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Posts Tagged ‘USA Today’

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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Brands See Opportunity In Gay Marriage Ruling

We can all agree on one thing: today’s Supreme Court decision invalidating the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was, is, and will continue to be a big deal. It’s not that the justices’ conclusions were a big surprise as most observers did not expect them to uphold existing gay marriage bans on the state or federal level. But it still inspired strong emotions for many Americans.

Of course, politicians of all stripes were quick to offer their takes on the issue.

In other words, the debate will go on. Now for the question of the day: how can brands turn this major cultural and political event into a great PR opportunity?

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Two 49ers Deny Making the ‘It Gets Better’ PSA in Which They Appear

The San Francisco 49ers, who happen to be playing in a certain football game this Sunday, earned a bit of bad press earlier in the week after cornerback Chris Culliver decided to let the world know that he “[doesn't] do the gay guys, man” and that any pro football players who happen to be gay should probably stay in the closet because the whole deal just totally weirds him out, girl. Trust!

Culliver then issued what may be the least effective damage control statement ever, saying that “The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel.”

You’d think the clip below–recorded as part of Dan Savage‘s “It Gets Better” anti-bullying PSA campaign for gay and lesbian youth–might help nip that problem in the bud, right?

No such luck: yesterday two of the very players who appear in the video denied ever making it.

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Gabby Giffords Starts ‘Responsible Solutions’ Gun Control Initiative

Former Arizona Representative Gabby GiffordsWe’ve recently posted on the PR components of our nation’s latest debate over gun control. Topics include the NRA‘s media strategies and a new campaign from Michael Bloomberg‘s advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which made waves with a viral video featuring A-list celebrities voicing support for the group’s “DemandAPlan” initiative.

Today brings news of another related campaign, this one created by the American politician who has the most direct experience with real-world gun violence. Exactly two years ago, former Arizona representative Gabriel “Gabby” Giffords was shot in the head by a mentally unstable individual who also killed six bystanders and wounded 12 others.

Giffords’s group, called Americans for Responsible Solutions, officially launched this morning with a web page and a USA Today op-ed. ARS hasn’t outlined many specific proposals, but its stated goal is to “launch a national dialogue and raise funds to counter influence of the gun lobby” in order to encourage Congress to pass relevant laws.

Like all things related to gun control, this initiative won’t advance without controversy: a Connecticut politician already took to her Facebook page to decry a recent visit by Giffords and her former astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, to family members of Sandy Hook shooting victims.

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Is PRWeb Just Spamming the Whole Internet Now?

Spam adYesterday we ran a cautionary tale about how some shady stock trader fooled almost everyone on the Internet (and made a bunch of easy money) by penning a PRWeb release about a non-existent Google acquisition and manipulating stock prices for a couple of hours. In asking the Big Questions, we wondered whether readers place too much faith in digital press releases and how much we should blame PRWeb itself for the mixup.

Last night, the SearchEngineLand blog followed up, exploring the issue with relish in a post titled “How PRWeb Helps Distribute Crap Into Google & News Sites”. Fun!

We’re not out to besmirch the Vocus/PRWeb brand: We’ve used it, and we’re fairly sure the vast majority of our readers have too. But blogger Danny Sullivan wonders whether PRWeb truly has the power to review all press releases and ensure their “integrity”, and we share his skeptical curiosity.

Of course, distribution is the service’s key selling point—for a one-time fee, reps can ensure that their releases will appear on a wide range of sites both mainstream and obscure/legally dubious. We’ll say this, though: The fact that official “press releases” hyping “Lowest Price Viagra” from “LICENSED and LEGAL European online pharmacy” moved through PRWeb’s filter intact and ended up on the websites of otherwise respectable “distributor” publications like The Houston Chronicle may tell you something about the intensity of the organization’s fact-checking process.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

TobleroneAfter a review, McGarryBowen‘s London office acquired the global advertising account for Toblerone, the renowned candy brand. WPP’s Ogilvy managed the account previously, and—even thought it will no longer handle the Toblerone account—it will continue to work for a new company, Mondelez, established by the division of Kraft Foods into two separate entities.

Jill Kelley, the Florida woman catapulted into fame upon being identified as the person who triggered an FBI investigation that exposed CIA Director General David Petraeus‘ extramarital affair, has hired the crisis firm Smith & Co., based in Washington, DC. Though Smith & Co. refused to comment, both USA Today and Fox News reported that Ms. Kelley and her husband, Scott, hired Smith & Co.’s founder, PR maven Judy Smith, and attorney Abbe Lowell.

WISE PR, based in New York City, has added several new clients to its roster: Control Group, an NYC-based innovation strategy firm; Spruce Media, the leading provider of enterprise-class marketing solutions for Facebook Ads; Yieldex, the leading provider of inventory and revenue management solutions for digital publishers; Dynamix, a provider of dynamic creative engagement, optimization and personalization technology, and Spindle Labs Inc., a developer of new search technology to help people discover social content.

Britain Finds Novel Ways to Bond with Global Audience

London’s 2012 Olympic Games may have inspired love at first sight among the viewing public and attendees, but from a marketing communications standpoint it’s been a long, drawn-out courtship.

“We’ve been preparing for the Olympics since 2005. To inspire visitation, our strategy has been to socialize the travel experience and centralize content to support marketing and PR,” says Karen Clarkson, VP North America for VisitBritain. She spoke at the Association for Travel Marketing Executives’ Marketing Issues Forum on Thursday in New York, discussing her company’s Olympics efforts and plans for the next James Bond movie, Skyfall.

Britain has enjoyed extended time in the public spotlight this year, from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in June to the Olympic Games in July, the Paralympics in August and London’s Fashion Week in September. As Clarkson noted, “It’s been an opportunity to influence information about London and beyond, and not limited to sports related content. For the Olympics, we established digital content partnerships with NBC, Yahoo, The Travel Channel, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Travel & Leisure magazine.” She said that these partnerships helped the company generated $600 million worth of earned media impressions.

While partnership marketing plays a key role in VisitBritain’s operations, “social is at the heart of everything we do,” Clarkson explained. She described a unique pre-Olympics project in which Britain worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee to “engage athletes and have them experience Britain firsthand before the Games.” They selected and sent seven American Olympics athletes to Britain in the fall of 2011 “to showcase the destination from a U.S. perspective and to appeal to a younger demographic.” The athletes generated visual content as they interacted with their fan bases on Facebook and Twitter.

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Will Media Convergence End the ‘PR or Advertising’ Debate?

“Is it PR, or is it advertising?”

This is a question that many in the public relations field must consider on a daily basis, but worry not; the debate will soon disappear as the two disciplines become one and the same.

Marketing pro Geoff Livingston attended USA Today’s 30th anniversary/”USA Tomorrow” multimedia rollout event this month, and he left the “future of news” mini-conference believing that the PR/marketing debate will be irrelevant within five years.

Why?

In the traditional “mass communication” media landscape, a clear line existed between advertisements and press releases or related content; they may have had similar goals (publicity and consumer outreach), but they had to reach them in different ways due to the limits of their respective venues.

Now, however, the model is shifting due to a fractured media landscape and an increasing public distrust of traditional advertising and corporate messaging efforts (stop us if you’ve heard this one a million times before). Livingston thinks that promotional content will still be separated into the “earned” and “paid” categories, where “earned” content is more trusted by customers and “paid” content earns more ROI.

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Romney’s Paul Ryan Pick: A PR Win?

And then there were twoWe generally prefer to avoid dipping our toes too deeply into the political arena, but we think we can judge Mitt Romney’s choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate to be a PR win–for the moment, at least. Why? It serves as an irresistible dog whistle to those who make their livings polling and pontificating about politics, and the presumptive Republican nominee’s recent PR stumbles have now been obliterated by a wave of news and opinions about his new, “edgy” veep pick.

Judging by a big surge in related activity throughout the Twitter-verse (ugh), Romney won the weekend by announcing what struck many as a bold choice while making the pundit class look a little silly in the process. Let the “pros and cons” pile-on begin!

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Revolving Door: MSNBC, Salon, and More from the News Corp Hacking Scandal

MSNBC’s top spokesperson Jeremy Gaines is heading to the Gannett Company to lead the corporate comms division as VP, effective May 21. Gannett owns USA Today, a number of broadcast stations, and tons of other media properties. NBC News’ lead spokesperson Lauren Kapp is heading to The Huffington Post as of April 30. NBC has not announced replacements for either position. [via]

Speaking of USA Today, two of the papers journalists say they’ve become the target of a “smear campaign” after reporting on “government propaganda contractors.” We tweeted the PRSA response; here it is as well. [via]

Salon has a new look. Thoughts? Separately, the site’s press release for the redesign says the number of monthly unique visitors has grown 30 percent to 7.7 million since 2011. [via]

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