Wal-Mart movin’ to the other side of the tracks

It’s not much of a surprise, but Wal-Mart is testing new pricing and product models – including a test store with more upmarket products. ” … the addition of upscale products in key future growth areas is an important tool to attract new customers without alienating the company’s core shoppers in search of the lowest […]

First Job Archetypes for Teens and Twenty-Somethings

The first day of September is just hours away, and that means we’re about three weeks from a new year’s worth of high school and college students realizing they’re desperately short of money. They will then hit the bricks looking for anything that will may cash money. As a tribute, I present 6 First Job […]

Breaking out of the echo chamber

10 ways to eliminate the echo chamber, or how to encourage creative thought rather than repetitive ruminations, from Chris Pirillo. Some additions to his list: Read widely and frequently. Go into news agents. Buy magazines and papers you’ve never heard of. Check out the new arrivals shelf at the library. Pick up contra-culture community weeklies. […]

The reason for Jessica Simpson’s Ongoing PR Woes

The 22 (somewhat) Immutable Laws of Buzz

Sean got the ball rolling with the 22 Immutable Laws of Word of Mouth, I threw in the 22 Immutable Laws of Blogging, and Tamera Kremer has followed up with the 22 Immutable Laws of Customer Engagement. Here’s my take on the 22 (somewhat) Immutable Laws of Buzz: Indie cred, commercial dead Feed your fans’ […]

Paperbacks are a future victim of 2.0?

Remember when Blockbuster was considered a surefire moneymaker? Investors in video rentals were business geniuses who could expect the company to throw off money for years to come? There have been some roadbumps in that industry lately, haven’t there? Who knew ten years ago that video rentals would be kneecapped by the popularity of online […]

Priorities in science journalism

Dr. Marburger, the Science Advisor to the U.S. President, spoke in 2005 about his perception of the priorities of science journalists. They can be summed up as three P’s, in diminishing order of importance: Principles, People, and Places. ” … I once gave a talk on science advocacy in which I described the priorities of […]

Third Monday: Social media meetups in Ottawa

I’m trailing Brendan and Joe on this (thankfully not Ian), but Ottawa is celebrating a conversations two-fer on September 25: a chance to speak with Shel Israel, and the first meeting of the Ottawa spin-off of the Bay-area Third Thursday get-togethers. The first of what we plan to be a series, this Third Monday meeting […]

Top 50 suckiest band names

Over at Progressive Boink: Your Band Name Sucks. Among the (justifiably) slandered: Les Savy Fav, Test Icicles, Atreyu, and Mr. Mister: “41. Mr. Mister What at first looks very mildly clever in the same vain as The The is ruined by the fact that the band actually got its name from a Dairy Queen drink […]

Are you having a Mary or a Murray Moment?

It’s a Mary moment: that point in the day when slow drudging work stares you in the face. The sort of task that looms on the horizon like an immovable monolith, blocking all sight of the weekend. What to do? Knuckle down, chop through the work like a machete through unappreciated kudzu? Dig through the […]

Car Wash Bulletin Board: Buzz Killer?

There’s self-promotion, then there’s desperation: An Open Letter To The Guy Advertising His Screenplay On The Eagle Rock Car Wash Bulletin Board (Plaintivewail) ” … But there are smarter ways to get noticed, is my point. Ways that better use your energy and resources (and that preserve your sticker collection) — craft a great, funny […]

Exacting and iconic advertising by Helmut Krone

Michael Bierut reviews (a little late) what seems to be quite a fantastic book about the standard-setting art director at Doyle Dane Bernbach: Helmut Krone. The book. Graphic Design and Art Direction (concept, form and meaning) after advertising’s Creative Revolution. ” … It leaves me with no doubt that something I once suspected is, in […]

Incongruous statements, Pt. 1

” … Jim Cabage is a Tennessee trucker who has danced at more than 450 Jazzercise locations in forty-seven states and two provinces.” - found in Dave Feschuk’s “Every Highway: Riding shotgun in the big rigs”

Plus ca change – media beset by turmoil and uncertainty

As handwringing and anxiety continues in the traditional media industries, an apt quote from the CBC’s Max Ferguson: “… I see the CBC as a sort of domestic British Empire. Both were created and developed by a rather insular breed, exhibiting alternate flashes of brilliance and idiocy. At this moment there are many critics who […]

There’s a Smirnoff Partay!

I don’t like the new Tea Partay video for its genius as a work of viral marketing (over 700,000 downloads on YouTube). I don’t like it because it mimicks the format and rhythmic structure of hiphop videos. I like it because I’m an unashamed preppy. I don’t mean I jumped on the casual Friday bandwagon […]

YouTube as anthropological record

More than a decade ago, archivists and historians fretted about what would happen to the tell-tale details of everyday life – the scribblings in the margins of books, doodles in journals, folded and unfolded personal telegrams – that help social scientists reconstruct how our parents, grandparents and forebears led their lives. It was already obvious […]

Tobacco PR and Lawyers: Deceitful Birds of a Feather?

Hey folks! If the Federal Court of Appeals feels this strongly about members of the bar acting unethically in pursuit of billable hours from the tobacco companies, what in the world must they think of the behaviour of advertising, marketing and public relations firms? ” … Finally, a word must be said about the role […]

Andrew Young and Wal-Mart

Ouch. Andrew Young’s comments about his own experiences with ethnically-owned neighbourhood retail and grocery stores may end up hurting his erstwhile employers rather than helping them. You see, Young was hired to head what seems, at first glance, to be a Wal-Mart astroturf operation: Working Families for Wal-Mart. Yesterday, he resigned after comments made to […]

Interviewing techniques, the decline of modern media and TonyK

NPR profiles John Sawatsky, a former investigative journalist and university professor, now on staff at ESPN and charged with teaching sports reporters how to ask difficult questions and produce better interviews. (But who’s going to teach ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser how to react to criticism?) ESPN’s interest in Sawatsky was piqued by a piece in AJR, […]

The 22 Immutable Laws of Blogging

Ripping off a starting point from Buzz Canuck, who gave us the 22 Immutable Laws of Word of Mouth Marketing, originally derived from Ries & Trout: First Impressions Always Stick Half Baked Ideas Are Better Than No Ideas Big Voices, Small Minds Good Ideas, Badly Presented Catch Phrases Imply Wisdom Intellectual Plagiarism Is Rarely Called […]

Take the blinders off and read something

What efforts do you make to broaden your awareness of the world around you? Do you take steps to break out of the rut of reading only public relations and marketing-related publications? Prompted by a discussion on episode 20 of the Inside PR podcast, here is a sampling of the books I’ve read in the […]

First post on WordPress

Hello hearty and faithful subscribers. This is the new format and home for Canuckflack, the blog about public relations, marketing, branding, promotion, retail and related topics. The most convenient feed continues to be at Feedburner : Thank you for your patience as I (and you) make the transition to a world with more user […]

Migrating to a new platform

Hey folks. Remember last week when I said Movable Type was one of my top five social media tools? Well, I’m migrating over to WordPress. The URL will still be, and the most convenient feed is still the one at feedburner: I’m going to try to set up redirects for all the other […]

The press gallery as instrument of repression?

Douglas Fisher, a longtime columnist, observer of Canadian politics and one-time Member of Parliament, spoke to the Hill Times upon his retirement at the age of 86. Included was a cutting observation about the Parliamentary Press Gallery, an organization that lately has attempted to hold the Prime Minister to account for his relative lack of […]

A Trade Show homerun, a marketing gimmick and how reporters screw up numbers

Three thoughts for today: – Hershey’s hits a home run coming out of the 2006 All Candy Expo: a writer for Progressive Grocer drops by the company’s booth at the show and plants a big sloppy kiss on the company and its community health and education initiatives. The only way that piece could have come […]

Working the biker angle in more detail

A little blego trip for me – Ben over at Church of the Consumer gave me a hat tip for a hit-and-run post I made back in May. I drew a connection between Ben’s observation that 1% of social communities drive growth and value for the larger community – and the 1% of hardcore bikers […]

Users can comment. Users point to the pain. It’s up to producers to innovate

Kathy Sierra’s got it right. ” … In this Web 2.0-ish world we’re supposed to be all about the users being in control. Where the “community” drives the product. But the user community can’t create art. (And I use “art” with a lowercase “a” as in software, books, just about anything we might design and […]

Marketing to Avatards in Second Life

I have my reservations about jumping on the Second Life bandwagon, just like Kevin and Darren. It’s still too early to bet the farm on a platform whose market size may equal that of U.S. Saab drivers. (no matter what the projections for 2008 may say) Marketers and public relations pros thinking of exploring this […]

Blogger Relations – a career destined for oblivion

Breaking news from WaPo: companies can build word of mouth by targeting bloggers. Nothing new there, but there is one sentence that seems right out of August 2005: ” … Blogger relations experts have joined public relations and advertising teams. …” That’ll last a couple more years at the most, folks. Then ALL public relations […]

Social Media Tag – I blame it all on Mike

Mike Driehorst tagged me (quite a few days ago, I’m sorry to admit) with listing my five social media favourites. Well, my first is Bloglines. No surprise there. I use different computers everywhere I go, as well as my BlackBerry, so Bloglines gives me a common reference point for my feeds. My second is podcasts. […]

How excess salt translates into corporate skulduggery.

In a story about the British government’s efforts to make manufacturers reduce the salt levels in their snacks and foods, I found this amusing snippet implying a Pappudum vs. Yorkshire Pudding rivalry. The Times (London) discussed the lobbying and negotiation tactics between manufacturers and the Food Standards Agency. Over the course of the article, it […]

Possible signs you work for an astroturfing operation

1. Your business filing fees were charged to the credit card of a Vice President, Government Relations. 2. You’re in the same building as a public affairs agency. 3. You share a coffee room with a public affairs agency. 4. You share an executive director with a public affairs agency. 5. When you first arrived […]

WSJ misses the point on BMW and targeted marketing

I really think the WSJ’s piece on the new direction in BMW’s marketing campaign – “promoting a corporate culture of independence and innovation” – would have benefited from a discussion of BMW’s decision to sponsor the audio and video downloads of presentations at this spring’s TED conference. After all, it’s not like several of the […]

Tony Blair’s got some thoughts about activists

Visiting California, Tony Blair had some strong things to say about the qualities of leadership – and the responsibility to fight for ideas that are true and just. He also took a smack at the negative aspects of one-issue activism: … Which brings me to my final point about leadership. The world changes fast; the […]

The Back of Napkin Diagram as Communications Tool

I carry around a Moleskine notebook for two reasons: because I’m pretentious, and because I like drawing pictures. At the very least, I like waving my hands around while speaking, trying to communicate the visual idea map that is plainly obvious to my eyes – but often unseen by my colleagues. Dave Gray of XPLANE […]

Petro-Canada tackles a thorny issue, with a side of social media

Petro-Canada, the ever present gas refiner and retailer here up north, has launched a series of online videos to help explain the fluctuations in the price of gas. mynameisKate had the scoop first. The “Pump Talk” videos feature pleasant young women who attempt to walk the viewer through the economics of oil drilling, refining and […]

Increasing the volume – and the rhetoric – in social media

So, would you call this an active public diplomacy campaign, or a really forceful astroturfing effort? ” … Israel’s Government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda. The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms […]

Tom Hanks’ reluctance to be interviewed – unless it’s a movie junket

… Mr. Hanks was initially reluctant to be interviewed for this article. “Why would I want to — so I could see my name in the paper tomorrow?” he joked. “I get my name in the paper when I go out and buy socks. I go to Gray’s Papaya in New York and I’m on […]

Miami Vice: A misquoted review from a Maclean’s columnist

First, how a movie studio publicity agent would rewrite Paul Wells’ review of Miami Vice: 3 or 4,000 bullets! It sounds gorgeous! Mullets! Blood Packs! Splattered Guts! Better than I’ve seen all summer! And here’s his original review (which still impels me to see the movie0: Miami Vice: a review, with bullets • Excellent sound […]

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