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Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo’

Hit the Refresh Button with Five Tips and Tools to Stay Cool

“Baked in” is a popular media technology phrase, but with the latest heat wave, humans are the ones baking. This week it’s high time to share a few pointers for shaking off the extreme heat. The items here involve travel, cocktails, apps, celebrities and sandals, but for a change of pace, no celebrity scandals.

1.Visit the minus5° Ice Bar in New York and Las Vegas: The hotel brand that’s eliminating traditional room service, Hilton, just adopted a more novel option– an icy venue where it’s minus 5 degrees centigrade (or 23 degrees Fahrenheit). While igloo hotels in wintry places have long been popular, selected hotels (New York’s Hilton midtown and Las Vegas’ Monte Carlo and Mandalay Bay casino resorts), adopted the concept for cocktails. At minus5°, sculptures, furniture and glasses are all made of ice. This entertaining retreat charges a cover and lends guests insulated parkas and gloves.

2.Watch a rerun of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Canada episode: Another place one needs warm clothing is Canada, and that’s where the devil-may-care celebrity chef trekked last winter. He spent time in Montreal, Quebec City and the province of Quebec while visiting with well-known Canadian chefs and restaurant owners. They went ice fishing and dined in an ice shack on a frozen lake. However, if you find the food they’re consuming too hearty, (Bourdain calls the meals a “Franco Canadian full-on assault on the liver”), then take a TV break and enjoy lighter fare. …

3.Try Ben & Jerry’s Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt: The flavor is lemon Greek frozen yogurt with blueberry lavender swirl, or as the website calls it, lemon-y-blueberry-y. The print ad announcing the new product shows an image of a figure based on Tina Fey’s 30 Rock character attempting to skate with a giant lemon on Rockefeller Center’s lemon-framed ice rink. Ben & Jerry’s dedicated the product in honor of Tina Fey’s longtime support of Jumpstart, an early education organization for children in low-income areas.

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Why Yahoo’s Summly Acquisition Was a PR Stunt

Photo via Suzanne Plunkett/REUTERSYou may have heard today that Yahoo, which is in the midst of trying to “sex up” its brand image, just bought Summly, a “news summary” app created by a 17-year-old British kid named Nick D’Aloisio, for a whopping $30 million. But was Yahoo really expanding its product portfolio, or was the company just buying a bunch of good publicity? We’re firmly in the latter camp — and we’ll explain why.

The real value of this app has to be less than the selling price, especially when it faces competitors like Pulse, Flipboard and Pocket. But the move scored the company a first-page New York Times story with the headline “He Has Millions and a New Job at Yahoo. Soon, He’ll Be 18.” Compelling, no? He’s bold, he’s young and he’s a millionaire with his own Wikipedia page. He certainly doesn’t sound like the typical Yahoo user — and that’s the whole point. New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose notes that the last acquisition to get this much media hype was Facebook buying Instagram for a whole lot more money.

So it’s all part of Marissa Mayer‘s carefully planned image makeover.

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Coca-Cola Says Social Media Buzz Does Not Boost Sales

Coca-Cola This week, a Coca-Cola representative made a statement that will create more than a few headaches in marketing, PR and advertising departments around the country. For all the talk of encouraging the conversation online, social media buzz does not appear to translate into short-term revenue gains (at least for Coke). Oh, and print ads are the most effective way for Coke to drive per-impression sales. Surprised?

It’s a very dramatic announcement coming from a company with more than 60 million Facebook fans. But don’t freak out just yet–and don’t start gently lowering clients’ expectations, either. According to AdAge, Coke’s senior manager of marketing strategy Eric Schmidt (no relation) warned his audience at the Advertising Research Foundation‘s Re:Think 2013 conference not to read too much into the bombshell headline.

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Yahoo on ‘Work from Home’ Controversy: Mind Your Own Business

Marissa MayerLast night Yahoo issued a belated response to The New York Times on the totally unnecessary “no telecommuting, ever” controversy by releasing a statement that effectively read “Mind your own business; this doesn’t apply to you.”

The brand spokesperson’s words:

“This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home. This is about what is right for Yahoo right now.”

That’s it. No further elaboration, because “We don’t discuss internal matters”. A little translation via inside sources: Marissa Mayer “is in crisis mode” trying to fix the malfunctioning culture of a company that until recently sponsored “work from home” policies loose enough to allow employees to launch startups while still technically working for Yahoo full time.

Yahoo clearly doesn’t want to take part in the larger debate about telecommuting, internal cohesion and working mothers. One thing is clear, though: anyone who doubted that the company’s culture is in serious trouble can now rest assured that the rumors are true.

Also: Here’s an interesting post on the subject from KMSPR CEO Kathleen Schmidt. She argues that, while the “blanket memo” was not a great idea, this “controversy” is really all about the fact that Mayer happens to be a woman–and many in the corporate world would applaud a similar decision coming from a male executive.

What do we think?

The New Yahoo Prohibits Telecommuting, Irks Communications Team

Yahoo CEO Marissa MayerLast week Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled the property’s new look and features. But one aspect of her rebranding that escaped our attention was an absolute refusal to allow employees to work remotely. As an internal memo put it, “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” In other words, come to the office every day or you’re fired.

Some of Mayer’s team members didn’t appreciate this change; a group of “very irked Yahoo employees” leaked the note to The Wall Street Journal on Friday, turning the whole thing into something of a PR headache. As Edelman PR notes in this tweet, lots of people are talking about “working from home” right now–to Yahoo’s detriment.

The reasoning behind the decision makes sense: The company found that many of its telecommuters, in departments from marketing to engineering, weren’t actually getting much work done. Yahoo didn’t even seem to realize that some of them were still getting paid.

We get it–that’s bad news. But we wonder whether “no working from home, ever” is really the best solution.

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U.S. Postal Service to Launch Clothing Line

Today in No, We Don’t Mean the Band News: The U.S. Postal Service, currently suffering from something of a PR crisis, just announced plans to develop its own clothing line with menswear maker Wahconah Group.

Before you ask, this is not a joke–here’s the press release to prove it.

The apparel and accessories line, designed to be “on the cutting edge of functional fashion”, will be called “Rain, Heat and Snow” in honor of the unofficial USPS motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

It won’t just be the usual shirts, hats and footwear–it will include “wearable technology” like jackets with built-in iPod controls so mailmen can more effectively ignore the outside world while on their usual routes, controlling the free flow of information.

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Meet the New Yahoo!

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer continued her overhaul of the world’s least hip content/email provider today by introducing a new look for the site:

The new features mentioned by Mayer in interviews this week include “an infinite, Twitter-like news feed” and a collection of content recommended by users’ Facebook friends. Mayer signed content deals with the three major networks, switched from Microsoft to Google for ad services and announced plans to focus more heavily on Yahoo’s original properties like Yahoo Sports, movie listings and gossip site OMG.

Will Mayer’s plan to make Yahoo relevant again succeed? We don’t plan on making the site one of our chief web destinations or using its email platform anytime soon, but we will say that she is the best thing to happen to the brand in some time.

eHarmony CEO Wants to Spend $10M to ‘Figure Out’ Gays

Neil Warren, eHarmony CEOEarlier this week we posted on the importance of CEOs going social.

It’s true that the modern CEO loses out by not actively serving as the human face of his or her company, but some of execs’ concerns about bad publicity are completely understandable. Neil Warren Clark, founder of the world’s most influential dating site eHarmony, proved that point this month when he sat down for an interview with Yahoo Finance and made some very strange comments.

First, in talking about how much he loves his wife, he said that he needs “a robot who can come in and talk with me” when she isn’t feeling chatty first thing in the morning. Then he began discussing his company’s biggest PR/business challenge to date: the lawsuit inspired by its refusal to allow gay customers to use its service. While we agree with his assertion that same-sex marriage will soon cease to be “an issue” and that businesses and politicians have “made too much of it”, the next quote is very telling. After eHarmony created options for gay customers at the insistence of the attorney general of New Jersey, the company:

“…literally had to hire guards to protect our lives because the people were so hurt and angry with us, were Christian people, who feel that it’s a violation to scripture.”

So the people most upset about that PR disaster were Clark’s own evangelical fans. He follows with the strangest quote of the interview:

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PR Fail: Flickr Turns Private Photos Public

FlickrThe way we see it, the three biggest potential PR fails for a social network are service dropouts, unannounced changes in service conditions or privacy breaches. Flickr, the extremely popular photo sharing service owned by Yahoo that is not in any way threatened by the rise of Instagram, is now dealing with every social company’s PR nightmare: due to a software bug, the company unintentionally celebrated its ninth birthday by making thousands of users’ private photos publicly visible for nearly three weeks (while they didn’t appear in Google searches, they were visible to all other users).

Why is this significant? First 0f all, Flickr’s taglines assure users (some of whom pay for the service) that “your photos are safe with us”. The service’s user base also uploads a significant quantity of porn–as one user put it, her account included “a few naughty photos…for friends only” that may have been seen by any of the site’s thousands of users.

Flickr responded by making any “potentially marked” public photos private–which angered users who weren’t involved in the breach but saw their intentionally public pics disappear from the feed. Yahoo released a statement calling the problem “very small” and asserting that it avoided disclosing the issue to the public to avoid a bigger freakout, choosing instead to contact individual users directly.

Are we reconsidering our Flickr accounts now? Should the company have announced its latest problem sooner?

PR Fail: Applebee’s Fires Server Who Shared Obnoxious Tip-Free Receipt

Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant should be able to relate to this viral story: Last week a pastor at a St. Louis-area church took her congregation to dinner at Applebee’s after the service. Apparently unaware that 18% gratuities are standard practice for parties of six or more at every restaurant ever, the pastor refused to pay the total.

Even worse, she scrawled a note on the receipt explaining her decision. It read: “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18″. The understandably pissed server took a picture and a second waitress shared it on Reddit under the headline “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries”.

Then things got a little crazy.

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