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Target (Almost) Apologizes to Canada

Target wants the nation of Canada to know that they’re “disappointed” in their own performance–and they’ll definitely do better next time.

Last year we reported that the retailer’s northern expansion had failed to convince the Canucks not to shop at Walmart, and this week the company attempted to hit the “reset” button with this clip:

The executive team leader says the problem was all about getting product on the shelves, but we’re not so sure; the primary factor behind the lackluster numbers seemed to be the fact that Walmart is still cheaper and more convenient when it comes to the basics.

Here’s the big one: the Target corporation lost more than one billion dollars in 2013 and fired its president of Canadian operations in May.

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#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

How ‘Exposed’ Are You? Social Media-Powered Statement Dress Grows Transparent

How ‘Exposed’ Are You? Social Media-Powered Dress Becomes Transparent to Make a Statement - PRNewser

A common topic of conversation in the political, PR, and marketing spheres is the increasingly-delicate balance between “sharing” on social media and becoming completely exposed in a digital world completely devoid of privacy.

In an effort to make a statement about how unaware the public seems to be about what they are revealing to marketers, strangers and companies online, artists Xuedi Che and Pedro Oliveira of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program have created a project called “x.pose,” a “wearable, data-driven sculpture.” In essence, it’s a dress that becomes more and more see-through as the wearer tweets and shares on Facebook via her smartphone.

The artists explain their project’s message on the x.pose website

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Best Interview Ever: Starbucks’ CEO Schultz Talks About ASU College Partnership With Jon Stewart

starbucks cupIt’s not too often that The Daily Show invites a corporate leader to sit in the special guest chair opposite Jon Stewart. Usually it’s political activists and elected officials, authors and thinkers, or actors and directors. Last night, Howard Schultz, the CEO and chairman of Starbucksmade an appearance on the program. And he opened with the big news of the day (hey, it was on our Ticker!): Starbucks will be offering a free college education to its employees.

Through a partnership with the *Arizona State University, the company will give workers seeking a Bachelor’s degree the opportunity to pursue one, tuition-free, through online courses. He could barely get the words out and the audience was cheering.

“It is my job to hate everything. I’m having a really hard time with this one,” Stewart replied. “This sounds really lovely.” A talk show appearance – particularly one with Jon Stewart – doesn’t get much better than that.

Schultz said this is an opportunity for his company to tackle the issue of student indebtedness and help workers achieve something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get on their own. And waiting on Washington is a waste of time.

“We’ve got to step up as we have in the past and show true leadership,” Schultz continued.

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Aaron Paul TV Ad Accidentally Turns On Xbox Ones, Annoys the Hell Out of People

One of the coolest things about the Xbox One is arguably its Kinect voice command feature, so of course Microsoft would want to highlight this capability in its new ads — but apparently the demonstration is working a little too well.

The new spot features Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” using his Xbox One in all its voice command glory, but when Paul tells his console to turn itself on, he’s accidentally turning on consoles in living rooms everywhere. Xbox One owners have taken to Twitter to share their surprise, amusement, and, at times, sputtering frustration.

 

Intentional? Probably not. Interesting? Definitely. Mike Cannon of Tech Times brings up an eerie thought: if an ad can do this by mistake, how long until marketers start doing it on purpose? Read more

Coming Film She Started It Highlights Female Tech Entrepreneurs

You don’t have to be a big “Silicon Valley” fan to realize that the tech world currently suffers from a dearth of female stars. Many women within the industry–not to mention the PR firms that represent its biggest names–have addressed the issue: Rachel Sklar started the Change the Ratio group in 2010 and Nitasha Tiku of Valleywag recent published a New York Times op-ed hitting at the heart of the matter: encouraging girls to learn code.

Today, via Fast Company’s “Strong Female Lead”, we discovered that two journalists want to take the matter to the masses with their documentary film She Started It, which follows four female tech founders over a yearlong period.

The full piece is well worth a read. While we can’t imagine that a single documentary can bring dramatic change to an industry established in its ways despite its own love of “disruption”, She Started It will, at the very least, bring some much-needed attention to women following their own path in tech.

It could also be a powerful investor relations tool.

The Indiegogo campaign closed one year ago after raising nearly double its $10,000 goal total, and the trailer debuted online last month; the film is set for release in October.

Golin Drops the ‘Harris,’ Adds The Hoff

You may have heard this week’s news that the former GolinHarris is dropping its married name to “Go All In” after a 2011 “g4″ restructuring that transformed the firm “from a hierarchy of generalists to communities of specialists.

Here’s Al Golin himself telling CommPro that–organizational shifts aside–he’s glad to be around to continue “enjoy[ing] the notoriety.”

We have to confess, though, that we were compelled to click primarily by mentions of the man once kept afloat by Pamela Anderson’s buoys: David Hasselhoff.

It’s real, it’s spectacular, and there’s a video after the jump.

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Buzzfeed + Cats = Perfect Recipe for a Viral Video

Cat food brand Friskies has figured out the perfect, deliciously simple formula for a viral video: Buzzfeed + cats, proving once and for all that the internet was, in fact, created for the sole purpose of sharing adorable/hilarious videos of our feline friends.  

The below ad for Purina’s Friskies brand, which depicts an older and wiser cat grudgingly bestowing sage advice unto a kitten, was published by Buzzfeed on June 5 (less than two weeks ago), and has already been viewed well over 10 million times. The spot has even spawned a popular Twitter hashtag #DearKitten, without either the brand or Buzfeed attempting to spread it.

Ah, to be a promoter of cat products and have the whole of the interwebs just waiting to do the heavy lifting for you. Sometimes all it takes is a fuzzy face, a couple of tugs at the heartstrings, a few laughs, and some seriously smart advice about the dreaded monster they call “Vacuum.”

The Koch Brothers Want to Hit the ‘Reset’ Button

If you follow politics and consider your partisan orientation to be somewhere near or left of the “center”, then you may know Charles and David Koch as right-wing bogeymen allergic to the words “regulation” and “government.”

As with most things in politics, the story is a bit more complicated than that–and the brothers want you to know that their energy and consumer goods company Koch Industries is not the mythical bad guy. In fact, they’re all about Americans, values and the things Americans value.

To that point, today Koch launched an ad campaign titled “From the Heart”:

Why are we interested in this story, beyond the obvious political angle? It’s a classic example of a company trying to repair its image via a “refresh” or reintroduction to the public.

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Anti-Redskins Spot to Air on NBA Finals Tonight

It’s tough out there for Daniel Snyder: no matter how many political strategists you hire to convince the public to get over your team’s name and mascot, history keeps coming back to bite you in the ass.

And the controversy won’t die down anytime soon. Tonight, during the Heat/Spurs NBA finals game, this spot will run in seven cities:

The most interesting part of this story: the above ad isn’t new. It first hit YouTube almost six months ago, described as “the #BigGame commercial the NFL would never air.”

But a 60-second version of it will run during the game thanks to a “significant” ESPN/ABC ad buy by The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation of California. It’s all about raising awareness of the ChangeTheMascot.org campaign, and it’s already gone super-viral on Reddit, etc.

We’re thankfully not advising Mr. Snyder at the moment, but if we were we’d say that he needs to do something substantial to help his “Washington Professional Football Team” recover the fumble–and soon.

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