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Lil Wayne Stirs Controversy by Dancing on American Flag in New Video

Of all the ways in which an artist can garner attention for a new song, stirring up controversy seems to be a method with which rapper Lil Wayne is quite familiar.

His song “Georgia…Bush” stirred the political pot back in 2006 by heavily criticizing the Bush administration’s actions both overseas and in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. More recently, Wayne lost his PepsiCo endorsement after the lyrics of his remixed song “Karate Chop” considered insensitive towards civil rights icon Emmett till.

Now, the rapper is taking heat for what many feel is an anti-American and anti-patriotic display: treading on the American flag — well, technically, dancing on it.

Earlier this week, behind-the-scenes footage from the video shoot for Weezy’s new single “God Bless Amerika” was leaked to the public, and features the rapper performing in front of Old Glory. At one point the flag falls to the ground and he dances across it. Though his attitude in the below clip appears to be more casual than blatantly disrespectful or malicious, according to the U.S. Flag Code, the flag isn’t even supposed to touch the ground, let alone be trampled on, and so the music video is being lambasted even before it’s released.

But it got us to watch the clip, didn’t it?

‘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

Myspace Returns as Social Launch Pad for Artists

In case you weren’t aware that Myspace does actually exist outside the nostalgic realm of late 90′s pre-teendom (because we weren’t), the reinvented social media site has launched a $20 million campaign to enlighten you.

The reincarnated Myspace, owned in part by Mr. Suit and Tie himself — Justin Timberlake, is now a fully operational social discovery service for musicians, artists, and other creatives, and is celebrating its relaunch with a new iPhone app, radio and digital advertising, and its first-ever TV commercials.

You can watch the full 90-second spot below, shortened versions of which began airing on channels like Comedy Central, MTV and ESPN last night. Myspace owner Specific Media, which developed the commercial, is also having the celebrities who appear in the ad distribute the video via their social feeds. Though Timberlake does not appear in the ad, the spot features plenty of fresh-faced and excited young artists to grab your attention, including Pharrell, Ciara, Mac Miller, Riff Raff, Erin Wasson and Chance The Rapper.

Relaunching a long-out-of-favor brand is always complicated and risky, and while it is far too soon to tell whether the new Myspace will succeed, we think having J.T. at the helm is at the very least a good omen — if anyone can lead the transition from 90′s relic to current success, we’d put our money on Timberlake.

Reebok Took Our Advice and Dropped Rick Ross

We have to tip our hats to Reebok today for taking the hint and dropping rapper/fake gangster/failed sneaker spokesman Rick Ross from its celebrity roster. In case you missed it, the company found itself in a PR bind when someone noticed that the lyrics to Ross’s latest single seemed to tell a tale of date rape via champagne spiked with ecstasy. Yesterday Reebok announced that, while they do not feel that Mr. Ross’s verse actually condoned sexual assault, the brand “holds [its] partners to a high standard” and believes that the rapper “has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue or an appropriate level of remorse” despite some desperate attempts at a last-minute apology.

This was a no-brainer for Reebok. Of course, the proactive individuals at UltraViolet who created the anti-Ross petition probably had a bit more to do with the decision than this humble blog, and we’re not the sort of people to take credit for others’ work, but we’d like to think of ourselves as members of the chorus.

On a final note, if Reebok or any other brand wants to hire a spokesperson with “street cred” in the future, they might want to refrain from choosing a guy whose entire backstory is a product of his own imagination. Just sayin’.

Beyoncé’s Big Reveal Is…a Pepsi Ad!

The spot doubles as a sort of video retrospective and a vehicle for the premier of her new single “Grown Woman”, but we’re still a little disappointed. Where are the robots, Bey? Oh well — such are the trials and tribulations of a “brand ambassador.

Can Anyone Guess What Beyoncé Will Do Tomorrow?

A Jay-Z post deserves a Beyoncé follow-up, right? Well, this week everyone’s favorite star-spangled pop star made a very…strange video announcement. We only know this thanks to the clip below and the #BeyHereNow hashtag. It’s not an Oasis reference, but it is trending on Twitter as everyone tries to figure out what the hell the announcement is all about: A new single? Another baby? A government grant for robotics research in Beyoncé’s name? Whatever it is, it’s a great promotion.

All this six-second clip tells us is that Queen Bey will make an announcement about something tomorrow and that she has officially begun to make the transition from human to machine.

Do you guys have any idea what this is all about?

(H/T to Flavorwire for the tip.)

Here’s Our Favorite Justin Timberlake Promo Stunt

Justin TimberlakeSo Justin Timberlake released his new album The 20/20 Experience this week, and everyone’s going all out to promote it. His label allowed fans to stream the whole thing on iTunes two weeks ago, he hosted Saturday Night Live, and before all that he did this ridiculous “I’m ready” tweet thing.

Anyway, it’s Friday so we thought we’d share our favorite little JT promo stunt via our sister site AgencySpy. It’s so simple that it’s dumb — in a brilliant way. It’s called JT All Night Long, and it’s really just a quick loop from that (old) song set to different clips of Timberlake throughout his career, from the “SexyBack” video to the ramen-hair period. Just click on it before reading ahead.

Don’t you feel like you just got “Rickrolled” by Timberlake and creative agency CP+B Miami? We do — and we don’t mind at all. Say what you will about his music, but the dude has a sense of humor.

Good PR: Billy Joel Proves He’s Not Too Cool for School

Although Billy Joel has been on a touring hiatus for the past three years, he’s still earned some good press by headlining classrooms rather than stadiums. During a series of college visits, the Piano Man spoke to large groups of college students, often taking a moment to break down his songs on piano.

During one such recent college visit, Vanderbilt University freshman Michael Pollack worked up the nerve to ask if he could play a song with the piano man, himself. Without hesitation, Joel responded with an “Okay,” proving that for all the fame and fortune, he’s still not too much of a “Big Shot” to share the stage with an aspiring musician. Pollack played flawlessly, and Joel, clad in some dashing shades, crooned those famous lyrics before adding: “Remember that name…Guy’s got chops!”

Joel is about to begin touring again with performances scheduled this spring at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and the Stone Music Festival in Australia, and this clip proves that he’s a down-to-earth guy who cares about education and that he can still deliver the goods. His management team couldn’t have planned it better. (Oh, and for the record: the answer to the question “will my parents ever stop playing ‘Just the Way You Are?’ is ‘of course not!’)

Doritos Creates Tweet-Powered Stage for SXSW

DoritosWe recently told you about the success of Hot Wheels’ tweet-powered vending machine, and speculated as to what sort of real-world device would be powered by customers’ tweets next, but even we hadn’t thought of this

To kick off its first ever global ad campaign “For the Bold”, Doritos has taken the concept to the next level (or maybe even the level beyond that) by building a 62-foot-tall, tweet-powered concert stage designed to look like a giant vending machine at SXSW.

The high-tech platform will take tweets featuring the hastag #BoldStage and use them as real-time concert controls. This means that viewers can harness their unprecedented power to choose the show’s opening act, handpick the set list, control the special effects, and send pictures of themselves rocking out directly to the four-story screen in the arena (all with only a 9.6-second lag time).

Sounds a little crazy, no?

Read more

Follow the 4 P’s to Create a Strong Social Brand Community

Passion, participation, pictures and the popularity of celebrities like Betty White: those are among the key elements for creating a strong fan base on social platforms, according to a panel of digital media executives at Digital Hollywood’s Media Summit in New York on Wednesday.

Community building is high on the list of crucial social media strategies, but it still eludes many brands. During social media’s early stages, some enterprising fans even established brands’ social media presence before the companies themselves got around to it. After playing catch-up, more organizations now are embracing their social communities.

The media and entertainment brands represented on the panel, including WhoSay Media (celebrity publishing platform), DailyCandy (city guides discovery site), Wikia (Wikipedia’s sister site) and Crown Media Family Networks (Hallmark Channel), may have an edge, since they represent hot celebrity assets and focus on fun topics. Still, their tips for creating effective social communities apply across categories:

1. Pictures: “A few pics a week is the secret sauce for having a vibrant community. Our talent wants to be on Instagram”, said WhoSay Media’s VP of talent, Harvey Schwartz. For example, their client Danny DeVito posted amusing shots of his troll feet while sports stars Christiano Ronaldo and Mariano Rivera posed with each other and a certain Mick Jagger shared a photo taken while recording last summer in a Paris studio.

DailyCandy also uses Instagram, sending behind-the-scenes takes during photo shoots. Pinterest is their other favored visual platform. As editor Ashley Parrish said, “Pinterest is about finding hidden gems, since our readers are treasure hunters.”

Read more