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Archives: December 2012

Roll Call: Ogilvy, RF Binder, Plantronics

Ogilvy Public Relations named Ogilvy PR veteran Tara May general manager of the Denver office and appointed Kabira Hatland director of client service for OgilvyEarth, expanding its local team. May began working in Ogilvy PR’s Washington, D.C., office in 1992 as part of the Public Affairs practice and recently spent five years at Feinstein Kean Healthcare, an Ogilvy subsidiary, where she directed accounts for a range of health science organizations. Hatland joined the firm in 2011 and focuses on corporate and environmental communications. Prior to her time at Ogilvy PR, Hatland was a principal at Clarus Communications, working with clients in the consumer product and hospitality sectors. (Release)

RF|Binder announced that Linda Perry-Lube has joined the agency as chief digital officer. Perry-Lube, an experienced digital strategist who previously served as the first-ever chief digital officer for the American Museum of Natural History, will lead RF|Binder’s Digital Strategy Group. In addition to her work at the American Museum of Natural history, Perry-Lube also brings experience from Microsoft, Ford Motor Company and Online2000, a business consultancy practice she founded. (Release)

Plantronics, Inc. named Genevieve Haldeman vice president of global communications. Haldeman will be responsible for driving the communications strategy worldwide, guiding executive communication and setting the strategy for public/analyst relations and social media engagement. She will work closely with Plantronics leadership on new efforts to reach business and consumer audiences. Most recently, Haldeman was vice president of global communications at Webroot, a software company that provides Internet security solutions for consumers and small and medium businesses. (Release)

The Ticker: NYSE Sells High; Wal-Mart’s Guns; Maple Syrup Cartel; Toyota; Absolut Vodka

Spin the Agencies of Record (End of the World Edition)

Because the world is scheduled to end in flames (or something) at midnight tonight, we’d like to honor the following agencies for keeping a stiff upper lip and carrying on with business as usual. Congratulations to the following:

Dairy Queen restaurants has selected indie agency Barkley to manage creative duties. Dairy Queen spent $77 million, or the price of 2,800,000 blizzards, on domestic measured media last year. Dairy Queen is owned by one-percenter Warren Buffett‘s Berkshire Hathaway (which is headquartered in New York City, of course) and has more than 6,000 locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and 17 other countries.

Deussen Global Communications Inc. has been selected as agency of record for two elegant, family-owned businesses: The Yeatman hotel (a wine hotel in Porto, Portugal—seriously, does anything sound better than a “wine hotel”?), and winery Cakebread Cellars (Napa Valley, California). For these clients, Deussen will oversee a mix of media outreach, partnership programs, event marketing, social media interaction, and trade education.

Treme-cation is all I ever wanted…

Break out the trombone and be kind to your liver, because the city of New Orleans wants you—and nearly 14 million of your friends—to pay a visit. The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has announced the hiring of New Orleans-based public relations and marketing firm Deveney Communication as the new agency of record for 2013.

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Great Holiday Cards from PR Firms

Like the rest of you, we’ve received quite a few holiday-themed e-cards from various firms and individuals over the past two weeks. We’d like to highlight a few that stood out (listed in no particular order, because you know we don’t play favorites):

Oh, and apologies to everyone we left out—our number one New Year’s resolution is “re-organize your inbox!!!”

 

  • Wolff Olins’s nicely animated New Year’s resolutions card
  • CRT/Tanaka’s “Inspired by You” video, which uses human silhouettes to spell themes
  • APCO Worldwide’s clip featuring “Thank You” messages from around the world
  • Jack Morton’s “What I’m Looking Forward to in 2013Pinterest page featuring original art inspired by optimistic New Year’s suggestions
  • Cision PR’s “Cringe Worthy Moments” reviewing some of the year’s PR fails
  • TriplePoint’s musical, hip and awkward “Happy Holidays
  • Here’s an interesting one that’s more of a year-in-review: Waggener Edstrom’s “Go Native” city guide celebrating another year of “favorite local experiences” in cities around the world.
  • We also want to take a brief moment to recognize Havas PR’s “12 Days of Havas” giving initiative, created in coordination with #GivingTuesday.

Facebook To Let Strangers, Brands Send You Paid Messages

Facebook messagesToday brings yet another reason for Facebook’s billion-plus users to get their collective knickers in a bunch. In its latest attempt to catch the white whale we call “revenue”, Facebook announced changes to its messaging feature: the network will soon offer a pay-per-message service to test audiences before making it available to all users.

The changes also include new inbox filter options: by choosing the “strict filter” option, users could automatically send messages from non-friends to the little-seen “other” folder…unless said parties pay up.

Facebook claims that this change will help reduce spam by placing a stronger barrier between users and potential spammers. We see where they’re coming from—who would pay to send spam messages? This approach isn’t exactly new, either: LinkedIn Premium allows users to send direct messages to those with whom they have no connection.

Still, this option moves a step beyond “sponsored posts”, and we have a feeling brands will use it to send promotional messages to carefully targeted users. What do we think, PR pros: Will the pay-per-message function provide yet another marketing venue, or will users turn against brands that dare to contact them via their “private” Facebook inboxes?

Pope Benedict Beats Justin Bieber at Twitter

OK, maybe the world really is ending: In addition to comparing same-sex marriage to communism, The Vatican’s official newspaper published a story today to announce that…Pope Benedict just achieved a higher re-tweet rate than Justin Bieber (thereby winning social media for the second time this month).

While Benedict’s two million followers (1.2 million in English alone) can’t quite compare to the 32 million Beliebers on Twitter, The Vatican wants the world to know that:

“50 percent of the pope’s followers had re-tweeted his first tweet on December 12 while only 0.7 percent of Bieber’s followers had re-tweeted one of the singer’s most popular tweets on September 26, when he commented on the death by cancer of a six-year-old fan.”

We agree–Bieber should be ashamed of his total inability to mobilize his millions of rabidly devoted followers. But we see this story as a net positive, because it’s nice to know that the Catholic Church finally has an influential voice in the public sphere after all these years.

T.G.I. Friday’s Hypes End of the World Party Campaign

T.G.I. Friday's Based on our Twitter and Facebook news feeds, we know that everyone is laughing at those poor souls who really do believe that tonight marks the end of the world (as we know it). We feel fine, though, because we’ve caught wind, via Drew Kerr at the New York Observer, of campaigns from brands that unexpectedly used the coming apocalypse as an amusing promo opportunity–most prominently T.G.I. Friday’s.

The re-heated dinner chain’s press release is really something: As “a brand born to celebrate the end of the work week, Friday’s felt it had an obligation to pay attention to the prediction” and to celebrate the end of…well, everything. The brand is going all out with this campaign, holding special “Last Friday” celebrations complete with Mayan-themed décor and drinks in Miami, LA and other cities.

The accompanying video is also funny in a couple of ways:

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Kids’ Brands Go Mobile for Product Rollouts and Promos

Babies play with iPad Imagine for a moment that you work in the marketing/communications department at Nickelodeon, PBS Kids or any other huge kids’ brand. What better time to schedule your next big product rollout than right before Christmas! Need a strategic hook? Disguise your promo materials as educational tools—you can familiarize members of your target audience with your brand’s newest innovations while winning approval from their parents!

November brought news of kids’ network Nickelodeon creating educational apps for kids, and a recent New York Times article clarified the purpose of these apps: promoting Nickelodeon’s TV properties.

Think about it: As television ownership and cable subscription rates decline, parents “are increasingly putting mobile devices into preschoolers’ hands and laps”–which creates some great new promotional opportunities for brands that appeal to young kids.

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Netflix Gets Creative With Arrested Development Promos

Netflix Arrested Development Like most of the armchair critics in the civilized world, we regard Fox’s tragic Arrested Development as the second-best sitcom of all time. (Before you object, consider the fact that Seinfeld had nine seasons to develop–and if you even mention Friends, we will unfollow you on Twitter.)

We were both excited and skeptical last year when streaming king Netflix, in something of a PR coup, announced that it would produce an entire season of new episodes including everyone’s favorite characters like ham-lover Carl Weathers and always-capable attorney Barry Zuckercorn (aka The Fonz), who might just get a chance to jump that infamous shark one last time:

This week, Netflix got creative in its efforts to build the hype for Season 4, which will debut some time in 2013. In a sly move uncovered by the experts at SplitSider, Netflix added some of Arrested Development’s greatest fake shows and movies to its Instant Watch collection.

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Gender-Neutral Easy-Bake Oven: Good PR Move?

Hasbro Easy Bake OvenDuring the holiday season, people expect toy giant Hasbro to make headlines. But this usually happens when the company releases a new game or a limited special edition product — not because children are calling out the brand for sexism in familiar toys like the Easy-Bake Oven and Guess Who?

A few months ago, a 6-year-old girl wrote a letter to Hasbro, arguing that Guess Who? is sexist because only five of the 24 characters in the game are female. This inequality makes the choice of a female character less than desireable for kids because it increases their chances of losing the game. The moment a child’s opponent asks, “Is it a girl?” and the answer is “yes”, 19 cards are automatically eliminated and the game is pretty much over.

The little girl, her mother, and their supporters were less than impressed by Hasbro’s response (which basically amounted to “we’ll keep your suggestions in mind for the future.”) So when a second party lobbed a similar complaint against the toy company, they decided to take tangible action.

We’ll explain, but first you need to watch this clip of an adorable young boy/aspiring chef who tells the world once and for all that “boys like to cook too!”

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