Alt-Weeklies: Blogs can be part of the buzz

The President of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies appreciates the role of blogs in building general buzz for independent reporting. As he mentioned in his “State of the Association” speech this week: And, this year, we did something AAN hasn’t tried in years — commissioning shared editorial. Not only did Jason Vest’s report on a […]

Alt-Weeklies: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Every year, alternative newsweeklies from across the US apply for membership in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. After careful review, some are accepted, some are mentored, and some are mocked and belittled. Like the Fayetteville Free Weekly: “From the cover stories that read like middle-school reports to the weak home-decorating column, this publication is an […]

Communicating with your stakeholders – and their mothers

Once upon a time, lonely campers could only rely on a weekly mail call and the occasional long-distance phone call to break the solitude. Parents and campers alike had to communicate through the Camp Director – a nice, traditional command and control communication system. Obviously, times have changed. There are fewer filters influencing communication among […]

Definitely not a Six Sigma moment for the Blackberry

The Blackberry has become ubiquitous among hacks, flacks and political hangers-on, in Canada and the US. It’s proven indispensable in maintaining the rapid flow of facts, party lines, rebuttals and counter-spin as Canada’s political leaders bounced from the Atlantic to the Pacific these past five weeks. Which is why all concerned were probably quite disturbed […]

PR for Camp Directors

In July, clear blue skies greet you each morning. The morning dew burns up under brunt of the growing heat. At night, porches are filled with noisy teenagers, and every morning, lawns are covered in bottles. What ever happened to shipping the kids off to camp for the summer? The belch of diesel as a […]

Know your audiences – and their dysfunctions

Camp Directors, in their daily work, call upon many of the skills routinely demanded of a well-rounded communicator: promotions, advertising, media relations, staff communications and business development. And they deal with some really disturbed people along the way. Crooked small-town supplier: pulls up in a V10 supercab pickup, but can only provide Israeli canned tomatoes […]

Lawn Signs: tool for voter education or ground aeration?

Unless you’re just a grumpy landowner, you’ll agree that lawn signs do have a place in a political campaign. Those little wire and plastic signs will, in an incessant and subliminal manner, help raise general awareness of your candidate’s name, affiliation and well-deserved elected position. And on election day, who knows, they may swing a […]

The battle between creative and procurement continues

Shhh. Can you hear that? It’s the sound of David Ogilvy, hooked up to a turbine in the grave, generating enough power to light Six Flags over Georgia. Almost two thirds of procurement directors questioned in a survey by spend management company Ariba said their marketing departments were “suspicious” of their activities, while 20% claimed […]

This being NY, spot the exhibitionist

Effective experiential/guerilla/street marketing depends upon the surprise and amusement of the general public. An imaginative campaign will draw the grudging admiration of a shopper, pedestrian and possible consumer, even if they are normally irritated by what they perceive as over-the-top marketing efforts. I have to think the growing practice of building buzz by telling reporters […]

DJ swerves off the playlist – too much Cliff Richard?

A DJ for the British Classic Gold digital radio station has been suspended for repeatedly straying from the approved playlist. The Guardian got their hands on some internal emails: We shouldn’t be playing Cliff Richard,” [Program manager Paul] Baker wrote in an email sent on Tuesday. “As I said on Monday, we might carry out […]

The curse of the well-known blogger

How can you measure the impact of your blog? When do you really know that your astute and incisive analysis is really having an effect on people? Paul Wells, of Macleans magazine, knows: This is the edgiest campaign I’ve ever seen, with the possible exception of the 1995 referendum. The other day I was walking […]

Brand Casting: why pay for the cow?

Despite the enormous up-fronts for the major networks, advertisers continue to scramble to find alternate vehicles to promote their brands and products. While we know what ad sales staff will do for a buck, some creatives appear quite willing to make room on tabletops, in kitchen cupboards and in carports – for an extra cheque […]

Book tours are for softballs, don’t you know?

Apparently, the BBC wasn’t fully briefed on how to handle Presidents hawking their new biography. Ask probing questions, but don’t push too far, you know? Former US president Bill Clinton lost his temper during a BBC interview after being repeatedly asked if he was genuine in voicing regret over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Clinton, […]

Programming Update: PR for Summer Camp Directors

The week of June 28, I’ll be running a series of posts providing PR and Marketing advice for Camp Directors. They’ll follow the same vein as my “PR for Santa” series last December.

Summer and Beer: a pair like Sonny and Cher

It was twenty years ago this summer that Labatt changed the drinking habits of Canadians by introducing a longer-necked beer bottle with a twist-off cap. With the careful control of production, marketing and advertising, Labatt also managed to knock constant competitor Molson on its heels. The latest salvo in an intense war with Molson for […]

Mr. Kissinger? Please pick up the blue courtesy phone.

It seems that Henry Kissinger is quite adept at making himself unavailable to media when trouble’s brewing. His tactics usually involve extended travel. Jack Shafer thinks personalities and executives should be more honest about the still-common habit of jetting off on business travel as soon bad news begins to emerge: Now, I’m not suggesting that […]

Caste Party: how technology is helping economic mobility in India

The ready availability of information is radically transforming small town life in India. Old and moldy traditional authorities, once rife with personal corrpution, caste prejudice and economic injustice, are being undermined by the computerization of basic data like land deeds: Computerizing land records may not seem like much of an achievement; most developed countries did […]

PepsiBall: marketers are buyng the gospel of Sabermetrics

More evidence that corporate marketers and management are looking for detailed financial and performance data as an indicator of success. At the AdWatch: Outlook 2004 conference yesterday, AdAge noted an emphasis on stats in identifying business opportunities. With so much data available, sorting the useful from the less so is tough. One source of inspriration, […]

Pure data helps bring commercials out of the Closet

The FT has given us a quick glimpse at the growing acceptance of gay and lesbian life in North American advertising. What’s driving this trend? A growing recognition of the broader purchasing power of this demographic group. … evidence is emerging that – contrary to popular perception – gay and lesbian buying patterns closely resemble […]

Case Study: Blogging is an SEO and Publicity Bonanza

MarketingSherpa’s just run a case study on the blog set up by the President of CoreStreet. The key: a PR person who pushed and pushed the idea of blogging until the boss caved. (see his blog here) “Chuck was kicking around the idea of using a blog as a corporate communication device. I never got […]

Coffee and Canadian Content

I can’t let the new Starbucks Double Shot ad go without comment. It speaks to me. In a spandex pants, faux silk shirt, blown bouffant/mullet sort of way. The ad is imbued with the sense of energy and inspiration supposedly delivered by a double shot of espresso. Unfortunately, it also reminds me of junior hockey […]

Small business isn’t totally sold on e-commerce in Canada

A limited survey conducted for UPS Canada reveals that small businesses are nervous about their ability to succeed in an e-enabled environment. Ipsos-Reid surveyed and analyzed the responses of 400 small business owners/managers: Generally, small enterprises do not seem very well prepared for e-business. Less than one-fifth (17%) feel they are adequately funded to support […]

Euro Cup and Nelly Furtado

It may be the Canuck in me, but I really like the theme for Euro Cup 2004 – Força by Nelly Furtado.

AAAA smackdown!

There’s some acerbic prose and vivid imagery running through Fortune this week, including two very different perceptions of the state of the advertising industry: it’s practically a Nightmare on Madison Avenue: Peter Sealey, a visiting professor of marketing at Stanford University, describes the state of Madison Avenue in starker terms. He argues that the average […]

Watching TV, Old School

Picked up a funky little 9″ portable TV over the weekend. The back of this avocado and chrome TV proudly proclaims: “Manufactured in August 1976” It picks up all the stations: 6, 8, 13, 48, 64, all in black and white. I think I’m going to force my kids to watch the Bugs Bunny and […]

Andy Richter: delusional?

Andy Richter is getting ready for a new gig as the amiable dad of quints in a new Fox sitcom. This is on the heels of his appearance in the latest Olsen twins movie. Generally considered to be a very funny man, he seems to have let his standards slip. As he told the NY […]

P. Diddy, Harvard, and Sponsorship

Derek Ferguson is the CFO of Bad Boy WorldWide Entertainment Group, and he is looking into the crystal decanter for future revenue streams at the house that P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Mr. J.Lo built. “Music is so powerful that we’re looking for other ways to monetize the medium,” says Ferguson. Indeed, the surprise impact of hit songs […]

Legal chill at the Reuters business desk?

As if the threat of outsourced positions wasn’t enough, lawyers took the opportunity on Friday to brief Reuters staff in London on their legal obligations under the Financial Services Authority’s market abuse directive. As the Guardian recounts, Reuters has had the opportunity to break unreleased or embargoed market news and company financial information in recent […]

Canadian politics aren’t wired: how embarassing

Dan Lett of the Winnipeg Free Press has reviewed the use of technology by actors in the current national campaign, and he isn’t impressed: At a time of dwindling turnout in elections and escalating cynicism about politics, where is Canada’s Howard Dean? … In Canada, the main political parties are virtual digital dinosaurs who are […]

A War Room for Farenheit 9/11?

Apparently, Michael Moore is staffing up a quick-response team in anticipation of attacks on his soon-to-be released Farenheit 9/11. Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani, veterans of the Gore campaign and Clinton White House, are manning the mobiles and thumbing the BlackBerries. “Employing the Clinton strategy of ’92, we will allow no attack on this film […]

Thierry Henry Voodoo doll – PR implications?

Panlogic, the British flash game company, has a new release designed to help the English football team win their match against France this weekend. But can a jingoistic product like this backfire? With the Thierry Henry Va Va Voodoo doll, England’s fans can stick pins in the French striker. Hopefully, this will affect his performance […]

A dedicated advance team – for Reagan’s funeral

Although all Presidents are asked to begin planning their funeral as soon as they leave office, the Reagans and their alumni have long worked to prepare an event suitable for “the great communicator.” Today’s WSJ (A1, sub. req.) reveals the work of a small group of former Reagan aides charged with the advance planning for […]

PRWEEK on PR blogging

Why not check out Keith O’Brien’s latest PR Week story on public relations blogs? In PR and b2b circles, blogs are a combination of many things: a kind of online networking cocktail reception(*) where everyone seems to have a copy of the article they were referencing handy in their purse or briefcase, an easier and […]

Some true words about red carpets

Observations on the finery and filligree at the Tonys, held this past Sunday. To think PR folk have it tough giving advice on which rep tie and button-down to wear for a TV interview. It has been remarked before … but it is worth repeating. Red carpets need car wrecks. They need Bo Derek in […]

Political ad consultants: talking out of their …

There’s a brief overview of the challenges facing political advertising in the latest Atlantic, and Joshua Green highlights some valid comments about the level of creativity and effort put into producing truly effective advertising. On a giant-screen television [Republican media consultant John]Brabender first played “Waste,” which he created for Rick Santorum’s successful 1994 challenge to […]

How does a senior citizen build buzz?

Say you’re a past leader of the social democratic party, and you’ve been dropped into a pivotal riding to battle a flag carrying candidate for the ruling Liberals. How do you build buzz and engage the large number of youth voters in the riding? If you’re Ed Broadbent, you make a rap video. “He’s Back” […]

Princess Michael of Kent – scaring off a PR rep

It’s probably not a good idea, when you’re in NY looking for a PR agent to help rep your new book, to get embroiled in a public confrontation with racist overtones. Princess Michael of Kent made the press a week ago for the comments she made while dining at an upscale NY restaurant. Buried deep […]

Perks for journalists: free flights to Cabo

Political parties will seek every advantage while hauling the press corps around during a campaign, especially if a simple seat choice, mid-afternoon snack or destruction of the in-flight copy of Gigli can win a smile or two from frazzled reporters. The leading parties in the Canadian election have pulled out the stops when choosing airplane […]

Turner and Hooch, Pt. 2 – placing wine in Tom Hanks movies

How do you get your bottle of wine into the hands of Tom Hanks, James Gandolfini and Sean Penn? By picking up a entertainment marketing agent who know the right hands to shake and the right vintages to drop off on the set. One Napa Valley winery, Clos du Val, has hired an agent at […]

MarketingSherpa Results Are Out!

MarketingSherpa has released the results of their Reader’s Choice Awards for blogs in marketing, advertising and public relations, and Canuckflack was lucky enough to be named Best PR-Topic Blog. Thank you for the compliment. There are certainly more interesting blogs to be visited, read and digested on a daily basis. I heartily recommend any of […]

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