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Posts Tagged ‘things we don’t like’

Internet to Dr. Phil: It’s Not OK to Ask Whether It’s OK to ‘Have Sex With’ a Drunk Girl

Today in We Blame Oprah news: last night the Twitter account of one “Dr. Phil” McGraw (who had his license to practice psychiatry “retired” back in 1989 and is therefore not a licensed psychiatrist or any other kind of medical professional) asked its 1.2 million followers what we in The Real World(TM) might call “a loaded and incredibly offensive question“:

Now, sensible readers, we can scan such a message and realize how inappropriate and even disturbing it is. Yet someone approved it, and we have to imagine that at least one member of the honorable non-doctor’s PR team will soon find him or herself “escorted from the building.”

Twitter being the digital Ritalin that it is, #DrPhilQuestions responses were quick and brutal:

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Sheryl Sandberg’s Non-Profit Leans Back and Agrees to Pay Interns

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s non-profit organization Lean In describes itself as “a global community dedicated to supporting women leaning in to their ambitions.”

We have to admire the organization’s stated goals, but we have no doubt that Sandberg’s PR team went into overdrive when various news outlets reported that Lean In’s top editors didn’t plan to pay the ambitious women who applied to work there as interns.

Cue the “lean on interns” headlines.

As the ensuing discussion began to heat up, Lean In wisely chose to take a step back and reconsider its policy on unpaid internships. This Facebook post served as a formal announcement:

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SPOILER: Everyone Loses in ‘Time Warner Cable and CBS vs. the World’

What’s more important: quality content or the distribution of that content? PR pros know the answer: distribution strategies don’t really matter if no one wants to see what you’re pushing.

We don’t have cable, so haven’t been directly affected by the ongoing snafu between Time Warner Cable and CBS. But we do hear that we should watch Under the Dome, and we can’t do it online right now because TWC is the only Internet provider that serves our area, and they’re currently engaged in a bitch-slapping contest with “the most-watched cable network.”

Time Warner’s decision to kill CBS broadcast and streaming services in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, et cetera threatens to create a big PR fail for both brands—and it certainly hasn’t made us miss that monthly cable bill. So let’s check out their crisis comms efforts…

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Maine Governor Says He’d Like to ‘Blow Up’ Local Newspapers

Say you’re one of the least popular governors in the country. Say the local papers have run several unflattering reports about conflicts of interest among your staffers. Say someone at a publicity event gives you an open-ended question while you’re sitting in a fighter jet simulator. What would you say?

Here’s a hint: do NOT say that you’d like to “blow up” the Portland Press Herald’s offices.

Maine Governor Paul LePage is a proudly outspoken political figure taken to insulting his opponents with crude sexual comments and telling students that newspapers are his “biggest fear”; political advisors call that “red meat for the base,” but we wonder about the wisdom of his media relations strategy.

Well, duh. But it won’t win you any of the new fans you need for re-election.

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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Failed PR 101

Today in CEOs Behaving Badly: We understand why AOL chief Tim Armstrong was a little upset at the unfortunate struggles of Patch, his well-meaning $300 million experiment in hyper-local news content. He promised AOL that the venture would turn a profit by year’s end, and in order to bring this about he seemingly had no choice but to fire hundreds of the writers, editors, and managers at more than 400 individual Patch sites around the country.

But this hardly excuses the commission of a cardinal PR sin: letting his temper get away with him during a 1,000-strong conference call and firing an employee for taking a photo during his speech. It was mild as outbursts go, but it was recorded for the ages and distributed to every media outlet around.

This wasn’t just any employee, by the way; it was Patch’s creative director Abel Lenz. The fact that such a Trump-worthy incident was terrible PR should be obvious to all, but we’ll go into a bit more detail:

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Breaking: Publicists Can’t Jump to the Front of the ‘Cronut’ Line

This is the most important news you’ll read all day. Actress, Julia Roberts niece and accused boyfriend beater Emma Roberts didn’t feel like standing in a ridiculously long line to get one of those mythical “cronuts” at Manhattan’s Dominique Ansel Bakery, so she (allegedly) dragged her publicist to the door and tried the “don’t you know who I am” trick.

Anyone who went to kindergarten knows that no one gets to bully his or her way to the front of any line, especially when a doorman waits at the end. Before you ask: yes, the bakery has a doorman—and yes, he told an “embarrassed” Roberts to go to the back of the queue, where she smiled for paparazzi and signed autographs before leaving due to boredom, or something like that.

Later she appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where she claimed that she hadn’t even realized there was a line. The host took a break from laughing at his own jokes to graciously grant her access to the deep-fried goodness she not-so-desperately wanted.

Note to publicists: this is why they hate us.

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What A-Rod Should (But Probably Won’t) Do

Today in Ridiculously Overpaid Athletes Are People Too news, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is the latest beefed-up domino to fall in baseball’s ongoing steroid scandal. MLB commissioner Bud Selig decided to make an example of “Captain Rodriguez” with the longest suspension in the history of America’s Pastime.

The MLB Players Association appealed the decision on behalf of A-Rod, who is the only one of the 13 accused players to fight his suspension. Quite telling that the other 12 immediately ‘fessed up, isn’t it? The ensuing legal back-and-forth ensures that he will be able to wear a Yankees uniform for the rest of the season (which won’t last very long, considering the Bronx Bombers’ current 56-55 record).

PR to the rescue! According to The USA Today, Berk Communications President and “A-Fraud” publicist Ron Berkowitz posted a since-deleted tweet on Tuesday that read a little, shall we say, combative.

Hello Chicago!!! Lets do this!!! #fighting

—   Ron Berkowitz (@ronberk1) August 5, 2013

What was that all about? Well, in what one reporter called “an exceptional lack of self awareness,” A-Rod told the media “I’m fighting for my life,” strongly implying that Major League Baseball has it in for him. Poor guy.

So what will he do? And what should he do?

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Reputation Management at Amazon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Last week, online retail behemoth Amazon received the kind of PR boost that any brand outside the Republican Party would kill for: President Obama visited its massive Chattanooga warehouse and used his media megaphone to promote the company for creating jobs fit for every politician’s favorite fallback character: the “middle class” American.

This is all well and good, but Amazon’s recent reputation management challenges are far more complicated…and less complimentary.

The real purpose of the President’s visit was to propose a bargain between the two political parties in which he would trade a cut in corporate tax rates for increased government investment in “education, training, and public works projects” designed to facilitate the creation of those precious middle class jobs. The event unsurprisingly attracted critiques of both the company and the President that highlight their unique PR struggles.

It’s true that Amazon’s planned hiring wave will create as many as 7,000 American jobs, but Obama’s visit raised several questions that the company would rather not address:

  • Are these jobs truly “middle class?”
  • Is Amazon the sort of company that will help strengthen the American economy at large?
  • Will this PR stunt facilitate any truly meaningful political activity?

That’s easy: no, no, and…no.

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Don’t Count on BuzzFeed Sponsored Posts to Win the Millennials

The chattering classes were all abuzz yesterday about a sponsored post on everyone’s favorite site to visit for kitty pic listicles and condescending literary rants. (Wait, what?)

Here’s the story: In an amusingly blatant attempt to push its talking points to those young folks who will determine the future of politics in this country, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation illustrated its distaste for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, with BuzzFeed‘s trademark combination of one-liners and GIFs.

OMG CUTE LOL! But will it work?

We say meh. :-/

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Journalism Is Alive and Well (at the Church of Scientology)

Are you an ambitious, street-smart young scribe eager to expose L.A.’s seedy underbelly to the world at large? Do you decry the decline of quality reporting and live to shame the lamestream media? Most importantly, do you know your current thetan count? If you answered yes, duh, and “praise overlord Xenu!” to these questions, then The Church of Scientology wants you…to write for its in-house magazine, Freedom.

Freedom promotes “investigative reporting in the public interest,” with “the public” meaning Tom Cruise, David Miscavige, and whoever else runs the world’s most secretive tax-exempt organization. In what can only be the most incredible coincidence in history, every single article in said magazine amounts to a little piece of the church’s never-ending damage control campaign.

The most common subject is the fact that church apostates are all a bunch of fat, stupid-head liars who like to tell lies just because they are mean and evil for no reason at all except that every one of them is addicted to drugs and doesn’t get enough vitamins. For what it’s worth, the website does make good use of some strange pop-up animation.

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