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Archives: September 2013

Diet Coke Releases Skinny, Glamorous Taylor Swift ‘Sleek Can’

diet-coke-taylor-swift-hed-2013Sure, Diet Coke‘s Slender Vender might have helped consumers associate the drink with thinness, but what about those stout, hefty cans? Those things have “girth” written all over them! Never fear; the “Sleek Can” is here, and rather than “girth”, it has Taylor Swift’s name written all over it.

As part of Diet Coke’s 25th anniversary celebration, the brand has released new “sleek cans”, including one featuring Taylor Swift’s autograph. A prettier, thinner, more glamorous can featuring the John Hancock of a pretty, thin, glamorous teen idol? Gee, we wonder who the target market for this is.

A quote on the can reads, “If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.” Unless, of course, “different” means anything other than waif-thin, blonde and dazzling, in which case, stock up on Diet Coke, girls! If those stout, homely old cans reinvent themselves in Swift’s image, you can too! Read more

Roll Call: Ogilvy, New York Road Runners and Beacon Advisors, Inc.

Ogilvy Public Relations (Ogilvy PR) welcomes six vice presidents to its New York office: Charlotte McLaughlin joins the Corporate Affairs Group as vice president, bringing extensive experience in investor relations and advisory to support multiple accounts. Alisha Marks Tischler joins the New York Media Influence team as a vice president, leading strategic media relations initiatives and executive positioning for Ogilvy PR’s clients across all practices. Melissa Ng, vice president, brings more than eight years experience in change management, training development and organizational effectiveness and design to Ogilvy Impact, Ogilvy PR’s employee engagement practice. Kara Golub joins the Healthcare Practice as vice president, providing strategic communications counsel for a variety of clients. Linda Ruckel, vice president, brings a deep expertise to Ogilvy PR’s Healthcare Practice in developing and implementing strategic programs for leading healthcare companies, government agencies and internationally recognized medical centers. Christopher Wahlers joins the Healthcare Practice as vice president, bringing 12 years experience in developing strategic planning and programming for companies and brands within the health sector. (Release)

Chris Weiller has been named vice president, media and public relations, of New York Road Runners, effective October 7th. Chris will join the senior leadership team that reports to Wittenberg. In his new role, Weiller will craft and execute the organization’s media and public relations strategies and proactively manage all PR initiatives on behalf of NYRR. Weiller comes to NYRR from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, where he led the sports marketing efforts for the world renown children’s humanitarian organization. (PR Week)

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The Ticker: New Google Search; McD’s Healthy; Top Social Sites; Glass Tour; Teens’ Moms

Spin the Agencies of Record

Your lovin' don't pay my bills.

“Everything in life is luck.” – Donald Trump

We assume The Donald didn’t mean overcoming multiple bankruptcies to become a reality TV star, fake political candidate, Obama Birther troll, and walking Hair Club for Men promo. He must have meant the kind of recreational gambling that takes place at Foxwoods Casino, which just named 451 Marketing its PR AOR.

Foxwoods’ executive director of branding and marketing was “extremely impressed with the 451 Marketing team’s energy and innovation in their approach to public relations”, and 451 founding partner AJ Gerritson called the casino “an iconic brand and a true New England institution.”

The firm’s goal is to “elevate the resort’s profile”, which should be easy as it’s Anything but Ordinary(TM).

Porter Novelli has been named AOR for Hackensack, New Jersey’s John Theurer Cancer Center. No snark on this one.

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‘Twitter Handle Advisor’ Is a Real Job Now

Your brand name here

Ever dealt with a client whose preferred Twitter tag is already taken?

In a development that’s sure to secure a spot on the next “most misunderstood jobs” list, the New York Post tells us that some enterprising professionals are working as “Twitter handle advisors”, or people who help clients get the handles they want.

Here’s an example of the problem they’re solving: JP Morgan Chase really wanted the @chase handle, but it had already been taken—so they offered the guy who snagged it $20K to hand it over. This is strictly against Twitter rules, which forbid the buying and selling of handles, but Chase still got its way when Twitter wrested @chase away from the unfortunate man by citing “alleged trademark issues”. Dubious. Barilla pasta non-fan Andy Cohen also recently changed his handle from @BravoAndy to just plain @Andy and locked out the former so no one could imitate him. But we’re sure no money changed hands there…

“Social media manager” jobs are supposedly on the way out, but this is far more ridiculous—and we have no idea how it works beyond bribing the early adopters to give up handles like @bob or @patrick.

It’s a fairly common problem, though: we’ve noticed some firms with handles that don’t quite match their names. Anybody have experience with this sort of thing?

Amazon Creates a Press Release in 14 Tweets

In a cool variation on the press release delivered via Twitter, Amazon‘s PR team announced the product rollout campaign for its new Kindle reader in a series of 14 tweets*, each focused on a different element of the new product and bearing the hashtag #firehdx. Here they are:

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Easyjet Responds Badly to Critical Tweet

After Barilla’s self-made fiasco, here’s yet another case of a company all but demanding bad publicity. First, law professor and The Drum columnist Mark Leiser saw some questionable service delivered by EasyJet at the airport and tweeted about it. Judging by the company’s response, it’s safe to say they do not take criticism well. Here’s the timeline:

We can see why Easyjet wasn’t happy with that message, but their response made an unfortunate situation so much worse:

This is just strange behavior. Leiser ended up boarding his flight, and Easyjet quickly issued a response after settling the matter with him publicly and privately, but the damage had been done.

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PR Fail: Barilla Chairman Says He Will ‘Never’ Include Gays in Ads


Here’s a case of foot-in-mouth disease followed by a quick but debatably effective damage control operation. Yesterday Guido Barilla, chairman of the pasta company that bears his name, told an Italian radio show that his brand will “never” feature gay men or women in its ads and that “if the gays do not agree, they can always eat pasta from another manufacturer.”

Here’s his reasoning at work:

I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role…if the gays do not agree, they can always eat pasta from another manufacturer.

A woman’s place is in the kitchen and gays can never be part of a real family? He went homophobic and misogynistic while mentioning respect in the midst of a thoroughly disrespectful comment and encouraging a significant portion of the population to abandon his brand. That’s what we call “the keep digging strategy.”

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It’s Time For Brands to Jump on the Internet Radio Train


Spotify might not be making any money, but it’s here to stay—and it’s time for brands to figure out how to make the most of it.

The company recently worked with competitors Pandora and TuneIn on an Edison Research study meant to sway skeptical advertisers who may doubt the trend’s influence and staying power. Here are their most significant findings:

  • 53% of Americans listen to Internet radio in some form.
  • 32% are doing so “a lot” more often than one year ago.
  • The new wave of Internet radio providers has led to Americans spending more time with audio content, be it music, news or live events: 26% say the time they spend listening is simply “new audio time” that doesn’t replace any particular activity.

Here’s the full Prezi presentation if you’re interested. Infographic after the jump.

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Weight Watchers Rebrands Spokesperson Jessica Simpson

Not pregnant.Here’s an interesting takeaway from FishbowlNY regular Diane Clehane‘s latest Lunch column: rather than dropping Jessica Simpson after she complicated her contract by getting pregnant again, Weight Watchers has used the opportunity to create a new role for her and a new campaign to go along with it.

Seems like they didn’t get the message about letting “less credible” celebrity spokespeople go.

Media VP Andy Amill gave Clehane some details on their lunch date. First he said “Jennifer [Hudson] has been ‘amazing’ for the company” and that she “helped bring in…record traffic to in the past year”, but we already knew that. Here’s the key development:

…now that she’s had her second child, she’ll be back, relaunched as Weight Watcher spokesperson. She will head up the company’s first-ever “Mom’s Initiative,” (that’s the not the official title, which is still being worked on, but you get the picture) targeting all those mummies who want to look yummy again. Clearly, Jessica’s struggles with post-pregnancy weight loss will resonate with plenty of mothers young and old as well as People and Us Weekly readers who have been following her every move forever.

Quite the savvy move turning a spokesperson’s unexpected pregnancy into a new marketing initiative. Of course, the fact that Simpson remains a fixture in the more respectable tabloids makes for an incredibly easy pitch. That’s a lot of earned media with very little effort.