Notes for protesters

Just had a front row seat for the anti-Bush protesters marching through Ottawa, and thought I’d pass along a few thoughts about the execution of the march: The aboriginal drums were a good idea. They really reverberate off the office blocks and draw the attention of the workers inside. When it comes to signs, stick […]

Declining newspaper readership

Old line media (I mean newspapers! Come on, people: stay with me) are facing a real problem: their circulation is declining. Younger readers just aren’t jumping at the chance to cough up $25 a month to have the paper delivered to their doorstep. I suspect it has something to do with irrelevancy: this demographic doesn’t […]

Online monitoring of political demonstrations

It’s a nice crisp fall day in Ottawa, and President Bush has just landed on his first official visit to Canada’s capital. He’ll be making a brief visit to Parliament Hill, then will travel to view several culturally significant but interminably boring local sights. Plenty of organizations across the country are exercising their democratic right […]

Let’s hear it for the Guardian’s footie coverage

Here’s one of the ‘nets hidden treasures: football coverage in the Guardian. You may not follow the sport much, but if you’re a fan of wit, sarcasm and cross-cultural comparisons, it’s the read for you. Today, the paper began their description of Wayne Rooney’s new house quite caustically: The thing about being a professional footballer […]

FAO Schwartz – Phoenix or Fireball?

Watching the pretaped Today Show “tour” of the new FAO Schwartz store on Fifth Avenue, I noticed that one segment featured an FAO executive and Katie zooming around on Segways. FAO’s aiming for the high end of the market with $18,000 antique cast iron locomotives and a $50,000 kid-sized Ferrari. Sure, there are tchotchkes and […]

Now that’s an office perk!

Magma Communications, a successful Ottawa ISP for business and government customers, has provided a perk beyond foosball and cappucino bars for its HQ employees: an outdoor hockey rink, with boards and nighttime lighting.

Designers: Aesthete or Agent of Neutrality?

The new edition of Eye magazine has a number of incisive pieces on branding, as Design Observer points out. John Waters writes in his introductory editorial: “Personally I hope never to use the B word again. In the course of editing this issue, I have literally typed it out more times than I have had […]

All those empty hockey arenas

Is the office holiday committee looking for unusual event locations? How about some skating? There are 30 professional hockey rinks across Canada and the United States facing an interminable lockout. And the NHL players who aren’t playing in Europe are kind of at loose ends. The opportunity for PR and marketing folks? Events at marquee […]

More thoughts on management-speak

Quite serendipitously – given today’s post about management fads – I was reading through the lyrics to Tyrannosaurus Hives – particularly “Dead Quote Olympics”: This time you’ve really got something it’s such a clever idea But it doesn’t mean it’s good ’cause you found it at the library Yes they were smart but they are […]

Let the Gladwell Deluge begin!

Case studies are being rewritten. The photocopiers are warming up. The powerpoint specialist has had her vacation days cut back. The cerlox machine has been pulled out of storage: it’s time for a new management fad! Malcolm Gladwell will be bringing out a new book in January: Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking You […]

CNN promos and the new media environment

CNN’s new anchor promos are quite funny (check them out here). The one featuring Wolf Blitzer and Paula Zahn reflects the new media environment CNN is facing: Wolf is speaking directly to a young woman eating a sandwich at her desk. As he tries to run through the important international news, she interrupts him with […]

How to rehabilitate a junk bond king

It’s official. Michael Milken has left the nastiness behind him. The public brawls with Rudy Giuliani. The comparisons to Gordon Gekko. That uncomfortable period in jail. Hundreds of million of dollars in fines, and hundreds more in civil settlements. Companies that flamed-out and collapsed under the weight of junk bond debt. How’d he do it? […]

Live Aid: Was it the great music, or the horrible fashion crimes?

Today, the DVD set of the July 1985 Live Aid performances goes on sale in Canada. At long last, a painless opportunity for Midge Ure and Paul Young fans to throw away their Betamax concert bootlegs, 85 lb. Betamax machines, and join the rest of us in the 21st century. As producer Jill Sinclair told […]

How to cover Ottawa and Parliament

Peter C. Newman has spent decades reporting on the politicians, financiers and power-brokers that help grease the Canadian economy. In an excerpt from his new book, he reminsces about his time as a reporter on Parliament Hill: “The ‘rules of thumb’ for Press Gallery coverage of Ottawa, all of which contained a grain of truth: […]

Dahling! Can you pucker up for the ‘razzi?

So, what do we know about the evolving breed of New York publicists/heiresses/socialites? You know – like Lizzie Grubman with a lot of money. The New York Observer has run an interesting little piece on Lauren Davis, who spends her days prepping publicity for the J. Mandel fashion house: Shes part of a new breed […]

Nortel’s disclosure strategy: a little too much of a good thing

What’s your preferred investor relations strategy when your company is circling the drain of the NYSE? Do you share corporate information with shareholders, analysts and reporters to the fullest extent possible under securities law, or do you limit financial disclosures and “guidance” to what is nominally required while you determine the breadth of the problems […]

You’ve got your head up where?

A letter to the editor of the Guardian, published today: Can someone tell me why, after publishing a fulsome interview with Richard Desmond some months ago, you have followed with a self-congratulatory piece (Richard Desmond: my struggle, October 25)? As usual, Desmond has given an article that has so many flights of fancy, he could […]

Diplomats, hacks and relatives: US is back in the international fair game!

Considering the hiccupps (okay, full-blown tuberculotic coughing fits) the US diplomacy program has been suffering, I really shouldn’t be surprised that the US government hasn’t participated in a world fair in several years. In fact, Congress banned the federal financing of world’s fairs in 1999. Luckily, the US pavillion at the 2005 fair in Aichi, […]

Newspaper to freelancers: To the Moon, Alice!

Apparently one Canadian news organization has more than domestic market domination on its mind. Canwest‘s new contract for freelance writers demands: “the right to exclusively use and exploit the Content in any manner and in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised, throughout the universe, in perpetuity.”(from Paul Wells)

Measurement goes way beyond AVE and ROI

While most PR folk struggle with monthly time sheets, monitoring clippings and – god forbid – AVE measurements, your target audiences, potential customers and zealously identified stakeholders are appropriating, modifying and personalizing your corporate messages and carefully structured identities. Andrew Zolli has touched on the fundamental challenges facing marketers, brand managers and even PR teams […]

Now with more Herb Tarlek!

“The Tarleks came from the west — they grooved. White belts shining in the pounding sun …” WKRP’s own leisure suit-wearing Herb Tarlek will be in Toronto Wednesday to star in the video for the Rheostatics’ new song, “The Tarleks.” The quote from the song, and some mighty fine commentary about the new Rheostatics album, […]

From the Horse’s Mouth: Word of Mouth

Dave Balter helps cut through the B.S. about viral marketing, buzz marketing and word of mouth in a ChangeThis manifesto, “The Word on Word of Mouth.” So what’s the easiest way to tell these mediums apart? Viral and buzz marketing are the cause. They are manufactured marketing initiatives that are intended to capture people’s attention […]

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