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Posts Tagged ‘rich people problems’

PR Fail: Somebody Released Google’s Earnings Statement ‘Prematurely’

You may have heard with some surprise that Google’s stock (NASDAQ: GOOG) price dropped a whopping 9% today—and that this drop came in response to what looked like a 20% decrease in quarterly income. Anybody heard news of Google struggling to make money when “paid clicks surged by 1/3 from a year ago, and 6% from the previous quarter”? What happened?

Here’s a hint: the company’s quarterly earnings report began with the phrase “PENDING LARRY QUOTE”. That’s Google CEO Larry Page; he was supposed to give a quote before the report went out–after the day’s final trading bell. Unfortunately, the unofficial statement appeared on the SEC website just after noon, inspiring what The Wall Street Journal’s Steve Russolillo describes as “mayhem”. We’ll call it a “premature release.”

Google quickly issued a follow-up statement blaming RR Donnelley, the company that prints its reports, for filing the earnings without authorization because, as mentioned above, the company wasn’t supposed to release the data until after the day’s trading ended. Whoops!

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DSK 2.0: ‘Of Course I’m a Horny Old Man!’

Former French President-to-be Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK for short) has been playing the damage control game for a couple of years now—with very mixed results. Despite the fact that he hasn’t been convicted of any crime per se, he has suffered one of the world’s most visible PR collapses.

After watching his political fortunes fizzle and his domestic life fall apart, Strauss-Kahn is still fighting charges that tie him to a French prostitution ring while simultaneously hyping his new consulting company and his return to the international lecture circuit. It’s all part of another valiant attempt to reclaim what he clearly believes to be his rightful place on the world stage. We might almost pity him at this point, were he not such a demonstrably skeevy old man. His newest line of defense seems to be “I am a man! Of course I love women! Is that a crime?” (Note: statement must be read in a ridiculously cartoonish French accent.)

So DSK decided to follow Schwarzenegger’s lead on his “no apologies” apology tour by acknowledging that what he did was wrong while simultaneously throwing his hands up and daring the free world not to be taken in by his charms. Of course he is a horny old bastard who enjoys “secret soirees… that start with a fine meal and end with naked guests and public sex with multiple partners.” Who doesn’t?

We’re still fascinated by the man’s story for some reason.

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Chinese Billionaire’s ‘Marry My Daughter’ Stunt Will Be a Movie

We’re not quite sure how we missed the story of the Chinese billionaire and his wayward lesbian daughter, but the time has come to share it—because it has inspired the next Sasha Baron Cohen film.

Just over a week ago the world first met Cecil Chao, a Hong Kong real estate tycoon who loves his own daughter more than anything but can’t seem to accept the fact that she’s a lesbian. Back in April, 33-year-old architecture graduate Gigi Chao—who also happens to run the PR/model management agency Haute Monde—flew to France to begin a civil union with her longtime (female) partner, 45-year-old Sean Yeung.

Cecil was apparently so upset that he came up with what may be the world’s least brilliant plan to “win” his daughter back—he offered a reward of approximately $65 million to any man who could “convert” her and convince her to marry him.

We may be wrong, but we don’t think this is the way such things work.

The fact that Cecil is a lifelong bachelor who claims to have had “intimate relations” with more than 10,000 women and that he completely denies his daughter’s elopement adds even more of a circus-like quality to this story. We can certainly see why Cohen loved it.

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Starbucks Runs Low on Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Pandemonium Ensues.

It’s that time of year again — pumpkin-flavored everything lines the shelves at grocery stores and adorns the menus of coffee shops and bakeries alike, perpetuating that festive fall feeling. But what happens when businesses deprive loyal customers of their pumpkin-licious treats? If the business in question happens to be Starbucks, and the treat happens to be the uber-popular and highly-marketed Pumpkin Spice Latte, the answer is “sheer pandemonium.”

Since the seasonal $4 favorite made its fall debut in September, through-the-roof demand has created a challenge for stores that can’t seem to keep the magic ingredient (pumpkin flavored sauce) in stock. It’s even prompted some baristas to make pilgrimages to other branches of the java giant, seeking extra bottles of what can only be described as the holy grail of the pumpkin flavored world.

And when infrequent deliveries of the syrup (and the failure of the wandering baristas to secure back-up doses) requires customers to go without their fall fix, the resulting rage, despondency, and madness might take even seasoned baristas by surprise.

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Schwarzenegger’s Press Tour Is Bad PR

The Austrian Oak, better known outside the bodybuilding world as former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has spent the last week or so hitting every conceivable media outlet to push “Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story”, which may just be the worst-titled “tell-all memoir” ever. Go ahead and roll your eyes—we did.

We’re sure Arnold had some big plans for this current press offensive, but we can’t see too many benefits. In fact, we’d question the wisdom of his big comeback tour–and we’re not the only ones.

We echo the question Jon Stewart asked him last night: Why write the book now? Couldn’t you give it another year or two to wait until the heat cools off? The public may have a short memory, but this is ridiculous.

And why confess to multiple affairs that no one outside your immediate family knew about or cared about (and to describe said affairs as “hot”)? This is pure tabloid fodder–and it makes Maria Shriver’s defense of her candidate husband in the wake of the infamous groping allegations seem even more bizarre. While Arnold did manage to say that his affair with his housekeeper was “the stupidest thing” he did during his marriage, we’re not sure that his performance has been terribly convincing. His “I’m not perfect” moment on “60 Minutes” was particularly lame.

Schwarzenegger admits that his kids aren’t comfortable with him airing his dirty laundry to anyone who will listen (ya think?), but his publicist didn’t seem to mind. Why is that? Oh right—he has a book to sell.

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Tim Cook Is, Like, So Sorry for Apple Maps

The public doesn’t know Apple as a company prone to apology. We imagine its communications team would be far more comfortable issuing a statement to the effect of “the obvious superiority of our products speaks for itself, hahaha”. Hey, we understand—apologies acknowledge the imperfections that come with being human, and CEO’s aren’t generally too big on humility (with good reason).

And yet, CEO Tim Cook felt the need to release an official statement to customers today in order to control the spread of bad publicity stemming from the awfulness that is Apple Maps.

We can’t imagine Cook enjoyed writing this little letter, and we wonder what finally led him to draft it: Was it Motorola’s viciously effective #iLost ad? Was it this hilarious tumblr page? We’re not sure, but we do admire Cook’s ability to acknowledge that his company made a completely terrible product!

Readers should note Cook’s unreservedly apologetic tone in writing that Apple “fell short on this commitment”. Unlike the other big “damage control” missive released this morning, Cook’s note includes the word “sorry”. A real-life apology! We just might be impressed!

Cook promises to get to work on improving the map app, and we’re sure that a few programmers have had anxiety attacks this week–but what will the CEO’s next move be?

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Goodyear Offers Lohan and Bynes Driving Lessons

It’s been a bad year behind the wheel for troubled starlets Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes. Both the authorities and the paparazzi have taken notice of their…um…mishaps, which have included Bynes’ recent hit-and-run allegations and Lohan’s arrest for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident in New York last week.

Now, it seems someone else has taken pity on these driving-deficient young ladies and decided to offer them the guidance they so desperately need. The tire wizards at Goodyear just wrote a letter to each actress, offering a “private 1-on-1 lesson with our professional drivers — no paparazzi allowed.”

The letters express the company’s concern for the actresses’ safety and that of the unsuspecting motorists who have to share the road with them, urging both former child stars to take Goodyear up on its generous offer (which even includes free transportation to company headquarters in Akron, OH).

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Everybody Hates the NFL Replacement Refs

In case you haven’t heard, last night’s football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks ended on a call that was, at the very least, dubious. And the tainted result has fans across the U.S. (not to mention high rollers in Vegas) seeing red.

On watching and re-watching the video, we can see quite clearly that the Hawks’ receiver not only shoved one of the defenders out of the way before making his “catch”; he never even had proper possession of the football.

To make things worse, the two refs couldn’t even agree on the call! The one who was closest to the action ruled the play a game-ending touchback but appeared to succumb to peer pressure (or something other unspoken force) and turn it into a touchdown. We’re still a little shocked that a call this bad was made by people who get paid to make calls—even if they are replacements.

One thing that even the (very lucky) winning coach can agree on: the NFL’s labor impasse needs to end.

Here are some quotes that NFL officials should read—from people with the experience to know:

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Message Management 101: Is Any Event Truly Private?

You may have heard that Mitt Romney ran into a big PR problem this week. More accurately: someone recorded the presidential nominee at a private fund-raiser in May saying things that his campaign managers would never, under any circumstances, allow him to say in public–and eventually released it to an editor at Mother Jones, a storied opposition magazine. We wonder if his PR team could have prevented this blunder.

Romney’s thought crime? Expressing contempt for those who receive government assistance in any form and/or pay no federal income taxes. Romney told donors that said individuals are essentially moochers who will never “take personal responsibility” for their own lives. (We should note that this group includes nearly half the citizens of this country and many of the Americans who will vote for him in November.)

Despite the fact that Romney clearly believes what he said, his words were never meant for public consumption; the incident is somewhat similar to then-candidate Obama’s notorious 2008 statement about working-class Pennsylvania voters “clinging” to the safety of guns and religion, but it’s also larger in scale—and it reveals a key challenge for PR professionals representing public figures like Romney. The question: Is any event truly “secure”, or must a client always carefully watch what he or she says to avoid slip-ups like this one?

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Captain Picard Hates Time Warner Cable Too

Set phasers to annoyed (we know, we know)! Classic British theater vet Sir Patrick Stewart–best known for his appearance on that one episode of “Frasier” where his character thinks Frasier is gay and Frasier goes along with it because he desperately wants to hang out with the director of the Seattle Opera–has something in common with every other member of the Western world: He doesn’t much care for Time Warner Cable’s customer service!

Stewart has been blowing up the Internet lately. His recent move to Brooklyn’s favorite baby-making factory, Park Slope, inspired a hilarious Tumblr page, and this week he used his Twitter feed to express his frustration in seeking help with his new Time Warner Cable account and hearing…crickets!

Stewart tweeted “All I wanted to do was set up a new account with @TWCable_NYC but 36hrs later I’ve lost the will to live” before engaging in a fruitless back-and-forth with Time Warner’s Twitter representative. We like this guy–and, given the fact that his message was favorited nearly 300 times and re-tweeted more than 600 times, we hope Time Warner got the message!

We did have a larger point, though: Read more

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