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Stunts

Seems Crazy, But Taylor Swift Was Actually a Good Choice for a WSJ Op-Ed

taylor swiftWhen I first saw a tweet expressing disbelief that Taylor Swift had written an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, I ignored it, thinking it was a mistake. But it turns out that yes, indeed, this story does exist.

As part of its 125th anniversary celebration, The WSJ included a column by singer/songwriter/everyone’s bestie during a break up, Taylor Swift. On its face, this is a stunt. The WSJ is considered stuffy and serious, usually not the place where you would see much about a country-pop music star, let alone a byline by one. But actually, it’s an inspired move that shines a light on the creative ways that you can present a brand to the world.

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Marc Jacobs Chooses ‘Real People’ from Instagram for His Latest Campaign

marc jacobs real peopleAnother brand is doing the whole “real models” thing, and this time it’s going high-end.

Marc Jacobs put out a call in April for fans and models to submit their names via Instagram to be considered for the upcoming campaign. According to The Daily Beast, 70,000 people responded and a new hashtag, #CastMeMarc, was born. After some deliberation, nine people were chosen to appear in the Fall/Winter 2014 campaign, which will make its debut in Teen Vogue.

Jacobs says he was looking to tap into “youth and energy” by going the social media route. The Beast has another take: “It was a well-played PR stunt; Jacobs accumulated plenty of free press for—let’s be honest—finding pretty people on the Internet.

“And the media ate it up, praising the campaign’s diversity and selection of ‘real people’ (apparently paid models aren’t actually human). It’s unclear whether these very real and authentic people are being paid as much (if at all) as previous faces of Marc by Marc campaigns—which includes unreal people like M.I.A. and Dakota Fanning—though we can assume that they are being compensated mostly in flattery and social cache,” the article continues.

So lots of different kinds of free publicity here. But we’re going to fall back on our previous question: How much more of this “real people” stuff will people go for?

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Celestial Couture: Premiere Catwalk at One World Trade Center

WTC Fashion Show Poster JMA“Having friends in high places” is often considered to be a ticket to business and personal success. For model turned entrepreneur Jessica Minh Ahn, it’s all about fashion in high places. She’s staged catwalk events worldwide in spots like the Grand Canyon Skywalk, London’s Tower Bridge and sky-high settings in the Middle East and Asia.

On Wednesday evening Minh Ahn assembled a global cast of designers for a first-ever catwalk event at One World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. She was undaunted by the ongoing construction at the tallest building in the western hemisphere and hosted the show on the 63rd floor. The runway was a mix of 8 brands, comprising haute couture, premium ready-to-wear and active wear. Each designer debuted a signature collection based on the landmark locale.

“Fashion is the international language and there are no more boundaries now”, said participating designer Diego Cortizas of Chula. Indeed, the show reflected a veritable World Cup of fashion. Here’s a selection of brands and images in the WTC spotlight.

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McDonald’s Pranks Aspiring Vegas Performers for Promo Stunt

The concept of a zombie-themed musical extravaganza in Vegas is apparently believable enough to fool a group of theater devotees who happened to be gathering in the general area for an “art walk event”. McDonald’s, Dr. Pepper and Vegas theater The Arts Factory (which has LOTS of vintage bike nights) collaborated on this stunt with, we presume, an agency that will choose to remain nameless.

The purpose of this surprisingly high-budget event was to promote the chain’s new “After Midnight” menu, and the resulting video resembles a collection of clips from “American Idol” rejects.

You’ll have to pardon us for being a bit skeptical…and a little sad for the “crowdsourced” passersby who didn’t seem to realize that it was a joke. Steve Hall of MarketingLand writes:

“To promote ‘Hunger in the Night,’ McDonald’s outreach efforts incorporated advertisements, media support and branded promotional materials, including a wrapped tour bus to attract participants to the open casting.”

That’s quite an effort. We’re not even sure these would-be stars of stage and screen are representative of the target audience for AM munchies. But if the brand needs a PR who can speak to that particular demo, we do have someone in mind…

#PRWIN: Hillary Clinton Greets Stalking Squirrel, Promotes Book at the Same Time

Hillary Clinton shakes stalking squirrel’s hand, gives him book – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs-1In case you haven’t heard, a protester from the Republican National Committee — dressed, for some reason, in a squirrel costume — has been following Hillary Clinton around while touting terrible puns like “another Clinton in the White House is nuts.”

About eight minutes before Hillary was supposed to appear at a CNN town hall meeting on Tuesday, her motorcade pulled over to the side of the street. Instead of heading directly into the studio, the former secretary of state got out of her car to meet the republican rodent face-to-face.

“Hello, Mr. Squirrel, how are you?” she said, smiling. She then placed a copy of her book Hard Choices in his fuzzy hand, saying, “I wanted you to get you a copy of my book…I hope that you will make the hard choice and read my book.” She even threw in a compliment: “You bring a smile to a lot of people’s faces,” she said. She then shook the squirrel’s massive hand and said, “Thank you, Mr. Squirrel. Thank you so much.”

She even managed to wave politely to the crowd, thank them, and make it to the studio just in time. Clas-sy. Read more

Lunar Advertising: Japanese Company to Launch Can of Soda to the Moon

LUNAR DREAM CAPSULE PROJECT | キミの夢を、月に届けよう。

Japanese soda company Otsuka is about to take “one giant leap” for advertising.

The moon’s surface, once described by Neil Armstrong as “magnificent desolation,” is about to become a bit less desolate thanks to a 2.2-pound titanium capsule filled with “powdered sports drink and children’s dreams,” which the beverage maker, in partnership with Pittsburgh-based aerospace company Astrobiotic Technology, plans to bestow upon our lunar neighbor.

Astrobiotic is currently in competition for the $20-million Google Lunar X prize, which will be awarded to the first company to land a payload on the moon’s surface that can travel at least 1,640 feet and transmit high-definition images back to Earth. To fund such a project and to purchase a spot on a launch vehicle (which, in this case, is the Falcon 9 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX), the company needs sponsors, and Otsuka has offered Astrobiotic a hefty half-million in exchange for a can of its Pocari Sweat sports drink acting as a stowaway. Read more

UPDATED: ‘The Oatmeal’ Cartoonist Leverages Love of Tesla Motors to Support Nikola Tesla Museum

tesla-review-hed-2014

I’m a longtime fan of The Oatmeal, and particularly appreciate how cartoonist Matt Inman exuberantly describes and animates his unbridled passion for the things he loves — his dog, grammar, the fiendishly-terrifying Mantis Shrimp, etc.

As it turns out, Inman also happens to love Tesla — both the legendary inventor and the car company — and is attempting to leverage his love and endorsement of the latter to support a museum honoring the former.

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Coldplay Hides Lyrics in Ghost Story Books in Libraries Across the Globe

Coldplay_ News - Ghost Stories lyrics hidden in libraries worldwideAs the lifelong library lover and lyrics-obsessed music fan I am, I officially declare this my favorite album promo of the year.

In order to promote their upcoming album “Ghost Stories,” Coldplay has hidden lyric sheets, written in lead singer Chris Martin’s handwriting, inside ghost story books in libraries around the world.

Nine sheets of lyrics (one for each song on the album) were hidden, and the band has been tweeting clues. So far, eight of the nine sheets have been found in locales as wide-ranging as Mexico, Singapore, Finland, Spain, England, New Zealand, Ireland and the U.S. As each one has been discovered, the details of the finds and photos of the lyrics sheets have been posted to the band’s website, Coldplay.com.

I was particularly excited to learn that the 7th sheet of lyrics, for song “A Sky Full of Stars,” was discovered in a copy of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of House,” one of my all-time favorite books. Read more

Airbnb Goes Grassroots With ‘Us vs. Them’ Damage Control Campaign

We might almost feel bad for Airbnbairbnb thanks to its appearance in an endless stream of negative headlines if the company–and its ideological partner Uber–weren’t also responsible for so many think pieces about “the sharing economy.”

If the news is so bad, then why is the company’s estimated value somewhere around $10 billion–which is, as The New York Times reminded us today, more than the total worth of Hyatt Hotels Corporation?

The answer, as far as we can tell, involves the appeal of staying somewhere for cheap and a strategy focused on casting the company’s legal struggles as a case of “The People” versus “The Man”–said man in this case being New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman.

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Coke Makes Rainbows for South Africa

Need an antidote to the sad, ridiculous, ridiculously sad racism playing out in the news here in America?

Check out how Coca-Cola literally brought rainbows to the people of South Africa on the eve of Freedom Day, the 20th anniversary of its first democratic election when Nelson Mandela was elected President. The term “rainbow nation” was coined by Mandela’s friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe the diverse country emerging under the leadership of the African National Congress after the end of Apartheid.

The stunt was developed by FCB South Africa, Johannesburg for Coke with the help of “Rainbow Maker” Fred Stern.

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