Wal-Mart – Smiley Face Hell

Excerpt from “A Week on the Set with the Wal-Mart Smiley,” from McSweeney’s: Saturday, May 8, 2004, 5:22 a.m. Know what my sister does for a living? Spelling tests. When Timmy gets nineteen out of twenty, she goes on top of the paper. She is the mark of accomplishment. And what do I represent? A […]

Basics of Health Care PR

The latest PR Strategist examines the challenges facing firms and pros specializing in health care PR. There is specific advice for pulling together a health care PR team: In lieu of the dream team of generalists pulling in specialists as needed, the best firms today establish teams of specialists with a generalist at the helm. […]

Why do people lie to pollsters?

We know the general public lies to us: during focus groups, in-store sampling, telephone polling, door-to-door canvassing, and in every other form of public opinion research. Marginal Revolution has been thumbing through (what we consider) an old university text, and unearthed an excerpt from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s public opinion theory that might shed some light. Here’s […]

Fans and Fanatics as marketing allies

Avril Lavigne’s got a new album out, don’t you know? Her publicity tour hasn’t suffered from the mud she’s been slinging at Hillary and Britney. It has also benefited from the unusual synergy in activities undertaken by her record company, her promotional street team, and her rabid fans. Nettwerk, the record company, concentrates on the […]

Running a campaign – Canuck style

The Hill Times, Canada’s answer to Roll Call, has run several articles on the backroom machinery supporting the major campaigns. There’s a look at the war rooms and the wagonmasters. How do the Canadian war rooms work in action? Look after the jump. In other news, one Winnipeg candidate has created an ad to run […]

When reputation trumps regulation

A history of strong business relationships and good governance tactics can help international companies seeking cross-listing in US markets to overcome investors’ concerns about lax regulatory supervision at home, says Harvard Prof. Jordan Siegel. His research into the performance of Mexican companies during and after the financial crisis of the mid-1990s suggests that international firms […]

Eric Idle takes a stand on free speech

Eric Idle, of Monty Python fame, has recorded a remarkable and profane song about FCC censorship. I heartily recommend it. FCCSong Download Thanks to Doc Searls for the pointer.

Caricatures of the campaign hack, flack and candidate

Three excellent caricatures of the generic campaign candidate, reporter and flack in today’s National Post – written by Sri Agrell, illustrated by Kagan McLeod. Candidate: “Stain resistant, sweat-proof, button-down shirts with sleeves that can be rolled casually to give off an easy-going vibe.” In case you’re wondering, this is Flat Mark. Strange campaign tool, isn’t […]

Canada: how to run a political campaign on the cheap

The Prime Minister’s gone and done it. Canada’s going to have an election on June 28. Somehow, he and his fellow politicians will reach out to nearly 30 million Canadians spread across the second largest country in the world – and only spend about $40 million. Sure, that doesn’t count the costs of the actual […]

How to generate bad news – for your opponent

Chris Lehane has some advice on how to conduct and deploy effective opposition research during an election campaign. It’s all in the latest edition of Atlantic Monthly, where Joshua Green looks at oppo research in general. Lehane’s advice is after the jump.

In PR, you’re always waiting for bad news

Jim Horton’s been running a series of dispatches chronicling his work with a client in crisis mode. A little snippet in Fortune only reinforces his observations. There is a quiet period before a bad story appears. In that time, clients work to prevent the story from happening. (They can’t). They ask an agency to tell […]

New Data on the Call of the Mall

If the claims being made by the Simon Property Group are true, there are some signficant experiential marketing opportunities being missed across the United States. Simon is involved in 247 shopping malls across 37 states, and is making some pretty hefty claims as the result of its new Arbitron “Simon Malls Shopper Profile“. This from […]

Fast Foods and Instant Superstars

Am I the only one that finds something funny about the marketing agreement between American Idol and Pop Tarts? I always thought Kylie Minogue or Christina Aguilera were pop tarts. Here’s one definition of tart. And here’s an even worse definition of pop tarts.

PR Week talks to Nick Denton

Lengthy interview with Nick Denton, of Gawker, Wonkette, Fleshbot and Defamer fame on today. Q. What is the biggest impact citizen journalism will have on the public relations practice? – SR, New York A. Blogs provide a filter between PR professionals and journalists. Reporters have been increasingly overwhelmed by pitches. They don’t open their […]

Promotion Is Like Chinese Food?

Interesting analogy from the May edition of Computers in Libraries: Good promotion is like Chinese food. When it’s done right, it’s slightly enticing and pleasantly satisfying. And shortly after it’s finished, you want to go back for a little bit more. Creating good promotion can be like preparing Chinese food. You may or may not […]

Good ideas at P&G

Proctor & Gamble isn’t exactly wet behind the ears when it comes to developing and marketing consumer goods. Fortune discusses how CEO A.G. Lafley “has kicked up the good ideas at the stodgy Midwestern giant“. (sub. req.) Warning: When Lafley talks about what he’s done to make P&G more innovative, you need a weed-whacker to […]

Good ideas at P&G

Proctor & Gamble isn’t exactly wet behind the ears when it comes to developing and marketing consumer goods. Fortune discusses how CEO A.G. Lafley “has kicked up the good ideas at the stodgy Midwestern giant“. (sub. req.) Warning: When Lafley talks about what he’s done to make P&G more innovative, you need a weed-whacker to […]

Personalized RSS and online CRM?

A California company, Coravue, has added personalized RSS to their online Customer Relationship Management program. Contentious has some valid doubts about the tracking features the company is touting.

NASA seeks to curb “PowerPoint engineering”

It’s about bloody time. The NASA Engineering and Safety Center, created in the wake of the Columbia crash, has released the results of its first studies, and has also commented on the engineering culture prevalent at NASA. Along with four technical reports, the NESC produced a four-page newsletter summarizing the technical activities and some lessons […]

Sustaining communities at mid-life

As the blogosphere expands, it’s evident that bloging communities of interest or practice are developing around common themes, interests and professions. Richard McDermott has identified six tips to keep communities of practice vibrant: these are easily adaptable to blogging communities. The list follows, more details are available after the jump. Clear purpose Active leadership Critical […]

Typography, advertising and favoured clients

Typographica has run a design nugget that hits upon a pet peeve of mine: the tendency of graphic designers and ad agencies to run with tried, true and often boring formats and designs. Their interview with Phil Martin, the designer of a number of fresh variations on older typefaces, prompted this comment about a favoured […]

Managing double-ender TV Interviews

Despite being in Jordan, Colin Powell was booked for two double-ender interviews this weekend: the first with Tim Russert, and the second with Fox TV. When the Russert/NBC interview went long, one of Powell’s aides ended the interview by ordering the camera to shift view to some nearby trees. “You’re off,” State Department press aide […]

Boeing to offer in-air broadband

Boeing is claiming that its satellite-based in-air broadband service, Connexion by Boeing, will be available in 50 aircraft by the end of 2004, and 150 by the end of 2005. Deals are already in place with Lufthansa, All-Nippon, SAS and JAL, and are being negotiatied with others With rates from $9.95 for three hours’ access […]

Dan Aykroyd: Imaginary musings about blogging

I had the opportunity to conduct an imaginary interview with Dan Aykroyd, the Canadian actor, about the expansion of the blogosphere. The questions are real: the answers are taken from Aykroyd’s movies. Footnotes are at the bottom. Q: The media environment has experienced fundamental change since you first appeared on Saturday Night Live in the […]

Canada: a nation of Googlemaniacs

David Akin points out that just-released Comscore research shows Canadians like to search – a lot – and are positively addicted to Google. 85 per cent of Canadians use a search engine at least once a month, compared to 73 per cent of American Web surfers … Google handles 62 per cent of search queries […]

Market intelligence: weather forecasts help move groceries

It’s going to be 27 degrees (C) in Ottawa today, with the chance of rain. An alert retailer would know to move the umbrella stand to the front of the store, to display the ice cream bars more prominently, and to highlight the selection of iced drinks. In department stores fans will likely move quickly, […]

Crisis comms: polar-opposite approaches

We believe that garment and other manufacturing workers around the world deserve better than the reality that many unfortunately face. We recognize and embrace our duty to take a leadership role. And so opens the Gap Inc. 2003 social responsibility report. The company is being upfront about the realities in their factories overseas – that […]

The Body Man takes a punch to the kidneys

Buried deep in a NYT feature on New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson this past weekend was this nugget (reg. req.): As the day was winding down, Richardson sat in the front of his S.U.V., munching on chicharrones and harrassing one of his media people for proposing a photo op on a lake he, rather unpopularly, […]

PoMo Suburbia: slide the minivan beside the loading dock

Want that SoHo post-industrial feel, but just don’t want to go to the bother of moving to NYC? Are you craving some exposed brick, metal sheathing and iron girderwork, but still want to be close to the new Sam’s Club? Don’t want to have to walk past a wino to pick up your latte? Well, […]

Hardships of a B2B consultancy

The Monogram Group is a small ad/design agency working out of Chicago. The Tribune spoke with Scott Markman, the founder and president, about the peaks and valleys of running a B2B firm. (free sub. req.) He makes the point that professional marketing help is absolutely essential, even for a small firm like his: … By […]

MarketingSherpa Blog Awards – a chicken in every pot!

MarketingSherpa has opened the polls for their blog awards – and yours truly is nominated under the category “Blogs on PR.” Please take the time to visit and vote for your favourite.

Looking through a lens to when your grandparents were young

You’ve likely seen excerpts from oral histories prepared by the US Works Progress/Work Project’s Administration (WPA). You ‘ve more likely seen the black and white photos taken as part of this multi-year chronicling of life in urban and rural America in the late 30s and early 40s. The NYT (sub. req.) has prepared a slide […]

The theory behind telling your spokes to wear a tie

Know how you give your spokesperson basic styling tips for appearing on television or when speaking at a conference? Things like “never wear checked shirts” and “don’t play with your hair”? Picked up an interesting tidbit at Cheskin about the theory behind the advice. Impression management is a sociological/anthropological theory based on the idea that […]

PR Week: European crisis comms

Picking up on yesterday’s post on the challenges facing the Toronto police force, PRWeek in the UK has run a piece on crisis communications looking at recent developments with Shell and Dasani, among others. James Lukaszewski works through the entire crisis management process in much greater detail here.

Vanity Fair reporter to students – you’ve gotta dig deep

Hmmm. Maureen Orth, a Vanity Fair writer who’s out promoting her new book, spoke to Berkely J-school students last month. She had some sage words of advice for them – considering she has interviewed Michael Jackson four times over the last decade. “While you can lament the idea that we’re living in this era of […]

Wiki-based PR planning

That’s a good idea from Mike and Ross Mayfield. Customized wikis would provide an intuitive tool for planning and reference, accessible by all team members and the client.

Just a taste of how corporate strategy, media relations and legal tactics mix

Make the Rules or Your Rivals Will is a new book from Wharton prof G. Richard Shell. An excerpt discusses how Texas Instruments used a range of corporate tactics, including media relations and lobbying, to reinforce a multi-pronged legal campaign against Japanese and Korean competitors. Shell’s thesis centers on what he calls “competitive legal strategy” […]

The WRONG kind of third party support

As PR counsellors, we often advise that clients facing a crisis situation identify and secure support from reliable and reputable third party sources – like consumer safety associations, reknowned academics, or community leaders. In Toronto, the police force is facing charges of corruption, and they’re getting support from the wrong sort of stakeholder: the Hells […]

How do you pitch the role of PR?

Ben Dutton, an account manager in New Zealand, has made a strong argument for the value of PR in an open and democratic society. An open democracy operates in a free marketplace of ideas and information. A good analogy is the foreign exchange market … Through partaking in public relations, companies, governments, organisations and individuals […]

Interpreting that 4:45pm conversation with a reporter

Ben Silverman’s latest PR Fuel newsletter will serve as a startling wakeup call for some cold-calling PR newbies, and will give old hands a chuckle: it’s everything you wanted to know about the media, but were afraid to ask. When I say, “My sources tell me,” it’s my way of getting you to confirm information […]

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