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Posts Tagged ‘Russell Simmons’

Russell Simmons’ ‘Harriett Tubman Sex Tape’ Apology Didn’t Go Over So Well

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons has become something of a PR/media man extraordinaire, what with his digital marketing “don’t call us an agency” company and his newly-launched YouTube channel All Def Digital. Seems like his team could sell water to a well, no?

Unfortunately, this week he chose what might have been the worst possible way to roll out his latest product: with a poorly planned satirical clip titled “ADD History: Harriett Tubman Sex Tape” which made light of some horrific aspects of life in the pre-Civil War United States.

In short, the Tubman character encourages a friend to hide in a closet and photograph her having “special time” with her slave master—evidence which she later uses to blackmail him. This quote from Clutch magazine explains why the clip angered everyone with an Internet connection on Wednesday:

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Don’t Call Russell Simmons’s New ‘Digital Marketing Company’ an Agency, OK?

If Jay-Z can pretend to be a sports agent then Russell Simmons can pretend to be a marketing guru, right? Sure — just don’t refer to his new company Narrative, which offers “digital marketing, entertainment and technology” services, as an agency.

Why not? Because Simmons and partner Tricia Clarke-Stone want to help agencies, not compete with them. How does that work? Narrative‘s founders say they will use its nascent creative team to produce the “marketing solutions” and digital campaigns that said agencies will then promote. The group already has a couple of clients in Sprint‘s Boost Mobile and Simmons’s own site GlobalGrind.

Simmons and Clark-Stone aren’t exactly new to the promo game — GlobalGrind doubles as a marketing company that’s already served some big-name clients like Pepsi, Tide and Toyota. They see their new venture’s purpose as filling a “gap” in an industry ill-equipped to serve a public for which “urban culture is [now] the mainstream” regardless of race, background or geography. But how can Narrative not compete with agencies when its service description sounds so similar to those of its prospective “partners?”

Simmons has obviously done great work in the past, and we don’t doubt his promotional prowess — but this is a strange rollout, no?

Q&A: PR Vet, Profit with Purpose Author Teneshia Warner

Teneshia Jackson-Warner built a long and successful career within the PR/marketing industry. After working with Russell Simmons on social change campaigns as general manager at RUSH Communications and creating a new role for herself as founder/CEO of Egami Consulting Group, she’s ready to make some changes to the usual business model. In fact, she recently published a book, titled Profit with Purpose: A Marketer’s Guide to Delivering Purpose-Driven Campaigns to Multicultural Audiences, in which she lays out paths to creating meaningful work that goes beyond the usual “corporate social responsibility” projects.

We recently had the good fortune to speak with Ms. Jackson-Warner about the challenges facing PR firms that have dedicated themselves to creating truly “purpose-driven” campaigns.

Are challenges greater for firms that create campaigns specifically targeted to multicultural audiences?

In my opinion, the steps needed to develop a winning general market campaign involve many of the same steps used to devise a winning multicultural plan…they all begin at the same starting point of exploring customer/consumer need. The approach may vary between general market and multicultural because it is key that the idea resonates as culturally relevant among diverse audiences for multicultural plans. But this does not necessarily mean it’s more challenging … brand has to start with understanding the target consumer.

What’s the biggest key to convincing your audience that your campaign has real meaning?

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Famous New Yorkers Join Marriage Equality Campaign

Miss New York Claire Buffie is just the latest NY celeb to join the Human Rights Campaign’s effort “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality.” Notable names including Sen. Chuck Schumer, former Mayor Ed Koch, Russell Simmons, and Joan Rivers have  all appeared in videos for the campaign in support of same-sex marriage. Republicans in New York’s State Senate voted unanimously against legalizing same-sex marriage in 2009. Recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would try to make marriage equality the law before the state legislature breaks in June.

Rubenstein’s Resolution for NYC

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In the Metropolitan section of The Times, Howard Rubenstein joins a number of quintessential New Yorkers including Russell Simmons, George Steinbrenner, the Naked Cowboy, Donald Trump, and Jimmy Breslin in offering New Year’s resolutions for the city.

Rubenstein offers an entire PR plan in a few sentences–recognizing in his own way that user-generated media is where it’s at. No longer can he merely make a few calls, the don of the industry recommends wholesale media training for the entire city:

“I think the city has to create a million advocates for itself by crisscrossing New York and reminding everyone of all the great pluses we have, so when people go visiting other cities, states or other parts of the world, average citizens can promote New York.

Continued after the jump:

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