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Archives: January 2010

iPad-Related Topics Dominate Twitter; iTampon Peaks at #3

As of the close of the business day, eight of the top ten terms trending on Twitter were related to the new Apple iPad. While the official name was number one, comparisons and complaints (such as the lack of flash support) peppered the list, while the brandjacked “iTampon” peaked at number three:

1) Apple iPad

2) #nowplaying

3) iTampon

4) #Apple

5) Haiti

6) iPhone

7) Kindle

8) Steve Jobs

9) Flash

10) iPod Touch

The immediacy of the iTampon meme makes one wonder if Apple anticipated, then discarded the concerns, or is too wedded to the “i” prefix to care. If mockery is the sincerest form of flattery, look for a South Park episode soon–you heard it here first. The Simpsons already did their miPod-as-cult episode some time ago.

It may be the first time ever though that a product was spoofed years ahead of its existence. Mashable was quick to dig up a TUAW blog post about MadTV’s iPad skit from 2006. The video is embedded after the jump. It may be NSFW, depending on where you work:

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Toyota Manages Through Major Product Recall

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Toyota is currently in the midst of a massive product recall. Last week the company announced it would recall “approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models.”

Just yesterday, the company changed its tune, moving from solely a recall to suspending sales of certain vehicles altogether. Dealers across the country are bracing for the worst but also hoping that somehow the recall will be behind them as soon as possible.

Gene Grabowski, senior VP-chair of crisis and litigation for Levick Strategic Communications, told PRNewser in a phone interview today, “Toyota is no longer in the car business, they are in the safety business, whether they like it or not.”

Grabowski expressed doubts in the company’s communications strategy, saying, “if they have a strategy, it’s looking pretty shaky right now.”

Other PR professionals agreeed. “The story just kind of drags on. That’s just deadly for a reputation,” Brenda Wrigley, chair of the public relations department at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications told the Associated Press.

Added Grabowski, “What they were telling consumers last week is different from what they are telling consumers this week. Last week was it was a minor malfunction, this week, they’re saying the car is still safe but we’re going to stop selling it. It’s a risky strategy.”

Golin Harris is PR agency of record for Toyota.

MORE: TVNewser reports that an ABC News investigation had a major impact on the recall.

Wal-Mart Busted for Astroturfing, Again

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Apparently, Wal-Mart hasn’t learned that it is unethical to set up fake grassroots advocacy groups to support the company’s initiatives.

The blog Chicagoist has uncovered that the company, with the help of PR firm Serafin Associates and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, is behind a fake advocacy group, “Our Community. Our Choice.”

The group is promoting the potential opening of a new Wal-Mart store in the Chicago metro area. Serafin in particular was caught posting comments on Chicagoist under an alias, all of which were in support of the new Wal-Mart store.

Wal-Mart was famously busted for astroturfing back in 2006, in conjunction with Edelman.

Golin Harris, Cohn & Wolfe and Porter Novelli all currently have parts of the Wal-Mart PR business.

Apple Launches iPad To Deafening Hype

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Apple officially launched its long awaited tablet device today, the iPad. As with most Apple product launches in recent memory, the media coverage and hype has reached a deafening level.

The notoriously secretive Apple PR department managed the launch with no major leaks — except for one to The Wall Street Journal — which was rumored to be intentional.

We’ll wait and see as the official product reviews come in, but as of now, Apple is stealing attention from President Barack Obama himself, as he prepares for tonight’s State of the Union address.

Our sibling blog eBookNewser has been chronicling the launch event, which notably did not include a live video stream. “Doesn’t Apple’s vaunted PR team recognize the immeasurable value of feeding video of the launch of its new iPad directly to the rest of us?” asked Flatiron Communications Founder Peter Himler.

Whatever the company’s reasons for not streaming the launch event live, the decision reinforces one of the great paradoxes in terms of beloved brands and transparency.

For all the talk how important it is for companies to be more open and transparent in this new media world we live in, Apple is one of the most secretive companies, especially when it comes to PR and marketing, yet it is also one of the most loved brands.

RELATED: How Apple Leaks News

Bulldog Reporter Publisher: ‘The Company Is Not For Sale’

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PRNewser has heard from several sources in recent weeks that Infocom Group, publisher of the media relations trade newsletter Bulldog Reporter, put the publication up for sale.

Reached for comment, publisher Jim Sinkinson [pictured] told PRNewser, “We are very much open for business and doing a lot of it lately. The company is not for sale and in 30 years has never put itself up for sale,” adding, “Of course, we’ve always been open to talking to people with very deep pockets who approach us—if you know any, send them our way.”

The L.A.-based company, in addition to publishing Bulldog Reporter, also hosts a yearly conference, Media Relations Summit, and produces a large curriculum of career advancement content for the PR industry.

Indianapolis Firm Scores Obama Endorsement

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Trevor Yager, owner of Indianapolis-based PR and advertising firm TrendyMinds, will be one of only 23 small business leaders invited to sit in on Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this evening.

And it was through a pitch, somewhat.

White House staffers built their list from recommendations given by various organizations, including the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, of which Yager’s firm is a member. His three paragraph pitch –including description of their $50,000 worth of pro-bono work– sealed the deal. Yager stands with the adminstration’s stance on health-care, and questions the validity of businesses who say they can’t afford to provide benefits.

Though TrendyMinds is fifteen years old, the details reveal a scrappy, start-up mentality. The firm has $750,000 in billings spread across 75 accounts, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.

[via PR Junkie]

How To: Win a Cannes PR Lions

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The Cannes Lions teamed up with The Council of PR Firms and USA Today today to host a breakfast in New York aimed at raising awareness for the festival’s PR Lions awards among U.S. PR agencies.

The largest advertising and marketing festival in the world, Cannes branched out into PR last year.

Hill & Knowlton is leading efforts to publicize the awards, and H&K CEO Paul Taaffe will serve as Jury President of the judges evaluating the PR Lions. Don’t worry agencies, Taaffe — and all judges for that matter — can’t vote on work from their agencies, or even be in the room while their work is being evaluated.

While 430 applications were received for the PR Lions in 2009, only 10% were from PR firms and of those 10%, only half were from the U.S. — about 20 applications total. Philip Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the festival, said that PR firms shouldn’t let advertising firms “steal your thunder” while encouraging more PR firms to submit.

After the event we caught up with Thomas to get his top five tips for PR agencies in terms of how to win a Cannes PR Lions.

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Dan Klores Communications Wins Yahoo B2B Account

First on PRNewser: PRNewser has learned that DKC has won the Yahoo B2B PR account. A source within Yahoo confirmed the news.

Yahoo SVP of global communications Eric Brown told PRNewser in December that he expected the decision to come “early next year.”

The B2B account is the third PR account to be awarded by Yahoo in the last two months. A combined team from Porter Novelli and Voce Communications won the seven-figure consumer PR account in mid-December. The B2B account is also in the seven figure range annually.

Evolve24 won the metrics and measurement account around the same time.

Outcast Communications handles product PR for Yahoo, a piece of the company’s PR business that was never put up for review. Outcast pitched the consumer business, along with Hill & Knowlton and Weber Shandwick.

DKC beat out DiGennaro Communications, Hill & Knowlton and Ogilvy PR, PRNewser has learned.

In related news, Yahoo reported a profit of $153 million in its Q4 earnings released yesterday, an improvement from a loss of $303 million the previous year.

UPDATE: In a statement, Yahoo SVP of global communications Eric Brown told PRNewser, “DKC demonstrated a thorough understanding of Yahoo!s business and have experience in virtually all of the industries in which we operate. Furthermore, they work with a wide range of advertisers and agencies, publishers, technology companies and media titans, and have a proven track record of driving results. The team they’ve assembled for Yahoo! is a strong and seasoned group of professionals that are the ideal combination of storytellers and writers, strategists and tacticians.”

MORE: Matthew Traub, Managing Director at DKC will lead the account. “Yahoo is one of the most important brands in media, tech and advertising and we’re proud to be working with them,” he told PRNewser in a phone interview.

The Ticker: WSJ in New York; JobDeck; Newsday‘s pay wall; J-Woww’s presser

Joe Becker Jumps From MWW Group to Ketchum

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Joe Becker, former Group Vice President for MWW Group’s digital division, DialogueMedia, left the agency to join Ketchum as VP and Group Manager for Ketchum Digital this week.

Becker had been with MWW Group for just over a year, where he counseled clients such as Nikon and 1-800-Flowers.

Kethcum Digital Global Director known Jonathan Kopp and Becker have known each other for a number of years. Kopp “came to me with this opportunity,” said Becker, and “to have the opportunity to work with Jonathan, and what is already an existing phenomenal practice was appealing to me. I saw it as a good career move.”

Becker’s PR career includes stints at Hill & Knowlton, in-house at IBM, and before MWW Group with Peppercom, where he helped build the agency’s PepperDigital division.

MWW Group’s DialogueMedia has experienced several changes over the last year or so. Tom Biro joined MTV Networks — he has since joined Allison Partners. Blake Robinson joined digital agency Attention. The agency will be hiring to fill Becker’s position.

UPDATE: An MWW spokesperson tells PRNewser that in addition to filling Becker’s position, the company plans to “double number of employees in DialogueMedia in next six months.” The agency hired Laura Halsch as Digital Strategist from Ogilvy PR in May 2009 and hired Sav Banerjee as Senior Digital Strategist from Gannett Digital last week.

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