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Posts Tagged ‘things we think we might like’

White House Taps Baltimore Ravens to Promote ‘Obamacare’ Enrollment

Don’t worry, your ears are fine—that click-clack you’re hearing is the sound of a thousand conservative bloggers registering their disapproval of Super Bowl champions the Baltimore Ravens.

Today the White House and the state of Maryland announced plans to use the champs to promote the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. More specifically, the team will work to encourage MD residents to enroll in the statewide health insurance exchanges that serve as one of the central pillars of the law.

The administration first aimed to get the entire National Football League to collaborate on a promotional campaign, but the organization (wisely) chose to sit that one out due, no doubt, to the corrosive power of partisan politics. Individual teams, on the other hand, can do as they choose and the league will support them.

So how will this new partnership work?

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The TSA Pulls Its Guns Out (On Instagram)

Let’s play the hypothetical game: Say you’re a government agency that many see as a necessary evil, but you still get singled out as an example of everything wrong with our system. It’s tough to be popular when your job involves insisting that everyone remove their shoes, belts, wallets, ice picks, meat cleavers, spear guns, brass knuckles, gasoline canisters, and any other vaguely metallic objects before entering a full-body scanner with an NC-17 rating.

What do you do to improve your public profile? Start an Instagram account to show the world what you’re doing right—because who reads things anymore?

Our point: here are some fun weapons that the Transportation Security Administration confiscated and featured on its brand new picture page. Oh hey, it’s a loaded pistol small enough to fit in your toiletry bag!

Next comes another tiny, poorly hidden handgun:

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Angry Moms Give Kraft Some Free Publicity

When not exaggerating its own membership, claiming responsibility for the cancellation of The New Normal (it was a bad show, guys), or failing to recognize Twitter‘s 140-character limit, the non-profit outrage organization One Million Moms searches pop culture high and low for the latest and greatest threats to its members’ conservative Christian sensibilities.

In the past, these easily offended mother hens wagged their fingers at everyone from the Boy Scouts to The Cleveland Show and Dancing with the Stars. While we share the group’s distaste for any show featuring Tucker Carlson AND Kate Gosselin, we have to laugh about their latest pet cause—condemning this “disgusting” ad for Kraft salad dressing. Shame on those heathens, et cetera et cetera.

One question: do they not realize that they just gave this brand free publicity?

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Brazil Rethinks ‘Happy Prostitute’ PSAs

There’s a subtle art to PSAs, those heavy handed, publicly funded campaigns designed to remind us taxpayers to stand away from the platform edge, resist donating money to panhandlers, and avoid the dangers of tobacco (thank you, C-3PO).

But before last week, we’d never heard of a government’s PR team working to convince the rest of the world that local prostitutes are healthy, happy, and proud of their chosen line of work.

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The Colonel’s Secret Recipe Unites the World

On a planet divided by violent political, sectarian, and international rifts, it’s nice to know that sworn enemies can share a deep admiration for one historical figure who was so much more than a man. Years ago, this misunderstood prophet dared to buck the tide and bring humanity together in the name of an all-encompassing love—the love of crispy, delicious fried chicken.

That man, of course, was KFC founder Colonel Harland David Sanders, and this week the trusty fourth estate brings us multiple stories about residents of Palestine’s volatile Gaza Strip region going above and beyond for a little taste of his special sauce.

Finger lickin’ good PR? Yeah…no.

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Bud Light Jumps on the Gay Marriage Avatar Bandwagon

Yeah, so yesterday Bud Light made an earnest attempt to ride the “marriage equality viral avatar” train by posting this image for its 5,600,000 Facebook fans:

This infographic proves that yuppies and hipsters like the cheap stuff just as much as stereotypical rednecks (and as real-life rednecks we resent the implication that Bud Light drinkers are anti-gay). So while we have little doubt that this image inspired many Bud lovers to do a double take, we can’t imagine it led too many people to “unlike” the page.

What do we think of it from a brand perspective? Quick, clever stunt or shameless meme-jacking? Is there a difference?

Beam Me Up?: Apple’s iWatch to Debut in 2013

The most compelling aspect of working in the public relations industry is that we sometimes make decisions based on intuition. We’re not always right, of course, but it is part of the job.

Like meteorologists, we look at developing trends and prevailing conditions, combine that information with our knowledge of past behaviors and established algorithms, and make an educated guess as to how the weather—in our case the public—is going to act. PR is part art, part science.

So when a legendary and coveted brand like Apple makes any sort of decision, most of us assume it’s the right one. You can’t argue with success, and Apple has had more success than just about any brand on the planet. It is difficult not to become excited when Apple makes a major announcement, as it recently did in revealing that its long-awaited iWatch will debut in 2013.

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Adventures in Marketing: Fanta Releases ‘Tastable’ Print Ad

Today in This Sounds Kind of Gross news: words on paper are somehow still around! This week sugary drinkmaker Fanta wants to turn its latest product launch campaign into something of a PR stunt with a new twist on that classic branding tool. The company and its agency, Dubai’s OgilvyOne, claim to have created the world’s first “tastable print ad” to promote its new “orange” flavor.

Intrigued? It’s a page that looks like this:

Fanta Tastable Print Ad

As you can see, the spot encourages dupes in the audience to “tear off a piece of this page, pop in your mouth & enjoy a Fanta”. What does it taste like? The team got a little creative with their copywriting, describing it as:

“…a burst of sunshine through a cool wisp of wind, it’s sweet and tangy, surprising and juicy. It tickles like a delicious secret that you cannot bear to share. And how lush it feels at every sip, like an instant whiff of a fresh bouquet of flowers in spring! With a quick sharp jolt of tart and a sudden burst of sugary-citrusy-sweetness, it leaves your tongue tingling pleasantly. Then, it curls deliciously around your taste buds, tantalizing your imagination & ripples happily down your spine.”

OK then! Here’s the video:

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U.S. Postal Service to Launch Clothing Line

Today in No, We Don’t Mean the Band News: The U.S. Postal Service, currently suffering from something of a PR crisis, just announced plans to develop its own clothing line with menswear maker Wahconah Group.

Before you ask, this is not a joke–here’s the press release to prove it.

The apparel and accessories line, designed to be “on the cutting edge of functional fashion”, will be called “Rain, Heat and Snow” in honor of the unofficial USPS motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

It won’t just be the usual shirts, hats and footwear–it will include “wearable technology” like jackets with built-in iPod controls so mailmen can more effectively ignore the outside world while on their usual routes, controlling the free flow of information.

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Mayor Bloomberg’s Newest Target: Styrofoam

In our last post, we discussed brands whose names have become synonymous with the products they offer (even when other companies sell similar or identical products). Styrofoam (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical) is one of those brands–and we have a feeling the company’s PR department, if such a thing exists, isn’t too happy with the latest news about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Seems that Mayor Mike (also known as El Bloombito) might take steps to ban Styrofoam cups and containers in all city businesses as part of a big recycling initiative. You’re probably aware that Styrofoam has a bad reputation due to the fact that it does not decompose and is considered by the FDA to be a “a possible human carcinogen”. Many products containing “expanded polystyrene”, the most environmentally unfriendly element in the mix, weren’t created by Dow at all–but people still refer to them as “Styrofoam.”

In fact, if you Google the word you’ll probably see a whole lot of petitions like this one urging companies, particularly restaurants, to stop using the stuff. It’s a bit of a branding conundrum.

Some recycling providers are trying to change the public’s perception of the white stuff by offering “Styrofoam recycling” services (not sure how that would work), but Bloomberg is hardly the only city official considering a ban–the city of San Jose, for example, recently considered banning any food products containing expanded polystyrene.

Complain about “nanny state” Bloomberg all you want–but it’s hard to argue in favor of an unhealthy product with a terrible reputation.

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