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Product Launch

Grey and Santa’s Elves Spread the Word About Canon’s North Pole App

The good people at Grey New York recently joined forces with the Canon elves to spread the word about a new Facebook app released by their client that helps kids send their Christmas wishes directly to the man himself at the North Pole.

It’s kind of adorable. Kids can either submit a pic, write to Saint Nick or draw a picture. Here, for example, is our quickly rendered portrait of the basset hound we will be getting this year:

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Can you tell she’s smiling?

After parents submit their kids’ wishes, the family can watch a video of the wish delivered to Santa’s Workshop via Canon’s new printer while Mrs. Claus checks the naughty list. It’s all about showcasing the company’s new cloud printing technology in the cutest possible way.

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Gossip Writers: Social Media Made Celebrity Image Management Easier Than Ever

i.2.scandal-manual-gossip(George) Rush and (Joanna) Malloy were two of America’s best known old-school gossip columnists, but they decided to call it quits three years ago? Why?

In a complaint that will sound familiar to every journalist everywhere, they say they’d had it with celebs’ newfound ability to manage their images more effectively with social media, thereby reducing the value of the honest-to-goodness journalists who write regular columns in print (even if those columns are all about drug addictions and affairs and other gutter-hugging topics).

Oh, and they wanted to write a book that they then promoted with this Vanity Fair interview.

Some quotes:

“Keeping up with the Kardashians and other reality stars became nauseating. More and more, celebs were able to use social media to sidestep the columns, and most of the traditional media. They could spin their own version of the truth.”

“If I wanted to go into marketing, I would have gone to business school.”

In other words, celebrity news and marketing are now one and the same—right, Kim?

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Here’s Your New Favorite NSFW Book Trailer

We’d never heard of F**k: An Irreverent History of the F-Word before we saw this promo clip, but we’ve just placed it on our list of “10,000 Books We Might Feel Guilty For Not Reading.”

We can think of a few acronyms they missed, but everyone loves hearing British people curse, so here goes:

What we’re saying is that we support the concept of book trailers 100%. Got a gimmick? Go for it, because EMFPK* that it’s damn hard to get an audience’s attention.

There’s a second clip too, but as the copy block says:

“For more information and history, buy the f**king book.”

*(That’s “Every Motherf*cking Publicist Knows”, and H/T to Meg McAllister on this one)

Lady Gaga Calls Press Conference to Show off Her Helicopter Dress

In an apparent attempt to beat crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford in the “November’s Most Awkward Press Conference” competition, human sociology experiment Lady Gaga gave the world an answer to a question no one ever thought to ask: “What would a helicopter dress look like?

We’d like to say she entered the conference in “Volantis”, which is clearly not named after a city in Game of Thrones because Gaga is too busy staring into Marina Abramovic‘s eyes and recovering from her marijuana addiction to bother with such pedestrian entertainments as television. But this was really more like she gave a brief speech before entering the “flying dress”, hovering around for a moment, and coming back to earth with a thud.

We prefer Kenny Powers’ water-powered jet pack, but based on Gaga’s reaction at 0:47, we’d say she was pretty impressed.

We hear she has some kind of product to promote, but we were too distracted by her flying machine and her amazingly insightful quotes to care:

“I wanted to make today about something even more important to me, and that something is the youth of the world. Their minds are just so boundless. They’re just so inspiring.”

Aren’t they, though?

Google Wants to Get Your Experts on Camera, Like, Yesterday

Got some experts in your pocket but don’t know where to pitch ‘em? Google might just have the solution with its new “Helpouts” feature.

Here’s the promo clip, complete with uplifting background music:

The point? Google realizes that search has its limits, and sometimes you need face-to-face contact with an expert on the topic at hand. As the company’s VP for engineering puts it, “most of the world’s useful information still resides in people’s heads”—and it’s the big G’s job to get that info out in front of the public.

So if you have a client that specializes in programming or healthcare or yoga or makeup or pretty much anything, you could theoretically get them on Helpout. (And yes, the experts can charge by fixed rate or by the minute.)

What do we think: is this a new tool to give clients exposure or just another passing fad?

PR Stunt: Microsoft Released a Bunch of (Canadian) Zombies for Product Rollout

Another Halloween stunt we missed yesterday: in order to promote the new Xbox, Microsoft Canada staged a little zombie apocalypse with the help of a few dozen extras bussed in from wherever actors gather to drink and commiserate.

Earlier in the week, the company set up a huge replica of the new console in a parking lot, leaving many to wonder what the hell was going on. They got their answer yesterday morning, when the box opened to reveal the zombie scourge, assembled to promote the upcoming shooter Dead Rising 3.

We assumed that the undead Canucks would be a little more polite than your average zombie, being from the Great White North and all—but judging by these Vine and Instagram video clips, they were just as thirsty for blood and flesh as your average recently deceased, newly cannibalistic fiend. Some onlookers were like “meh“, but most seemed impressed.

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How Can PR Take Content Distribution Into the Mobile Age?

shutterstock_135797666In the age of the smartphone, using traditional email press releases to reach your target audience can feel a bit like performing brain surgery with a pair of scissors. So how can PR make sure the right message hits the right people at the right time—content and all?

Earlier this year we interviewed PR veteran Jeff Corbin on theIRapp, an application that helps those in charge of investor relations stay in touch with the people who matter most. At this week’s PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia, Corbin unveiled a new version of his product called theCOMMSapp, which he designed to serve the needs of a wider swath of the PR/corporate communications discipline.

Before the event, we had a chance to talk to him about the new product and about the PR industry’s need to go mobile ASAP. In the simplest terms, Corbin says it’s all about taking the message to them rather than making them come to you. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

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Diddy Wants to Save the Music Video (Good Luck With That)

One type of content we haven’t seen recently on broadcast television: the music video. Sean “Don’t Call Me Puffy” Combs wants to change that, and Time Warner Cable thinks he might be able to do it. This week he’s pushing his new Revolt TV venture as “the ESPN of music”, offering both your standard videos and some “behind the music” “news and information programming” (aka Snoop trying and failing to form a coherent thought).

So…a dated performer promoting a dated concept? It’s win-win!

It’s tough to make a video stand out without a little gratuitous nudity or a movie tie-in; the days of renting a suburban California mansion and turning a 48-hour party into a three-minute video are long gone. In other words, Diddy had better bring out the big guns: more famous friends, more flaming pianos.

On a side note, he can do comedy:

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Diet Coke Has Taylor Swift and Pepsi Has ‘a Pleasing Aroma’

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Two things we learned from Pepsi‘s latest Adventure in Marketing: there is a Scent Marketing Institute and the number two soft drink company just patented a “delivery system” technology designed to “[cause] a favorable aroma” as soon as you open each bottle. The purpose of this brilliant invention is to, you know, counter all the artificial chemical smells of the packaging and the terrible product inside.

Looks like the smell will come from some sort of chemical combo contained in a small gelatin capsule on the inner side of the cap. Remember that gelatin is made of cows, puppies and sunbeams, which means Pepsi will no longer be animal-free. That’s a PR problem waiting to happen, but at least the moo moos aren’t genetically modified!

This might beat Diet Coke‘s skinny Taylor Swift can for sheer ridiculousness. But is it dumber than the new “conforms to your hand” bottle? You be the judge.

Hat tip to Consumerist.

Devil Dogs and Ring Dings Join Twinkies on Shelves Once Again, In a More Subdued Way

drakes cakesRing Dings, Yodels, Devil Dogs, and Drake’s Coffee Cakes are joining Twinkies back on grocery store shelves this week after a short hiatus while business matters were sorted out.

McKee Foods, the company behind Little Debbie, is orchestrating the Ring Ding revival. And it’s a markedly more quiet one than what we saw from Twinkies. The Drake’s website will provide a store locator for the cakes starting on Wednesday. There’s a contest or two happening. And the company’s social media sites are promoting the comeback. But it’s been a markedly more subdued comeback so far.

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