Archives

Memo to ad sales: BITE ME

Your ad is turned down. The advertising department has decided that it pushes the boundaries of the community’s standards. Matador Records dealt with one mag: “Finally, we’d like to offer a shout-out (ie. “fuck you”) to the cowards and thought-cops at the Ad Dept at Paste Magazine who have deemed our proposed advertisement for ‘Face […]

Spirit of Radio: Out with the talk, in with the wacky

Some thoughts about radio, the forgotten medium: In Washington, the latest ratings period was a shocker for talk radio: WMAL lost nearly 30 percent of its core audience (adults ages 25-54) from the preceding three months, when the election was the dominant story. What had been an up-and-coming station a few months ago (WMAL ranked […]

CBC – no, you’re not fired. You’re asymetrically outsourced!

The CBC, in the course of a budget exercise, recently decided that there wasn’t a sound business case for keeping their in-house staff of publicists. Instead, they are going to outsource to standalone PR firms. Now, the CBC is partially funded by the government. It produces made-in-Canada programming that has to compete with American programming […]

Ghostwriting and medical research

Medical Meetings’ Capsules has some comments about doctors allowing pharmaceutical companies to peddle research papers under their names. Hits a little close to home for PR folks, doesn’t it?

Michael Jackson, a Petting Zoo and lots of Balls

Well, I’ve always said minor league baseball has the best promotions. Take a look at what the Lake Elsinore Storm thought up for their promotional schedule on April 21: “TAKE THAT MICHAEL: During its homestand last weekend, Lake Elsinore hosted a “King of Pop-Beat It Night,” at The Diamond, poking fun at recording mega star […]

Internal Comms and a merger: applying a reality filter

Now, in the past I’ve written some internal communications materials related to restructuring, and the “Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of Adobe’s ‘FAQ’ Regarding Their Acquisition of Macromedia” from Daring Fireball is accurate – and funny. Q: What happens to the Macromedia brand? Adobe A: Adobe recognizes the strong equity of the […]

When the suburbs and naturists collide

Just noticed something shocking while wandering through Canadian Tire today: the Coleman 15′ 6″ Journey Canoe has cup holders – lots of them. The ad copy may try to mask this very suburban feature (my minivan has 8 cupholders) by calling them “rod and cup holders,” but let’s get real. Any fisherman worth his/her salt […]

The flowery prose of weather porn

There’s a hint of Harlequin romance novel in how the folks at the NASA Earth Observatory have described the latest iceberg to threaten Antarctica: …At 122 kilometers (76 miles) in length by 28 kilometers (17 miles) in width, the bullying iceberg charged with great momentum towards the ice tongue, threatening to shatter the floating extension […]

Blair and Bush: birds of a feather?

Judging from this photo, Prime Minister Blair has hit the campaign trail touting a solid “for war, not Bach” agenda. Reminds me of the song selection on the President’s ipod. I wonder what’s on the PM’s ipod? Maybe some Billy Bragg? “… One leap forward, two leaps back, Will politics get me the sack? Here […]

One thing the Pope certainly isn’t familiar with

From a reliable source: CNN’s Vatican bureau chief, Alessio Vinci, holding up a copy of L’Osservatore Romano (the official Vatican newspaper) referred to the front-page picture of new pope Benedict XVI waving from the balcony at St. Peter’s as “the money shot.” Of course, the coup would be much more impressive if L’Osservatore wasn’t one […]

Keepin’ from mixing the bennies with the downers

Fantastic redesign of the conventional pill bottle by Deborah Adler. Improved packaging, clearer instructions and less waste. Maybe that’s why Target’s adopting the design for their pharmacies. Amy’s Robot, Xblog and Seth have all picked up on this as well.

Pay for play, SMTs and tech editors

Sheer laziness, that’s what it is. If there’s some sort of ethical barrier to pimping products during syndicated television appearances, journalists just haven’t made the effort to create an elaborate enough buffer between their “reporting” and their paycheque. The WSJ reveals today that several “tech editors” recently featured on national morning or cable shows supplement […]

Cookin’ the books – dealing with statistics

Let’s face it – you and I are likely in public relations because we’re not very good at math. We don’t often cop to this weakness when asked to deal with financial data, survey results or mathematical analysis. There’s one article, in quite blunt bullet form, that sets out the dozens of ways we can […]

Poet Training, Big Box Style

Do you have a brooding and overly intellectual child in the house? Is your house littered with half-filled journals? Are YOU a brooding intellectual? You may find value in Walrus Magazine’s POETSMART program: “POETSMART’s professional Poet Training Instructors can help you teach your poet a variety of skills, from the basics of good behaviour to […]

Givin’ the press a bone

Rather unfortunate coincidence today. Callers in New Brunswick dialing up the local Office of Boating Safety toll-free line are hearing a 45 second come-on for a US-based phone sex operation. A Transport Canada spokesperson, Steve Bone, says they’re looking into blocking the number. I doubt that’s the same Steve Bone quoted in an unrelated 2002 […]

Movable Type Geek Humour

Apparently, the business model for blogging (and podcasting) is this equation: unpaid author + beta software + blogads + t-shirt sales = 1/2 bandwidth costs + x where x = cool-sounding, but not nearly well-paid enough, job This must be why six apart is selling “my other shirt is rebuilding” t-shirts. When will I see […]

Where’s my Labatt’s Voter Apathy Ale?

A topical post, given the impending election rumours floating around Parliament Hill here in Ottawa. ASDA, the UK food chain, has announced a line of custom beers to celebrate (mourn?) the latest trip to the polls. They include Lib Dem Lift-off Bitter, Labour Landslide Bitter, Tory Triumph Bitter, and Plaid Cymru and SNP Independence Ales. […]

BBC is diving into podcasting

The Guardian tells us the BBC will be expanding its trial podcast offerings, including the Today show’s 8.10am interview, and another 19 BBC speech radio shows. “Simon Nelson, boss of the BBC radio and music interactive unit, told delegates at Music Radio 2005 that the BBC’s download trial is being extended to explore the editorial, […]

Exercising the Mystery of Printing?

Some snippets from things I’ve been reading: “After these a pretended Printer was brought to the Bar, he had been convicted upon two several Indictments, the one for Exercising the Mystery of Printing, not being of the same, (but formerly a Scrivener) and the other for Printing Scandalous Libels …” (The Proceedings of the Old […]

It’s our clubhouse, so get out!

Looks like the PRSA has moved its PRCOnline listserv in-house. Intended as a PRSA member benefit, the listserv had built up a number of non-member subscribers. A message late Friday afternoon announced to all that the list would be migrating to a different (more difficult) platform for members only – and then it went dead. […]

Three red flags: Picking an agency

Mark Ritson, an LBS professor, notes three overused concepts in marcom agency pitches that “instantly signal a lack of expertise and strategic naivety”: – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: “He sounds foreign and therefore clever, and big words such as ‘hierarchy’ imply some form of scientific rigour. If you are walking into a client pitch with […]

That priceless little golf ball

You can put a swoosh on Tiger’s hat, his chest, his bag, even the back of his shirt – but that one little ball will deliver unimagined ROI for years to come. Tiger’s shot on the 16th hole at Augusta was Carl Spackler-like. It must be heaven for Nike’s marketing team.

Geekdom meets Schoolhouse Rock

Schoolhouse Rock + Mass Storage Breakthrough + Slashdot = Massive Viral Campaign for Geeks. Hitachi’s released a flash animation in support of its breakthough in perpendicular recording – dependent upon overcoming the superparamagnetic effect, didn’t you know. What does it mean to you? How about an mp3 player that holds 30,000 songs, in the same […]

Once again: WHY PULL ADS?

GM’s decided to pull their advertising from the LA Times “for the foreseeable future,” in part as a reaction to a harsh column Wednesday about poor management at the stumbling automaker. I wonder if LA-area GM dealers have anything to say about this? Kinda hard to move Hummers, Suburbans and the new Equinox out the […]

Aural: An Ode to Ikea (7 pcs., Aisle 34)

Do you like to assemble your own modernist furniture? Or do you simply like swedish meatballs? Jonathan Coulton, a NY musician and software designer, has written a catchy and amusing song about the big box self-serve retailing giant. Ikea Long ago in days of yore It all began with a god named Thor There were […]

The Tony Blair Pitch Project

Is Tony Blair embracing the spirit of moblogging, or is he instinctively mimicking the professional athletes who whip out ready digicams to capture those special moments? At a campaign stop yesterday, several sea cadets instructed the Prime Minister on the use of a cameraphone. He then took a self-portrait of the group. At left, they […]

Steve Jobs and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat?

Thumbing through the Journal of Consumer Research finds this: “Religiosity in the Abandoned Apple Newton Brand Community.” “Supernatural, religious, and magical motifs are common in the narratives of the Newton community, including the miraculous performance and survival of the brand, as well as the return of the brand creator. These motifs invest the brand with […]

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times …

Turns out continued message repetition in public health or safety campaigns may have contradictory effects among older adults: “Repeatedly identifying a claim as false helped older adults remember it as false in the short term but paradoxically made them more likely to remember it as true after a 3 day delay. This unintended effect of […]

Will the kettle please pick up the black courtesy phone? Mr. Pot is calling!

A brief excerpt from a popular (and unnamed) PR newsletter: “Second, if you don’t communication well verbally or via the written word, find another career. This sounds pretty obvious, but you would be surprised by the awful communication skills some PR people exhibit.”

The Times: Your morning blogging Bran Flakes?

The Annotated New York Times – a look at how the Times influences online commentary, indexed by story, author, section and many other keywords. Just as Tim Porter works through how newspapers just don’t understand the myriad ways consumers now collect and digest information, Blogrunner puts a face to the problem. This site presents the […]

Pay royalties on your PBJ?

When an eager intellectual signs up for law school, is one of their lifelong goals to one day argue Smuckers’ patent application for seamless, crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before the Court of Appeals? If there’s one thing the application itself proves, it’s that Smuckers needs to hire a good graphic designer, stat! Their […]

The Fifth “P” – Being Picky

Product, Price, Promotion, Place: those are the four “P”s that have driven P&G and other CPG marketers for years. Now, marketers need to concentrate on another – picking profitable niches, products, customers and channels. Over at HBS Working Knowledge, Jonathan Byrnes discusses “The Age of Precision Markets”: “The shift from mass markets to precision markets […]

“This Mac attack is wack”

… is the brilliant headline from a Globe and Mail article on the new McDonald’s approach to co-promotion with musicians – particularly rappers.

Information, influence and self-interest: urban planning in LA

“Democracy takes command” is how John Kaliski characterizes how community activism and self-styled experts have won control of the urban planning process in Los Angeles – to the city’s ultimate benefit – in the latest Harvard Design Magazine. The relevance for public relations pros? Architects and urban planners no longer control provide the only educated […]

The Church, SMS and Crisis Comms

I’m not here to knock the Vatican, but I think we all know that the Catholic Church has never been at the forefront of technological change. The events of the last seventy-two hours, however, demonstrate that the Vatican has capitalized on investments in SMS and email to communicate quickly and clearly to media and stakeholders […]

Since U Been Gone – love is a powerpoint

Matt Haughey and Merlin Mann have produced Clarkson Industries’ Since U Been Gone Annual Report 2005 – in powerpoint. You know, this looks like a very, very bad creative brief – or a very, very good example of corporate rock. Stereogum’s got some more information on the song, which is strangely addictive. (Hey! Even Jason […]

Best Buy: where the chicks aren’t

Like many businesses, electronics giant Best Buy has realized that some customers deserve to be fired – and if not fired, then ignored. The company’s new marketing strategy emphasizes catering to their five best customers. Drawing upon 18 months of purchasing data drawn from a new personal rewards program and a greater emphasis on data […]

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