Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA Troubles, continued

The TSA continues to get shellacked.  I saw footage on television this morning of a young boy who was told to remove his shirt and then get patted down by an "agent."

A young boy?  This isn't the Middle East where terrorists use children to act as mules.

Here's a rant about the anti-TSA rants.  Peter Shankman presents a good case for people to (1) shut up and not opt-out of the body screenings and (2) if you're going to organize an opt-out day, do it on a day that makes sense.  He rightly points out that the TSA is not security; it's "security theater."

The AP has an interesting piece out today which basically echos what I've said earlier about the TSA's problem being communications-based.

So, aside from obvious operational changes (rules that are consistent and make sense, profiling, simple logic, hiring intelligent "agents," etc.), what can the TSA do to improve its image?

1.  Let people know the real facts about the amount of radiation they are exposed to by the scanners.
2.  Show examples of the images that are produced by the scanners.
3.  Provide a real explanation of the rules and why they make sense.
4.  Stop hiding behind the notion that information can't be divulged "due to security reasons." 

I expect the TSA to issue a PR RFP anytime now...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Social media: MLM or late-night infomercial?

Here's a question I recently posted on LinkedIn:

Is social media like MLM or maybe late-night infomercials?

Here's what I mean.  It seems like there is a handful of people who use social media well to make a very good living.  They are, in many ways, professional social media users who have very successfully leveraged their online "brands" into lucrative careers.

At the same time, it seems like these careers are centered around telling others how they, too, can create social media success.  I can't get the image of the late-night infomercial out of my head.  "Follow my simple 12-step program and YOU TOO can enjoy life as I do!"

Don't misunderstand.  I'm not "anti-social media."  I'm simply making an observation and wonder if anyone agrees.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The TSA's Biggest Problem isn't Security.

The Transportation Security Administration has a problem, and it's not security.  It's image.

I don't deride the organization for what it does.  It serves a vital and important part in public air travel in the United States.  The problem lay not in what they do, but how they do it.

As a frequent-flier I have no problem if they want to pat me down.  Shoes off? No sweat.  Jacket, belt, pants?  I don’t care.  Full-body scan?  Sure.  (Maybe they can have a radiologist on-hand as well...) Cavity search?  Maybe not.

It’s simply the rudeness of the minimum-wage, ill-trained, no-clue “agents” who, I suspect, find themselves in positions of power for the first time in their lives.  Once – only once – I took fate into my hands, turned to an offending agent and said, quite simply, “You know, this would all be much easier if you treated us like people and not your dog.”

He was stunned.  His internal debate played out on his face as he realized that I was right.  No apology of course, but I could have been pulled off the line and made to miss my flight.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen these “professionals” bellow in the faces of hapless seniors, young parents or foreigners who don’t quite know what’s going on.  This is not breaking news; if you do a quick internet search, you'll see countless of posts like this one.  But my point of differentiation is that TSA staffers can be 100% as effective as they are now (Notice the phrasing.) by being polite.  Yelling will not ferret out someone with ill intentions.  Just the opposite, in fact.

In response, the TSA seems to have embarked on an effort to become more accessible to the public and is offering a multitude of ways to be in touch.  But, they're missing the point.  Much of the public outrage over the TSA would be obviated if they just followed some basic rules of good customer service.

And that is the point of this post.  Very often how we do something is even more important than what we do.  That can be applied to any product or service in any industry.  Including security.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's not just "there, their and they're" anymore.

Apparently, being an award-winning journalist - including the Edward R. Murrow Award - doesn't mean you can't make mistakes.  And it doesn't mean you have good copy editors, either.

In reading Election Day coverage, I came across a piece by Chad Pergram, who covers Congress for Fox.  His article on the new speaker, John Boehner, pointed out:

Political observers have lots of barometers at their disposal to track the political winds. You can crunch polling data, pour over surveys, evaluate voting habits and study electoral history. But most importantly, you learn to trust your gut.
Anyone else have a problem with this sentence?  If you raised your hand and pointed to the word "pour" you'd be correct.  It should be "pore."

It's the whole "there, their and they're" thing, taken to a new level.

Friday, October 29, 2010

There is no Parallel between Islamophobia and Homphobia

Robert Wright in The New York Times bemoans the wave of islamophobia and compares it the homophobia a generation ago.  His angle is the recent Juan Williams affair.  If I was gay, I'd have taken offense.

Write accurately points out: "Over the past nine years about 90 million flights have taken off from American airports, and not one has been brought down by a Muslim terrorist. Even in 2001, no flights were brought down by people in 'Muslim garb.'"

But, Wright's logic completely fails when you consider the following fact: homophobia, ridiculous as it is, is not the result of some sort of global gay agenda to destroy "The Infidel," murder civilians and impose a religion on others. 

I'm curious, how many murders or terrorist attacks have been perpetrated in the name of homosexuality? Perhaps the convicted Times Square bomber is secretly gay.  Nidal Hassan might be gay, too.

Juan Williams should likely not have said what he did.  But Wright's position reveals simple ignorance of recent history.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of Urban Legends and Parental Behavior

Never, in the United States, has a child died from eating poisoned candy on Halloween.  (No, I didn't do my own research; I'm relying on The Wall Street Journal.)

Why then, the insanity around this relatively harmless holiday?

Lenore Skenazy has her own theories.  I think it's just a great case study for effective public relations and communications.  Consider:
  • The overwhelming opinion seems to be that Halloween is a dangerous time for kids.  
  • The facts do not support this.
  • No one cares.
What we see here is that once a narrative takes hold it is next-to-impossible to dispel it, even if it is blatantly incorrect.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you're looking for Viagra, don't expect to see deals in your inbox.

It's a happy day for anyone with an email inbox., the leading purveyor of inbox clutter, mysteriously closed down earlier in the week.

Based in Russia, the company was responsible for so much email spam, that people who monitor global spam traffic (Yes, it's apparently a job.) have noticed a decline of up to 20%.

Now where am I going to find special deals on Viagra?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Four Good Tips to get the Most out of your PR Agency Relationship

Jennifer Walzer posted an interesting article yesterday on The New York Times' website, about what she's learned in three months of working with a PR firm.

I have to admit that, before I read the piece, I held my breath.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I don't know the firm she's working with - Springboard (They seem to be hip, and all.) - but clearly Walzer has discovered that hiring a PR firms isn't outsourcing.  Just the opposite.  It takes time and effort to make the relationship pay off.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Sydney Oprah House

In case you've been under a rock, Oprah is taking her audience to Australia in December.  Really, she's taking the whole world - because that's her television reach.

At first, I thought it was a bit much, but then I learned the Australian government is footing the bill.  Brilliant publicity for a mere $3,000,000 (not sure if that's US or Aussie dollars).  The amount of exposure Australia will get will far exceed the investment.  If you take a look at some of what they've tried in the past, this move is simply brilliant.

An Interesting Take on the Mosque Near Ground Zero

Here's an interesting take on the mosque to be built near Ground Zero: it's not going to happen because it's essentially a publicity stunt.

Commentator David Frum posted his take on this back in August.  If he's right, it's brilliant.  Controversy is always good for generating discussion and look at how much time we're wasting talking about it!  I mean, even President Obama has decided to comment, elevating the whole thing well above where it should have stayed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Reports of my Death are Greatly Exaggerated

Mark Twain was correct.  Simon Dumenco is not.  In his recent rant at, Simon informs us the press release "officially died" this past summer.  It's interesting to read the handful of comments.  All of them are negative.  A quick Google check shows articles as old as four years ago heralding the end of press releases.

That's interesting, because clients still ask for them and, oftentimes, issuing press releases makes sense.

Now, let's be fair to Simon.  His recent post talks almost exclusively about "celebrity" America.  His logic shows fault with his assertion "As the celebrity-industrial complex goes, so goes the rest of corporate America."  While it makes perfect sense for celebrities and their followers to talk in 140-character snippets, doing so when you have something of substance to say is irresponsible.

So, perhaps companies will tweet about earnings and whatnot, but most likely, such tweets will refer followers to a URL where they'll be able to read - wait for it - a press release with the news.

UPDATE - John Mayer has now declared Twitter as "over."  Now what will we do to communicate?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We all make mistaks

I remember once, as a kid, seeing a very brief news item about a traffic sign, painted on the road, warning drivers they were entering a "school zone."  School, was spelled "sckool."  Funny enough to make the six o'clock news.

But, could such a thing possibly happen on a national level, causing embarrassment, say, to one of the nation's institutions of higher learning?

It did.  The poor folks at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, allowed their PR team to put in motion a campaign around the notion of "D+."  The "plus" is to signify an advantage of some sort.

The campaign was "designed to catch the attention of high school students" who may find it difficult to differentiate among the countless come-ons they receive from prospective colleges.

I bet it's succeeding.

I have to admit, from a high school perspective, it's kind of funny.  In an email defending the campaign, survey results are carefully drawn out to show that target audiences found the campaign interesting.

A few thoughts:

1.  I think the concept would work much better if it was tongue-in-cheek, as in: "Now that we have your attention, here's why Drake is a good school for you."

2.  The problem is in taking it seriously.  Only compounding the challenge is that school officials now need to explain the campaign to faculty and staff.

3.  If the campaign was designed to simply increase awareness and cause people to talk about Drake, they've already succeeded.

If you take a look at the firm that created the campaign, you see right away this doesn't appear to be a fly-by-night or a bunch of idiots who don't know what they're doing.  Part of the execution seems a bit off, but other than that, if Drake is smart, the school can make lots of hay out of this.

And, after all, that's what this is about.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bret Stephens is one Smart Fella

So, someone wants to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan.  Offensive?  Yes.  Must we defend someone's right to freedom of religious expression?  Yes. 

But there are limits, especially when past performance should be indicative of future results.

Read the following from Bret Stephens.

This is why Israel will always Lose the PR Battle

You may have read reports of the former Israeli soldier who posted photos of herself sitting next to blindfolded and handcuffed Arab prisoners.  Like the "dancing soldiers" video, popular a couple of months ago, the photos are in bad taste, at the least, destructive at worst.  (I'm not providing links to these images because I do not want to do my part in perpetuating them.)

What's the big deal?  It's simple, really.  A picture, it is said, is worth one thousand words.  And with every juvenile posting propagated by Israeli progeny, the case for Israel's defense becomes increasingly problematic.

As a kid I was taught that I represent all Jews.  When I litter, someone will say, "Look at that Jewish kid littering," and NOT, "Look at Alan littering."  It's exactly the same thing with young Israelis.  They have an obligation to think ahead 10 steps to the possible reputational repercussions of their actions.  Adding insult to stupidity, is that Israeli soldiers - who are as technologically advanced as anyone - think that by posting such material on the Internet, it wouldn't spread like wildfire across the Globe.

So, this is why Israeli will forever be playing catch-up and defense against itself: Israelis across the board need to understand they play a crucial role in their country's - and people's - reputations.  It isn't only an issue to be managed by elected officials and "someone else."  Every single citizen must take responsibility and behave accordingly.

Public relations, as I am fond of saying, is about what you do and NOT what you say.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Dome

My wife bought me a great present a couple of weeks ago: The Dome, by Stephen King.  He is a master storyteller with a brain that should be studied.

I haven't been able to put the book down, though it weighs in at 6.17 lbs (1,074 pages, soft cover - much like that all-in-one Lord of the Rings tomb my son is working through). As of page 812, the story, in a nutshell, is Lord of the Flies-like.  People get stuck in a New England town and, in a matter of days, all hell breaks loose.  Riots.  Murder.  Suicide.  All good King fare.

But what does this have to do with  my usual topic of pontification?

I wonder, inexplicable/supernatural events notwithstanding, how accurate is King's narrative?  Very, I would venture.  Psychological experiments have shown it again and again.  Here, we have a small town where everyone knows just about everyone.  Yet, at the drop of a hat, teams coalesce and it quickly becomes "us versus them."

It's amazing how innate it is to find someone to blame for a problem rather than focusing on a solution.  We see this all the time when it comes to emergencies and crisis situations.  First response by most people is to say, "It's not my fault!"  Preschoolers to Fortune 500 CEOs do it.

Here's my thought for the day: in a crisis situation, focus on solving the problem, not laying blame.  Your constituents won't necessarily remember who caused the problem (unless perhaps you pour a bazillion gallons of crude oil on them), but they're likely to praise and forever remember who solved it.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The End of Forgetting

This past Sunday, The New York Times Sunday magazine featured an article about the end of forgetting.  In it, Jeffrey Rosen presents a rather scary proposition - one that ought to be intuitive to anyone with any familiarity of online culture: every move you make can be kept online for posterity and come back to haunt you in ways you never imagined. 

Take for example, Stacy Snyder, whom Rosen references.  She had what was deemed as "inappropriate" photos of herself and, as a result, was denied a teaching job.  Why should what she does during non-work time at all affect her professional qualifications?

I can't go into the depth of argument Rosen did - I don't think I'd have anything to add - but I do want to comment on this from a perspective of reputation management.  As anyone who has been at the wrong end of a reputation crisis can attest: one "oh crap" is far more powerful than 10 "attaboys." 

Today, individuals who engage in public displays of everything personal must take upon themselves the same rules of engagement as companies and other organizations interested in reputation management.  To a large extent, what is right and wrong is irrelevant.  We can only deal with what is.

Friday, July 16, 2010


There's an AP video on Yahoo today about a Holocaust survivor who stars in a video, along with his grandchildren.  Here is the video from YouTube:

If you watch the video until the end, you'll get to the punchline, where the grandfather says he never would have thought that he'd "be here today dancing" with his grandchildren.

I guess not too surprisingly, there are people who aren't happy.

While I don't agree, I understand their point of view.  But, to me, this man isn't just celebrating his survival.  He's celebrating his total and complete victory over millions of people who sought to destroy him and all those who's come after him.

By just living and having children and grandchildren, he celebrates victory every day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Foot in Mouth Disease

Interesting post by The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Zaslow on slips of the tongue.

One of the most important media and communications tips I give to clients is to "know your story."  I picked this up from a former employer who understood the power of having key messages and sticking to them.  One of the most painful things to watch is an interview with someone who isn't clear on what he or she is saying.  "The worst thing you can do in an interview," my employer would say, "is to try out a new message in an interview setting."

So, what is one to do?  Practice!

Here's how I put it to clients:  Remember when you were dating someone you wanted to impress (perhaps your spouse) and you'd stand in front of the mirror and review what you were going to say?  This is the same thing, except I'm your mirror and I'll give you feedback.

So, today's take-aways?

1.  Think about your key messages.
2.  Practice saying your key messages.
3.  No matter what, don't ever "try out" new messaging in an interview situation.

As Zaslow points out: "If only more of us would follow the advice of 1950s-era humorist Sam Levenson. 'It's so simple to be wise,' he once said. 'Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it.'"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In praise of doing nothing

When I was at my first job - at Renee Sall Associates on Manhattan's East Side - I remember reading an essay in Newsweek, bemoaning the fact that, with business operating at breakneck speed, there was little if no time left for creativity.

I was reminded of that essay when reading this one by Peter Bregman.  In it, he laments the loss of boredom and the elusive downtime.  I agree with him.  I do some good thinking when sitting quietly on airplanes or while stuck in traffic. 

But here's another trend I'm noticing, as I speak to colleagues, clients and prospects.  There is a pressing need for an answer now.  Personally, I'm often in wonder of people who seem to have every answer at the ready.  Nonetheless, more often than not, we would be better served if we waited, reflected or - God forbid - said "I don't know."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just a reminder that actions speak louder than words.

This is a bit too long, but sadly amusing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Death of the Oval Office Address?

I just watched the beginning of President Obama's Oval Office address regarding the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I was surprised that I felt compelled to turn it off.

His words, as usual, seem on target, on message.  They had the right levels of muted anger toward BP, compassion toward Gulf region residents and business owners.

My issue, it seems, isn't with the content of the message, but with the medium.  Simply, I'm not used to seeing him perform this way.  I'm used to seeing the President behind the lectern or working the crowd in a "town hall" type of setting.

Today, the President wanted to do what those before him have done in times of national crisis.  He sought to leverage the gravity of the Oval Office.

I think he failed.

Today, we see him sitting behind a desk where his natural hand gestures seem comical and distracting, his reading of the Teleprompter, unnatural.  The result?  For me, it's the impression this man doesn't belong behind this desk.  He seems out of his element.  In some ways, too small.

Typically, I talk about the message.  I think President Obama should have paid more attention to the medium.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

No Such Thing as "Off the Record"

I wrote the following when the Helen Thomas bruhaha was just brewing.  Must've forgotten to actually post.  In any event, the  message is still the same: no such thing as off the record!

I often tell my clients, "There's no such thing as 'off the record' when talking to a journalist."  It's always interesting to see the tables turned.

In case you've been hiding under a rock, storied White House reporter and now columnist, Helen Thomas, was apparently unaware that recent comments regarding Jews and Israel might actually be recorded when she was asked at a recent White House event what she thought of Israel.

I think she's enjoyed her last birthday cupcake at the White House.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two of my favorite things: writing and Glee

OK, saying the television show "Glee" is one of my favorite things is a bit of a stretch.  I've seen one complete episode (Madonna) and snippets of others.  But, I was thrilled when I saw in my inbox a posting from Poynter's Roy Peter Clark (who writes about writing), about why "Glee" is such a great show.

Here's the link.  Enjoy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Truth in Advertising

I had "one of those moments" this weekend. 

My wife and I were talking about the challenge her employer is having attracting people to take advantage of the various services they provide.  My 11 year-old son pipes up and says, "Why don't you do what the commercial people do?"

Me: "What do you mean?"

Him: "Well, they should tell the people about all the good things that could happen if they go talk to Mommy."


Him: "You know, not all of it has to be true."

I was reminded at once of the 1990 movie, "Crazy People."  I wonder, though, was my son commenting on what he observes on television every day, or was he simply letting us know that lying is perfectly acceptable, a normal thing to do?

I'd like to think it's the former.

Lying - even stretching the truth - usually ends up coming back to bite us.  The most recent example I can think of is that of CT Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is running for senator in Connecticut.  It's easy to understand why he was less-than-truthful.  It's amazing to think he thought he wouldn't get caught.

These days, anyone who speaks publicly anywhere and at any time, simply has to know there is never, ever such a thing as "off the record."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Killer Success

Any PR pro will tell you that lack of a credible story will kill even the best PR program.  However, I maintain that most don't think about how success can kill a communications effort.

Oftentimes, clients - and even PR folk - can neglect to take into consideration what would happen if a company/product/offering and, by extension, the communications program, is wildly successful.  What happens if - for positive reasons - virtually no proactive, outbound effort is needed?

I've been lucky enough to be in that position a few times in my career with young client companies, and here's what I learned:

  • Most clients are not equipped to handle the flood of inbound inquires.  Appoint someone (internal PR person, agency, consultant) to manage all inbound traffic.  Keep lists with detailed notes.  Make sure everyone gets a timely response.
  • A bird in hand is not always worth two in the bush.  Granted, a great "opportunity" may present itself, but failing to keep in mind who the true target audience is and which outlets are best for reaching them, can cause a communications strategy to veer off-course.
  • Take the time to research the people who are calling.  If someone calls from Good Morning America, verify their contact info.  If they give you a cell number, ask for a direct dial.  Be cautious when it comes to private email addresses, if the contact is unknown.  You'd be surprised...
  • Be polite and courteous.  The media may love you now, but that will change.
This is not an exhaustive list.  It's just four observations based on personal experience.  In many ways, this approach resembles what to do when a crisis hits.  In many ways, unforeseen success can quickly turn from nirvana to disaster.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Importance of Doing SOMETHING

I was a Xerox salesman for six miserable months.  I sold five low-volume copiers in that time and, while there is much I'd like to forget about that period of my professional development, I learned one useful lesson: when in doubt of what to do next, do SOMETHING.  At Xerox, that meant "make calls."

We were given a list of "prospects" (in quotes because the list was more of a phone book that a collection of qualified leads) and told to reach out to a certain number every week.  Anyone who has ever done this sort of thing knows what I'm talking about.  For whatever reason, I was a loser at that particular numbers game, but the lesson shared by my manager has since served me well.

Put another way, a supervisor of mine at Edelman (the same one who taught me that "PR is about what you do and NOT what you say") confided in me that "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission."  Clients, media, supervisors - whomever - will likely be much quicker to forgive what you've done than to grant permission in the first place. 

What does this mean in a communications mindset?  Very often, it's tempting to wait until all storytelling elements are lined up and in tip-top shape.  Media kits, backgrounders, bios, press releases, photos, b-roll, research - you name it - can all stand in the way of getting the job done.

Hogwash, I say.  At some point, you just have to dive in.

The ONLY exception is that of message development.  Everything else can fall into line later.  But right now, the single most important piece of preparation is figuring out what you're going to say and how.  Once you do that, everything else will flow into place.

I guarantee it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Preparing for the Unpreparable

I'm no follower of Polish politics.  Before a few hours ago, I would have been hard-pressed to tell you that Lech Kaczynski was the country's president.  In fact, there is no way on Earth I would have guessed.

As I read a few postings on the Polish President's plane crash and the death of everyone on board, I was struck by the magnitude of the crisis now taking place in Poland.  Is this a scenario they could have planned for?  Sure, we all know there is a line of succession in the United States and anyone who's watched The West Wing can tell you why a member of the Cabinet stays behind at the White House during the State of the Union address.  But I mean, really, do these kinds of situations really happen?

Well, yeah.

Business owners have a responsibility to consider what will happen to their businesses in the event of a crisis.  Issues of safety, succession and business continuity must all be addressed.  Depending on the size of the company and the product or service offered, crisis communications planning must be part of the consideration.  Smart managers will take the time now - while they have it - to think about a variety of scenarios that could come up and how they ought to go about managing the communication around these scenarios.

Friday, April 9, 2010

PR & Social Media

Nice post from Ashley Wirthlin at on the importance of making sure social media fit (not "fits") into your public relations strategy before jumping in nilly willy.

Pay attention to points #3 and #4.   Number three speaks to a recent post of mine - consistency and follow-through; number four is meant to force the question of why social media?

Good work, Ashley.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Small Biz PR Tips

It's refreshing to come across articles like this one by Amy-Mae Elliott, who offers five PR tips that actually make sense!

Whichever tip(s) you decide to follow, don't forget to cover the basics of messaging, solid writing and sound strategy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am SO guilty.

When Braverman Communications was incorporated way back in 2003, a very smart man shared the following thought: When you work for yourself you're always doing three things.  (1) Collecting for yesterday's work, (2) Doing today's work; and (3) Pitching tomorrow's work.

He forgot to tell me there are really four things you need to do, the fourth being: "Don't forget to post to your blog."

Which brings me to a thought I've found myself sharing with clients on a rather frequent basis: remember what business you're in.  In all likelihood, you're not in the publishing business.  Put another way (also not my original thought): anyone can publish a newsletter.  The trick is publishing your 12th newsletter.

There are so many great tools available for broadcasting your message.  Not too long ago, the fax machine revolutionized media relations and, today, the plethora of social media is (not "are") doing it again.  The key to success will be to know when to join the fray and when to hold back.  If you think I'm nuts, think back to the late 1990s/early 2000s when every established company under the sun was considering appending ".com" to its name, either as a DBA or legally. New companies with names that didn't start with "i" or "e" weren't taken seriously.

Why?  Because it was the "New Economy" where everything had changed and nothing would ever be the same.  But, guess what?  In the end, investor's still wanted to see profits; and real customers trumped "strategic alliances."

Before you jump headfirst into blogging, newsletter writing, Twitter, Facebook, or anything that resembles publishing, consider what it is you want to get out of the effort.  Are you creating a blog or Twitter account because it's the thing to do?  Why would anyone want to be your "friend?"  Through it all, remember that all the bells and whistles will never replace mastery of the fundamentals.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Social media dilutes brands?

I just watched a video that had me laughing so hard. Why? The guy in it is obnoxious and says things that run completely contrary to just about every marketing person out there.

I also think he may just be right. (If you don't believe that I agree with him, go back and read some of what I've posted in the past on social media.)

Now, he may not be 100% spot on, but if you listen to him (even the sales pitch toward the end), and can get past (1) his obnoxiousness and (2) the fact that viscerally you won't respond well to what he's saying, you may just find yourself nodding your head.

Kudos to my buddy Gelman at Alliance Distributors. His note to me when he sent me this video and other content from this guy: "I think I found your soul-mate.")

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Law Firm with a Sense of Humor

Last week I caught a commercial from a local personal injury law firm that was actually rather funny. It turns out there are two commercials, both with the punch line "There are some cases even we can't win."

Why are these spots so effective? Simple. They show that even lawyers can poke fun at themselves.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More fun in naming...

So, Apple comes out with its iPad. Brilliant. Fits right in with iPod, iTouch. All is cool.

Turns out, for 50% of the population, the name iPad is reminiscent of another product bought on a regular basis, not from Apple, but from a drugstore.

Read and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I hope.

The New Year has brought with it a slew of new projects. I like 2010 already.

I think the biggest news since my last missive was the tremendous earthquake in Haiti. There are two stories emanating from Haiti that deserve some "PR" thought. They are (1) Royal Caribbean's decision to continue docking in Haiti, post-quake, and (2) Israel's disproportionate response in sending aid.

It's not hard to see why Royal Caribbean is being dealt with harshly in the forum of public opinion. After all, with Haitians literally scrounging for scraps of food, RC deposits well-fed tourists to "frolic in the surf" as pointed out in this recent post.

Contrast that to Israel's impressive lightening strike of disproportionate response to the tragedy in Haiti.

As I've said often in this space, public relations is about what you do, NOT what you say. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how long the halo effects of this latest activity last.

(For an interesting LA Times post including video footage of the baby named Israel, click here.)