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Posts Tagged ‘Mitt Romney’

Party Affiliation Affects Brand Preference (Ugh)

Today in Almost Certainly Meaningless News: Many Americans consider their political affiliations to be a private matter and prefer not to discuss related issues at family gatherings in order to avoid fistfights; most would almost certainly insist that party affiliation has nothing to do with the products they buy.

But a recent survey by the respectable YouGov Brand Index indicates that political leanings and brand preference are at least somehow related:

The top ten most favored brands for:

Democrats Republicans Independents
Google Fox News Amazon
Amazon History Channel Craftsman
Cheerios Craftsman History Channel
Clorox Chick-fil-A Discovery Channel
Craftsman Johnson & Johnson Google
Dawn Lowe’s Clorox
M&M’s Cheerios Lowe’s
Levi’s Clorox Johnson & Johnson
PBS FOX Cheerios
Sony Discovery Channel M&M’s

Some of these “revelations” are so obvious as to be annoying: Lots of registered Republicans watch Fox News, and lots of registered Democrats listen to NPR. Next you’ll tell us that most registered Republicans prefer Mitt Romney to Barack Obama!

Most of the list is just confusing.

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How Not to Do PR, by Donald Trump and Gloria Allred

Today in We Feel Dumber for Having Read This News: The Man with the Tan has, once again, offered a crash course in how to get attention while contributing absolutely nothing of value to society.

And he’s joined today in infamy (thank God) by his female equivalent, Gloria Allred. Do they realize that almost everyone is laughing at them? We don’t think they do! It’s hard to believe!

The Donald has finally released his anti-Obama “bombshell”, and it is—get ready–a press release stating that the world’s most famous hairpiece model will donate $5 million to the President’s charity of choice as soon as he releases (dum dum dum)…his college transcripts.

Well, that was a big letdown, wasn’t it? It’s not a “reveal” in any sense of the word. And of course we’ve seen the dude pull this kind of crap before. A serious question for all the RealTrump/World Net Daily fans who read our blog (we know you’re legion): what, exactly, might Obama be squirreling away in these mysterious transcripts? Did he get a C in Philosophy 2? Did he once take a course called “Fascist Dictatorships 101”? Was he a proud, card carrying member of Harvard’s famous Gay Muslim Communist Club? Anyone?

Lest we stick to the very lowest hanging fruit, here’s Allred’s equally earth-shattering “October surprise”: Mitt Romney once testified in the divorce hearings of friend, business partner and Staples CEO Tom Stemberg, telling officials that he was actually a pretty good dad. Yeah, that’s it.

Shocking! Appalling! Petty! Completely meaningless! Pardon us while we editorialize a bit, but we can say with confidence that only one word accurately describes these shameless publicity whores: pathetic.

(We already feel icky for giving them more attention. Our apologies for putting you through this.)

Post-Election: Where Will the Big PR Talent Land?

We’d like to take a moment to return to a great piece posted on Ad Age earlier this week about the post-election scramble for top PR talent in politics.

There’s no doubt that elections often attract the sharpest of the communications bunch. This may have something to do with the fact that campaigns—especially presidential campaigns—also draw from some of the country’s biggest bank accounts.

We’ll let MWW CEO Michael Kempner explain it:

“There’s no better training than a campaign. They’re working under pressure, unforgiving deadlines, speaking to diverse audiences and seeing the media impact with real consequences in every program they execute.”

This makes perfect sense. Who has better experience working with media outlets and personalities across the country (and the world) than the veterans of political campaigns? Of course they’re hot commodities.

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‘Binders Full of Women’ Is a Thing Now (Updated)

Well that didn’t take long, did it?

We’re not going to spend too much time analyzing or fact-checking last night’s debate; you’ll already read more than enough of that business today if you so much as glance at any news feed.

We’re more interested in the meme that emerged, with stunning speed, right before 10 last night–call it Big Bird 2.0 if you must (please don’t). Let’s put it this way: Well before the end of the Hofstra rumble, someone created the “Binders Full of Women” tumblr based on this well-meaning but poorly executed Mitt Romney quip:

“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’” said Romney. “And they brought us whole binders full of women!”

This was Romney’s attempt to boost his standing among female voters by explaining the actions he took back in the day upon realizing that, when he was Governor of Massachusetts, his cabinet didn’t include many women. It was…awkward. Read more

Are PR Reps All Liars?

“To lie about an issue is to be a politician. To lie about a corporation is to be a public relation[s] executive.”

That’s the money quote from Reuters journalist Jack Shafer’s piece “Why We Vote for Liars”—and it’s been making its way around the worlds of PR and journalism this week. A little incendiary, no?

Our first instinct is to defend the PR business against Shafer’s generalizations, though his quote does play back into one of this week’s most contentious questions: Whether the growth of the PR biz—and the corresponding decline of objective journalism—truly “threatens democracy”. If everyone who speaks to the public is a publicist or a politician, then who will check their facts and call them out on their lies? The mere promise of honesty is not very reassuring.

Shafer points to the growing importance of fact-checkers in a polarized political media landscape, writing that “If either presidential candidate met you, he’d tell you a lie within 15 seconds of shaking your hand, and if he knew he were going to meet your mother, he’d invent a special set of lies for her.”

Why do they lie? Because the political market places very little value on honesty, no matter how much we citizens express our desire for a more noble brand of politics. This is nothing new.

And, of course, we deal with many degrees of untruth in politics, from the tiny insignificant lie to the blatant misrepresentation to the bizarre and unnecessary fib told to create a false sense of camaraderie. There are even lies about lies—Al Gore, for example, never actually claimed to have “invented the Internet”, but everyone’s familiar with the anecdote anyway.

OK, point taken about politics, Mr. Shafer. But why does that sentence treat the general dishonesty of PR execs as a given?

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Pizza Hut’s Cheesy ‘Lifetime Supply’ PR Stunt

This week’s political polls show us that the presidential race is heating up. Last week’s first debate pitted a spirited Mitt Romney against a feckless Barack Obama–and it changed the trajectory of the election by facilitating a virtual tie between the two candidates as we enter the final weeks of campaigning.

Our nation remains mired in two unpopular wars and a devastating, prolonged economic recession. And then there is the rest of world, which is increasingly either jobless or on fire. Americans are taking this election seriously, as they should. Pizza Hut, however, is not.

As PR experts we’re concerned about Pizza Hut’s latest publicity stunt, which offers a lifetime of free pizza to any attendee at the town hall debate—to be held at Hofstra University—who asks if the candidates prefer pepperoni or sausage on their pie. If you have a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or an unemployed family member, or if you just happen to care about fellow citizens that you don’t even know for some reason, the humor of this ill-conceived idea may be lost on you. Read more

Inevitable Big Bird Campaign Ad Hits (UPDATED)

Today in Why Did This Take So Long News: The Obama campaign has decided to capitalize on Mitt Romney’s much-discussed Big Bird debate comment in a video ad, and we have to say it’s pretty good!

The ad lists a few notorious financial criminals (Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff, etc.) and implies that Mitt Romney’s adversity to financial regulation would reward the bigwigs who brought our economy down while punishing innocents like everyone’s favorite fluffy yellow…thing.

We don’t really want to get into a debate about whether Obama himself has gone far enough to rein in financial abuses, but it is nice to know that political hacks can make a decent joke from time to time.

UPDATE: Sesame Workshop just released an official response to the ad, noting that it is a non-profit, non-partisan entity and requesting that the Obama campaign stop airing the ad. Score one for consistency!

Calm Down, Everybody: Big Bird Will Be Fine

We’ll just go ahead and say it: last night’s debate was a big bore. Mitt Romney did quite well, Jim Lehrer did quite poorly, and a few million people became aware of the current President’s sleepwalking problem for the first time. (It is worth noting that, way back in June, Chuck Todd predicted that Obama would probably not win this first debate because “no one has cut his remarks short during his term in office”.)

The night’s most contentious moment, however, clearly concerned none other than Big Bird. When listing public entities that he would stop funding if elected, Romney took a moment to pick on perennial bogeyman PBS, telling Public Broadcasting employee Lehrer that he would have to cut funding for the channel despite the fact that “I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too.”

The Internet quickly made it a meme, and a predictable number of mildly amusing tweets ensued. So yeah, it was a weird line—but it wasn’t quite accurate. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this is a common problem in presidential debates.)

Unfortunately, we have to ruin everyone’s fun by calling an official end to this non-scandal. Take it away, Sherrie Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop–give CNN’s Soledad O’Brien some of that sweet, sweet damage control!

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What’s a Presidential Debate Worth, Anyway?

You’re probably aware that the first debate of the 2012 Presidential election takes place tonight. We know, we know–you can’t wait to hear more about this incredibly exciting race, right?

Well, we’re going to ask the question anyway: What’s the real PR value of a debate? We can’t imagine that too many voters would honestly describe themselves as “undecided” at this point, but an estimated 50 million people will watch the events live—and an audience that big has to be worth something, right?

Maybe not. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently predicted that the debates would be a “game changer” for challenger Mitt Romney, but the general consensus holds that the overall influence of these events (which are heavily scripted, despite what they all tell us) is negligible.

Candidates love to play along. In fact, the most irritating element of the debate build-up is the lowered expectations game in which each candidate tries to convince the news media and the public that his or her (okay, his) opponent is a master debater who may well triumph—although it won’t matter in the end.

This is why President Obama recently rated his own debate skills as “okay” while veep nominee Paul Ryan called him “a very gifted speaker” and an “experienced debater”. Obama’s spokesman David Plouffe followed by saying that Mitt Romney has “…prepared more than any candidate in history. And he has shown himself to be a very, very good debater through the years.”

Geez, we get it—you can all be very annoying!

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#CantAfford4More: Are Promoted Tweets a Waste of Money?

Promoted tweets are worth about…this much.

Shock of the day: Twitter is a complex tool, and its mastery requires a bit of…nuance.

We recently reported on the company’s promoted hashtag service and its tendency to produce unpredictable results: When the Republican Party purchased the #areyoubetteroff tag to promote their National Convention back in September, the response got a little out of control—and supporters of President Obama ended up hijacking the thread. At one point, the “yes/no” response ratio was an embarrassing 5 to 1.

We have no doubt that any message promoted by the Obama team would have received plenty of mockery as well. The lesson we took from that debacle is that no campaign—and no company—can truly control the conversation on social media. Twitter is a bit of a crap shoot at the end of the day, and throwing a bone to a pack of howling wolves may not be a terribly effective messaging strategy.

But the Romney campaign didn’t agree, and they’ve made another attempt to drive the conversation ahead of tonight’s first debate by purchasing the #CantAfford4More hashtag for 24 hours–everyone who signs in to Twitter will see the tag in a tweet promoted by the candidate’s official feed. We assume that Romney will use the phrase during his monologue and encourage others to co-opt it. At the very least, this will get everyone talking, right?

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