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Diversity

Oxygen’s New Lineup Is Tailored for the Young, Multicultural Female Viewer

chasing mariaOxygen, a network that has always geared its programming towards female viewers, is now going to zero in even more closely on the millennial, multicultural woman with new shows that include a nail art competition, Nail’d It!, that will culminate in a $100,000 prize; Sisterhood of Hip Hop, a reality show revolving around five female hip hop artists in the making; and Living Different, a show that will focus on women living “alternative” lifestyles.

At the network’s upfront, Frances Berwick, president of Bravo and Oxygen Media, said, “African-American and Hispanic and Asian-American and white” women are longing to see themselves better “reflected” on television. This lineup seeks to fulfill that viewer wish.

But more than that, Oxygen is trying to make a statement about its brand. Unlike other reality shows — like those on Vh1 and the shows that are part of the Real Housewives franchise — these shows focus on a more positive outlook on female relationships. So we should expect a lot less shrieking, backstabbing, and finger pointing for a change of pace.

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STUDY: Is PR’s Focus on Digital Media Detrimental to Brand Storytelling?

BPR Infographic V5 - Stories-without-borders-infographic.pdfTurns out, while managing to cram powerful, sharable, effective brand messages into 140 characters is an undeniably valuable skill, PR’s focus on digital media might be drawing vital attention away from effective storytelling.

This is according to a recent report by Berkeley 360, titled Stories Without Borders—International PR in an Evolving Media World, which explores current research and trends to discover how the global media landscape is shifting, and what that means for PR. The report states that, “the media in most countries has been transformed by digital technology, but success lies in the story, not the delivery.”

As a press release about the study explains that while boundaries are disappearing between print and digital media, between online, social and mobile channels, and between brands and their customers, the world remains a culturally, linguistically and geographically heterogeneous place—and brands and PR professionals forget this at their peril.

While social media networks remain a great way to build and engage local communities and are essential ingredients for successful PR, research shows that over half of the world’s population reads a daily newspaper, and trade publications remain the best way to influence senior decision makers. In other words: the press release is not dead, and people still want to hear a meaningful, engaging, and full-length story about the brands and companies they interact with. Read more

Apple Promises More Diversity in Its Emoji Department

iOS-Emoticon-300x300In case you thought MTV had lost its cultural influence, think again. This week Apple’s communications department agreed with the youth network and its unofficial spokesperson Miley Cyrus: the emoji family needs to diversify.

Inspired by Baby Daddy star Tahj Mowry’s Twitter lament over the lack of explicitly African-American emojis, MTV’s Joey Parker emailed CEO Tim Scott about the issue and got a response from the top of the PR team. Worldwide corp comms VP Kate Cotton wrote:

“Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms.  There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”

No word on how or when this change will come about, but we just know that it will be a generation ahead of us.

While we admire Apple’s responsiveness and its desire to better serve its incredibly diverse fan base, we have a few emoji questions of our own…

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Felons Create Powerful Brand Campaigns and PSAs through ‘Concepting with Convicts’

A good idea can come from anywhere.

That was the revelation that led two interns at DigitasLBi in San Francisco to utilize the prison pen pal system to startConcepting with Convicts,” a project that helps convicted felons tap into their creativity by designing campaigns for major brands and PSAs.

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Inspired by powerful pieces of art made by felons, Ben Pfutzenreuter and Pat Davis, with the help Marcus Lof, sent hundreds of emails through prison pen pal websites seeking people who might be interested in the project. “We realized that if we could contact convicts themselves, maybe we could also show them that their creative talents can translate into a real career on the outside,” Davis told PSFK.

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Making Diversity in PR a Reality: Ellen Walthour, Executive Director of the BrandLab

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We’ve posted a few times on diversity in PR in recent weeks, and so far the most interesting conversation we had on the topic was with Ellen Walthour, executive director of Twin Cities-based project the BrandLab.

Could you give us a little history of the BrandLab?

We’re pretty young; we started in 2007 and launched as a 501(c) in 2008, so we’re a standard nonprofit. In 2009 we really began tracking students. We have kids graduating from college this spring who went through the program, and while those numbers are small, they’re going to grow.

Each year we’ve grown in terms of both participants and partners. PR firms are also involved, particularly PadillaCRT and Weber Shandwick.

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Graham Cracker Company Attests That All Love Is ‘Wholesome’ in Diverse New Ad

Well, the people who (inexplicably) freaked out about the Cheerios ad featuring a multiracial family a few months back are about to blow their stacks. This new commercial from Honey Maid sends the clear message that nothing’s more wholesome than the love of a family — no matter what that family might look like.

The genuinely heartwarming spot features families of all kinds — multiracial, single-parent, same-sex — all enjoying the two most wholesome things in the world–love and, of course, graham crackers. If not done just right, squeezing all of this sweetness and diversity into a 30-second spot for a snack could easily have come across as heavy handed or pandering, yet it doesn’t, and we’re willing to bet that’s due in large part to the fact that the people cast in the ad are real families, not actors, and so the love is palpable.

The company also released a few short documentary-style videos (after the jump) introducing these families and their stories in greater depth, furthering its message that it’s love, not demographics, that makes a family.

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CPAC Has Communications Issues With… A Lot Of People

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You may have heard that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) happened, and the GOP is still trying to appear inclusive. To that end, there was a panel about outreach to minorities — “Reaching Out: The Rest of the Story” — in which a couple of panelists proceeded to insult the very people they were meant to reach out to.

According to Talking Points Memo, Jason Roe and Elroy Sailor said the problem Republicans have with attracting minority audiences is that they don’t offer “goodies” like Democrats.

“Our guys aren’t exactly in the offering goodies business so it’s harder for us to go in and say what can we do to help the African American experience,” said Sailor, who clearly had no business being on this panel.

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Weber Shandwick, CPRF Vets Discuss Diversity in PR

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Earlier this month, PR veteran Mike Paul earned a bit of attention when he announced his plans to stage a hunger strike to protest a lack of diversity in the public relations world.

Since that story ran, we reached out to several contacts within the industry to get their takes on how we arrived at this point in the conversation—and where we should go from here.

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PR Vet Plans Hunger Strike to Protest Industry’s Lack of Diversity

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First, the indisputable fact: PR has a diversity problem. This is not breaking news.

PRSA and other organizations have long attempted to encourage greater diversity within the industry via various outreach and education programs, but as MWW SVP and PRSA national chair Joe Cohen told PR Week, “It’s no secret that ethnic and racial minorities are underrepresented…the actual numbers are staggering.”

One guru, however, has chosen to take action: today we received a release from Mike Paul—better known as The Reputation Doctor—announcing his plans to stage a two-day hunger strike protesting the lack of diversity in “PR Firms, Advertising Firms & Corporate Communications Divisions of Leading Corporations.”

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Twitter Proves It Is Not a Monochromatic Medium

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Now that Twitter is public and wants to take its IPO out for a spin, the social media/microblog giant is looking for novel ways to promote its stock. So, the Twitter employed twits to do some research and found out diversity does’t just represent ‘Merica … it sells itself too!

The graph above was supplied by Pew Research and the Wall Street Journal to shed some light on its users that are more diverse than the uber social media icons. This new diverse appeal isn’t an accident: in November, Twitter hired Nuria Santamaria as multicultural strategist, and the cutesy  chirp-chirp is feeling her influence in more ways than one. 

Ms. Santamaria says advertisers want to know more about racial and ethnic minorities on Twitter, from basic numbers to the languages in which they tweet. Last month, Twitter began showing ad agencies data from a coming report saying that Hispanics tweet more often than other users and activity among them rises when the conversation is about technology.

So, if that makes you want to buy stock, enjoy. And if you, like the rest of us, don’t understand the stock market, then you’ve probably moved on to a story about Justin Bieber. So enjoy that too.

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