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Posts Tagged ‘Usher’

‘TheAudience’ Flips the Script on Celebrity PR

Jeremy Piven Ari Goldman EntourageThe public feels a unique combination of respect, envy and resentment toward celebrities. This is nothing new.

But thanks to the wonders of social media, we’re closer to the stars we love and hate than ever before. Now a new company wants to revolutionize the celebrity PR game via social media–and it’s making publicists and agents all over Hollywood very nervous.

What is TheAudience? It’s an alternately “stealthy” and “mysterious” startup backed and promoted by two of the biggest names in the West Coast media world: Napster/Facebook co-founder Sean Parker (who you may know as Justin Timberlake) and Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel (who you may know as Jeremy Piven).

But its driving force is Oliver Luckett, a former programmer, Disney PR man and full-color personality whose hobbies, according to The New York Times, include driving around LA in an Aston Martin and traveling to Iceland (our new favorite country) “to to compete against Bjork in a gingerbread house-building contest”. We like the guy already! His key selling point? He’s figured out a way around the traditional Hollywood PR system.

What does TheAudience do, exactly? The company effectively manages the social media presence of celebrities who don’t have the time (or interest) to do it themselves. But this is no automated status update machine: Team members feed fans a steady stream of content via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus, keeping them occupied with exclusive comments, pictures and videos.

The key difference between old-school PR services and this newfangled arrangement is that the content truly does come from the celebrities themselves:

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Omaze Turns the Charity Model on Its Head

The non-profit business model is timeless: Celebrities and other well-to-do individuals identify a personal cause and encourage fans and followers to get involved–but the whole venture runs on the large donations of the fortunate few.

While Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins were still in business school, they attended a charity event that inspired them to change that equation altogether. The two classmates would have loved the opportunity to play basketball with Magic Johnson, but the price on the play date was a prohibitive $15,000. The incident got them thinking about a new way of running a charity venture–by expanding the playing field to include all interested parties.

Now they bring us Omaze, a project that offers fans “the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences that also support social missions.”

Omaze is no small-time operation: past partners include Lady Gaga, Modern Family, the Broadway musical Rock of Ages, Meet the Press and the cast of Glee. Here’s the kicker: the required donation for participants is only five dollars. That’s right, for five bucks the super-fan can enter to win the chance to hang out with the cast of his/her favorite show…and support a worthwhile charity in the process!

How are they able to run a successful operation on the strength of such tiny donations?

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