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Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

Volvo Stunt Shows Us That a Hamster Can Indeed Drive a Truck

Here’s a fun pitch: In order to publicize the rollout for its new 15-ton off road vehicle, Volvo‘s UK team staged a stunt designed to answer that timeless question: can a hamster drive a truck down a steep quarry-side road?

High production values? Check. Ridiculous premise? Check. Sharable content? Indeed.

That’s one way to sell an oversized automobile (and to reach 2.5 million YouTube viewers in less than a week).

(h/t to PR Examples)

PR Win: Bloomberg’s Sign-Language Specialist Becomes an Advocate for the Deaf

Hey, remember Lydia Callis? Sure you do—she became an instant YouTube celebrity last October for her repeat appearances at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s side during Hurricane Sandy. Her animated sign-language style and the obvious passion she poured into her job endeared her to millions; she even inspired a Saturday Night Live skit.

So what’s she doing now? She’s parlayed her fame into a new role as an advocate for the deaf in New York. Right now she’s leading sign-language tours at New York Public Library, but her ambitious goal is to make more Americans aware of the challenges their hearing-impaired neighbors face every day. It’s a real problem—deaf customers recently filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for discrimination at the coffee shop’s Manhattan branches.

Speaking to the New York Times about the media frenzy, she said:

Seriously, when is this going to die down? Wow, people just really don’t know much about the deaf community.

Lydia knows of what she speaks: while she is not deaf, her mother and three siblings are, so ASL was her first language. Seems like she’d make a perfect advocate, no?

Here’s the clip in case you forgot:

Russell Simmons’ ‘Harriett Tubman Sex Tape’ Apology Didn’t Go Over So Well

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons has become something of a PR/media man extraordinaire, what with his digital marketing “don’t call us an agency” company and his newly-launched YouTube channel All Def Digital. Seems like his team could sell water to a well, no?

Unfortunately, this week he chose what might have been the worst possible way to roll out his latest product: with a poorly planned satirical clip titled “ADD History: Harriett Tubman Sex Tape” which made light of some horrific aspects of life in the pre-Civil War United States.

In short, the Tubman character encourages a friend to hide in a closet and photograph her having “special time” with her slave master—evidence which she later uses to blackmail him. This quote from Clutch magazine explains why the clip angered everyone with an Internet connection on Wednesday:

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McDonald’s Canada Wants to Show You Where the Beef Is

Yeah, no.

In case you never watched Dudley Do-Right as a kid, we’ll let you in on a little secret: things are different in Canada. For instance, McDonald’s Ontario recently added the McLobster to its menu. Let that one sink in for a minute.

Why do we mention our great white neighbor to the north? Because Canada has given us Jim Carrey, Rick Moranis, at least one member of Arcade Fire, and this week’s best case study in proactive social media PR!

Most food brands take one of two routes when confronted with tough questions about ingredients and product preparation: either change the subject or say nothing at all. Yet the Canadian branch of fast food’s reigning champ decided to do something completely different last year: listen to customers’ questions and give them all the dirt on the ginger clown with the beef-and-cheese addiction.

This isn’t just social media community managers tweeting “We’re sorry for your experience, customer X. Please email us at LikeWeCare@yahoo.com for more info!” McDC promises to answer any consumer’s question—as long as he or she connects on Twitter or Facebook first. Crafty!

So how does this project work?

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PR Win: Cleveland Kidnap Victims Break Silence with ‘Thank You’ Video

Here’s a great video to show your grandmother the next time she asks “What does a PR company do, anyway?”

Last night, Cleveland-based crisis management/media training firm Hennes-Paynter posted this short YouTube video featuring each of the three young women who spent more than a decade in captivity after being abducted by a neighbor in their Ohio suburb. Their dramatic rescue moved millions of Americans, and this clip marks the beginning of the next chapter in their very public saga.

Why did Hennes-Paynter decide to release the video at this point in time?

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Google Taking Heat from State AGs over YouTube Ads for Illicit Products and Practices

Google is being criticized by the attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska for allegedly profiting from ads associated with YouTube videos that promote illicit activities.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt sent a letter (PDF) to Google general counsel Kent Walker, asking him how much money the company generates from ads related to illegal sales of prescription drugs and counterfeit merchandise, and requesting detailed information as to the steps it is taking to curb the practice.

The letter reads in part: “As we understand the process, video producers are asked prior to posting whether they will allow YouTube to host advertising with the video and, for those who consent, the advertising revenue is shared between the producer and Google. While this practice itself is not troubling, we were disappointed to learn that many such monetized videos posted to YouTube depict or even promote dangerous or illegal activities.”

Specific examples given in the letter include ads for “pharmacies” that promote the illegal sale of drugs like oxycontin and percocet without a prescription, videos providing how-to guidelines for the forging of drivers licenses and passports, and videos promoting the sale of counterfeit merchandise.

“Not only are the activities depicted or promoted in the above-described videos illegal in and of themselves, but in the case of document forgery,” the letter states, “the how-to guide could be instrumental in the commission of other crimes ranging from under-age drinking to acts of terrorism.”

The letter asks that Google respond within 30 days with detailed information about the monetization of such ads, and warns that although both attorneys general hope to work collaboratively with the web giant to find a mutually agreeable solution, they “take these issues very seriously, and are prepared to take appropriate action to safeguard [their] citizens.” Read more

‘The Next Big Thing’: Samsung’s Partnership with Jay-Z Demonstrates Shifting Marketing Rules

By now you’ve likely seen the musical, pseudo-philosophical, and now-viral three-minute video announcing Samsung‘s new partnership with Jay-Z, which first aired during the 2013 NBA Finals Game 5. The deal, which cost Samsung $5 million, allows the first million Galaxy and Note mobile device-users who download the corresponding app to access the rapper’s latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, for free, three days before the record drops on July 4.

At first glance, the $5 million price tag may seem like a major marketing risk, especially considering that promotions like this don’t usually generate a major sales increase due to the fact that most cell phone users are locked into two-year contracts. Factor in the unthinkable possibility that not every Samsung user is also necessarily an avid Jay-Z fan, and one might wonder whether the tech company could possibly see a decent return on its investment.

But if we instead assume that the goal of this collaboration is media attention and visibility for the brand, rather than a spike in sales, the idea suddenly appears like a match made in marketing heaven. Read more

YouTube Announces the End of the World

What? They want us to pay?

Hold on. Breathe. The news is true. YouTube has just (finally) made it official that it will allow content providers to charge viewers access to videos. So, what will this do to the next Harlem Shuffle, the next cat floundering in a paper bag, or the next Justin Bieber musical sensation? Not much, probably.

Most of YouTube will remain free to the public, and the channels that do decide to charge customers will probably be able to do so because they know what their discerning customers want. YouTube is going niche. This means that we can actually choose the content we want to pay for, just as we choose whether or not we want to subscribe via pay walls to our favorite online newspapers and magazines.

Though much of the public still thinks all content should be free, it is slowly coming to the realization that some people actually make a living by creating content, and ultimately consumers will have to make a choice between paying for quality content and not having access to that content at all. This increasing reality has found its way onto YouTube and it doesn’t signify the end of the world for online content. It might, however, signify the demise of cable television. Read more

Kim Jong-Un, Master of Viral Content?

PR pros wouldn’t normally tell clients who want to go viral to “keep it creepy”, but the approach seems to be working for one Kim Jong-Un.

Kim’s PR strategy is actually very similar to that of major blogs: post lots of content on a regular basis and make it as weird and “WTF?” as possible. Most of the very, very few people in North Korea who have Internet access work for Kim’s propaganda department. And while much of the West chuckles at their strange videos and stories about unicorns, this viral content seems to grant a certain legitimacy to an oppressive and genocidal regime. South Korea’s national security director tells The Washington Post that the “headline campaign” is at least partially responsible for a sevenfold increase in news coverage and searches related to North Korea.

Now check out this YouTube page if you enjoy watching insane people do insane things.

The lesson here is really all about creating a story and then newsjacking your own work in order to gain even more attention. Of course, most of the public will be less interested in a product rollout than a mysterious dictatorship’s ongoing attempts to scare everyone’s pants off. Still…

Social Media Doesn’t Kill Productivity After All

Does your company prohibit you from accessing Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube at work? Quite a few do, citing the ability of cute animal videos and status updates to distract employees from the work at hand. But according to the biggest story making the rounds this morning, their concerns may be misplaced. In fact, the study in question suggests that a company’s most “connected” employees may be its most productive!

Don’t get too excited yet — the research, conducted by data analytics firm Evolv, involved approximately 40,000 call center employees whose responsibilities range from sales to customer service, so it didn’t cover the whole business spectrum. But here’s the interesting thing: the employees who counted themselves as members of more than five social networks were also the most valuable! They had, on average, better close ratios for sales and more efficient customer service records based on time per call.

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