February 27, 2006 by Colin
What’s the link between Chuck Norris and the Karate Kid?
Much Karate Kid love – and music – over at Sterogum.
SWEEP THE LEG!
February 27, 2006 by Colin
Man, that G-8 government communications head is whack!
“Based on her campaign performance, she clearly has mad spin-room skillz.
February 24, 2006 by Colin
Brandweek tells us that the PR manager for 1-800-Got-Junk scored a coup when she landed founder Brian Scudamore’s quote in the Starbucks “The way I see it campaign” – where various trite/profound quotes are printed on the side of the coffee chain’s ubiquitous takeaway cup.
Forget all the left versus right outrage about the campaign that popped up last year. What about brand dilution? Starbucks certainly derives some added value from the aspirational qualities implied by these lofty-sounding quotes from well-known authors, philosopers and activists.
But junk entrepreneurs? Even extremely successful junk entrepreneurs?
I’m not naiive enough to believe that Deepak Chopra and others featured on the venti lattes simply sprang forth into the world, fully developed intellectuals and savants. There were publishing house publicity folks involved. There were literary agents by the shrimp rings at the holiday parties. They were all kids at one time, fighting to monopolize the pages of their college literary journal. They submitted rants to the City section of their local paper. They thumbed through the sale racks at Banana Republic and J. Press, buying corduroy jackets in the spring when they were on sale. They went on and on about Bjork.
As a consumer, though, how much advertising will I be willing to tolerate before I give up on Starbucks as a treasured “third place?” It’s supposed to be a hidey-hole, a meeting place where I can recharge.
Will I turn when I realize the latest aspirational quotes are really a call to action for a promotional campaign? “Wait a second! Does this really say Pepsi Points?”
Or will it be something far more blatant, like seasonal holiday music samplers on 2″ CDs “brought to you by Volvo.”
Nonetheless, kudos to the 1-800 PR team for figuring out a way to land that half a square inch of valuable retail packaging space. The Vancouver based company certainly knows how to market and press the flesh. (PR Week, reg. req.)
February 23, 2006 by Colin
Comedy Central knows how to speed adoption of new technology – especially viewership of their new animated series aimed at mobile phone users. Porn. Not just any porn. Jenna Jameson, the Elizabeth Taylor of Porn.
She’ll be voicing a new series of animated shorts called Samurai Love God, which also stars The Daily Show’s Ed Helms.
A note to public relations practitioners: news of this series targeted at mobile phone users was first disclosed in October, but pickup revolved around the new technology.
The introduction of the new cast obviously prompted an additional bounce for Comedy Central and its corporate parent, Viacom.
When can we expect the next PR bounce for the show? When Samurai Love God is nominated in the new Emmy category for mobile devices.
Jenna Jameson, COME ON DOWN! “I’d like to thank my throat coach …”
February 22, 2006 by Colin
So. NBC asks YouTube to yank the Narnia Rap from their servers. Was this the product of a conscious campaign on NBC’s part to prompt a buzz spike online, as DataMining suggests? Let the video bounce around the ‘sphere for a couple of months, throw that word-of-mouth buzz into hyperdrive, then draw it back into the P&L bosom of the corporate mother ship to generate nice clean iTunes fees?
Or was Narnia simply the victim of a wide-ranging reaction from NBC’s legal team? The NYT coverage notes that NBC’s DMCA notice to YouTube covered 500 or so NBC clips. “Julie Summersgill, a spokeswoman for NBC Universal, said the company meant no ill will toward fan sites but wanted to protect its copyrights. “We’re taking a long and careful look at how to protect our content,” she said. (NYT)”
Pete Blackshaw extends the possibility that viral media could be further sandbagged by legal concerns, slowing or halting the flow of other consumer generated media like remixed or repurposed brand imagery or television commercials.
“Will lawyers apply to same content restrictions to television commercials that are shared and spread online? If networks push too aggressively on such restrictions, will brands perceive less “ROI” in their advertising potential? Under what circumstances could “repurposed” ad copy be shared? Are consumers to blame if marketers put “send this to a friend” links all over their web sites?”
February 22, 2006 by Colin
For your information, some references to a recent conference aimed at progressive organizations in the lower 48: True Spin: Do Progressives Suck at PR?
Diane Farsetta, from the Center for Media and Democracy, commented on her own participation :
- “…In my presentation, I cautioned against progressive groups trying to replicate the U.S. political right’s approach to communications … While effective in the short term, many of these tactics undermine the integrity of news media and the quality of public debates — both of which are integral to achieving progressive social change.
Progressive groups desperately trying to publicize important information, analyses and policy proposals through compromised news media do have to make tough choices. But there are options — including working with independent, alternative media — that received little attention at the conference. (To be fair, culture jamming and street theater to creatively capture media attention and reframe issues were discussed — and demonstrated by the talented Denver chapters of Billionaires for Bush and the Raging Grannies.) … .
… Progressive groups need to consider the forces that pollute the information environment. Does the short-term gain from using unlabeled VNRs or ANRs outweigh the damage done to the credibility of news outlets? Does the buzz from running provocative ads in the prestige press justify funneling considerable resources — which could be used to strengthen alternative media — to media conglomerates that are often part of the problem?” (PRWatch)
February 21, 2006 by Colin
GlaxoSmithKline, the pharma behemoth, became convinced over the past two years that it needed to do a better job establishing a relationship with its community: its customers, its users, the public in general. It needed to counter some of the negative impressions of big pharma with practical and personal commentary that would resonate with the public. The best vehicle? GSK’s 8,000 sales reps in the United States.
“… Armed with salient talking points and answers to tough questions, the sales force is out speaking to Rotarians, Elks, Lions Club members, senior-citizen groups, weekly newspapers, schools and every community group they can think of. And Mr. Pucci [the GlaxoSmithKline VP responsible for External Advocacy] said GSK has enough sales reps to cover every county in every state in the country.
… He said the majority of questions the reps receive revolve around pricing, and he has given them what he calls a “learning system” that takes 50 minutes to master and will enable the rep to satisfy queries about the company and the industry. GSK reps made 15,000 presentations last year, Mr. Pucci said, reaching 1.8 million people.” (AdAge)
Wondering how Glaxo’s community outreach program, “Value for Medicine,” might be structured? Here’s the fundamental outline, straight from the pen of Mike Pucci :
Corporate Image Enhancement Strategies to Ensure Clinical Trial Success
In recent years, there have been a host of reasons that have led the general public to view pharmaceutical companies negatively. This has caused tactical troubles for pharmaceutical companies, one of the major problems being an increased difficulty in recruiting patients for clinical trials. Recognizing this, pharmaceutical companies are now realizing they need to create and sustain a positive corporate image to gain the respect, acceptance and assistance from the public for their clinical trials to succeed with an appropriate patient population. This workshop educates attendees on the top methods to improve corporate image, which helps the pharmaceutical company as a whole, as well as the public’s willingness to participate in clinical trials and gives insights into what clinical personnel can implement specifically. A case study on empowering rank and file employees to engage in positive negotiations about the Value of Medicine Campaign that was implemented at GlaxoSmithKline, is also discussed. This campaign was implemented to enhance corporate image and also to increase patient awareness on clinical trials.
I. Initiate a Value of Medicine Campaign to Enhance Image and Increase Patient Recruitment and Retention
- Understand the impact that industry reputation has on patient recruitment and retention
- Learn why clinical employees are more influential than corporate communication departments
- Define the impact corporate enhancement strategies, such as the Value of Medicine Campaign, can have on clinical trial recruitment
II. Action Items to Implement a Value of Medicine Campaign in Your Organization for Optimal Clinical Participation
- Set up a volunteer network to implement strategies
- Learn how to respond and not to respond to current events and issues
- Use positive clinical experiences to position your company
III. Core Clinical Messaging that Impacts Perception
- Hear the 3 universal key messages that assist clinical trial recruitment and retention (or see them further down in this post)
- Explore the delivery channels of corporate image campaigns based on clinical trials.
That’s from the agenda for the pre-conference workshop being led next month by Mike Pucci, GSK’s VP of External Advocacy.
Even more detail on GSK’s campaign is available in this month’s Medical Marketing and Media:
“… The foundation of any good PR campaign is a good narrative. GSK has been hammering on three themes: how today’s miracle drugs finance tomorrow’s, the risk of developing medicines and how R&D costs drive retail prices, and acknowledging and expressing concern for the obstacles many face in obtaining the drugs they need. That last one, says Pucci, has proven the most potent. “We’ve come to find out that what resonates is acknowledging access and affordability issues and letting them know you care.”
That was the message at press events in Springfield and Kansas City. Featuring a PhRMA-sponsored bus promoting the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), the events proved surprisingly successful, as local newspapers, TV and radio turned out in force (a Springfield radio station even brought along a giant inflatable bear). Area residents heard reps, joined by patient advocates from local hospitals and the president of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, speak about the value of medicine and the PPA while touting the program’s 800 number to reporters. The company aired radio ads from its “Scientist” series in advance of the events-netting 2.5 million media impressions-and got the state legislature to declare December Value of Medicine Month. Calls to the PPA 800 number jumped by 50% as the campaign ran into November, and 91% of callers were matched with a discount or patient assistance program. “That tells us that not only was information getting out there, but the right information was getting out there,” says Pucci. “And the result speaks for itself. We got a wonderful response in smaller markets, where it’s more of an event than in the larger markets. They were very interested in the fact that we were there and fired up to talk about how we were helping and what we were doing.” …
February 20, 2006 by Colin
Julilan Henry, in the Guardian, launches a broadside against every “specialist” in public relations who doesn’t actually come into contact with the media, the customer, or the public:
“Most of the major PR agencies in the UK construct their business around writing strategies, drawing up Q&As, drafting positioning statements, scripting advertorials, collating briefing packs, printing press kits and countless other bits of waffle that underpin our daily trade. This rationalising process gets charged to the clients, who in most cases seem happy to pay for it as they have been told that these are necessary building blocks in the construction of the great PR event.
Get rid of all this stuff and you would demolish half the industry at a single sweep. All those miserable pen pushers down at HQ who are kept busy filling out evaluation forms all day? They’d be out the door. And the trends analysis team who sit stroking their chins and flicking through fashion magazines? Well, sorry, but they’re toast too.
If you were to reduce the role of the PR consultant to its most basic function what do you have? The man or woman on the phone whose job is simply to offer a description of their client’s product in a topical, creative and engaging way.
It’s a horrible truth that the more you work for major brand clients, the more likely you are to be dragged away from this pure and poetic form of public relations and sucked into an awful machine that denies spontaneous thought and starts the process of immediate corruption of intent. …”(Guardian, reg. req.)
February 20, 2006 by Colin
Ricky Gervais may very well be the first true crossover MSM star.
His record-breaking series of podcasts sponsored by Guardian Unlimited is coming to an end, and he has let slip that a further series of the show will be available on iTunes and Audible – at $6.95 for “at least four episodes”.
After all, co-stars Ricky and Steve are famous, and Karl Pilkington needs the money. Not a lot – he just needs “something more than nothing.”
The Guinness Book of World Records came round last week to take the trio’s pictures. Makes sense, since their podcasts averaged over 250,000 downloads a week DURING THEIR FIRST MONTH.
Still, at that price it’ll be interesting to see by how large a proportion his listener numbers will drop.
I continue to be shocked at how backward North America remains when it comes to ancillary revenues for artists. In Britain, the BBC has struck a royalty deal with the Writers’ Guild for ring tones or voice clips delivered to mobile phones served by Orange.
5.6% of the sales price (which can go up to 3.5 pounds) will be hived off for the artists – which means Gervais stands to make up to 15p for each sale of clips from his work on “The Office.”
February 18, 2006 by Colin
Ouch. He’s reading from the powerpoint itself. There are 10 bullet points on each slide. And the handout deck is too thick to be stapled. This pitch won’t be winning many converts.
The book draws on an online survey launched by Goodman and Cause Communications. They’ve also made available related material on presentations that suck.
Copies are free for not-for-profits, government agencies and charitable orgs.
February 18, 2006 by Colin
Hans tagged me a few days ago, but I didn’t have time to post. Belatedly, here’s my list of four things:
Four jobs I’ve had
Hobby Store Clerk
Four movies I can watch over and over
Four TV shows I love to watch
My Name’s Earl
Hockey, any Hockey
Four places I’ve been on vacation
Four favorite dishes
Chia siu bao
Steak. With whip marks still on it.
Sesame bagel with lox
Four Web sites I visit daily
Bad Pitch Blog
Four places I’d rather be
Any cottage in Central Ontario
Four bloggers I am tagging
I’m going to cop out and only tag one blogger, Bob at Flacklife
February 16, 2006 by Colin
February 15, 2006 by Colin
“The day you start caring more than two squirts of whizz about your ranking or A-list status is the day you have lost control of your blog — and, with it, your online identity — since that desire to achieve and maintain status will inevitably color what you write and how you write it!!!
And there’s no Easter Bunny either. (Phil Gomes)
February 15, 2006 by Colin
Ernest Lupinacci has some choice words for overly ambitious – some may say pretentious – advertising briefs over at ihaveanidea. Some creatives will call a campaign “aspirational.” I think Lupinacci is asking: when you’re pitching an aspirational strategy, are you really just asking the client and the customer to buy into a line of bull because your own creative team doesn’t want to work on something practical and retail?
“This pretentious amalgamation of words didn’t leave me intrigued as much as deeply disturbed; it was as though I had seen or heard all of these adjectives before. Upon opening the foldout I was confronted with the image of an SUV and the accompanying headline: “You are. It is.” My immediate reaction was not dissimilar to that of Charlton Heston’s when, in the climactic scene of Planet Of the Apes, he discovers the Statue Of Liberty buried up to her neck in sand. “My God,” I thought aloud, “you maniacs, you finally went and did it! You literally ran the brief. Damn you, damn you all to Hell.”
And of course this wasn’t just any brief mind you; this was “The Brief”. The Universal Brief. The “all-purpose digital wireless button-fly stuffed-crust cold-filtered, our-product-is-Prometheus’s-gift-of-fire and you’re-a-rebel-and you-can’t-play-by-The Man’ s rules” brief.”
… Or is it just that The Universal Brief is merely what you wind up with when everyone starts to gets a little lazy, and fails to ask if it’s still plausible for a consumer to believe (or for that matter an advertiser to suggest) that merely by purchasing any one of a vast majority of mass-produced, mass-marketed consumer goods and services, an individual can get in touch with his inner-disenfranchised Beatnik Poet Warlord?
It’s an excerpt from Lupinacci’s speech to the final round of EFFIE awards judging in 2005.
Technorati: creative brief
February 13, 2006 by Colin
The Professional Bull Riders circuit is busy expanding into the NorthEast and Mexico, looking at potential events in Australia, and keeping its eyes on the big prize: a breakthrough in public consciousness – and subsequent sponsorship and prize money – like that won by NASCAR.
“”… But it’s still Middle America, without question. You know Flint Rasmussen?” Rasmussen is the in-ring clown; unlike traditional rodeo clowns whose job it is to protect the riders, he stays far away from the bulls. “Flint said to me recently: ‘Let me try a joke on you: If you ask a rodeo clown to autograph your cooler, you may be a redneck. Does that work?’ And I said, Yeah, it was funny. And he said, ‘Well, I just had about 100 people ask me to autograph their coolers in the lobby of the Marriott.”‘ (NYT Magazine)