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Posts Tagged ‘things we don’t like’

GOP Spot Casts ‘Private Sector’ As Apple and ‘ObamaCare’ As PC

We never saw the Affordable Care Act as a public vs. private thing, because privately owned and run insurance companies are going to make out quite well in the end. But that’s not the point these guys want to make:

The Republican National Committee is right to jump on the content train by running this clip on The Daily Show tonight, but the production values are middling and the message is muddled beyond “government bad, business good”. Sure, the DMV sucks, but does anyone really think that “private sector” companies automatically ace customer service? Have you ever called Time Warner Cable?

And let’s be honest, since we’re speaking in the broadest possible generalizations here: which dude looks like a bigger techie to you?

Big Food Brands Spend Millions to Avoid GMO Labels

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You may have heard that, for some reason, food companies really don’t like the idea of having to let customers know if they use genetically modified organisms in their products.

It’s not like they’ve been talking to the public: a whopping 93% of us say food containing GMOs should be labeled as such. Yet Prop 37, which would have required GMO labeling on products sold in California, failed at the ballot box by a slim 2.8% margin. Why? Lobbying and spin.

Now the companies with the biggest horse in the race want to prevent a similar law from passing in Washington State. No on 522, a campaign “bankrolled by out-of-state biochemical corporations and food industry heavyweights”, just set a Washington State fundraising record, and a list of the companies involved reads like a who’s who of faceless corporate “bad guys”: Monsanto, DuPont, Dow and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a political action committee sponsored by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Mills, Nestle, etc.

The story earned a full write-up on PR Watch, which is worth mentioning for some key points:

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Someone at Twitter Has a Sense of Humor About Misogyny

Twitter‘s been getting a good bit of flack this week over the lack of female executives on its board, and we can’t imagine CEO Dick Costolo was too happy when this little stunt went viral from the company’s office today:

You’ll notice that quite a few Twitter employees both male and female registered their disapproval on their own service soon after it blew up via Valleywag, Business Insider and pretty much every other relevant blog this afternoon.

Then it all devolved into a conversation about whether this was a joke and, if so, why anyone employed by Twitter would think it was a good idea.

The lesson here: nothing is private and anything can affect your company’s reputation, even when it happens in the office bathroom. If only Twitter weren’t so popular…

Former White House Press Secretary Wonders Why Doctors Won’t Just Speak English Already

Who said press secretaries are dumb? Not us. Former White House media relations person/current and future Gretchen Carlson Dana Perino just felt like daring us to make some stereotypical quips last night when she offered the smartest take on the ObamaCare rollout communications fiasco:

She’s right, you know: we have a close relative who’s an ophthalmologist in Texas and he learned Spanish as a hobby because it has absolutely no relation to the job he does every day.

Ooh, nice comeback. Yes, this is a pile-on, but as a public figure she should probably stick to talking about puppies and cruising the Congo to avoid Miley Cyrus.

PR/Marketing Gigs Somehow Appear on Both ‘Overrated’ and ‘Underrated’ Job Lists

Today in Clickbait Posing As Research news, job listings company CareerCast tried to top LinkedIn‘s “most misunderstood jobs” story with lists of the “most overrated” and “most underrated” gigs in the market. Let us be the first to tell you that “public relations manager” somehow appeared near the top of the former list, while many jobseekers apparently underestimate how cool it can be to work as a “market research analyst.”

These contradictory rankings should serve as red flags outing the studies as nonsense, but we’ll try to figure out the reasoning behind them anyway.

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Chinese Chicken Creates a PR Challenge for Food Distributors

Any business selling America’s favorite flightless bird faces a bit of a conundrum after authorities decided to allow our own fowl to be processed in China before hitting stores and restaurants stateside.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed to let a limited number of Chinese plants process chicken for sale in the United States—and it’s not even Chinese chicken. That’s right, these feathered sandwich fillers, which were raised and slaughtered on this side of the Atlantic, will travel East for a bit of re-dressing before returning in time for a dip in the deep fryer.

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Ad Watchdog Slams Tesco for ‘Misleading’ Horse Meat Crisis Campaign

Here’s a hint: when creating a damage control campaign, make sure your information is correct, because “spread the blame” strategies can come back to bite you.

UK retailer Tesco, which found itself in trouble last year over traces of horse meat detected in various products including Burger King sandwiches, has been criticized by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for making “misleading” claims. These charges related to a full-page release published in UK papers earlier this year under the headline “What burgers have taught us.

It’s an effective damage control statement, and the BBC even called it “a strange bit of poetry”, but it also reads like a cop-out.

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Apple Really Wants to Trademark the Word ‘Startup’

You read that right: Apple wants full ownership of the word “startup”. In Australia. For some reason.

This isn’t the first time, either: the world’s leading fruit-themed brand tried to secure exclusive rights to the word in both Auckland and the great 50 as far back as 2011, when Apple lawyers claimed it was all about securing the rights to a new name for a not-so-secret retail initiative focused on providing tech setup services for new products. (Like a Genius Bar for people who don’t know how to turn their own devices on.)

Oh, now we get it—and it’s further evidence of Apple’s brand identity slipping away. They are no longer the little company favored by tech nerds everywhere; they are now every bit as ubiquitous and annoying as the brands they vanquished.

Yes, this is more a legal issue than a PR issue, but in our eyes it’s just the latest sign that Apple’s perch atop the tech field is no longer as secure as it was back in those halcyon days of 1998. It’s also a really stupid idea, so we’ll choose to blame Ashton Kutcher until we know better.

NFL Reaches $765 Million Settlement with Former Players in Concussion Case

Breaking news: the National Football League‘s notorious concussion case headache is over—for now. The league reached a $765 million settlement in the class action suit filed by 4500 former players who claimed that they were misled about the toll a (brief, ridiculously profitable) football career would take on one’s mental and physical health.

Our big conclusion: this is more of a a PR fail than a monetary fail. Given the fact that the league brought in at least $10 billion in profits last year, looks poised to reach $25 billion within the next five years and miraculously retains its status as a non-profit organization, this is a big but completely manageable hit—each player will get just under $200K, which is less than what most would earn playing a single game. Oh, and we just learned that the freaking NFL, which is one of the most successful businesses in the world, doesn’t have to pay taxes. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Touché.

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Merrill Lynch Settles Largest Racial Discrimination Suit in History

Could there be a less fortunate day on which to announce the settlement of the largest racial discrimination suit ever filed against an American employer?

That’s a no. The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington brings news (technically released last night) that big boy Wall Street brokerage firm Merrill Lynch finally settled the class action suit filed by more than 700 black brokers approximately eight years ago. The total of $160 million, to be divided among affected individuals who’ve worked with the company since 2001, stands as a confirmation of allegations that managers ignored the concerned parties, who were “ostracized by co-workers” and essentially forced into “poor producer” status.

Lynch’s first black CEO, E. Stanley O’Neal, even admitted that black employees rarely got the best work. Why? Because most clients were white and “might not trust” brokers who weren’t.

Wow. That’s what we call “a cultural issue”, not to mention a massive PR problem.

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