Breaking News: another leaked federal communications plan

The WPost had some fun this week with a communications plan drafted by a Bush appointee to the Customs and Border Protection Bureau. In the plan, Kristi Clemens, assistant commissioner in the Bureaus’s public affairs division, exhorted public affairs staff to: “Reassure the citizens of the United States … Repeat the message. . . . […]

CanLit BitchSlap

Take one upstart but successful Canadian literary magazine – the Walrus. Add a disgruntled former editor from another Canadian literary magazine – Robert Fulford of Saturday Night, now of Toronto Life. Throw in the accomplished son of a Canadian literary icon as commentator – Noah Richler. What do you get? “The Walrus,” [Fulford] writes, “has […]

Blogging for Pharma

Should pharmaceutical companies blog? Pharmaceutical Executive magazine took a quick look at the idea this month.

Sorry about that …

We were down for about 36 hours. Lesson learned? Never let your webguy go on vacation.

Liquoring up those Dangerous Housewives

Kahlua, by taking a risk buying ad time during ABC’s unproven Dangerous Housewives, seems to have gotten in on the ground floor of a growing marketing phenomenon. Apparently, marketers are now questioning their demographic stereotypes about suburban moms, fevered in the realization that the suburbs may in fact be seeded with heavy drinking, fast living […]

RIP John Peel

A tremendous broadcaster and champion of fringe andalternative music, John Peel passed away of a heart attack while on a “working vacation” in Peru. His BBC1 shows and “Peel Sessions” featured bands as diverse as U2, Nirvana, The Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd, The Sex Pistols and T-Rex.

Google’s New-Style Investor Relations

Paul Kedrosky has an amusing (and revealing) exchange from last night’s Google earnings call.

Community, Alternative and Ethnic Radio: an unused channel

This week, PRWeek UK discusses the opportunities lurking in the tightly focused audiences served by community radio. Community radio stations, in the UK context, “have to meet extremely strict criteria, the core of which is that they exist for social gain, to serve a specific community, whether defined by geography, ethnicity, gender or age.” In […]

Scientists are sentitive people!

While some scientists may be lacking people skills, a stained labcoat and corrective lenses should not prompt PR folk to discount their work and strongly-held positions when developing a pitch and communications materials. Some scientists working for one US government agency have begun to speak out about what they see as unwarranted revisions and spin […]

Times, WWD and photographers

A little bit of to-and-fro’ing this morning between WWD and the Times. The Grey Lady seizes a chance to take a swipe at comments made last week by a WWD correspondent about the latest YSL collection. Why point this out to you, the reader? The original WWD quote nails a visual in 16 words. In […]

Stewart: Talk Show Smackdown

Jon Stewart made an appearance on CNN’s Crossfire on Friday. Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson probably thought Stewart was there to pump his new book. Admirably, Stewart took the occasion to take some lumps for his outspoken stance on the poor quality of political reporting in the United States today. I don’t think Begala and […]

What swing voters think of blogs

Michael Monroe may be the youngest congressional candidate in the U.S., and the Washington Monthly drops a good chunk of text speaking to him. What’s interesting, however, is the accompanying graphic (that doesn’t get reproduced online) on “The Zoology of Swing Voters.” The two page table breaks down the demos targeted by every politico this […]

A bobblehead primer

Rod Taylor writes in Promo about the recent history of the bobblehead doll. Apparently, they really help put bums in seats and move consumer goods. Here’s a little NBA feature on the dolls as well.

David Akin, Reporter: Hey Lawyers! It’s all about trust and establishing relationships

David Akin, who reports for the CTV network and writes for the Globe and Mail, is speaking to a conference of IP lawyers in Banff today (an earlier version of this post said Calgary. Banff is much nicer). His notes, available online, naturally speak to the complications reporters face when covering legal issues and court […]

How to get a Letter to the Editor published

Almost every year, students in an international-relations class at Duke University’s summer program for gifted students are given an assignment by their instructor, Mark Duckenfield: writing letters to the editor of the New York Times. These students had no success, until this year. 29 students in the 2004 summer program succeeded in placing 17 letters […]

Give me a McDonald’s – hold the “M”

The Guardian and Brand Republic have reported that McDonald’s is planning to drop the iconic “M” logo from a new and exensive advertising campaign in Britain. The campaign launch was intended for this Friday, but marketing plans leaked out early. Billboard posters to be unveiled on Friday will include close-up photographs of fresh salad and […]

Product placement – Can Hollywood help push Grandpa’s cholesterol drug?

How will Hollywood screenwriters, already working furiously on fart jokes, the development of hot yet empathic characters, screeching road chases and heart-rendering finales, manage to drop references to OTC drugs into their scripts? We should have seen it coming. It’s a very small conceptual step from placing the new squeezable ketchup in a child’s hand […]

HTML 101 – eliminate the draft codes!

PR pros have learned through the pain and embarassment of past mistakes not to post or email a document without ensuring all the editing codes are removed. Do you really want your poor grammar or waffling on key policy points exposed to your harshest critics? Apparently, the staff responsible for posting Canada’s recent Speech from […]

Dandy comics – a milquetoast relaunch?

What’s this about a relaunch for the Dandy comics? I relished picking up Dandy and Beano as a child living overseas. The crude jokes, the true-to-life hooligans, ne’er-do-wells and braunnosers; characters that rang true to me. Sure, circulation is down – by about 1,900,000 copies. But what sort of changes are these? Smasher is gone, […]

A senior politician speaks frankly about the media

Stephane Dion is the current Minister of the Environment in the Government of Canada. Which makes his address (Sources of Media Distortion in Coverage of Political News) to a Laval University event this month all the more startling. Paul Wells translated it. Politicians, Dion tells us, are wary of aficionados of journalistic decoding and interpretation, […]

Fitting into a new environment: cultural intelligence

Is your company chasing down new clients in an unfamiliar ethnic market? Are you sounding out a new job in a new country or on a different continent? Or do you just have a hard time breaking through to those thick-headed engineers or lawyers? The Harvard Business Review covers off the basics of “cultural intelligence” […]

Happy Crack redux

You may remember my post about Mr. Happy Crack and the Dirt Cheap Chicken. I received this email yesterday: Colin: In response to your story on local mascots, I must emphasize that our sudden surge in votes was due to an international (and loyal) base of Mr. Happy Crack fans that support his every move. […]

David Byrne, trusted filters and parrots

Are you a trusted source of information or a corporate parrot? Are your relationships with reporters and editors one-way, or do you work to maintain a reputation as a reliable, informative and trustworthy source of information in your industry? Are you an artist or a mechanic? Are you shooting for a string of one-time hits, […]

Multi-nationals and Corollas in New Delhi

It’s said of Delhi that a person who manages to negotiate the manic frenzy of the city’s traffic can hold his own driving in any part of the world. So opens an Economic Times piece on competition among advertising agencies in India. Surely a non sequitur? Not for me. I learned how to drive in […]

Intrigue in local promotion: Mr. Happy Crack and Dirt Cheap Chicken

We often focus on the international brand mascots: Ronald, Doughboy, even the Giant. But what about the regional mascots? Smaller companies may not be fighting for precious feet of display space in markets across the country, but their marketing and PR gimmicks may mean the difference between new stores and closed stores. Yesterday, the St. […]

What if you had a party, and they said nobody came?

What if you were a national high fashion store, thriving upon glamour and allure and the whiff of exclusivity, and the major national paper reports that your big Toronto Film Festival bash attracted no celebrities? Well, you’d probably try to correct the formal record – despite the model already having toppled off the runway, so […]

Performance advice for an aspiring author

Amanda Stern (in the NYT) has some realistic advice for authors, poets, aesthetes and pretentious knobs facing their first public performance (likely in the Borders reading/conference/craft room), including: Do not prepare with vocal warm-ups, neck rolls or the Japanese Suzuki Method of stomping. Do not refer to the surrounding space as the ”mise en scene.” […]

PR Career Planning Tree

There are many ways to arrive at a career in public relations: conscious planning, study and pursuit, a fortuitous combination of talent and education, or connections. I’ve drawn up a slightly tongue-in-cheek PR Career Planning Tree for your amusement.

Religious tracts and Manga?

Accordion Guy did a quick riff about the evolution of design (and the influence of manga) in the tracts hawked by people like Jack Chick and Tim Todd Ministries. At the bottom of his post is a lone cartoon frame with a PR reference – and a money shot of a joke. An aside: while […]

Asbestos and PR: never a good combination

Down in Australia, James Hardie Industries is stumbling through an asbestos compensation scandal. Public relations in such an environment is incredibly difficult – and even worse if you mishandle the media. Ean Higgins has reported on how the Hardie PR team has stumbled through the last week (not online): Over the past week, the company […]

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