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Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

How Should PR Adapt to Looser Social Media Rules in the Workplace?

We found ourselves fascinated by this great Sunday New York Times piece on an issue of vital importance to PR and HR departments: monitoring employees’ work-related social media activities.

A few companies have received very bad press thanks to conversations that their own employees initiated via social media. We understand why most companies’ policies seek to “discourage comments that paint them in a negative light”– no one likes unflattering attention, and Facebook has the potential to turn insider “water cooler” conversations into public debates.

But the National Labor Relations Board recently complicated the picture by ruling that some employees who were fired for Facebook conversations should be reinstated and that a company’s ability to regulate its team members’ “social” lives should be limited. For example, companies cannot adopt broad policies prohibiting negative comments if said policies “discourage workers from exercising their right to communicate with one another with the aim of improving wages, benefits or working conditions.”

That is very confusing! So what does the shift mean for public relations? Does complaining about work on Facebook or Twitter qualify as “protected speech?

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Nominate Your Clients for the Webby Awards by Friday

The Webby AwardsHave you heard of the Webby Awards? No? Well then: established way back in 1995 when we still used a dial-up modem to access our Prodigy account, the awards were created by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences to honor creative individuals doing great work in the digital field: websites, online ads, videos and all other kinds of content. This year’s deadline for nominations is Friday.

Academy members include Harvey Weinstein, David Bowie and Martha Stewart, and past winners have been as diverse as Björk, YouTube, Stephen Colbert and, for some reason, Jimmy Fallon. Oh and yes, the Webbies were once known as “The Oscars of the Internet.”

This year for the first time, the awards include a suite of social categories to celebrate “the diversity of content, brands and people that use social media as a fundamental component of their identity and communication.”

Sound familiar? If you have a client (or firm) that created a particularly excellent content, marketing, or other social media project this year, it will only take a moment to nominate them. We have a feeling they would appreciate it. But make sure you do it by the deadline this Friday!

M&M’s Teases Fans, Won’t Air Commercial Before Super Bowl

Someone call Page Six: There will be a new M&M’s commercial during Super Bowl XLVII that will serve as the society debut of the brand’s new tagline, “Better with M”. Hmm…intriguing. So, what else do we know about the commercial?

Nothing, really–and that’s the beauty behind the “anticipation bubble” concept referenced by marketer Roy Benin in this Ad Age article. The big tease is a marketing strategy that your stoic nun-schooled grandmother would appreciate.

See, the public is addicted to instant gratification. We want breaking information yesterday, and we devour everything from politics to porn like a downstream alligator on an upstream antelope. Everything in our lives is there for the taking, and when can’t get what we want it, we want it even more.

(We don’t really like to pay for things either.)

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Kids’ Brands Go Mobile for Product Rollouts and Promos

Babies play with iPad Imagine for a moment that you work in the marketing/communications department at Nickelodeon, PBS Kids or any other huge kids’ brand. What better time to schedule your next big product rollout than right before Christmas! Need a strategic hook? Disguise your promo materials as educational tools—you can familiarize members of your target audience with your brand’s newest innovations while winning approval from their parents!

November brought news of kids’ network Nickelodeon creating educational apps for kids, and a recent New York Times article clarified the purpose of these apps: promoting Nickelodeon’s TV properties.

Think about it: As television ownership and cable subscription rates decline, parents “are increasingly putting mobile devices into preschoolers’ hands and laps”–which creates some great new promotional opportunities for brands that appeal to young kids.

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Uh Oh: ‘Gangnam Style’ Star Allegedly Rapped About Killing American Soldiers

PSYYou’ve probably heard that Korean artist PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ recently became the most-watched YouTube video ever (we’re proud to say we still don’t get it). He may be a novelty act to Westerners, but he’s a big name now, and he’s scheduled to appear at a Washington, D.C. Christmas concert attended by the First Family next month.

As of today, though, he has some serious explaining to do.

American media outlets just caught on to a story, first noticed on a CNN site earlier this year and reported last week by South Korean magazine Haps, about PSY’s less appealing past: turns out he once (allegedly) covered a song with extremely inflammatory lyrics about killing American soldiers and their family members. This is a rough translation:

Kill those f–ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those f–ing Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully

We can’t claim to completely understand the context of what will inevitably become a huge story, but there’s little doubt that PSY was involved in protests against the US military in the early aughts.

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PR Win: New SodaStream Spot Defies Ad Censors

Last week we reported on a great ad by SodaStream, the masters of DIY carbonation. While we find the concept of homemade soda fascinating, we were mostly concerned with UK ad regulatory body Clearcast‘s decision to take the ad off the air for potentially offending the hyper-sensitive small business owners Coca-Cola and Pepsico. Won’t someone think of the little guys?

Anyway, today brings encouraging news: Instead of admitting defeat and slinking off to pout in a corner, SodaStream’s communications team decided to make the most of the ongoing “debate” by airing a second spot called “Bubble Blackout” that consists of a black screen featuring the words “if you love the bubbles, set them free” atop the first ad’s audio. The video concludes with a link allowing viewers to defy the ban by viewing the offending spot on YouTube.

Click the screenshot to check out the new spot:

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PR Challenge: Stars Who Trash Their Own Projects

Angus T. Jones of Two and a Half MenWe were more than a little amused yesterday to read news of one Angus T. Jones, an actor better known as “that kid on Two and a Half Men”, pulling what looked like an outright effort to sabotage his own show.

Jones appeared in a bizarre YouTube video that just happens to double as a promo spot for The Forerunner Chronicles, a multi-media project pushing the “end times” Seventh-day Adventist movement. He makes his new-found allegiance to God quite clear in the pseudo-interview while bemoaning his current gig, telling viewers to “please stop watching Two and a Half Men” and “filling your head with filth” and encouraging the public to “do some research on the effects of television and your brain” because “it’s bad news.”

This little incident provided the Internet with more awkward chuckles than a Charlie Sheen rant while creating a huge headache for anyone who makes money producing, promoting or performing on what remains one of TV’s top-rated sitcoms (and that’s quite a few people). Based on follow-up reports, it seems like the only folks happy with Jones’s online outburst are his friends at Forerunner Chronicles and the Valley Crossroads Seventh-day Adventist Church–because everyone loves free PR from a semi-famous “soldier of truth.”*

Anyway, we had to ask: why would a massively successful actor pull a stunt like this? And how can the show’s PR team contain the damage done?

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Samsung Hires ‘Overly Attached Girlfriend’ to Sell Hard Drives

Nothing puts the fickle, unpredictable and compelling nature of public opinion into perspective quite like the online celebrity phenomenon. Together we scour YouTube and pluck people from obscurity, elevating them to a state of international fame that is both instant and ephemeral. From the cute and the quirky to the talented and the straight-up freakish, the public loves online celebrities.

Now Samsung hopes to leverage the power of this phenomenon by recruiting one Laina. She’s famous for her “Overly Attached Girlfriend” videos–you know, the ones where she and her wacky eyes convey an unsettling but hilarious message to an undisclosed boyfriend. The videos have accumulated 13 million views to date, so something about her gag clearly connects with the public.

Online celebrities are, of course, a little different than your traditional stars. They were just like us mere moments ago– regular people sitting in their regular bedrooms beside their regular closets. The thought can be a little inspiring.

We say Samsung made a wise move by hiring Laina to sell its SSD840 drive, thereby demonstrating its sense of humor and its awareness of the fact that memes=marketing gold. Remember that McKayla Maroney had a meme–and she was a world-class athlete who won a gold medal at the summer Olympics.

Laina is just another one of your friend’s funny sisters.

Which Tech Giant Ran the Best Election ‘Campaign?’

We’d like to follow up on a question posed by multiple blogs today: which big tech/social media/search engine provider developed the best election-themed “campaign?”

Seems like everyone got in on the game. What do you think? Did we miss anybody?

Axe ‘Showerpooling’ Ads: Shameless and Sexist or Provocative with a Purpose?

Every member of the ad team responsible for promoting Axe grooming products clearly attended class on the day their marketing professors told them that “sex sells.”

Take, for instance, their ad featuring a stampede of half-naked women converging on one lone man (who apparently smells awesome) as the words “spray more, get more” appear on the screen. Not blunt enough for you? How about the shampoo bottle tagline that promises, “the cleaner to you are, the dirtier you get”? All this professional copywriting work sends one very clear message — use Axe, get laid.

Axe’s latest ad campaign, however, ventures into uncharted territory. In this case, the product’s ultimate benefit (sex) lies hidden beneath a very thinly veiled pseudo-PSA about water conservation. “Showerpooling”, as the company calls it, encourages young men to save water by showering with “a like-minded acquaintance or an attractive stranger”. While it’s pretty clear what might appeal to guys about this idea (and we don’t mean the eco-friendly part), Rob Candelino, vice president of marketing for U.S. skin care at Unilever (Axe’s parent company), swears the campaign really is about water conservation. Sort of.

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