In an attempt to combat years of poor public relations, Monsanto has decided to take their case directly to the people through various campaigns. On a new site called The Conversation they are answering questions directly from consumers. [more inside]
Modern public relations has, in its own parlance, an image problem. As an investigation copublished by the Columbia Journalism Review and ProPublica put it, the industry was literally birthed from a train wreck.... In stark contrast to newsrooms, in which women have never exceeded 38 percent, public relations operates as a solidly pink-collar sector of the creative industries and comprises a labor force that is currently over 85 percent female. The palpable distaste for PR practitioners that continues to swell — spearheaded by the very same members of the media with whom publicists theoretically enjoy a symbiotic relationship — requires, then, a deeper look at how gendered assumptions about work continue to shape our contemporary notions of creative labor under capitalism.
"Pastry work takes a level of skill, precision and rigor that I lacked in spades. I could’ve maybe become a decent pastry cook, with months of practice and a patient boss, but I was in no way qualified to be a pastry chef. I gave it my best effort, for three days, until the chef-owner realized her mistake and fired me. The place closed in less than 6 months. I never got paid." Laurie Woolever at The Billfold talks about how she went from Botantical Garden Intern to Anthony Bourdain's assistant.
Her image was built on the infrastructure of the status quo — a straight, white, doting mother engaged in a long-term monogamous relationship — but made just extraordinary enough to truly entice but never offend. [SLBF]
The Dove Sketches Beauty Scam
"Dude, are you doing the Dove ad now? That was so April 15th...?" Yes, I realize I missed the meme train, but it's better to be right than part of the debate, especially when there is no debate, this is all a short con inside a 50+ year long con. Remember House Of Games? "It's called a confidence game. Why, because you give me your confidence? No: because I give you mine."[more inside]
To promote their latest dance record, the record company mailed out a 12" single. But how could those who received it play it? This is their solution. [Warning: this is technically a promo for an artist and a small record label - I just think its an interesting use of technology]
In an ongoing effort to call out the PR tactic of silence which started with a focus on SimCity, Rock Paper Shotgun points out that after the public outcry, controversy, and an apology from Deep Silver which concluded "we want to reiterate ... how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again", the special edition of Dead Island: Riptide which includes a statue of a woman's severed torso silently went on sale anyway. [more inside]
Daily Telegraph: Why the world isn't running out of oil: "Moreover, as well as bountiful oilfields in North America, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other producers in the Middle East, there are massive, barely tapped reserves in South America, Africa and the Arctic: not billions of barrels’ worth, but trillions. So the planet is not about to run out of oil. On the contrary, according to a Harvard University report published last year, we are heading for a glut. The 75-page study, by oil executive Leonardo Maugeri, was based on a field-by-field analysis of most of the major oil exploration and development projects in the world, and it predicted a 20 per cent increase in global oil production by 2020." [more inside]
Anne Helen Petersen, the voice behind "Scandals Of Classic Hollywood" (previously) and "doctor of celebrity gossip" gives us an academic rundown of the hows and whys of the last hundred years of Hollywood Star Making, celebrity, PR, marketing, fandom, and scandal management.
"...for the next tour, I’ll either be calm and collected or nervous with a dangerously out-of-control boner."
Did the Met betray rape victims to avoid bad PR? "Former Metropolitan Police officer -- and Lib Dem mayoral candidate -- Brian Paddick has appeared at the Leveson Inquiry, and his witness statement contains an astonishing allegation against his ex-employers. In a section about the Metropolitan Police Service's attempt to improve its image in the media, Paddick details the "negative commentary" on Ian Blair after he took over as Met commissioner. "The Met went from being very open to being almost paranoid," he writes. One of the consequences of this, he adds, was that he was asked to "water-down" a report critical of the Met's handling of rape cases." [more inside]
Australia's Qantas Airlines has been left red-faced after an ill-timed public relations campaign and Twitter competition backfired, drawing thousands of angry responses. The contest ran a day after talks with unions broke down, and after Qantas grounded its entire fleet in October. Thousands of passengers were stranded worldwide after the firm halted flights in an attempt to end months of strike action by workers angered by the firm's restructuring plans. The "Qantas Luxury" promotion, launched on 22 November, quickly tapped into customers' ire. ~ BBC
"Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!" And Other Tales Of Truthiness... At the end of World War II, Chrysler sent small hardbound books to shareholders chronicling ways the company had contributed to the war effort. Two have now been placed online at the Chrysler Imperial Club's website: "Tanks are Mighty Fine Things" and "A War Job 'Thought Impossible' (The story of the Chrysler-Sperry Gyro-Compass)" (Via) [more inside]
Why do people believe something even after it's been proven false? A new study confirms that "the effect of misinformation on memory and reasoning cannot be completely eliminated even after it's been corrected." [more inside]
PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsrooms - "You would go into these hearings and there would be more PR people representing these big players than there were reporters, sometimes by a factor of two or three" ..it's getting tougher to know when a storyline originates with a self-interested party producing its own story.
Why Does the FTC Mandate that Bloggers Disclose Freebies & Samples When Print Writers/Editors Don't Have To? Racked.com Asks an FTC Lawyer. Last year, Ann Taylor was investigated for offering giftcards to bloggers they failed to disclosed (the investigation was closed without enforcement).
Last Friday, USA Today reported that two people from PR firm Burson-Marsteller had been contacting various news outlets and bloggers, pushing a story about how Google's "Social Circle" gmail feature violates users' privacy. The pitch was made on behalf of an unnamed client that The Daily Beast now confirms was Facebook. [more inside]
New York State Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) did an IAMA (I Am A Democrat Who Fights) Q and A on reddit last week. While he answered many questions, he responded to the top five most popular questions questions in video form. [more inside]
GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons has just returned from a trip to Zimbabwe and has posted a video of the killing of a "problem elephant" (graphic images). The response has been fairly predictable: outraged tweets and Facebook posts, and a very special award from PETA. With many GoDaddy customers vowing to take their business elsewhere competitor NameCheap.com has taken the opportunity witha special offer of $4.99 transfers and a donation to Save The Elephants.
February 25, 2011: Vogue calls her "a rose in the desert": "Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young, and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies." (Wikipedia about her husband: "He has been criticized for his disregard for human rights, economic lapses, sponsorship of terrorism, and corruption.") [more inside]
"‘Churnalism’ is a news article that is published as journalism, but is essentially a press release without much added." Churnalism.com is a site created by the British charity Media Standards Trust, which lets you input the text of a press release to compare it with the text of news articles in the British media. [more inside]
Wired: "Who 'Ruled the Air' in 1910, and Who Rules It Now?". Also see: Vintage AdBrowser (Previously): Communications Ads of the: 1910's, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
"The Man Who Never Was." Vanity Fair editor Todd S. Purdum follows up his 2007 profile of then-Senator John McCain and a scathing 2009 profile of Sarah Palin by asking whether McCain, "...the leader so many Americans admired — and so many journalists covered — ever truly existed." (Previously)
Women of the Storm ... and the men who love them - anchored by Oscar winner Sandra Bullock and including many celebrities, an advertising campaign called "Be the One," sponsored by the Gulf-Coast organization Women of the Storm, recently issued a "50-state" challenge to develop a "national solution" to problems in the Gulf of Mexico. The PR watchdog site DeSmog Blog alleges that the campaign is an astroturf effort from "BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Citgo, Chevron, and other polluters." The allegations contend a front group called America's Wetland Foundation is using Women of the Storm to propagate the message that taxpayers should contribute to the oil-spill cleanup. The New Orleans Times-Picayune disagrees. The Women of the Storm and America's Wetland Foundation respond to the allegations. What's the truth?
MAC Cosmetics and Rodarte partnered to create a makeup collection. Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind Rodarte, "were struck by the ethereal landscape and the impoverished factory workers floating to work at dawn in a sleepy, dreamlike state." People started questioning the sensitivity and intelligence behind the naming, particularly a glittery pink nailpolish named Juarez. [more inside]
Leaked CIA Report: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters" (pdf / Scribed link here) outlines possible public relations / propaganda strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan.
The Lobbying-Media Complex. The Nation explores the pervasive influence of paid lobbyists on the media landscape. [more inside]
Ever wonder how to get a book on the NY Times best seller list? Step one: Set up a PAC. ABCNews and others reporting on the recent revelation that Sarah Palin funneled upwards of sixty grand to a PAC she established to buy thousands of copies of her own recent "best-selling" book.
Things seem to be going from bad to worse in PR terms for the Dixon Stores Group. First, PC World was voted one of the worst high-street stores in Britain. Then, their staff Facebook group reveals a lot of somewhat interesting comments abotu their customers. [more inside]
Colonel Muammar al-Gadaffi, Leader and Guide of the Revolution, has been consulting with two US-based PR / lobbying companies—The Livingston Group (Sourcewatch) and Monitor (Sourcewatch)—to effect the rebranding of Gadaffi's Libya as a desirable and trustworthy ally of the United States. Confidential documents from these consultations have been obtained and posted online by a Libyan opposition group called NCLO. They include fee quotes, progress reports, and mission plans, as well as a personal tutorial curriculum for Gaddafi's son. Via LRBlog [more inside]
Without much fanfare, the Global War on Terror has ended. The new name for these military interventions is the Overseas Contingency Operation. Press Q&A. Some Republican representatives discuss. (SPOILER: They are not pleased.) Military blogs discuss. Similarly, the War on Drugs also looks to be on the way out, though no new name for the project has been announced at this time.
The videogames industry's not known for its subtlety when promoting its wares. Controversy has often been a successful part of their marketing campaigns. But is this a step too far? They'll have to go some way to cause more chaos than these guys
With orders for new aircraft down, the private jet industry is launching a PR onslaught and a website to counter all the bad press surrounding greedy executives flying private jets. Lo and behold, two financial columnists expressed strikingly similar views on the subject. Members of Congress, who love to catch a ride home on a contributor's private plane, are helping out too.
How to blog, or counter-blog, for the US Air force, in handy flow chart form.
Fish. They're ugly and they smell. You can't find many calendars with them on, and they lose out to pandas when it comes to zoo adoption. But wait! PETA are going to save fish through canny PR. Say hello to Sea Kittens.
Show me a PR person who is "accurate" and "truthful," and I'll show you a PR person who is unemployed. In The Wake Of Scott McClellan's New Book, CBS Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen Says PR People Are Aghast At The Truth. Includes a follow-up to the mountain of reactions he received.
A geek named daniel_k wanted to help his fellow Vista users. He created a set of drivers that would get their Creative sound cards working under Vista -- something beyond the ken and expertise of Creative's engineering team. Creative VP Phil O'Shaughnessy, however, took umbrage. The results? A PR disaster with hundreds of users pledging to boycott.
In what may be the silliest poll ever taken, British women say Men Named Dave are Most Likely to be "Well Endowed". There's a whole "Top 10" and "Bottom 10" list of names... see how you stack up. The people who did the survey do this kind of thing for companies to get publicity. It works pretty well. [more inside]
Is there no humor in public relations? The public relations blog PRBlogNews included a post last week on PR and LSD (a long strange happy tradition). It appears to have been a joke, mixing a selection of early youth-on-acid videos with a vintage discourse about LSD by Dr. Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) re-imagined as a history of successful "tripvertising." It must have stirred some sort of trouble; there's been a follow-up, "LSD and PR don’t mix" post (Don’t eat the brown acid) which warns against mixing PR and LSD (and hot dogs).
A Nashville blogger decided to tackle to the project of consuming and reviewing all 51 sandwiches on the Which Wich menu. The local Which Wich caught on, and despite some negative critiques, decided to promote the blogger's URL on every sandwich bag leaving their store.
"The station's gaffes have included broadcasting in December 2006 a 68-minute call to arms against Israelis by a senior figure of the terrorist group Hezbollah..."
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program. That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, ... from their About US page: Alhurra is operated by non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the American people through the U.S Congress. US Govt. Accountability Office abstract about other MBN problems here.
How to control your look of openness by Microsoft. An inside look at how Microsoft spun wired's article covering Microsoft's video site Channel 9. It's an interesting peek at how PR works.
Owen Wilson has denied any connection between his new movie, "You, Me and Dupree," and '70s supergroup Steely Dan, a spokesman for the actor said Friday. The band recently posted a letter on their Web site claiming that Wilson's Dupree character was based on their Grammy-winning song, "Cousin Dupree," about a couch-hopping houseguest. In a statement released by his spokeswoman, Ina Treciokas, Wilson said: "I have never heard the song `Cousin Dupree' and I don't even know who this gentleman, Mr. Steely Dan, is. I hope this helps to clear things up and I can get back to concentrating on my new movie, `HEY 19.'"
It's Miller Time for SCIENCE: Survey Says: New Men are Evolving Adults, hate wine and shoes!
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