Stuck in a moment: when an interview goes bad

Have you ever been sitting in on an interview with a senior executive, and you can just feel the tone and direction of the conversation change? Your years of media relations, your gut feeling, just tell you that this isn’t going turn out well, despite the tasty mochachinos charged to your tab just fifteen minutes […]

Long socks and long faces: Election 2004

Apparently, the Dem’s loss on November 2 can be correlated with taking long hikes in the woods without the proper protection against deer ticks: long socks, long pants, long sleeved shirts and bug repellent. Just the sort of behaviour you’d expect from citified NorthEastern liberals (:-) Two scientists have managed to turn rather mundane research […]

VW, rogue ad directors, and litigation

And another brand-building tactic takes a punch to the kidneys. Brand managers, formerly pleased as punch to have committed consumers/customer evangelists tout their product and their brand in forum postings and home-cooked ads, are discovering that brand management requires better monitoring and more precise messaging in our new world of social networks and virals. Just […]

Ronald McDonald: I’m lovin’ the new skate threads

Promo Magazine reports on comments made by Dean M. Barrett, the senior-VP global marketing for McDonald’s, at the Association of National Advertisers meeting yesterday. “As for fashion, watch for Ronald McDonald to appear in a whole new wardrobe that includes everything from the looks of a snowboard dude to a business executive (still wearing those […]

I want to say one word to you – just one word: China

Here’s some food for thought out of the giant gab-fest at Davos: “Not everyone is convinced that China will make the transition to the knowledge-economy, particularly given India’s head start, but if China is successful in building global brands Western companies may be forced to design their products with that market in mind. “As the […]

We want it more – honest!

London is jockeying for position in the race for the 2012 Olympics, and some bid leaders suspect their cause may be harmed by an apparent lack of enthusiasm among Britons for the exercise. Apparently, the current slogans “Make Britain Proud” and “Back the Bid” aren’t hitting all the necessary emotional buttons. A group of London […]

Testify! When lawyers subpoena lawyers

Have you ever watched testimony on CPAC or CSPAN and wondered “what is that witness thinking right now?” Warren Kinsella’s testifying before the Gomery Commission on the Government of Canada sponsorship program, and he’s been looking forward to it all week. Just read this excerpt from his blog: Today I finally get to tell our […]

The Coolhunter: Pimping the Demo to the Uncomprehending

I got a pitch yesterday for a new book (which I’ll mention another time if I find it’s useful), and the pitch prompted me to look at some white papers pulled together by a San Francisco agency called Plan B – one of which cites the poem (?) excerpted below. Mark Lewman, apparently their Creative […]

Martha, Pt. Deux: The Post-Jail Strategy

MSLO‘s stock is going up, likely driven by squeezed short-sellers and the irrational exuberance of die-hard Martha Stewart fans. She’s due out on March 6 – and her friends, advisors and employees have begun planning the next scene in an already event-rich herstory (housewife/stockbroker/home maven/ex-felon). Remember way back in the fall of 2004? When we […]

Where do I find the X-rated AP Style Guide?

Salon’s got a funny (and dirty) piece on working as a copy editor at a skin mag: Never before having sold out in large degree or small, I was gratified to discover that smut editing filled up the larder with jars and jars of organic baby food. At a rate that boiled down to something […]

Ketchum, Williams, Rosen and the wood shed

Jay Rosen has rightly taken the PR blogging community to the wood shed for our (relative) lack of commentary on the Williams/Ketchum contract. Many PR bloggers DID comment on the controversy – even those of us who do not work or live in the United States. Nonetheless, we can be critcized for not feeding this […]

The Radio Waves Are Frying My Brain!

Media Week’s got a good read on evolving technologies to measure media use among consumers. “As Christina Hartley, IPC ad marketing director and chairman of the Media Research Group, suggests, the process is essentially driven by a simple piece of logic. “We can’t put chips in people; what can we put chips in?” If technophiles […]

Public Opinion Research: an easy target for a quickie column

So. Should governments use public opinion research, including flash polls, syndicated surveys, consultations and focus groups, to test possible policy options and communications strategies? Or should they save those millions of dollars and just wait for the issues activists, paid lobbyists and professional associations to prime and guide the policy development process? Jeffrey Simpson, writing […]

Blogging’s going to get harder for PR folks

Blogs are a wonderful communications tool, but the shine’s starting to wear off the experience for some information consumers. Just ask Seth Godin: With corporate blogs and fake blogs and cia blogs and calculated traffic-driving blogs, it’s not authentic media any more. I’m not whining, here. Instead, I’m pointing it out because your expectations as […]

Apple: Mapping the price points and market segments

Paul Nixon at Nixlog has pulled together a wonderful graphic explaining the logic behind Apple’s price points and market segments for the IPod and Mini Mac. “Apple’s Tipping Point: Macs For The Masses” is well worth a visit. The pointer’s from Joey – who has also included a great photoshop battle fought between Wintel and […]

Speeches, foreigners and mid-afternoon drinky-poos

Over at Slate, Dana Stevens had something to say about the speeches at the Golden Globes last night: “People? You’re professionals receiving a positive job evaluation from your peers, not Alcoholics Anonymous members getting a 10-year sobriety medal. Wear a nice dress, crack a couple of jokes, and go away.” Quite true, but she should […]

Getting your agency through the pitch unscathed

The Guardian‘s got a little tidbit about how media planners are using “office theatre” to add flair and drama to their new business presentations. “… One agency accidentally set the call centre of its client on fire as the result of a pitch stunt. In another, following a successful pitch, an agency director left his […]

Wal-Mart’s starting to speak up – but to whom?

You may have noticed that Wal-Mart launched an advertising campaign across the United States today, designed to hit back at their critics and fill some of the news hole with facts about their operations, staff and overall impact on the economy. CEO Lee Scott hasn’t enjoyed the continuing opposition tactics deployed by community and labour […]

Welcome to Wal-Mart. Can I take your complaint?

As part of their new advertising and public outreach campaign, Wal-Mart has created a new website and complementary “Talk with Us” contact page. It’s an open and honest attempt to establish a dialogue with customers, stakeholders and opponents. One important tactic in creating an effective webpage that produces relevant search results is identifying the right […]

Smithsonian, disco and Native Americans

Sometimes, even the simplest of gestures will generate positive coverage for a once ubiquitous celebrity – now working the big rooms opening for Cher. “Felipe Rose, the Indian dude from the singing group the Village People, presented the National Museum of the American Indian with a framed, gold 45-rpm single of the disco group’s 1978 […]

Williams, paid coverage and PR firms

When a PR firm pays off a commentator, who should be upfront in revealing that information? The commentator, or the firm? Or both? We all know what’s been happening with Armstrong Williams, the conservative commentator who was paid by Ketchum speak in favour of the No Child Left Behind legislation. But shouldn’t the PR firm […]

Marmite: either love it or leave it

Marmite, the questionable yeast spread, is returning to a familiar but highly strategic theme with its new marketing campaign. Netimperative (via MarketingVox) reports that Unilever is launching dual websites for their Marmite brand – one for the lovers, one for the haters. Marmite has always prompted wildly differing reactions from consumers. For many Brits the […]

Now that’s what I call collateral material!

If your client truly trusted your judgement and expertise in generating publicity and media coverage, you too would be able to convince them to build something as whimsical as the yarn bus.

Laser-sharp email alerts

CNN offers a useful automatic email alert service, tied to the themes discussed in the stories on their site. Like this story: A Conservative party association in the small Welsh town of Delyn is trying to buy back its Web site domain name after it was taken over by pornographers. The automatic email alerts thoughtfully […]

Trucker caps, digital cameras and the Sweathogs

Are you a disenchanted poet, disaffected office drone or simply an overly ironic urban trendoid? Then you’ll love these two pages from the catbirdseat: – Hipster Bingo – The guide to having good indie rock hair.

I said WHAT on my Blackberry?

Oops. Remember last week, when you used the PIN function on your Blackberry to send a note to your colleague, thinking PIN messages didn’t go through the corporate server? Turns out those secret PIN messages may not be so secret. They may even be open to subpoena. Whaaa? A nasty lawsuit between CIBC and a […]

Let the Gladwell bandwagon get underway

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think I’ve made it clear that I really like Malcolm Gladwell’s writing. Blink, his new book, is certainly receiving positive reviews. Still, I can’t help but think his new catchphrases, like “rapid cognition” and “thin-slicing,” will be manna to consultants looking to freshen up their new biz pitches and […]

Bing: Blackberry love

Stanley Bing’s column in Fortune this week hums a delicate paen of love – and abandonment – to his Blackberry: “Ah, dangerous love! How many times have I fired off messages, thumbs blazing, while driving down the highway at 70 miles per hour! Was I mad? Yes. I was insane with the potential of our […]

P&G scrubs a spokesperson clean!

Fortune took the opportunity to chat up Mr. Clean, the chrome dome spokescharacter for Procter & Gamble’s popular cleaning product. I guess we shouldn’t expect too much when Fortune feels compelled to note that “P&G company regulations forbid Mr. Clean from giving his real name or answering questions out of character.” A sample: “Staying clean […]

P&G scrubs a spokesperson clean!

Fortune took the opportunity to chat up Mr. Clean, the chrome dome spokescharacter for Procter & Gamble’s popular cleaning product. I guess we shouldn’t expect too much when Fortune feels compelled to note that “P&G company regulations forbid Mr. Clean from giving his real name or answering questions out of character.” A sample: “Staying clean […]

Driving your customers to post-Christmas sales

Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in two Polo Ralph Lauren outlets in Southwest Florida. (What can I say? My fashion sense was imprinted in 1985!) Both stores carry similar merchandise, are situated in high traffic outlet malls off main thoroughfares, and are staffed by similarly […]

Thoughts from a Road Trip

We just finished driving the 2700-odd kilometres from Ottawa to Southwest Florida, and here are some of the things we saw on the trip: – Armadillo? More like a shovelful a’ dillo. Ouch. – Ford Crown Victoria soft-tops. The entire 1992 production run. With their left hand turn signals blinking for 65 miles. – A […]

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