Pearl Harbor Memorial PR

December 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm (Uncategorized)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34299994/ns/us_news-military/

My little sister is a senior in high school, and one of the things she is proudest of accomplishing in her four years therel is heading a club that raises funds to be sent to the Arizona memorial in Hawaii. They have screened different films from different time periods of Pearl Harbor in the school theatre along with a bake sale in which all proceeds go straight to the memorial fund. I think it’s a great idea, but they have had a hard time keeping a constant flow of people each year to the event. Just another example of how major disasters in the United States almost become novelties over a period of time.

I never would have known that the Arizona memorial was having trouble raising funds if my sister had not told me about it. I think that the PR team for the monument needs to market the memorial as much as possible to preserve it. They could definitely do a campaign every year a couple of weeks before the anniversary of Pearl Harbor to have people memorialize the event by sending a small donation to the fund to preserve the Arizona. I think that this would be very successful, especially if the memorial sent back something intrinsic such as pictures of the memorial or something like that as a thank you for supporting them.

But I also think that today should be more than just sending money to memorials or listening to survival stories of veterans. Today is a day to show respect for troops who died in this attack, as well as all other troops who fight for our country every day.

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Greek Law Enforcement PR

December 6, 2009 at 8:27 pm (Uncategorized)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34298556/ns/world_news-europe/

Extreme riots have broken out in Athens, Greece commemorating the death of a teenage boy shot by police a year ago. Masked youths have been tearing apart the city, attacking police with weapons and storming Athens University to replace the Greek flag with an anarchist banner.

This story brings to light the tough position governments are placed in when dealing with law enforcement PR. I don’t know why the boy was shot and killed a year ago, but the government obviously did not measure public opinion very well when dealing with this issue. Their crisis management team needed to make sure that law enforcement employees were not all lumped together in the same negative light because of one negative situation, which judging by the events a year later, they did not. The government and police PR people needed to make sure that they isolated the event, and had taken every possible step to ensure the public that everything was being done to resolve the situation instead of leaving the public to form their own opinions.

Personally, I don’t care if the shooting was the police officer’s fault or the boy’s fault; there is no excuse for how horribly the rioters are tearing apart the city right now. Over 16 police officers have been injured in addition to several citizens. I don’t see the justification of someone’s death by injuring and possibly killing people who were not attached to the event in any way. These people are just doing their job and trying to keep the peace in the city. It’s irresponsible and juvenile to react this way. It does not honor or bring justice to the boy who died or his family.

I’m interested to see how the riots are resolved and what the government plans on doing to change the negative public opinion concerning Greek law enforcement.

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How Thin is too Thin?

November 20, 2009 at 3:00 pm (Uncategorized)


Yet another case of celebrity stupidity that has lead to a PR nightmare for those in charge of representing their image.
Thursday, Kate Moss made a comment in an interview that has many people angry. During the interview she used the phrase, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” The phrase is commonly used on Web sites that encourage girls to not eat. Moss’ representatives at her agency, Storm, have tried to say that the comment was taken out of context, but I have no clue how a quote like that can be twisted to sound negative if it wasn’t positive to begin with. Even by itself it is plain and simple what that phrase represents to many young girls worldwide: it perpetuates the stereotype that unless you are 5’ 10” and 120 pounds, you are not pretty.
This is yet another blow to the fashion industry that has promoted pin-thin models for the past few decades. The feeling of the general public lately has been turning back the clock to favor fuller-figured, healthier looking models. I feel like this will be a good move for the fashion industry. People want to buy clothes that will look good on their body type, and having models that represent an attainable, regular body shape can only help the industry thrive.
Mishaps like this, on top of retouching drama with Ralph Lauren, seem to signal that people no longer want to aspire to be like these models. France is even working on a bill right now to force companies to make note of any digital retouching made to the model’s image on the ad itself.
Moss’ representatives are going to have to do a lot of work to put Kate back in favorable public opinion, and have their work cut out for them.

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Networking in PR

November 18, 2009 at 3:09 pm (Uncategorized)

In all of our PR classes, it has been drilled into our heads over and over again how important networking is in our line of work. While I believed in networking as a means of getting a job, I didn’t know how much it could help in other areas of PR until my Creative Consultants team hosted “Coco After Dark” for Ciné.

Networking was a huge part of our event’s success. One of the girls on my team interned with Epting Events, and was able to talk to one of the event coordinators and arrange for us to borrow decorations and serving platters free of charge. Vicki, one of our Ciné “managers,” is friends with one of the owners and head chefs of the restaurant The National. I was able to arrange our catering for a reduced cost through them, and they even made more food for us free of charge the night of the event when the first guests to arrive gobbled everything up in 20 minutes. Blvd. magazine expressed interest in doing something around the premiere of Coco Before Chanel as well, and we teamed up with their team to organize and promote the event. I really don’t think that we would have had nearly as extensive of a guest list without their help in the promotional area. And finally, we were able to secure food donations from lots of local Athens restaurants simply by using Ciné’s name.

While my Creative Consultant’s team organized all of the madness of hosting an event for 150 people in a few weeks, it really would have never gotten off the ground without the help of our connections. New connections were formed through this whole experience as well; I really enjoyed working with the Blvd. team and would love to do so again in the future.

Long story short, never miss an opportunity to make new connections and friends in your area of business; you never know when they will come in handy!

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U.N. Needs More Effective PR Strategy to Fight World Hunger

November 15, 2009 at 11:38 pm (Uncategorized)

World Hunger

http://tinyurl.com/ygrm5ra

The link posted above details how the U.N plans to fight world hunger.

But how will the U.N. dig up enough PR to make this strategy a success? In my opinion, people across the world have become numb to the fact that while they are standing in line ordering their fourth meal of the day at McDonalds, thousand of people are starving around the world. It’s not entirely their fault, we have collectively become skeptical of donate a dollar to save the world techniques as well; most of them are scams for con artists to make a quick profit. How does an organization, even as big as the UN, put a twist on their donation fund to make people interested? How do they keep themselves from being filed away as just another company like The Red Cross or The Salvation Army? Info-mercials have the look-at-the-child-you-are-helping thing covered. Donation bins outside of malls are done all the time. We don’t pay attention to TV or radio commercials all that much anymore.

And it’s not just the UN’s fault for not being as innovative as they could be.

I believe America as a whole also has an “If I can’t see it, I don’t believe it” approach to world hunger and poverty. People know it exists, some try to help, but how often do they see the specific results of their charity? They are too focused on their own problems to think about someone else’s. Why worry about someone thousands of miles away that you will never meet? How will this $1 make any more of a difference? World hunger existed last year when I donated, and it didn’t go away…why should I donate this year if the problem is going to exist again next year? It’s sickening to think that some people will actually use these statements as excuses.

I think the UN is going to have to embark in more than just an internet campaign to raise $6.7 billion this year. Hopefully giving will outweigh Scrooging this holiday season, but I have my doubts.

 

 

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Rival to Kindle Emerges Just in Time for Holiday Shopping

October 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm (Uncategorized)

barnes-nobles-nook-ebook-reader

Barnes and Noble will be releasing Nook, its version of the Amazon Kindle, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The Nook promises to have all of the same general features as the Kindle, but will also become more iPod and iPhone user friendly by enabling touch-screen control. It looks like a really cool new tablet, but I wonder what Amazon is going to do to keep its Kindle sales up.

The only sizeable difference that I can seem to find between the two is that the Kindle has an international option that allows frequent travelers to read overseas. But the Nook will offer Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as free Wi-Fi in all Barnes and Noble stores. A product comparison can be found at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/yh92wj8.

This has to pose a huge problem for the PR people at Amazon. What are you supposed to do when another company comes out with basically the same product as yours, and matches the features you have and out-does some of the features by having touch screen? It’s not like Kindle will be coming out with a new model any time soon either: they just released their newest version (the one with the international capabilities) recently.

I personally think that iPhone, iPod, and Blackberry users will buy the Nook:

1) Because service is provided by AT&T

2) The Nook is capable of syncing with these devices, as well as PC and Mac computers.

Not to mention people who don’t like handling all of their problems online will be able to go into a Barnes and Noble if they have issues.

I’m interested to see the ad campaign war between these two companies come Thanksgiving and Christmas time. Who do you think will have better sales?

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A Death-Blow to the T-Mobile Sidekick

October 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm (Uncategorized)

user3515_pic1553_1233608521Last Monday, a great number of Sidekick users lost all of their contacts and personal information stored on their phones. A panic-attack inducing situation for anyone who is as connected to their phone as I am.

According to an msnbc.com article (http://tinyurl.com/yg2nl72), Sidekick users lost all of their contacts and other information die to a failure of servers that are the remote storage system for all of the data. Microsoft Corp., the makers of the phone and a subsidiary to TMobile stated that Sidekick owner’s information is “almost certainly” gone. Not good new for people who like to store their entire lives on their mobile devices.

TMobile’s customer service hasn’t done a very good job helping out the situation either. Customers who lost all of their data are only being offered a $20 refund. I don’t know what TMobile was thinking when they decided this would be good compensation, but I would value all of the contacts and information stored on my phone at more than $20. TMobile customers are extremely angry, and rightfully so.

This is a PR nightmare. The fact that TMobile has listed its Sidekick as “out-of-stock” online is a clear indication that this phone might not make it through such a disastrous crash. TMobile’s customer service and “compensation” aren’t helping the situation either. If I were a TMobile customer, I would definitely be considering a switch to a new provider right now.

TMobile’s PR team needs to get on this situation fast. When I Google-searched information for this story, I found many Web sites airing complaints of customers, and not many statements mad by TMobile reassuring their customers that something more is going to be done to resolve this issue. I wonder if they even had an emergency response plan for a system failure of epic proportions.

To any Sidekick user, I would suggest switching to and iPhone or a Blackberry. Even my LG dare has a lot of the same features that the Sidekick has. You can get a phone with QWERTY anywhere these days.

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Advances in Technology and Their Effect on PR

October 7, 2009 at 1:57 pm (Uncategorized)

iphone

In my Intro. To New Media class, we recently discussed a spike in citizen journalism nationally and internationally. With new developments in technology, like camcorders being built into iPods and iPhones, it is becoming increasingly easier for regular people to broadcast live videos online. Millions of people watch YouTube videos every day, and its setup facilitates the quick dissemination of true or false information.

http://tinyurl.com/yaxs7zg

The link posted above is a San Francisco Chronicle article about CNN’s new iPhone application that allows users to pull up news stories and even live streaming video. But it’s not just CNN distributing the videos to users; the application also allows subscribers to submit photos and video to CNN as well. In the past two years, CNN’s iReport.com has received half a million photos or videos of news-worthy events around the world. It is amazing how much the average Joe is capable of doing with the right technology in hand.

There is even an AP Stylebook application that serious citizen journalists can pull up to check their grammar when writing or reporting on a story.

I see present-day citizen journalism as being a potential benefit and problem for PR practitioners. It’s a quick way for people to post feedback and information about a client you may be representing. But with the rate at which a negative or untrue story could be posted to YouTube, blogs or even news sites like CNN, PR practitioners must be on top of watching social media and protecting their client’s image.

I personally like the advances that have facilitated citizen journalism. It allows us to see video or photos of events that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Every major news broadcasting organization has a certain take on things: CNN is more liberal, while Fox is conservative. Citizen journalism allows people to see certain events in an impartial manner. It gives us a chance to form our own opinion about current issues instead of forming one for us. And most of all, it lets us see things from a point of view we might never have considered.

I’m interested to see what other technological advances will come in the future, and how they will affect citizen journalism and social media.

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Cleaning Up Negative PR

September 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm (Uncategorized)

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So I am sure that everyone has heard to some extent about the huge mess that campus was left in after the last home game. Trash cans were overflowing, piles of trash were strewn everywhere. I even heard rumors about people not wanting to wait in line to use port-a-potties, so they did their business out in the grass like a household pet. The aftermath was gross and just plain rude. I felt the strong urge for everyone to revert back to their childhood days of watching Barney and singing the “Clean Up” song.

70 tons of trash and $40,000 of university money later, campus was finally recognizable again. But the press that followed slammed the 15,000-20,000 tailgaters who helped in trashing campus for the first home game.

That’s when Alpha Kappa Psi, one of UGA’s co-ed professional business fraternities stepped in. I have been a member of AKPsi for over a year now, and I have to say this is one of the projects we have been most dedicated to. We developed a program called “More Classy, Less Trashy” to promote tailgaters to be more conscious of clean-up efforts. A PR team was developed to promote the program around campus to donate a roll of trash bags to the house to be distributed to tailgaters the next home game. We received a lot of positive press from this effort, and many trash bags were donated over the two week leading up to last night’s game.

This was good press for the university as well as AKPsi. Not only did the university receive good press for having strong motivation to correct their problems, but we as a fraternity received a lot of public attention because of it. The following is a quote from an alumni e-mail sent to our chapter a few days before the game:

“Congratulations on the attention your garbage bag collection project is earning leading up to this week’s football game.  I’ve seen mention on several of the Georgia football blogs which garner a lot of attention from the fan base.  Thank you for volunteering AKPsi resources to help combat the game-day trash issue on North Campus.  I’m impressed with the response of the fraternity, the ownership of the campus and the issues that threaten campus life (i.e. tailgating!!), as well as the wonderful job you’ve done of promoting the efforts your undertaking for the good of the University.”

To me, this was a perfect opportunity for AKPsi to garner a lot of positive attention for little to no cost at all. Most of the bags were donated, and the press coverage that ensued was all free as well. A win-win situation for them and the university.

I’m interested to see what press coverage the trash situation gets this week. It’s a toss-up between the rain driving away tailgaters and the increased number of trash bags, but to me it seemed like campus looked a lot neater after the game last night.

AKPsi is continuing their program this week as well, and all donations, monetary or plastic, are welcomed in preparation for the LSU game.

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Social Media and Their Effect on PR

September 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm (Uncategorized)

MTV Video Music Awards ShowLast night I settled down on the couch with my boyfriend to watch the VMAs thinking it would be a laid-back, relaxing night. Little did we all know it would turn into an example of just how fast we as PR pracitioners must be in reacting to negative events that can possibly implicate our clients.

I’m sure you’ve all already heard about what happened when Taylor Swift was awarded her Moon Man for Best Female Video. Kanye, for some stupid reason, felt the need to jump up on stage and voice his opinion to millions of viewers that Beyonce deserved the award more than her.

I, like many people at home, was immediately outraged by Kanye’s actions. So like any social media junkie, I logged on to Twitter to make a strongly worded statement about the whole situation. Turns out I wasn’t alone. After posting my comment, I was curious how many other Twitter nerds like myself were venting to the world. Results mentioning “Taylor Swift” or “Kanye” exploded just minutes after the event. Even as I looked at the page, a bar at the top kept updating: “2059 new results,” “3025 new results.” As many times as I clicked refresh, it seemed like there were at least 500 new results in the time it took me to read one Tweet. While some people defended Beyonce’s video, there was an obvious majority of people who were just as angry as I was at Kanye. Within 10 minutes of the event, my roommate tweeted, “I think I’m the only person who isn’t watching the VMA’s. I am already sick of reading everyone’s pointless tweets about Kanye.” Even people who weren’t watching MTV knew exactly what had happened only minutes afterwards.

This morning as I was getting ready for class, I logged onto perezhilton.com to catch up on all the celebrity gossip that ensued. Posted on the Web site was an apology that Kanye posted to his blog sometime between the end of the show and 6:00 am. In the span of time it would have taken people to find out about the VMA drama only a few years ago, people heard about the event, slammed Kanye with comments online, and he issued a somewhat acceptable apology. It’s amazing how quickly the SMR cycle can move these days!

This event is a perfect example of how quickly one can receive feedback and react to it (not that the entire audience booing Kanye off the stage wasn’t big enough of a hint already).

Moral of the story? With new media constantly being developed, our job is becoming easier and easier. Our purpose is to measure publics’ reactions to certain events or materials. By using media Web sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, blogs, etc. we are able to measure a public’s reaction immediately, and post information aimed at that particular public within minutes.

But this event also shows that a client’s reputation can be ruined beyond repair in a split second. I’m interested to see what Kanye’s PR folks do in the coming days.

P.S. Kudos to Beyonce for knowing how to separate herself from Kanye and his actions by allowing Taylor to use her VMA Video of the Year speech time.

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