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Posts Tagged ‘Reddit’

Retailers Fight ‘Showrooming’ by Charging Visitors to Browse

“Showrooming” is a relatively new phenomenon in the retail world, but it appears to be growing. It’s basically the act of visiting a physical store, checking out the prices on the items you want, then buying them online for less. (We assume celebrities hire people to do this sort of thing, but what do we know.)

So customers walk around stores armed with their smartphones, checking to make sure they can get that TV or iPad a little cheaper on Amazon. It’s a big deal for retailers because, of course, their ultimate goal to encourage browsers to actually buy stuff. And they’re dealing with it in different ways.

Best Buy, for example, rolled out a promo campaign to combat “showrooming” by promising consumers that it would match or beat the price offered by local and online retailers for every product in stock. Bold move, but this week Reddit users found an Australian specialty foods retailer with an even more brazen approach: charging customers $5 just to browse.

Frankly, we don’t think this approach will work. It implies that the retailer simply doesn’t trust the public — which is a terrible PR move. If it were a high-end store then charging visitors $5 to look around might make sense. But don’t most people visit the Gucci store just to browse anyway? It’s not like anyone can actually afford that stuff.

PR Stunts: Dove ‘Restores’ Photoshopped Models

It’s been nearly ten years since Dove introduced “Real Beauty“, one of the 2000′s best rebranding campaigns. Its focus on “real-looking” models helped distinguish Dove in the crowded beauty category–and the company’s Canadian division just used a crafty PR stunt to try and extend that winning streak.

First Dove posted a download on Reddit that supposedly offered users a free tool to help retouch photographs by “enhanc[ing] skin tone” and “hiding all the imperfections”–in other words, all the things that Dove’s campaign opposed. But when users pressed the button, this “tool” reversed all the modifications to the image in question. (They could then “undo” the reversal, but the point had been made.)

This “hack” was a sneaky attempt to once again push the claim that Dove keeps things real in an industry dominated by digital tummy tucks, facelifts and tone-ups. In the video below, the company directly calls out “art directors, graphic designers and photo retouchers” for using Photoshop and other tools to promote unrealistic ideals  (never mind the fact that Dove has been accused of doing the very same thing).

Oh, and this is all part of a larger campaign which includes the hashtag #DovePositiveChange and a Facebook “Ad makeover” app which purportedly lets users revise ad spots designed to play on insecurities by promising to help women improve their appearance.

So is this another branding win for Dove, or do they need to stop pushing the same old concept?

PR Win: Restaurant Gives Discount for ‘Well-Behaved Kids’

Most viral restaurant stories concern customers, bosses and co-workers behaving very badly–but today Reddit has finally provided us with something to laugh about: a Washington State eatery gave one family a special discount for “well-behaved kids.”

As young, childless urbanites, we always assumed that the whole “terribly behaved kids who spill food everywhere, run around the dining area and refuse to shut the hell up” phenomenon was a modern-day big city phenomenon (or a Portlandia sketch that we haven’t seen yet). Color us corrected: young kids everywhere apparently have trouble being quiet and respectful in public settings!

The family involved in this story (with kids aged 2, 3 and 8) had eaten at Seattle-area Italian wine bar/ristorante Sogno di Vino “a handful of times”–but at the end of their most recent meal a server made a point of telling them that most of the staff “didn’t even notice the kids since they were so well-behaved” before giving them all a free bowl of ice cream and deducting $4 from their total. Here’s the receipt:

Now the mom behind the meme has responded to all the hype…

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PR Fail: Applebee’s Fires Server Who Shared Obnoxious Tip-Free Receipt

Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant should be able to relate to this viral story: Last week a pastor at a St. Louis-area church took her congregation to dinner at Applebee’s after the service. Apparently unaware that 18% gratuities are standard practice for parties of six or more at every restaurant ever, the pastor refused to pay the total.

Even worse, she scrawled a note on the receipt explaining her decision. It read: “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18″. The understandably pissed server took a picture and a second waitress shared it on Reddit under the headline “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries”.

Then things got a little crazy.

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Studio Screens New Star Trek Film for Dying Fan

Star Trek Into Darkness ParamountPromoting a Hollywood blockbuster is a massive project, especially when you’re working with a very well-established franchise. Sometimes it’s tough to break through the media onslaught and let your core fan base know how much they mean to the property.

Today Hollywood fantasy man JJ Abrams, whose Star Trek Into Darkness will undoubtedly be one of 2013′s biggest sequels, scored a bit of great PR that almost—almost—makes us forgive him for all the hours we lost to Lost.

Star Trek is one of the most resilient entertainment franchises around, due in large part to the oft-mocked intensity of its biggest fans. Right around Christmas, one of those fans posted a heart-breaking request to the Reddit Star Trek subgroup on behalf of a friend whose wife describes him as an “amazingly healthy film buff” who recently received a devastating diagnosis: a severe vascular tumor that leaves him with “weeks to live.”

The man had a very specific wish for his remaining days: to see Star Trek Into Darkness before its official release in May. The post made its way around the Internet after Christmas, and today brought news that Abrams had seen the request and responded. According to the sick man’s wife, he already attended a private screening of the film nearly six months before its official release date. We are very impressed by Abrams’s response–and by the Star Trek web community’s ability to rally around one of its own.

This is kind of a no-brainer, guys. The move doesn’t just make JJ Abrams look like a nice guy; it makes him look like a director who understands and values the passion of his biggest fans. That’s enough to make us smile and leave us looking forward to the film’s May debut. Well played.

Man Hires Assistant to Slap Him Into Productivity

Today in Random Day Before the Election News: This clever study in personal dedication broke a couple of weeks ago, and it’s already made its way around a good portion of the Internet. Still, we’d like to come back to it on a day characterized by irritation and anxiety for so many Americans–the day before an election that we’ve all heard WAY too much about for at least two years. Need proof? Think back to the time when Michelle Bachman and Donald Trump led the pack in certain polls. Yes, that did indeed happen.

Anyway, Maneesh Sethi is a San Francisco-based blogger who recently decided that his social media habits were affecting his productivity in a bad way. He knew that he spent far too much of his time scrolling through his Facebook feed, descending into the bottomless cavern that is Reddit or doing something even more useless like, say, reading about politics. He wanted to change his ways.

Of course, millions of people find themselves in Sethi’s position every day–but he chose a more creative way of addressing it than most. His unique approach makes sense considering the fact that his blog, Hack the System, is all about using “unconventional techniques to improve your productivity and your life“. So he placed an ad on Craigslist and hired an assistant to sit beside him while he worked and quite literally slap him in the face every time he clicked on Facebook.

Well, that wasn’t too dramatic, was it?

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Dr. Pepper Ad Inspires Evolution ‘Debate’? Seriously?

Today in You Guys Are Really Bumming Us Out News: At first we didn’t think Dr. Pepper was looking for a fight when planning their “Evolution of Flavor” Facebook promo spot, but then we remembered that this is America and they should have known better.

The mildly amusing ad, which casts the peculiar soda as the “missing link” in the evolutionary chain between beast and man, has accumulated 25,000 likes and 3,500 comments in less than 24 hours. What are people saying about it? Oh, the usual: Evolution is a myth and I’m offended, God is fake and you’re all idiots, spelling is overrated—the list goes on. Quite a few individuals have even announced their plans to “boycott” Dr. Pepper products without realizing that, by bringing attention to the brand, they’re playing right into the hands of the sugar-water heathens…

And, of course, the whole mini-controversy also inspired an extended thread on Reddit. This is the world in which we live.

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President Hits Reddit for Q&A

In case you hadn’t heard, President Obama is currently participating in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Some things we might ask him:

  • What’s your favorite brand of coffee? (Please don’t say Starbucks.)
  • We noticed that you have worn a bow tie in the past. Why would you do that? (We hope you had no choice.)
  • Which Star Wars movie was worse, “The Phantom Menace” or “Return of the Jedi?”
  • Do you enjoy playing Monopoly with friends and family, or do you tend to get bored after an hour like we do?

Feel free to pose some more hard-hitting questions–or just visit the site and post them yourself.

When Is User-Generated Content Not Useful?

To judge from Time Warner Cable’s director of digital communication Jeff Simmermon, the answer to the question above is “often.”

Simmermon was one of the speakers scheduled to take the stage today at Ketchum‘s daylong “Respect the Internet” event, which is being livestreamed here as well. After a few audio glitches during the opener, the discussion “Brands as Creators and Innovators” began, with a chunk of the discussion focused on the uses of consumer feedback.

The other panel speaker, Erik Martin, a GM at Reddit, (someone from BoingBoing was also slated for the panel, but he wasn’t on stage) talked up the importance of listening and reading what people have to say about your company and brand online. In his opinion, a lot of marketers and brands aren’t taking full advantage of what’s online.

“I see a lot of conversations that end just as it’s getting interesting,” he said.

Simmerson, while not dismissing the importance of being “immersed” in what’s online, was much more critical of the value of a lot of UGC.

“I can’t wait for the fetish for user-generated content to begin to fade,” he said.

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Revolving Door: AOL and Arrington, Conde Nast, and More

As we mentioned in this morning’s Ticker, Michael Arrington is officially out at AOL, at least for now. Forbes broke the news last night, with the caveat that things could change since there has been a lot of back-and-forth during the past week over his status with the company. The fate of CrunchFund is also still unknown.

The story says, “Huffington clearly erred here in okaying a project without fully understanding its public relations consequences,” but she ultimately appears to be the most “influential” leader at AOL. The Atlantic Wire says AOL might have reason to worry if the TechCrunch staff and readers leave with Arrington. In case you missed it, Arrington published a story on TechCrunch with his own set of demands before he got the ax.

Conde Nast is spinning off Reddit, but hanging on to ownership of the company. Conde bought Reddit five years ago.

Google is buying restaurant guide Zagat in an effort to beef up its local offerings, The New York Times reports. For Zagat, the sale also helps them at a time when it has seen its prominence decline in the face of competition from other online restaurant guide sources.

For more media news and moves, click through.

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