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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Branson’

Virgin Airlines Is Totally Not Screwing the American Public

From charging passengers per pound to failed rebranding efforts, it’s no secret that we love following the PR trials and tribulations of the airline industry.

Air travel is critical to the personal and professional lives of the American public. So, it is important that we recognize the recognition of Virgin Airlines as the most reliable domestic airline in the United States (according to the 2013 Airline Quality Rating report).

Though many in the public see Richard Branson, the public face and private owner of Virgin Airlines, as some creepy billionaire hybrid of Mary Poppins and Andy Gibb, the brand certainly resonates with local travelers — and airlines everywhere should take note.

The Airline Quality Rating report does something very simple in measuring how successfully airlines fulfill the four most basic and pressing needs of customers: Read more

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Cory Booker: Elected Officials Should Act More Like PR Pros

Newark Mayor/oversized political personality Cory Booker has a suggestion for politicians and government officials who want to engage their constituents and build their public profiles: be more like Ashton Kutcher.

No, really: Booker, who remains one of the world’s most popular politicians on Twitter, wasn’t suggesting that the South by Southwest attendees who gathered to hear him speak should produce reality TV shows or promote smartphones. But he did credit Kutcher with bringing him into the social media fold by introducing him to the land of 140 characters–and he implied that the most successful political leaders of the future will be those who follow him headfirst into the digital maelstrom by interacting with real-life people rather than just posting press statements and linking to complimentary op-eds.

See, it’s one thing for an elected representative to have an official account–they pretty much all do at this point. But Booker’s social voice is closer to that of, say, an “influencer” like Richard Branson than Vice President Joe Biden, whose feed consists of fairly rote announcements created by administration communications staffers.

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What the F*ck Is Urban Outfitters Thinking?

Urban Outfitters For retail brand Urban Outfitters–which targets the edgy, insubordinate teen demographic with such classic subject lines as “We’re having a FLASH SALE! And that seriously NEVER happens!”–pissing off the Christian “culture warriors” at One Million Moms should be considered collateral success. The two groups clearly have little in common, except for one odd thing:

The chairman and founder of Urban Outfitters is 68-year-old conservative Richard Hayne, who once donated thousands to former Senator, uber-Republican and failed presidential aspirant Rick Santorum. Yes, this is where the semantics get complicated.

All PR professionals know that successful brands are built on a foundation of values, promises and attributes that collectively comprise brand identity—including individuals who run or work for the brand. For example, when the public thinks of Virgin Airlines we see the flowing white locks of unfettered free spirit Richard Branson.

Sure, Mr. Hayne may not be the face of Urban Outfitters, but he is a vital part of the brand’s internal workings. So the public can be forgiven for asking “What the f*ck was he thinking?” when this year’s Urban Outfitters holiday catalog featured a “Let’s F*cking Reminisce” book and a “Merry Christmas B*tches” mug among other profanity-emblazoned offerings ranging from candles to T-shirts.

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Meet SPANX, the Store

SPANX storeHold your breath for some uplifting news: SPANX is coming to a mall near you.

Red-blooded Middle Americans like Gwyneth Paltrow have already let the world know how much they love the simple hosiery brand. Katy Perry worries about “look[ing] fat” without her SPANX tights, while Miley Cyrus refers to hers as “a gift from God” and Tina Fey sees them as “my dream come true” (we’ll take her word for it). Now the company and its media team prepare for the big time after blowing up thanks to the brilliance of its founder and its masterful promotion of a very basic concept: practical comfort tinged with feel-good new age vibes.

OK, we all love SPANX. But do we love SPANX enough to turn a pantyhose maker into a retail giant? The company’s first boutique opened in a Washington, DC suburb last month, and sister branches will soon grace the nation’s largest malls in King of Prussia, PA and Paramus, NJ. So will the little underwear startup grow big enough to take on Victoria’s Secret (aka the Fox News internship program)?

The brand’s selling point is very different than Victoria’s patented “make me sexy” bit: In keeping with the theme of self-acceptance and comfort, the company intends to greet shoppers at each store with “cheer squads” that will pave the way for “sales clerks with ‘super-shaping powers’” descending “to recommend products such as the $98 smoothing bodysuit to nip in the hips and enhance the thighs without plastic surgery”. Founder and Richard Branson student Sara Blakely described her vision of the stores as “a place where everybody knows your name — and your bra size!”

Sounds very specific!

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Morgan Freeman, Kate Winslet Oppose the War on Drugs

Morgan Freeman is a busy guy: When he’s not making movies, he’s narrating commercials to endorse politicians and support social causes.

Now Freeman has joined a few other celebrities like Virgin founder Richard Branson, actress Kate Winslet (aka Rose) and rapper Dizzee Rascal in recording very brief promo clips for an upcoming documentary about the infamous War on Drugs called Breaking the Taboo.

The filmmakers have already set up an official YouTube channel and a Twitter feed to promote their flick, set to be released on December 7th by Sundog Pictures and Spray Filmes.

We’re trying to think of a better-executed promo campaign for a recent movie, but nothing comes to mind. Here’s the full trailer, featuring many other famous faces:

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