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Archives: June 2012

Health Care Industry, PR Pros Prepare for Tomorrow’s SCOTUS Ruling

Tomorrow is another big day for the Supreme Court, with the ruling on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health care reform legislation, coming down. Everyone will be impacted either which way the decision falls — families, the elderly, those without health insurance, and all of the companies involved in providing, managing, and paying for health care. Those companies, and their PR consultants, have the tough task of preparing for the unknown.

“We’ve been counseling our clients to get out ahead of the decision,” Brendan Daly, EVP and national director of corporate and public affairs at Ogilvy Washington, told us in an email message. “Several health insurance companies proactively communicated that, regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, they would continue popular provisions of the health care law, such as allowing children to remain on their parents’ plan until age 26.”

“No matter how the court rules, the future of health care is changing,” he continued. “Companies should focus on communicating about their contribution to transforming the health care system – how they are working to improve health care delivery and quality of care, while working to reduce costs and waste.”

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Orbitz Controversy As Big Data Issue

A Wall Street Journal article that claims Mac users are purposely getting pricier Orbitz recommendations drove Orbitz into response overdrive, with CEO Barney Harford backtracking a bit on what the paper said had been confirmed by company execs during a CNN interview.

“Orbitz executives confirmed that the company is experimenting with showing different hotel offers to Mac and PC visitors, but said the company isn’t showing the same room to different users at different prices,” the WSJ writes.

“Orbitz first confirmed Mac users’ preferences in October and began working them into the complicated mix of factors that determine its search results,” the story continues.

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The Ticker: CNN sinks; ‘Atlantic’ breaks records; Cannes advice; Health care ruling; RIP Nora Ephron

Edelman Adds to Norton Business

Internet security provider Norton has chosen Edelman as global AOR for the company’s Symantec Consumer Business unit. The firm has been working with Norton since 2008 on awareness efforts that focused on cybersecurity. Edelman’s work on the account will span 35 countries across EMEA and the Americas. The firm’s technology and consumer practices are handling the business.

Kwittken + Company Sponsoring College Fellowship

Kwittken + Company (KCO) announced today that it is sponsoring the Columbian College’s Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowship at The George Washington University. The school is Aaron Kwittken‘s alma mater (he’s the CEO and managing partner at KCO). And though the description of the fellowship makes no mention that the recipient’s research must be PR-focused, Kwittken envisions that’s where the money will go.

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Little Caesars Gets Nostalgic for PR Comeback

During uncertain economic times consumers seek solace in many forms, including comfort food—especially pizza. After a 15-year hiatus, Little Caesars is launching a nationwide PR campaign that offers both. The brand is reviving the popular “Pizza! Pizza!” tagline and the Little Caesar character, who fondly resembles some combination of Super Mario and a big toe. What better personality to bring “fun” back to pizza.

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Facebook’s Message About Email Address Changes Didn’t Reach Users

Lots of people are pretty ticked off that Facebook went ahead and changed the email address on individual accounts to an @facebook.com address. However, the company says people were told this was going to happen way back in April.

Users can change the email address to a preferred one, or omit that detail all together. Tech sites have been writing stories helping users to do just that.

“The firestorm over a relatively minor change to user profiles illustrates the palpable influence of Facebook on its audience of more than 900 million users,” writes The Wall Street Journal.It also demonstrates the fine line Facebook must walk as a high-profile—and now public—company likely to absorb criticism as it updates its services and aims for an even broader sphere of influence on the Web.”

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Ketchum’s Rob Flaherty: ‘Our Business is All About Change’

The press release announcing the leadership changes at Ketchum described the appointments as part of a transition for the company. But if you ask the firm’s top two execs, change is always and ongoing.

“Our business is all about change, so if you’re not changing you’re not moving a service firm of any kind forward,” the soon-to-be CEO Rob Flaherty told us on the phone today. “I think a good service firm develops a percentage of their services as new services every year.”

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Spin the Agencies of Record

Affect has added e+CancerCare, an operator of outpatient cancer treatment centers, to its roster of clients. The firm will create a campaign to build awareness for the company’s nationwide network of centers and its community health programs. The firm will also raise the company’s profile with business and trade media.

DJ Bennett, an online retailer of luxury sporting apparel, has chosen Warschawski for the launch of the company and its site. The site will sell brands including Zeal, Fred Perry, and Ron Hill.

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Mythbusters: PR Is NOT Easier Than Journalism

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you: You’re at a party when a writer friend (okay, associate) comes up and starts grilling you about your job. ”How much writing do you really have to do?” “Which is better: the agency or in-house side?” “Uh, are you hiring?” (By now, you’re probably raising both hands and stomping your feet, no?)

Veteran publicists know that while PR and journalism both require having great contacts and writing skills, the similarities pretty much stop there. In Mediabistro’s latest AvantGuild article, journos who have made the transition discussed some of the hard-learned truths (and myths) about working in PR.

For starters, public relations is not easier than reporting. “Corporate culture is an adjustment,” explained Ramey Becker, former TV reporter and current director of communications for Financial Planning Standards Board. Perhaps most eye-opening, she said, “You realize how much you don’t know about the real (read: business) world.”

Read more in What Journalists Should Know Before Switching to PR. [subscription required]

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