Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Corporate Blog, Published by Your PR Firm!

From the good folks that are the NewsMarket comes their first blog: NewsBluntly.

Clever name, and the blog presents itself as the "blunt news about broadcast journalism." Or, at least as blunt as a VNR firm can be.

According to the news release issued by The NewsMarket, though,
NewsBluntly features original content by authoritative media writers that will inform and entertain broadcast-news staffers with succinct, droll riffs on major - and not so major - "inside-the-newsroom" stories.
There are no biographies of these writers, so it's a little hard to figure out who they are. However, if you scroll down to the bottom of the NewsBluntly blog, you'll find that ... it's published by Plesser Associates.

Now, according to my favorite Website, Dictionary.com, one of the definitions of published is: To be the writer or author of published works or a work.

In this case, is that who the writers and authors of NewsBluntly are? Is it Plesser? Who - if not PR people - are better authorities on media? Our job is to interact with the media, so we should have some insight into the industy.

If it is Plesser, this opens up a whole new area of business for PR firms, and might be what the W2 Group and other firms are setting themselves up as. The PR firm of the future is not just about public relations, media relations and analyst relations, but about online blogging relations to the point that we're not just monitoring and counseling a client on a corporate blog, but "publishing" the blogs for our clients.

Oh what a tangled Web we weave ...

Fleishman-Hillard Comes Out

In what could only be called fabulous, Fleishman-Hillard has opened up FH Out Front.

Now, what's FH Out Front? According to the O'Dwyer's article today:
Fleishman-Hillard has launched FH Out Front to grab a piece of what it views as the "untapped" gay/lesbian communications market.

Ben Finzel, who co-chairs the group from Washington D.C., told O'Dwyer's that the Omnicom unit has experience in creating gay/lesbian PR campaigns.

Kodak's multicultural push has a gay/lesbian component, while F-H's work for Ontario's Ministry of Tourism had a gay friendly element. The Ontario campaign resulted in a nice story in the Washington Post, said Finzel, who leads the practice with Phillip Sontag in San Diego.

Finzel said FH Out Front will launch a pro bono campaign early next year for the New York and D.C. chapters of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

FH estimates the buying power of the gay/lesbian, bisexual and transgender market is $450 billion, and believes the size of that market could represent 10 percent of the U.S. population.

Finzel, citing a survey just released by FH, expects little backlash from F-H's outreach to the gay/lesbian community. A poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., found that 81 percent of respondent's don't care if a product they regularly use is also pitched to gays/lesbians. Ten percent of the respondents would be less likely to purchase the product.

Sixty-five percent of respondents say it doesn't matter if a new product is also promoted to gays/lesbians, while 24 percent would be less likely to buy the new item.

More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the respondents know somebody who is gay or lesbian, while 22 percent know only "straight" people.

The new practice also includes a dozen FH staffers in New York, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and San Francisco.
I'm not sure what is sadder statement of the state of PR: that FH felt that it needed to start a BGLT practice (bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender - actually, not sure if transgender is covered by FH Out There) or that PR has become so gentrified that that it's unable to incorporate different ethnicities and sexualities into a "mainstream" PR program?

It's funny (or sad) - I had this conversation with Robert French at Auburn, how public relations should not be just about your own group, that it's being able to pitch to any demographic. He titled his piece "Cultures ... ours isn't the only one ..." but apparently this idea hasn't made it out to the agencies yet. This is also the same conversation I had with Ben Silverman at PR Fuel - Don't Ignore the Melting Pot.

When pitching a client or product, how hard is it for the PR team to be able to generate story ideas for different segments: the gay community, the African-American community, the Hispanic community, etc?

Just a thought for the industry - when pitching, how about going beyond the same old mainstream media? It's not a reach.

But, if this is the new trend, what's next in PR? Agencies starting out segmented practices targetting the BGLT communities, the African-American community, the Jewish community, the Catholic community, ad naseum? If so, I have some great naming ideas for different agencies: POP! PR Q&H (for Queer and Here) or POP! PR La Raza (for Hispanic PR) or POP! PR Mitzvah (for the Jewish Community) or POP! PR ... well, you get the idea.

We already see Hispanic divisions being set-up, which miss the bigger picture - there is no Hispanic community that can be whitewashed for marketing. What sells to the Puerto Rican community does not work for the Mexican community or the Columbian, Ecuadorian, Cuban, communities. If you get right down to it, there are different dialects and idiosyncrancies between the Spanish of each country.

The other part of the story that needs to be addressed is that, well, people lie in polls. While the people in the polls said that they will not boycott or avoid products, the fact is that Disney gets boycott threats for its same-sex benefits policy, as well as the Gay Pride days at the park, and Disney is not the only corporation to get boycott threats.

Does an agency need to create separate divisions to reach out to diverse communities? I certainly hope not, as that should be part of an overall PR strategy.

It's like agencies jumping on the blog bandwagon and now opening up online communications divisions that only pitch online media. Does this mean that your agency ignored the online news sources and message boards? If so, what a great disservice to the clients.

POP! PR has experience with diverse communities - was involved with MeCHA, MAC, friend of BGALA, Hillel at Arizona - and is able to put together pitches for different communities - does this mean I should split up the company into separate divisions, or just be able to offer a cohesive program.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Happy Turkey Day!! Posted by Hello

No, I did not draw that, but used the wonderful world of Google Images to find the best turkey I could.

To the readers of POP! PR's blog, thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And, I will be blogging again on a more regular basis soon enough - the week off was some needed rest!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Google launches POP email

While deleting the Gmail trash, I found that Google GMail rolled out POP access today. Nice and silent of them.

Here's the instructions on setting it up!

Why does this matter? For one, I prefer using Outlook or Outlook Express for email. I have my Hotmail accounts (and now Gmail account) on Outlook Express, and my POP! PR email on Outlook. It's all integrated into X1, so I am able to find any message in any of my accounts in about 10 seconds.

Now, I still have 5 Gmail accounts, and I offered them to the Auburn bloggers. Why is it important to have a Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo email account? Because a corporate email account is just that - a corporate email. There should be no private conversations that take place on the corporate account, and for job searches, you need an easily accessible account that can POP into Outlook, etc.

Thankfully, Gmail is now one of those email accounts - accessible online or via an Email program.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Snippets

  • Graffiti is hip. Nothing says street cred and keeping it real more than ... corporate greed. Corporations get "hip" with graffiti inspired products. From the WSJ.
  • Just because I know ya, doesn't mean I like ya! From the WSJ, an interesting article that highlights the relation between reputation and recognition. I think it shows that communications needs to pull in all aspects of a corporation when working on reputation management: advertising, marketing and public relatoins.
  • Honesty is so overrated! The argument amongst marketers whether online marketing should be transparent or not. In other words, can we set-up fake blogs to fool the public, or would that be bad?

    I'll go out on a limb on this one. It's not great, but it happens alot, and I have been approached by a guerilla marketing firm for a similar campaign.

    But, it's cool to take advantage of young kids to push your message.
  • PR suffers from a perception issue. On the heels of the "publicites" article, Tom Murphy (the man who inspired Snippets) has a must-read on how PR needs to work together to change its image, and what is required to do PR.

    I think that part of that outreach and education should be the PR bloggers, but it's obvious to me that some PR bloggers aren't really blogging on PR, but just random issues, while others are trying to build a bridge to the public, raise issues in PR.
  • Let's start a catalogue! eBay, to capture the Holiday spirit - and sales - has launched a Holiday catalogue.

    I love the idea, but am confused. How can you have a catalogue for stuff that's auctioned? eBay is not like an auction house - things go up and off the site so quickly. And how did they choose the products?

    But, once again, I think it's a great idea, a way to think offline for an online venture. Why Amazon stopped doing their Holiday catalogue is beyond me.
  • Speaking of Amazon ... Amazon is looking for new PR firms to do Holiday outreach.

    According to the PRWeek article: Amazon.com is embarking on a comprehensive PR review, throwing three of its key contracts up for grabs in time for the holidays.

    Holiday outreach begins in July for the six-month lead time that the monthlies work on. If you are doing Holiday outreach, there's no better ROI than the Gift List.

    To be searching for a new firm in the middle of the Holiday season seems like an odd timing choice - unless it's a "come to Jesus" tactic to light a fire under the current firms' collective butts, to get them to do a huge push for the Holiday season (which really has started already).

    But, since the firms won't be named until January, the article is a bit misleading.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Snippets

  • Advertising versus Public Relations. Okay, I was going through my Sitemeter stats - okay, it was a blego weekend, but I also read Sitemeter to find links to other interesting things - I found this pretty good article on About.com. What is written reminds me of what the late, great Fred Hoar used to say about advertising and public relations: it's pay for play versus pray for play.
  • PR Blogosphere ... uncovered! Mike Manuel at Media Guerrilla breaks it down for a few PR bloggers, and who is posting the most. Matthew Podboy of Active Voice then breaks it down in the comment section on how much billable time is probably wasted on blogging.

    In defence of the POP! PR blog, I post either in the morning or the end of the day, and I think that the Snippets should be broken down per bullet points. ;)
  • Who the heck are these people? Finally, a smart social networking site - Meet the Neighbors. This seems to be a better idea for New York or Los Angeles, but not sure how it would work in suburbia.

    Not sure, though, what the business model and revenue stream is, but I think this is a better bet than Friendster.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Sad day

For those that have read my blog since its inception know my love for rap - Old Skool and some of the newer acts. Mainly, old skool .

Well, in a bit of sad news today, one of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan has passed away today - from the looks of it, from a coronary three days before his 36th birthday.

Old Dirty Bastard, aka Dirt McGirt and Big Baby Jesus, collapsed and died at the recording studio.

Very sad day for his family, and for the Wu.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Snippets

  • A conversation from yesterday:
    Me: there's been no movement on the NHL huh?
    Friend: not that I've seen. It's sad
    Me: there's been no press, which is sadder
    Friend: true

    It's sad that nothing has happened with the NHL, and sadder that no one seems to care. I love hockey, I love watching NHL games, and I haven't thought about the season much at all. Good way to lose the fan base.

    The AHL, though, have been making a push to try to reach the hockey-loving public, and keep interest alive. The Cleveland Barons played the Edmonton Roadrunners in San Jose.
  • Coke ups its marketing budget. Adding another $350-$400 million to marketing and brand extension.

    Coke is stagnant right now, and needs to up its buzz. Hopefully, this infusion will be more than just a cash infusion, but creative and compelling marketing efforts.
  • Well, it's not just Coke that's trying to revive stagnant brands. Others, such as Frito-Lay, are also pushing money into marketing programs, but like the caveat above, throwing money at a problem of stagnating brands is not enough to increase consumerism.

    It's about strategy and tactics and different ideas. You know, the foundation of good communications and public relations. ;)

    Seth Godin is also mentioned in the NYT article - he cites Whole Foods as a good marketing machine, creating desire for products that had no market. I wish that he had given some examples on how Coke or Frito Lay could get more value for their marketing dollars, though.
  • I love redheads.

    The list includes a good friend (who's now married), an ex (well, she was an auburn redhead) and some actresses that I will never meet.

    But, this is just weird. A female Ronald McDonald from Japan, advertising the McGrand Tomato.
  • Pushing the ad into the online game. It is all about reaching the target audience, and this is one great way to do it. Of course, the chance for advertisers to totally ruin the online game, and alienate the audience, is very great.

    It's that happy middle ground, that will most likely be violated.
  • NSDA becomes the ABA. From O'Dwyer's, the Nationall Soft Drink Association pulls the smart PR move by changing its name to the American Beverage Association.

    According to the group, the reason was due to "the increasing sales of bottled water, sports drinks, and diet soft drinks, and the introduction of thousands of new non-alcoholic beverages into the U.S. last year."

    Or, to be more blunt, because of the obese epidemic in the United States - in both adults and children - it makes more sense to drop the soft drink moniker, and go with the more encompassing term, beverage.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Moral issues, pharmacology and PR

What is a pharmacy to do when its pharmacists refuse to dispense birth control pills, based on religious beliefs?

This has occured at CVS and KMart drugstores, and it's a percarious situation for them. As a drugstore, want to be able to provide your customers with their medications - be it birth control, Viagra or anything else. If you refuse them their medicines, you know fully well that they are going to stop shopping at your store, and tell all their friends to stop shopping there as well.

On the other side, there is a pharmacist shortage in this country, and it's hard to keep the pharmacists you have. Plus, I'm sure there's some law that saws that you can't compel the pharmacist to dispense birth control pills.

To me, it's simple. I'm going into the pharmacy for my pills - give me my pills, don't push your beliefs onto me. I just want my pills.

But, it is a public relations issue for the drugstores - you have two very vocal sides to this argument, pro-life and pro-choice, and it's not easy to go against either of them. Right now, the pharmacists have the American Pharmacists Association on their side, with a policy that says that pharmacists can refuse to fill a prescription that they object to on moral grounds.

Right now, I wouldn't want to be on the internal PR team for a drugstore. With this coverage in USA Today, pharmacies need to find a middle ground.

Snippets

  • Backlash against the FCC. "At press time, ABC stations owned by Cox Television, Citadel Communications, Belo Corp., Hearst-Argyle and Scripps Howard Broadcasting, among others, had declined to air the 1998 Academy Award-winning movie. They say they're afraid the film's scenes of extreme violence and intense adult language will lead to sanctions by the Federal Communications Commission under its new, supersize anti-indecency standards."

    I think this is called "chicken" with the FCC, a little bit of payback for the way that FCC has been behaving in a conservative administration.
  • Hard liquor and driving. Okay, the real story is that NASCAR is lifting the ban on hard liquor sponsorship.

    This is a hard call - NASCAR presents itself as a family sport. But they already allow for beer and malt liquor sponsorships - why isn't there a Colt .45 car? - and this is a logical next step.
  • Magazines are getting funky. But, only in shape, to get noticed by the magazine buying public. We aren't supposed to judge books by their covers, but we are with magazines.
  • The little horsey that could. Or not. A fun (or sad) story about Haru Urara, and 8-year old thoroughbred that lost her 100th race this winter. The horse, whose name means Glorious Spring, has become a national hero in Japan for never giving up. Cute story on never giving up, and that everyone loves a loveable loser.

Blog Clipping and Squirrels

Blog search and clipping for PR is heating up. CyberAlert has launched BlogSquirrel which will scan 100K+ blogs for client mentions. They are joining the field with Blabble (which I have used in the past, and like), while Factiva has been working on blog searching as well.

And, ironically, I have been working on getting an interview with Factiva but apparently a PR blog isn't a worthy outlet for a new blog search tool. I love it - a PR blogger wants to talk to them about a PR tool for blogs, but can't get anywhere with their PR agency.

Why make such a big deal about searching blogs, if you aren't going to reach out to that very audience? Both Blabble and BlogSquirrel did reach out to PR bloggers - I know, because I was contacted by both companies.

It's like the other horror stories I have read about in the blogosphere - PR agencies just not getting it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Check the expiration date...

From today's MediaPost's Out to Launch,
Now this is what happens when you don't pay attention to expiring domain names. The United Kingdom domain name for Ogilvy and Mather expired and was bought by viral agency A S A B A I L E Y. The site shows an expiration of some sort - the feet from a cadaver complete with a toe tag that states: "If you understood the modern brand... ... you'd understand how to protect it." Ouch. Visitors to the site can click on the toe tag to send the link to a friend. The e-mail subject line comes up as "Ogilvy London Hijacked."
This is a great move by A S A B A I L E Y, not only getting some press out of their snagging the registration, but also to push people to their agency as a viral advertising agency.

And, as for Ogilvy & Mather UK, for shame. It's easy to automate domain registration, and this should have never happened.

Weber expands again

From O'Dwyer's:

W2 GROUP EXPANDS ITS 'MARKETING ECOSYSTEM'

The W2 Group has acquired an investment stake in One to One Interactive because of its "next-gen web services orientation," Larry Weber, CEO and former head of Weber Shandwick, told O'Dwyer's.

The seven-year-old Boston-based firm has 55 staffers and revenues in the $8 million range, according to Ian Karnell, co-founder of the firm.

Karnell said OtO "hitched its wagon to W2 because of Weber's reputation as a marketing giant."

OtO provides e–mail/database marketing and behavioral segmentation services to the financial services, life sciences and technology/media telecommunications sectors. It has worked with Qualcomm, Unisys, State Street Bank, Novo Nordisk and GlaxoSmithKline.

Weber said OtO represents a leading-edge company in the "third stage of web evolution." The web, he said, evolved from building sites to e-commerce and search to creating community-based social networks.

OtO joins W2's "marketing ecosystem," which includes Racepoint Group (40 high-tech PR staffers), Digital Influence (seven people handling constituency management) and ThirdScreen Media (10 media management staffers).

The W2 family, according to Weber, is involved in "game-changing stuff," and targeting chief marketing officers who "understand the need to establish a dialog with their customer base." Weber said the future is about "two-way communications," and not just about buying 30-second spots, which is the "economic hang-up" of the traditional ad/PR holding companies.

Weber, who also headed Interpublic's advanced marketing services group, said more deals are in the works.

Larry Weber has been making some noise lately, recently leaving IPG to start the W2 Group, and now expanding it further into online marketing. He's taking PR to the next level, integrating it into online and wireless communications - blogs, SMS and other new forms of communications.

Now, why the hell he doesn't have a blog is a mystery.

I like the direction that he's taking with the company - in particular, what Third Screen Media is doing - but it also raises some concern in over-exposure and customer privacy. SMS needs to be opt-in, not pushed.

I think W2 is poised to really shake up the PR world, just as Voce Communications, Topaz Partners and POP! Public Relations when I get big enough :). It goes along what I have written about before - that PR is about reaching the public, and we need to use new avenues to reach that public.

Notice anything similar about all three companies? They're all alumni from Shandwick and Miller/Shandwick Technologies, the best damn PR firms that ever were. Remember, I'm looking for sponsors to go to the London Shandwick Reunion ...

Snippets

  • The perils of Wikipedia. A good article from the NY Times about Wikipedia, and while it is a great resource, it's an open source resource open to edits from people with their own agendas.
  • Digital cameras dirty little secret. It's not easy to archive digital photos, and the Library of Congress is convening meetings to work on the problem. I have already experienced some of the archiving issues discussed in the story - degradation of CDs, hard drives crashing - and online photo sites are not the answer either, with some of my photo losses at Ofoto, and both Snapfish and Ofoto deleting albums for not ordering.
  • I'm on a PR resource site from Kiev. Using the wonderful Babelfish, I think it's a PR group based in Kiev, like a PRSA or IABC. I love the look and logo of the site, and I think next version of POP! PR or my next name idea, I'll have my designer go with this look.
  • The phone is the next marketing frontier. Fox and its show, 24, are working with Vodafone in the UK to bring Webisodes (phonisodes?) of a new 24 spin off to 3G phones. While this is an opt-in marketing initiative - let's be honest, this is just a marketing vehicle to drive people to the TV show- it's not going to be too long before companies are pushing content to 3G phones.

    And, then phones will get as obnoxious as email SPAM.
  • Brand extension fun: The Nest. The Knot decides to take it a step further, and start a Website for newlyweds. To me, this is a smart brand extension, as the first year is the hardest for couples. I just hope they have a psychologist online, to help people with the losing identity crises that are usually part of that first year.
  • Happy 229th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Okay, I got that email from GoDaddy, the company I use for Webhosting. One on hand, it is pretty nice that the CEO is all gung ho about the marines, and wanted to show his support to the Marines.

    That email went out to everyone in their database that had not opted out of non-registration based services. As a Web hosting company, you're not just working with a US-based audience, and potentially offended non-US based businesses.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Maybe PR Was Right to Skip the Persuaders

I am watchin PBS right now, watching the Frontline piece, The Persuaders.

I think I owe PR a mea culpa. I blogged that PR refused to do PR for PR, because PR executives passed on speaking on camera.

I think we made the right move. This show made marketing and advertising look foolish and stupid. And, well, manipulative.

First impressions:
  • Song is, well, a wannabe Southwest Airlines. It's like the geek that wants to be cool ... just like the W Hotel. Actually, it was very reminiscent of the dot-com age, a bunch of young marketers sitting together that claim to know what people need but naturally only targetting their peer group: young, white, middle class.

    Song obviously is copying the whole SWA culture - from the "auditions" of flight attendants to the happy times. Slight difference between Delta and Southwest ... one of the airlines is Chapter 11, and it's not the poseur.

    Other problems - the messaging and advertising were never on point. The advertising was too cerebral, they never really got a good message off the ground. Ha, bad pun!
  • "The reptillian hot buttons that compell us to action, and the reptillian is always going to win." This is the genius that told SUV makers to make the SUVs bigger to appeal to the reptilian nature in man.

    In Philosophy, we call this the reptilian crap the Hobbesian state of nature. But, eventually self preservation is supposed to win out. I guess not with the good Doctor.

    I think we learned a lesson here: don't listen to the French.
  • I liked Lutz. I bet he has a philosophy degree, because he understands the philosophy of language, and how the meanings of words change over time.
  • The ending was weak: we're all persuaders.

    Snort.

    No, 90 percent of us are followers, who look to influencers and persuaders to tell us what to buy, what to wear, what to listen to for music. No one likes to be an individual, becuase individualists set their own path and have to not care about what others say. It's always safer with the crowd.

    But, the crowd is boring.
In closing, I think the PR executives were right - this wasn't a piece to highlight the benefits of public relations, but an effort to pain PR, advertising and marketing as manipulative, as something that doesn't benefit the public, but makes them want things that they don't need, unduly influences them.

While, yes, there are PR campaigns that are based on getting publicity for our base desires, there are also other campaigns that are for the greater good, to raise awareness on issues that are important.

Singles Night at Walmart

Public Relations is about reaching out to people, holding events, drawing customers into stores.

While the idea of a single's night at grocery stores and supermarkets isn't something new in the United States, Walmart Germany has taken it to another level, according to today's WSJ.

In Germany, Walmart is holding "Singles Shopping" nights, which they have already trademarked to deter copycats.

According to the article,

It's vintage Wal-Mart: Cut-throat practices and rock-bottom prices aside, Wal-Mart's playbook has always found unusual ways to meet customers' needs, such as its longstanding policy of allowing hulking recreational vehicles to park overnight in the parking lots of its U.S. stores.

...

From the earliest days, when founder Sam Walton held donkey rides in his stores' parking lots to draw traffic, Wal-Mart has prided itself on having a certain P.T. Barnum quality about it. Wal-Mart stores in China, for example, hold live fishing contests on the premises. In Korea, stores host a kind of bake-off, with variations on a popular dish, kimchee.

As much as you might like or dislike Walmart, they get the public relations part when it comes to loyal shoppers at their stores. Granted, they have had many, many misteps for the company, which then blow up in the PR department - class action lawsuits for discrimination, building a Walmart right next to the ancient city of Teotihuacan - they do get their public.

This is what public relations is about - reaching out to your core market, bringing in more people to the stores, having fun events. More and more, I have been receiving proposals that ask for more than just media relations, but for a full public relations campaign: analyst relations, community relations, media relations, street marketing and guerilla marketing efforts.

What that means is event planning and staffing, finding appropriate sponsorship opportunities, finding appropriate venues and events to be involved in. It's a little bit of taking back the public part of public relations.

Snippets

  • Old Skool Road Trip! It's the 30th anniversary of Shandwick International (not that newfangled Weber Shandwick), and there's a reunion in place for London. So, for those that would like to fund a POP! PR trip for two to London for the event, please give me a call. The reunion Web site even has the old Shandwick logo.

    If I don't get to London, there is talk about a NY reunion as well.
  • Barney the White House dog rocks. One of the funniest, and cutest things I've seen come out of the White House. It's a very humanizing way to portray a man many think of as evil.

    Plus, that dog is just so damn cute. And, it reminds me that I always wanted to take my second dog, Spencer, to see and play in the snow.
  • Maxim is for grown-ups. No, really, it is. Well, at least that's what the new ad campaign is trying to portray the magazine as - a non-laddie magazine, but for men that care about their appearance and um, like girls and video games.

    They also have a Website to have Man considered an endangered species.
  • Firefox 1.0 Officially is Released Today. From the Boston Globe article comes the best quote: They're harnessing the power of community on the Web, like the Howard Dean thing.

    Um, Dean lost. He never got the DNC nomination, so not sure if that's the analogy that Firefox wants out there.

    I use both IE and Firefox. I like Firefox a lot - the tabs are great - but some programs just don't work in it. Therefore, I go back and forth between the two products.
  • Flackster likes to write. A lot. A looooooong piece of Flackster about the potential perils of corporate blogging.

    He has a great list of things to stop and think of before hitting the publish button. First, naturally, being to "stop and think." Also there's no shame in kicking a question to the right contact at the company, and not to field press/analyst questions, but pass them on to the PR team.

    It's a good read - go check it out.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Snippets

  • A mighty unhappy XMas for some. Clothing stores and other retailers are going high-tech, and cracking down on those that have a habit of wardrobing - returning clothes that they wore - or just habitual returners. I love the opening graf, with the shopper not realizing she had that same outfit in her closet. Maybe she shouldn't shop so much, if she can't remember outfits in her closet.

    Then, the story gets freaky with the other ways the databases are being used.
  • IAOC launches a blog. Seems somewhat fitting, since it is a group for online communicators.
  • Brands are dying, and its our fault, via InfoOpinions. I agree and disagree. I'm brand loyal to some things - if it's not Diet Coke, it'll be a water with lemon or hand-squeezed lemonade - but the article points out that Coke is a perennial brand.

    But, on consumer electronics, I agree that high-end product loyalty is out the door. Why pay the high-end price for a Sony since consumer electronics are disposable? Get the Humax for a fraction of the price.
  • Ads work on kids. Cute story from Alan Saracevic of the SF Chronicle, and how advertising reaches his children and makes them aware of products that they want, and need.
  • IMDb is the new dating site in Hollywood!! Having lived in LA and not being in the industry, the article captures the shallowness of the city and the inner circle of Dante's Inferno that is LA dating.

    On the flip side, IMDb is a great Web site for trivia and finding the name of that actress that is on some TV show, but you have no idea what her name is. Like her.
  • Are manuals a thing of the past? From Danny Gillmor, a link to an article that asks if IT manufacturers purposely diluting the information given in the manuals, leading to more customer calls (isn't customer care a charge now?).

    I hate that - I'm one of those people that hunkers down with the manual, and reads it (or skims it) to get a better feel for the program.
  • BizWire waives its membership fees. From O'Dwyers and PR Week, and I'm not really sure what to think. However, a commenter on the O'Dwyer story had a good point - it's not about the wire service itself, but about the added bells and whistles that the CEO and CFO love to see - the immediate hits, that we all know mean nothing since it's just a flat out wire feed, but that executives eat up.

    I'm thinking that it's a loss-leader, that they are trying to bring in more customers - the smaller companies that wouldn't necessarily use a wire service. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a price increase for those circuits that smaller businesses would use, like states, etc.
  • To err is human, and to regret is human. From Om Malik - one of the best tech/telecom blogs to read, who just did a pretty nifty redesign of his blog - is a great story about how VC firms hate to admit the dogs they fund, and the winners they pass on.

    I love the story because I am working with a company that is a great property, a kick-ass technology, some great IP, and is working the VC route ... which have invested in some flea-bitten competitors.
  • Media insight from Edelman. Richard Edelman has some pretty good thoughts on the changing media, and how PR is going to need to change to address it. I disagreed with some of his thoughts, but all-in-all a good piece for his clients to read (and, his agency to read - the implications hit the people in the trenches the most).

    I had some pretty good thoughts, and was going to copy and paste them here ... and I didn't copy. Hopefully, the comments will be up soon.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Snippets

  • Best TV show on the air. Okay, best comedy. It's an interesting article, though, that highlights the instant need to build an audience. So shows are slower growers - Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld - that need to find their audience. Seinfeld was always "too NY" or "too Jewish" for mainstream America to like, but they did. Arrested Development is going to be the same way - a slow build.
  • Read Books, Get Brain. Akademics hip-hop clothing line uses lingo to push it's message. Get Brain is street lingo for get head, and well, NY MTA is not too happy that their buses were rolling around with that message. From O'Dwyer's, 5WPR is handling the crisis campaign since the story broke.
  • I decided that the Auburn class needs to buy me this T-Shirt. It's like $2 per student, and I think it would be fun to watch them cringe buying it. I'm a Medium/Large, it should be long-sleeved, and I do like fuschia or purple.
  • PR Fuel slaps down POP! PR. Well, actually, Ben disagrees that it was a totally bad thing that the PR people didn't comment on camera for the PBS Frontline show. Ben has a good point: the average person does not want to know (and is probably better off not knowing) that about 80 percent of what's read in newspapers and magazines are PR generated (okay, that's a statistic an old mentor gave me, so no verification on the number - you have any verification, Professor Robert?)
  • Bring back Dave! Wendy's got rid of the creepy Mr. Wendy's. My thought is bring back Dave, but in a cartoon form, like Colonel Sanders!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Snippets

  • From Paid Content, Corante is supplying 4 tech blogs to ZDNet. Well, not really supplying as much as writing and partnering. When people talk about blog publishing, they always mention Gawker Media and Weblogs, Inc. - they're wrong to forget about Corante, the quietly building powerhouse.
  • Intel and Microsoft target the living room. This is going to be a hard sell to the public, methinks. But, that's just because I have to deal with my parents for computer issues, and think of all the fun it will be when the computer controls the media center. Already, my Mom isn't allowed to touch the stereo, so this should be real fun. Plus, it's not like Windows ever crashes.
  • I love Woot! And, I guess, so does Weblogs, Inc. Well, they like the Woot ad buy, but it's still a pretty interesting concept. On any of the Weblogs blogs, there's a small top banner advertisement - very unintrusive, well integrated - that is a new product every day. It's a creative impulse buying operation.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Snippets

  • I've decided to go with Snippets rather than Miscellany. I like the word snippets. Almost as well as Bambi. Say it with me: Baaaaambi.
  • Blogs blow it with the election. Good piece from SiliconValleyWatcher.com, but with what I am going to guess is an unintentionally funny and ironic comment in a blog - Conclusion: Bloggers have some work to do if they want to be taken seriously as an alternative to professional journalists.

    A point, naturally, best brought up ... in a blog.
  • Ketchum wins the $500K Domino's Pizza business for its "deep understanding of what Domino's is looking to achieve as a brand." Or, I guess, it's deep love for pizza and a 30-minute guarantee. I have a 30-minute guarantee, but that's a different story.

    The story is on O'Dwyer's but you gotta be a subscriber to see it...
  • Stupid pitching mistakes - a friend / reporter IM'ed me that he just received a "Dear X" pitch. People, if you are going to send out mass emails, at least mail merge! Worse, the pitch was badly written and he threw it out. And, it gets better (worse?) - the pitch came as an attachment.

    Someone, bring me my blackjack. Now.
  • Jupiter's Blogs are bringing in business. My big beef? No comments. Come on, Jupiter, add comments. To me, a blog is just not a blog without comments. It's just a Website where a person gets to pontificate in his or her own little world.
  • Profile on Peter Arnell of the Arnell Group. Good example of how thinking differently can help you land projects, and then steal clients, away from other firms. Mmmmm, stealing clients.
  • Polling doesn't fare to well. Not like I ever took it seriously, because people don't like to tell the truth to poll-takers. Or, they answer the questions the way they think the poll-taker wants to hear. Same reason I don't buy into focus groups - too easy to mess with. Keep that in mind, PR. Focus groups are for marketing people too afraid to go with logic, but need group think.
  • Robert French of InfOpinions blogs on the Cornell.edu Redesign Weblog. The interesting take on the post isn't what Cornell is doing with their redesign Weblog - the University is rolling out a new logo and a new look - but that it's a good case study on how corporations can use a blog as a messaging tool to the public (hey, it's about the P in PR), as well as a collaboration tool, getting information and feedback from others in the community.

    Think of other corporations that could be blogging like this - reaching out to the public to collaborate, brand, message.
  • Are you pitching with NFB NDAs? One of my favorite PR bloggers, Tom Murphy, is looking for instances of PR people that are pitching to bloggers, and maybe using a Not For Blogging NDA. Go check out the post ... and ties well into the next posting.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Miscellany

  • Emerging Corporate Blogs - and it ain't the CEO's blog. Kevin Dugan writes that the best instances for corporate blogging are: internal comm, event blogging and product blogs. Beyond the intranet/internal blog, the best opportunity (to me) are product blogs. Of course, this means doing it right, and we all know that doesn't always happen (Dr. Pepper Raging Cow anyone?)
  • Ellen Rocks. Turns out DeGeneres is a great talk show, is a funny woman, and should have never been blackballed by a hypocritical Hollywood for coming out of the closet. She was always one of the funnier stand-up comics, and her persona on her show is the real deal. Not like the fake-nice Rosie.
  • O'Dwyer's puts info outside the password firewall. Visitors to the site can now access the databases of more than 400 PR firms and 1,500 PR service firms. Auburn folk, this is a great resource for resume blasting! GO, GO, GO!!
  • Greatest American Hero coming to DVD! I remember that I missed the first episode because I was at a stupid school play. Damn school. Okay, not PR related, but tv shows to DVD is a huge growing business, and a great way to reach that audience that loved your show.
  • Crossfire becomes more irrelevant. To show that Carlson and Begala weren't intimidated by Jon Stewart calling them out for being, well, useless, they dynamic duo brings on Triumph, the Comic Insult Dog. Great - just the way to raise your level of journalistic integrity.
  • Go Vote. Or Don't Vote.

    I'm not here to tell you who I endorse. I'm sure you don't care, just like I didn't care about other bloggers' endorsements.

    I'm not here to tell you to vote.

    You're all adults that are responsible enough to do what you want to do, and that includes the freedom not to vote.

    Oh, and I voted two weeks ago :-)

Monday, November 01, 2004

PR refuses to do PR for PR

From today's O'Dwyer's:
PR EXECS GO UNDERCOVER

The Public Broadcasting System will air "The Persuaders" on November 9 to explore the inner workings of the marketing and advertising businesses.

The program intended to have a PR focus, but PR executives refused to "go public" about what they do, Justin Vogt, a producer at ‘Frontline,'" told O'Dwyer's.

This website met with three "Frontline" producers earlier this year, and provided a list of top executives for the program to contact. "They were very informative, but would only speak off-the-record," said Vogt.

Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising, is among those interviewed by correspondent Douglas Rushkoff. Roberts talks about the importance of establishing an "emotional connection" between consumers and brands.

Doug Atkin, of Merkley + Partners says effective advertising goes beyond emotions. Marketers are trying to create a passionate zeal for their products equal to "cultists or religious fanatics," he said.

Atkin considers General Motors' Saturn unit a "mass cult brand," pointing out that more than 45,000 people a-year spend part of their vacation time visiting its car plant in Tennessee.

Social critic Naomi Klein scoffs at emotional branding, saying that in the end it is about choosing a laptop or a pair of running shoes.

Do I even need to make a comment on this? It's embarassing that a piece that was supposed to highlight public relations has to turn into a spot on advertising and marketing - our evil twin stepsisters that we have to fight against for money and power.

I do not know what the questions were, nor why the PR executives turned down the opportunity to inform and instruct the PBS audience on public relations; but, for PR executives to turn down an opportunity to speak to a key demographic for PR people - the wealthy, influential PBS audience - has me dumbfounded.

So, what I so far understand is that Frontline could not get one PR person of consequence for an on-air interview, so they tilted most of the program toward the advertising interview.

In a nutshell, this is just embarrassing for the industry.

Views on the Election

This election year has been fun, to say the least. There's been controversy, tons of new voters registered, and it's going down to the wire.

Ben Silverman of PR Fuel has a "report card" of winners and losers in this year's election campaign that breaks it down as the winners and losers of this year's election. All of his points show how PR is used by the candidates, and how it can affect the outcome of the elections.

Ben brought up how Teresa Heinz Kerry has hurt the campaign:
For all she's done for charities and the less fortunate, Teresa Heinz Kerry may unfortunately be remembered for telling a reporter to "shove it" and saying Laura Bush never held a real job. Not only did Heinz Kerry alienate some in the media, she didn't do much to help her husband win any votes from teachers (Mrs. Bush, it's well known, was a teacher). Laura Bush, on the other hand, has basically kept her mouth shut, providing us with ample proof that PR people and the CEO are usually the only people who should deal with the media.
He brought up how Blogs have come out a winner in this year's election:
The power of instantaneous, global communication was evident this election year and it was pretty much due to word-of-mouth marketing. It's not surprising that blogging's rise has coincided with the rebirth of successful dot-com companies. Though it's not been mentioned much, the Internet and everyone who does business on it may be the biggest beneficiaries of this year's election. Blogs, meanwhile, have suddenly become respectable sources of information and commentary, becoming an important filter for wired news consumers.
His most important winner and loser was that we, the American people, have lost. That, in essence, we are the biggest losers this election year.
Hi, does anyone remember me? You know, the American citizen and voter? Swift boats, National Guard service, first ladies, meaningless debates, etc., the list goes on and on. Raise your hand if you actually know what anyone's real plan for health care, social security, Iraq, North Korea and taxes is. The media didn't work in the people's best interest, and the candidates pandered to the media.
I can think of two other losers this year, expanding on Ben's idea.
  • The further disenfranchising of the public. Despite the increased voter registrations, and what looks to be high voter turnout, both are not happening because we have Kennedy vs Nixon (two great men and politicians), but because we have Skull and Bones vs Skull and Bones - two candidates that are almost indistinguishable from each other, both who lack great leadership personalities, and who are not being voted for, but rather voted against.
  • Ralph Nader is a major loser. Not only has Nader lost his Democratic-leaning base, but he was supported by a hardcore Republican base, and welcomed them open-armed. He allowed himself to be used by the Republican machine to get onto ballots, and for what? Now, all the work and years he devoted as a consumer advocate were wiped away in a year for what was seen as a purely ego, self-motivated run for President. He's become a joke of himself.
Beyond the winners and losers for this election year, we have C/Net thinking that the blogosphere is going to call the election, and call it early. The blogosphere is not under the same agreements as the traditional news agencies, and has more of a free reign to call the election when it wants to, and it appears that that might just happen.

Another blogger in the industry doesn't think this will happen, but he must not read the political blogs. Little Green Footballs more or less called this election for Bush presidency, and The Free Voice, one of the Auburn bloggers, has already called the election for Bush.

Thus, what the blogosphere is best at is going to come to the forefront during election day - partisianship. Those left-leaning people will read Daily Kos, Atrios and those on the right will read LGF, Drudge, etc. And, those sites will write what their readers want to read: our guy won! We're calling it now (most likely, very early in the day).

So, I guess that's another loser for this election year - openmindedness. People only want to read views that are the same as theirs, and not be open to the other side.

Sometimes it does pay to be an independent!