What’s this, Grandpa? It’s a CD player.

Cake’s Short Skirt, Long Jacket. An eclectic little song that made it big in 2001, to be quickly dismissed by the cognoscenti who once thought it was cool and underappreciated. Today, we can mock the video for its basic premise: asking regular joes on the street to pass judgement on the song – after listening […]

CSR: pity those poor multinationals

“French fries and sneakers: pure evil” – that’s the title of Steve Maich’s column in the latest issue of Macleans. In his analysis, the corporate social responsibility efforts of the world’s biggest consumer brands contrast with their continuing poor showings in pubic CSR polling: Nike, Coca-Cola and BP all suffer at the hands of activist […]

McDonald’s is generating buzz with the lizaydies, old-school style

It seems that McDonald’s is deploying a three prong approach to growing its share of the fast food consumer market among women: healthy menu choices; more focused messaging; and creating fashion and celebrity-driven buzz about the brand’s traditional character icons. Global Chief Marketing Officer Mary Dillon is making some organizational changes, as well as refocusing […]

PR strategies threaten freedom of the press in Quebec: survey

A number of journalists in Quebec, according to an “unscientific” survey (quite honest of them to admit that), feel that the communication strategies deployed by private and public sector organizations threaten the freedom of the press in the province. “…Un sondage maison de la Fédération professionnelles des journalistes du Québec auprès de 224 journalistes indique […]

My Bare Lady: definitely not a Victorian story of redemption

Now in production, and scheduled for the Fox Reality channel in the fall, the final confluence of reality entertainment: reality television and porn. ” … My Bare Lady, which begins shooting in June, will follow the four female porn stars as they study at a London drama school and aim to land a role in […]

The New York Times lives on greenies and other corrective measures

Regret the Error may take the New York Times to task for its corrections, but internally the paper depends upon greenies. So says Jonathan Landman, the deputy managing editor for digital journalism at the Times: ” … Greenies? They are daily critiques of the newspaper, prepared by editors with contributions from staffers and circulated throughout […]

What’s your Spam IQ?

Are you a spam victim in waiting? An unsuspecting doofus only one click away from opening your PIII 900 Wintel to a keylogger designed by some 16 year-old in Belarus? Take the Spam IQ test, designed by Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs. Technorati: spam virus newbie

Car dealer advertising sure to draw negative associations

A car dealer in Prince George, British Columbia has managed to alienate a portion of his community – and customer base – by placing a poorly considered ad encouraging locals receiving government compensation cheques for past abuse to spend their money on his lot. The car dealer is located in a community near an aboriginal […]

Leasing a sheep for advertising – file that under markets for everything

The latest buzz accelerator is sheep. To be specific, sheep decorated with advertising for a Dutch hotel company. The gimmick has drawn the ire of an asthetically-minded local mayor, who has threatened fines if the sheep are not removed in short notice. The result? 60 hits on Google news and counting. “… Chief Executive Miechel […]

Improving direct-to-consumer advertising – and slagging the Nasonex Bee

Oh, to have the measurement and evaluation money available to drug companies. Medical Marketing and Media has taken a look at The Science of DTC (pdf), discussing the growth in pre- testing of direct-to-consumer advertising, as well as efforts to improve the clarity of the many DTC formats. In part, it’s a reaction to the […]

Information design and onboard navigation

You come to a fork in the road. You don’t know which way to follow. Which resource appeals the most: your car’s onboard navigational computer, with its limited portrait of the neighbourhood; your AAA TripTik; or your fearless certainty that “left is right”? Each choice reflects your relative appetite for information, your interest in your […]

YouTube, Rump Shaker and CPG Ads

Is YouTube a long term business, or is it simply a intermediate step as we wait for high capacity pipe to connect us all up at blazing speeds? Once that pipe is in, we can just flip 30meg files to one another without the hassle of uploading to a central site. YouTube is really more […]

Media measurement takes a step forward in Canada

After several years hard work, the Measurement Committee of the Canadian Public Relations Society has launched a new media measurement tool to support the measurement and evaluation efforts of PR practitioners in Canada. “The MRP™ (Media Relations Rating Points) system provides communications and marketing professionals with an easy-to-use tool that measures the effectiveness of any […]

Haikus in honour of Scott McLellan

The White House press secretary has resigned, and the folks over at Democratic Underground have penned some very-not-so-flattering farewells … haiku style! In the interests of fairness, let me point you to a previous post on the difficulties of acting as a government spokesperson. Your fat flabby ass / disappearing through a door / don’t […]

Eric Schmidt, another media training victim

We often send executives to media training because they appear uncomfortable in public settings. Which is exactly how Eric Schmidt, the current Chair and CEO of Google, ended up standing in front of a blue retractable curtain, practicing his employee question and answer sessions. It looks like it dates from about 1988. True to form, […]

Sometimes it’s tough to defend your company

” … “Was it intentional? Absolutely not,” says spokeswoman Suraya Bliss, whose voice quavered as she spoke, perhaps because she was choking on the corporate line. “It’s not the kind of company we are.” …” (AdAge) Bob Garfield rightly points out that the ad in support of the new Dodge Caliber can be perceived as […]

Canuckflack’s 1987 reading: Bunny Burgers and Gay RV Zines

Before Google News, before Yahoo, before (gasp) Pointcast … people had to buy magazines to keep up with current events. They were sold at places called news stands. They’re still around, I know. But for most people under a certain age (quick – fifty words on the influence of Dennis Haskins on your teenage years) […]

Public relations for Christians: it’s not just about Sunday mornings

Christianity, the Brand – today in the NYT. Featured is Larry Ross, who has made public relations with the Christian community his career and vocation. “Ross characterizes part of his job as finding the sweet spot where faith and the culture intersect, because religion on its own often isn’t enough, as he sees it, to […]

Happy Easter, Greg Brooks!

To the best MT and webhosting expert a guy could know, and at quite reasonable rates too!

Toronto Star adds bookmarking

Sometimes, fundamental shifts in how the traditional media works with its customers seem to fly under the radar – especially in Canada. Earlier this month the Toronto Star (a Toronto paper with national reach, circulation 984,700 daily ) added bookmarklets to all its online articles. What does this mean? It means that columnists like […]

Airports, communities and San Diego: a public relations campaign

San Diego may need a new airport. Or maybe not. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is well into implementing a community outreach and consultation campaign on future growth plans for the facility. Some details about the campaign’s tactics are discussed in an article posted on “Ghostwriting the Airport’s Story.” As most PR […]

CSR: what is it good for? Huh!

Apologies for the affront to the collective genius of Frankie Goes To Hollywood/Edwin Starr. What is the true, quantifiable, worth of corporate social responsibility? Aside from polishing up Nike’s annual report? Or pulling a veil over the dirty workings of international oil conglomerates? Wal-mart must be wondering that as it tries to marshall positive voices […]

McDonald’s, VOIP and long-distance orders

Your next drive-thru order at MacDonald’s may not be taken by a sweaty, slightly overweight and harried assistant manager with an ill fitting corporate dress shirt. If you’re in Hawaii, the person asking you about supersizing may in fact be over a thousand miles away – in Santa Maria, California. Thanks to low-cost VOIP, centralized […]

Sting: just not as cool as he thinks he is

This just in from the world of marketing non-sequiturs: “IN THE LATE 90s, I was working on a campaign to make Compaq hip. The firm attempted to buy itself coolness by sponsoring Sting’s world tour …” I’m sorry. I think I must have misread that. Did you just associate hip and cool with the artist […]

Public service advertising: don’t discount the soft sell

Public service ads aimed at moving health and risk-based behaviour may benefit from more motivational and incremental messaging: so says work by Magdalena Cismaru, of the University of Regina. “Treats alone are not enough,” she says. “I don’t think there is a smoker in Canada who doesn’t already know that smoking leads to all sorts […]

Competent Speechwriters: the undiscovered country

The claim: Canadian executives are poorly served by their speechwriters – or the agencies that claim they have speechwriters on staff. Scott Feschuk and Scott Reid think they have the answer. Formerly the speechwriter and director of communications in the office of Prime Minister Paul Martin, they’ve set up shop to produce bespoke texts for […]

Why does your client’s argument fall on deaf ears?

What logical structures guide public relations staff in building and deploying an argument in favour of their clients? When confronted with a demand for an explanation “why?”, there is always a “reason” underlying the logic in your media lines and storyline. In his book Why?, the sociologist Charles Tilly identifies four different types of reasons […]

Muzak: programming the time of your life

“Audio architects“: those are the specialists at Muzak that custom design playlists for their client companies. They pick and choose from artists like Roy Orbison, Motley Crue, Nathalie Imbruglia and thousands of others to help score your retail experience and subconsciously underline their client’s brand attributes. As a career, I can only imagine that every […]

Inside PR: a public relations podcast worth monitoring

There’s a new PR podcast on the horizon up here in the thawing Canadian north. David Jones and Terry Fallis launched their Inside PR podcast this week, with very few of the opening night jitters you often note from fledgling efforts. I delayed posting about their baby until I had a chance to actually listen: […]

Your Corporate “Real Men of Genius” Profile

The employee profile. The tried and true tactic in any internal communications plan, or if you’re trying to humanize your large faceless service organization. And an easy target for satire and mockery – especially if you’ve been cheap in hiring a corporate photographer. Still, Dealbreaker’s posts on the profile posted for a Lehman associate are […]

Montreal’s wayfinding and parking signs blow goats

Marco Fortier, of Le Journal de Montreal, spoke to an urban design expert about the horrible state of affairs on Montreal’s roads: «Tout ce qui est signalisation Montréal, c’est l’enfer. C’est honteux. De la vraie bêtise humaine», dit-il. Luc-Normand Tellier dirige le Département des études urbaines et touristiques de l’UQAM. Son métier consiste […]

Pull quotes: highlighting the actual meaning?

Isn’t this a remarkable jumble of mismatched fonts and font sizes? The Hill Times, the weekly tabloid newspaper that covers Parliament and politics in the nation’s capital, seems to be trying out a graphic redesign, one component at a time. This week, the pull quotes are broken out in a new sans-serif font in a […]

CCNMatthews buys MarketWire: It’s all about the benjamins, baby

CCNMatthews, a Canadian newswire, has picked up MarketWire, the State’s #3 wire. Found that out in an email from their PR rep. MarketWire’s logo has already been redesigned. So why does MarketWire’s news release try to spin it as a merger or a partnership? “Market Wire Joins CCNMatthews to Form Full-Service Newswire With Largest Media […]

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