Perhaps you’ve heard about Tourism Queensland’s “Best Job in the World” promotion, which sought a temporary caretaker for one of its tropical islands on the Great Barrier Reef.
The PR campaign to promote “Best Job in the World,” from Australian agency Cummins Nitro, captured a record-breaking three top prizes at last week’s Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, including the first-ever award in the public relations category.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced this morning that Ford, Nissan, and Tesla will collectively receive $8 billion in loans from the government to help them develop more fuel-efficient vehicles.
OK, more auto companies are receiving government money, what else is new? Wait—Ford is receiving money? Is this the same Ford that has been so vocal about not needing and not wanting the bailout money that has been given to most, if not all, of its U.S. competitors? The same Ford that said in December “it has enough borrowed money to make it through 2009 without government help.”
Yes, same Ford. Different definition of government money.
Both in tweets to concerned customers and again in a phone interview with me, Ford’s head of social media Scott Monty reiterated that this $5.9 billion in Energy Department loans is not a bailout. Yes, it’s government money, but it’s “part of an Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program that was instituted before the auto industry started going south.” Ford signed up for the program back in September—around the time that Congress first approved loans for the U.S. auto industry’s big players—and only companies that are financially viable are eligible, he says. “Manufacturers all the time receive money from the government at one time or another; it’s not to ensure the financial stability of Ford Motor Company.”
Ford has said many times over the past 6+ months that it doesn’t need and it doesn’t want government money. Now, they’re taking government money, albeit for the purpose of developing technology not helping them stay afloat. Will the public pick up on the subtle difference, or, is a government loan a government loan?
In the heated marketing battle between UPS and FedEx, there is an unlikely victim caught in the middle: advertising executive Andy Azula.
You know Andy. He’s the guy with the long hair in UPS commercials drawing all over a white board. Well, Andy is also the creative director at the Martin Agency in Richmond, Virginia, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal.
On the FedEx Web site, brownbailout.com, which is part of the company’s effort to prevent new legislation making it easier for its workers to unionize, there is a parody video of Andy.
I never really liked the UPS ads. Mr. Azula seemed a little too, I don’t know, earthy for me. But the guy in the parody on brownbailout.com looks smug.
Ragan editor Rob Reinalda passed along this YouTube gem: Ronald McDonald’s television debut. Phew. He was creepy—Ronald McDonald, not Rob—reminded me of Heath Ledger’s depiction of the joker in Dark Knight.
Are you a judo marketer? If so, the Wall Street Journal has a warning for you
Have you heard of “judo marketing”? I hadn't until I watched this video from the Wall Street Journal. Judo marketing is the practice of getting attention for a brand by mentioning a bigger brand—kind of like my headline.
Turns out there are at least three pitfalls to this style. In this two-minute video, marketing professor Ross Petty breaks it down for WSJ.
It’s a relatively common strategy for companies to try to bring down their competitors. The Apple vs. Microsoft ads that appear frequently on the front page of The New York Times website. The recent Folgers attack on Starbucks’ instant coffee waged on billboards around Chicago. On the surface, it’s not so strange for FedEx to launch a new marketing campaign against its competitor UPS. But the way they’re doing it is a little suspect.
FedEx’s new campaign, in the form of a website called BrownBailout.com, accuses UPS (brown in color and nickname) of seeking a government bailout. It juxtaposes UPS’ income (over $2.1 trillion) with the definition of bailout (“a rescue from financial distress.”) In fact, according to a recent NY Timesarticle, UPS isn’t seeking anything—it’s actually FedEx who’s trying to get something from the government.
They’re trying to get the Senate to not pass a law that would reclassify FedEx Express under different federal labor laws, making it easier to form unions. They’re arguing that doing this would hamper their own progress and help their competitor, UPS. However, UPS has been held under these labor laws for years, so they’re already unionized. In fact, it’s FedEx that has been getting the “bailout,” as they call it, all along.
Watch for a response from the Teamsters union, whose international VP is quoted in the article as saying, “It’s laughable to think that they would portray this as some bailout. This is simply leveling the playing field.” The director of communications at FedEx maintains that FedEx and UPS are fundamentally different companies and they shouldn’t be regulated the same, also, “that piece of legislation only helps one company while hurting a main competitor—if that’s not a bailout, we’re going to have to redefine the word.”
Don't believe the new GM site that has been making its way around the internet since GM's bankruptcy filing last week. It's not real—at second glance. At first glance it looks quite professional.
It's modeled after the GM site re:invention that popped up recently to highlight the changes GM is making for the future, but this one's called re:tardation. Instead of, "Your window into the reinvention of GM... See how we're reinventing the automobile and our company," its tag line is "Your window into the retardation of GM... See how we totally screwed over the American taxpayer."
It's clever ("GM kills electric car, five others in shooting spree.") and, well, funny. Even GM’s Director of Global Communications Technology Chris Barger thought so. He sent me a couple words of wisdom in a Twitter DM (Direct Message) with abbreviations edited out: "Parody is part of the game, you have to be able to laugh at it." So, remember to try to laugh first, and act second (though Barger says GM's decided to stay silent so far).
Also featured on the site, a parody of a video GM came out with the day of the filing. See if you can tell the difference.
By the way, I'm new here on PR Junkie. Follow me on Twitter at @LindseyAMiller or just stop by to see what else Michael and I have to say.
Xerox is behind a new “public service announcement” to warn the office worker of a dangerous ailment, Information Overload Syndrome, also known as IOS.
Do you suffer from it?
Does anyone else think the Xerox video, created by Young & Rubicam, which hit the Internet in May, has a striking resemblance to this Ragan-produced “public service announcement” for Grammar Obsessive Disorder posted in February?
Until I was about 24 or 25 I refused to drink Starbucks coffee—even though I liked the taste—opting instead for java from local coffee shops. I was militant about it. If my only option for caffeine was Starbucks then principle alone would fuel me through a morning.
Then the woman who would become my fiance told me to lighten up. And I did.
With that advice, I started drinking Starbucks, secretly. I snuck it the same way a relapsed smoker might sneak a cigarette. It took about one year before I was comfortable enjoying it in full view of people I knew. But it was well worth it. Principles can be so exhausting.
And now here I am at my computer, Starbucks in hand, writing a long introduction for this three-minute video in which Jon Stewart rips MSNBC's "Morning Joe" talk show for striking a partnership deal with Starbucks. It's funny, but maybe Stewart should lighten up. After all, "Morning Joe" isn't really the news any way.
The group had threatened to boycott MillerCoors if the brewer didn’t shelve its so-called protection commercials, which star Frank Vincent from “The Sopranos” as an apparent member of the mafia who offers protection to bartenders and would-be Miller Lite drinkers.
Here’s one of the ads, a creation of DraftFCB/Chicago:
Kind of funny, I think. Not so much for Lou Rago, IAHRF's founder and president.
That might be so. Verizon Wireless took flak for a commercial it ran showing a backyard barbeque with a large Italian-American family. Verizon even re-edited the spot to remove one of the more audacious comments.
MillerCoors planned to run the “protection” commercials through summer, but announced this week that it will pull the ad.
Mission accomplished for the IAHRF.
Now, if the ongoing mission of the foundation, according to its Web site, is to abolish “negative stereotyping of all ethnic and racial groups in the community as well as in the media,” then it must take issue with "The Simpsons" character, Anthony “Fat Tony” D’Amico, a gross stereotype of an Italian-American mafia boss.
Actor Joe Mantegna supplies the voice of Fat Tony, but—uh-oh—Mantegna is also the celebrity ambassador for the IAHRF. And Mantegna, a Chicago native, has played gangster roles in several movies, including Godfather III, in which he played the no-good Joey Zasa.
So let me get this straight: the foundation protests a beer ad because of the depiction of Italian-American stereotypes, while its celebrity ambassador fuels that stereotype.
Behold, the first-ever PR Junkie guest post. It comes from Roula Amire, the managing editor of Ragan.com. She covered the public relations beat for Ragan for six years prior to her current post.
By Roula Amire, managing editor, Ragan.com
When I heard that my dear old friend Jack O’Dwyer created a podcast for his site, I couldn’t plug in my headphones fast enough to tune in.
For those of you who don’t know Jack, he’s the granddaddy of PR publishing. I covered the PR beat for years at Ragan, and his weekly newsletter—Jack O’Dwyer’s Newsletter—was the source for all things PR. The yellow-colored, eight-page print newsletter still arrives on my desk each week.
But a podcast? How very social media of him. If Jack O’Dwyer is podcasting, maybe it’s time I, gasp, sign up for Facebook.
Oh, the anticipation! Headphones on, volume up, let it rip, Jack!
Not more than 30 seconds passed when disappointment set in. It’s the same exhale I take when I flip to the back page of his newsletter and read his editorial. Both mediums now allow Jack to rail about the singular topic that grabs his interest: PRSA.
No matter what I’d interview him about, he’d find a way to blast PRSA.
“Those nitwits are having a closed-door meeting and they banned me from attending. Banning a reporter from covering association meetings! Have you ever heard of such thing?!” he’d spout through the phone.
In fact, it’s PRSA that prompted him to take to the audio waves.
“One reason for doing this now is that more than 100 chapter presidents elected of the PR society are coming to New York this Friday and Saturday at a cost of at least $100,000,” he begins the podcast. “I think many parts of that two-day meeting should be audio cast live so the membership can hear what’s going on … It should not be closed and secretive… this is stonewalling. My editorial this week is calling for boots on the ground at the society’s headquarters.”
Jack’s right. He’s the stalwart for transparency in the industry. And I would never want him to stop. But I do want to hear his opinions about something else. Anything else, for that matter.
So here’s my plea:
Jack, you’ve ripped that association more times than anyone could ever count. There’s nary a PRSA president that’s gone unscathed during his or her tenure with you at the publishing helm.
But, Jack, what about everything else that’s happening in PR? You’re doing a podcast for crying out loud! A podcast from the publisher of one of the few trade print publications to survive. Talk to us about that.
Print is in a free-fall downward, social media has transformed public relations and no one can shut up about this new-fangled craze that’s Twitter (including us). What do you think about that? I, for one, want to know. Your voice during this roller coaster of a ride that we’re all on is missing.
My headphones await you. I’ll tune in next week to your podcast hoping not to hear about PRSA. Maybe you’ll rip me for this piece. And if you do, all the better.
A recent survey found that your company’s social media campaign—if your company falls into one of the nine categories surveyed—will only influence the purchase decisions of 5 percent of social media users.
The nine categories were travel, banks and financial services, clothes and shoes, restaurants, cell/mobile services, personal care products, cars and trucks, groceries and food, and prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.
The survey, by Knowledge Networks, also found that only 16 percent of social media users claimed they’re more likely to buy from companies that advertise on social sites.
Knowledge Networks surveyed Internet users between the ages of 13 and 54. Eight-three percent of those surveyed said they participate in social media Web sites, 47 percent on a weekly basis.
When I visit Facebook or Twitter, I’m usually not looking for advice on what to buy. Although I do interact with brands on Twitter—not so much Facebook—which adds up when it comes time to make a purchase a decision.
Here's an example. Orbitz was never my first stop when I started shopping for travel deals online. However, I started following Orbitz on Twitter, because I heard it tweets good deals. I haven’t booked airfare or hotel in, well, too long, but the near daily interaction with Orbitz on Twitter has inspired me to make it the first place I check for low fares.
And I promise Orbitz didn't entice me to write that, because—phew—it just sounded like I was slinging their product. Guess that's the power of social media, or else the power of a dreary Chicago morning in June. Either one.
Tell us how you manage unrealistic expectations, meet reporter needs, churn out news when there is none, deal with a client you can't stand, and what you say to people that slam PR. Or anything else that's on your mind.