, then surely the city can, with time, return to its former glory (tackiness aside).

Final note: In case you need a little cheering up, here’s an Instagram’ed rainbow over Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. We never thought we’d write this, but thank you, Al Roker.

Is Microsoft ‘Cool’ Now, or Was This Just a Big Stunt?

A couple of weeks ago we poked fun at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for his brilliant plan to make the tech dinosaur “cool”  despite the fact that price has been its main selling point for some time. Yet today marked the official release of the Surface tablet and the Windows 8 platform and, based on the public reaction, we feel like Ballmer may have succeeded in spite of himself.

OK, we love our Xbox, but when was the last time anyone got excited about a new Microsoft product?

Apparently that would be yesterday. Microsoft aimed to make a spectacle out of its new product rollout, and the crowds at its Times Square preview event were surprisingly dense.

The craziest thing about the scene was the fact that none of the people who waited in line for a Surface last night actually got one. They paid for the tablet, and then they were told that they could either return at midnight to pick it up or “have it delivered to their homes or hotel rooms by noon tomorrow.”

Wow. That’s iPhone-level insanity.

Has Microsoft really become a contender for techie supremacy again?

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