Media Relations for the Rich: The Sound of Silence

Not as much media relations as a gaping black hole that sucks in all light, sound and energy: that’s the philosophy of many of the Canadian billionaires profiled in the latest Report on Business magazine. “… Peter C. Newman wrote in his autobiography that Fred Charles Mannix was the only Alberta tycoon he couldn’t rope […]

Happiness in a Bottle – Coke’s new slogan

I don’t get it. How can Coke’s ad agency – and senior management – sign off on a slogan that immiediately dredges up themes of alcohol abuse and dependence on anti-depressants? Honestly, my first thought upon hearing the new slogan was: “What, Coca-Cola makes Colt 45 Malt Liquor now?” My first reaction is images like […]

Coverage of executive compensation often mis-stated: academics

Just in time for spring proxy statements, the Wharton newsletter discusses a late 2005 academic paper on the media’s coverage of executive compensation: “The Power of the Pen and Executive Compensation.” “… What models, they ask, are used by the media “to select CEOs for negative articles about their compensation, and do firms and managers […]

Sex, booze, spring break and pollsters

The off-the-cuff survey. The quickie with a sample of 85 or less, designed to generate media interest but not really inform your policy-making process. It’s always good for some easy media hits, isn’t it? Sure, unless a professional pollster decides to dig around in your findings and contest the claims in your news release. That’s […]

The Grups Among Us: Pumas, Paper, Strokes and Star Trek

Aside from the great smacks at hipsters making their toddlers wear Clash t-shirts and listen to the Hives, New York Magazine’s “Up with Grups” has some great demographic (and psychological) analysis for anyone managing – or working for – thirty and fortysomething hipsters. “This is where the Grup diverges from the bobo, the yuppie, even […]

Folkies and hipsters alike cotton on to homemade concert movies

A note about aging consumer evangelists: Billy Bragg, the British folk/punk/rocker, has a devoted following. Devoted, but a little long in the tooth. After all, he’s been around for nearly thirty years. Still, doesn’t mean his fans are behind on the latest technological tricks to spreading their love for the guy. Much like the fans […]

Controlling the message, Ottawa-style

If you live outside tiny little Ottawa, you’re probably not aware of the brouhaha brewing between the Prime Minister’s Office and the press assigned to the National Press Gallery. Let’s just sum up by characterizing it as a struggle for control of the agenda. ” … It’s not that different from the last gang in […]

The link between type designers and bloggers

In Metropolis, a look at how type design and application has evolved over the past twenty five years. Kerrie Jacobs notes the challenges and the benefits of the computer revolution on a well-established trade based on artistry and manual skills. ” … What we are facing is a crisis of authority. The authority of the […]

Design is about getting laid

Entry #23, Jaimie’s Date Ready Pad, in the 2nd annual smallest coolest apartment contest 2006: ” … Design Tip: Good design, at its peak, is about keeping you and your guest (date) comfortable, entertained, therefore: “Design is about getting laid”“

“Brazil” vs. “V for Vendetta”

A wonderful analysis of the strengths of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil – and the weaknesses of the Wachowsky Brother’s V for Vendetta – in Slate. So you know, Brazil is in my top five movies of all time. ” …. Nothing better illustrates the simplism of V for Vendetta, or better highlights the unflattering contrast with […]

New training program comes with vibrating joystick and playmates

Some news on the modification of rpg video games to help train staff. Cold Stone Creamery, according to BusinessWeek, saw 8,000 employees download a new game that lets them role play in a simulated store. The practical goal of the game is to reinforce training on portion control and customer service. That was 8,000 downloads […]

Moving designers offa Ramen and onto at least Chunky Soup

We both use pens, but to different ends. Words are our primary tool, pictures are theirs. Designers are driven crazy by frugal/cheap clients asking for “spec work” – either as part of a competitive process, or just to “give us an idea of what you’d do for us.” For public relations pros, requests for media […]

It’s not unusual to be … a Tory MP from Ludlow

A clear example of keywords-based blog advertising not working: Over at Guido Fawkes, a slightly biting post about an MP’s official picture going tieless (and open down the chest a la Tom Jones) coughs up a recurring ad for Thomas Pink, the shirt maker who also draws sizable revenue from cuff link and tie sales. […]

Add a little musical quirk to your marketing for greater retention

A quick bounce through the growth of “sonic branding” this month in En Route, Air Canada’s in-flight magazine. The main tool in sonic branding is a short audio prompt inserted in a radio, tv or online ad to highlight a brand identity. Traditionally, these sonic brand triggers have been used in radio advertising, but these […]

Prime Minister clearly thinks Bardot is past her prime

Prime Minister Harper has apparently thrown out that part of the political campaign book that encourages sponging off the fame and fortune of people with better Q scores. Brigitte Bardot has indicated that she will travel to North America for the first time in thirty years to speak to the PM about ending the seal […]

The BBC, podcasting, and minced lamb: what it means to you, the consumer

Looks like the British consumer price index is going upscale. The CD player has been dropped as a price indicator, and the mp3 player has been added on. Also gone is the home killed minced lamb, for all you amateur butchers used to calls from the national statistical agency. You’ll just have to find your […]

This mystery shopper’s not quite Emma Peel

Bringing new meaning to the term mystery shopper , a public relations campaign for the Australian security service (ASIO) emphasizes the variety of experience open to surveillance officers trailing a suspect: “… “Sometimes, when I’m out following a target who’s gone shopping, I get to go shopping too,” [Australian surveillance officer “Alison”] says in a […]


Sample emoticons for e-kicking someone in the e-balls, from McSweeney’s.

Google: “talking out of its hat”?

There have been some questions about exactly what a Google senior policy counsel muttered about the FCC during a conference this week. Turns out he was citing an opposing viewpoint as an example. Despite all the demonizing of the company in recent months, the number of mis-steps and retractions battering Google’s public image indicate that […]

Maps and wayfinding – those Spaniards are clearly dipping into the sherry

Some thoughts on the design and interpretation of topographic maps in Europe – and how maps may just reflect the emotion, the spirit, perhaps the pigheadedness of the region represented. Much of the argument revolves around taxonomy and legends in the maps themselves: “… The spontaneity and randomness of the marks contrasts completely with their […]

The link between heartstrings, marketing and microwavable rice dishes

A breakthrough in customer research has been revealed by the Onion: marketing researchers in Maryland have … completed a map delineating and identifying the functions of each of the individual human heartstrings. “According to our research, ‘father dancing with his daughter at her wedding’ causes a strong desire to buy a digital camera,” Human Heartstring […]

Collaborative media and Vichy France?

Andy Borowitz helps me string along my historical analogy theme today with his comment about screenwriting as a collaborative medium: BOROWITZ: One thing that’s always said very generously about screenwriting or Hollywood is that it’s a collaborative medium. And that’s collaborative in the sense of Vichy France, I think. Collaborating with people who have the […]

Rupert Murdoch on Technology and Media

I love it when significant newsmakers actually take the time to draw a picture of the links between historical trends and leaps in technology. And by trends, I mean events that took place before Steve Jobs and Bill Gates first leased storage space. Here’s Rupert Murdoch, speaking to The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper […]

H&K’s Corporate Reputation Watch – SMOKIN DESIGN!

I haven’t even read the report yet, but I can tell you I’m loving the graphic design. As a visual thinker, Hill & Knowlton really grabbed my attention with the latest Corporate Reputation Watch report. Technorati:H&K corporate reputation

“I don’t like my job, and, uh, I don’t think I’m gonna go anymore”

Coming out this spring: “I Quit but I Forgot to Tell You,” a book from retail consultant Terri Kabachnik discussing your unmotivated employees, the ones who “physically attend but mentally pretend.” (NRF SmartBrief) Or you could read the precis of her argument in a 2004 issue of the Retailing Issues Letter from Texas A&M’s Center […]

Red light for better consumer nutrition information

Yesterday, the U.K.’s Food Services Agency in the UK announced the rollout of a new nutritonal information design, with buy-in from three chains. Most of the food manufacturers pulled out of the scheme last month, and today the pile-on began. Tesco, with 30% of the domestic grocery market, has withdrawn as well. “…Tesco, which also […]

Branding and Wal-mart: we’re going to market like its 1995

Wal-mart’s marketing efforts have been so price-driven that everyone seems quite stunned when Bentonville execs bring up words like “brand” and “influence.” A little late to the party, but good to see none the less. ” … Stephen Quinn, Wal-Mart’s senior vice-president of marketing, told investors at a Bear Stearns conference that while the retail […]

The death of the general store

A quick note on the economics of country stores in southern Maryland, courtesy of the Washington Post: … Inside none of the chain stores, however, can you drink a beer and smoke a cigarette, complain about how the county’s going to seed, discuss the finer points of Dick Cheney’s bird hunting mishap, play Keno, greet […]

Wal-mart’s blogging outreach: pick some better friends

The NYTimes look at Wal-mart’s blogger outreach program is now online: Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in Its Public Relations Campaign. As Paul Holmes has noted, “sadly, I just don’t see what the story is.” Given the breadth of comment and criticism posted over the last five days by bloggers who were contacted by Barbaro, the NYT […]

PR Week: a secret message to spamming bloggers

Public relations bloggers have to stop navel-gazing and deliver proof that they can actually analyze and interpret trends and developments in the PR industry. And stop pinging the hell out of innocent trade pub editors whenever you update your blog. So says Julia Hood – or at least, that’s what you would read if PR […]

Fascist media pigs?

I love this t-shirt – a piece of swag for WFMU listeners that donate over $45 to the radio station’s current pledge drive.

Ice Cream Truck tracks

Remember my ice cream truck post? Prompted by the WFMU post? Well, over at Lil Mike’s you can find an armfull of ice cream truck related music: Ken Nordine – Emperor Of Ice Cream Pharell – The Ice Cream Man Van Halen – Ice Cream Man Satanicide – Pussy & Ice Cream Smokescreen – Buttermilk […]

Politics, press secretaries and blogging

Damn, a good piece, via Instapundit, covering a recent panel of Republican Congressional press secretaries discussing the impact and potential of blogs for Hill politicians. “…The questions asked by the press secretaries were the most enlightening part of the conversation. My favorite was this: Is there an expectation of engaging in debate if lawmakers start […]

Wal-Mart’s blogger outreach program

According to one blogger who emailed me, the NYTimes is getting ready to run a story on the blogger outreach program managed by Edelman on behalf of Wal-mart. John McAdams provides quite a bit of detail on his correspondence with Marshall Manson, a senior account supervisor with Edelman. Manson’s blogger relations work on Wal-Mart’s behalf […]

WSJ: Celebrity gossip is planted! Who knew?

The relatively fresh Satuday edition of the Wall Street Journal is breaking new ground in financial reporting — and apparently now lets the paper’s reporters chase down those hard-to-confirm leads in other subject areas. Take yesterday’s A1 story: “Caught in the Act! How Hollywood’s bold-faced names secretly steer the celebrity news machine.”. Apparently, much of […]

Is Ace Young really “Handsome Shrek” personified?

Ace Young – from American Idol. Doesn’t he bear an eerie resemblance to “Handsome Shrek” from Shrek 2? Technorati: American Idol Shrek

Does “text message” still make you think of the Telex?

Text messaging better be on your radar. It’s reached a point where key consumer audiences (read: tweens and teens) consider text messaging a perfectly reasonable vehicle for marketing outreach and providing feedback – IF THEY’VE GIVEN PERMISSION. Important point, that. Need proof? ” — “American Idol” Season 2: The [text messaging] campaign generated 7.5 million […]

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