“Wicked” Public Relations

This is the graphic featured on the World of Wicked pamphlet and posters.

Twelve Oaks Mall has its own wicked display for the Halloween season- literally.  The spherical World of Wicked 2011 display is in the Lord & Taylor court from October 14-November 6.  Wicked the musical is coming to the Detroit Opera House in December, so the display features a few costumes and a running video of the musical.  The World of Wicked is not only about the musical.  It has brought a trio of PR, advertising, and marketing with it.

The Wicked trailer:

At the beginning of the semester we talked about the differences between PR, advertising, and marketing.  World of Wicked utilizes all three.  First, mall stores received a letter/ pitch of sorts detailing the World of Wicked display and the opportunities it would give stores to create a “Wicked Deal”. This, along with the photo op asking customers to take a picture and post it on World of Wicked’s Facebook page, are good examples of how PR functions in the World of Wicked event.  Here is the press release about the partnership between Wicked and the Taubman malls.

The “Wicked Deal” is a good marketing ploy.  Where I work at Pretzelmaker/TCBY we have a 10% off orders of $10 deal if you bring the pamphlet; stores who opted to create a deal got printed in a special pamphlet called a “passport to Oz” and featured on the World of Wicked page, as well as a large window sticker advertising their participation.  Customers get to participate not only in the deals themselves, but by collecting stamps on the back of the pamphlet from the participating deal locations.  Once they collect all stamps, they fill out the pamphlet and enter to win prizes.

World of Wicked advertises for more than one venue by being at the mall.  Most obvious are the mall, the stores, and the display itself that receive advertising through posters at mall entrances and on the website.  Ticketmaster gets advertising- they are located in the mall and are currently selling tickets to the musical.  Broadway in Detroit gets advertising on the website, and Wicked gets it all.  With so many things Wicked oriented, it makes people think about it every time they see one of the participating stores, the display, an entrance, etc.  It doesn’t matter if they know what Wicked is about going in- the job of the display is to draw them in.  It could not receive as much exposure and success without the trio of PR, marketing, and advertising that goes into the display and the overall World of Wicked campaign.

Katie Siskonen

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Growing Internet Rivalry

Who would have thought that two of the most popular companies in the world would be caught in the center of a scandal? Not me. That is, until I read this article. Turns out, back in May, Burson-Marsteller, a top PR firm, was hired to bash Google in newspapers and blogs. That plan went downhill fast when the blogger actually used emails they had received from the firm to expose their plan to bad-mouth Google. The mystery client was thought to be either Apple or Microsoft, but turned out that Facebook was actually behind the whole scheme. Now you’re probably asking yourself why would Facebook want to ruin Google’s image? Well the answer lays in the fact that Facebook believes “Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.”

This scandal brings up several important points. First off, as a public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller should have never even considered taking Facebook on as a client if their job was going to be to make Google look bad. PR practitioners are taught from the very beginning to always stay positive and not put down other brands/companies. If they didn’t want to lose Facebook as a client, I think they could have simply published articles focusing on the positive ways that they deal with privacy, rather than pointing out Google’s faults.

Secondly, social media, especially Facebook, is huge in today’s culture. By hiring this public-relations firm to damage Google’s image, it ultimately damaged their own as well. The entire situation should have been handled differently from the beginning.

In the video below, they help explain the situation and even have a quote from Burson-Marsteller basically admitting that they should have never attempted the “smear campaign” in the first place.

What would you have done if you worked for Burson-Marsteller?

-Rebecca Jackson

All PRESS:-( and no PLAY:-) ??

Aside

The Obama Administration:

“All Press and No Play”

After four years of battling the evil forces of economy, foreign policy, poverty, healthcare, and even worse the painful press, I think its safe to say that the Obama Administration has played a great game.

The “change” campaign that has had its bumper sticker on a majority of cars and trademark stiched on the hats and helms of middle class workers, has proved to be quite affective. Your favorite or not, the new age angle that the Obama administration took to relay their messages will stick with me for ever.

Whether you use Twitter, Uber Twitter, Hoot-Suite, Twit-bird, or Twit-WHATEVERYOU wanna call it at the end of the day you have access to real time facts, crisis, events, and most importantly to politics… public opinion!

Realizing that “social sites” would be the key in helping this generation discover and create a new voice for America was the greatest idea that the O.A press secretary has come up with yet. Check out Obama’s new campaign Tweet for Jobs”

“Think Public Relations” noted that

“Approximately 25.6 percent of the worlds population has internet access, and that proportion grew about 38% between 2000 and 2009. 96 percent of urban youth access the internet and that Hispanics represent the fastest-growing demographic group online today.” (Think, 265)

Everyone’s opinion count, no matter how much money you have” was the message, and this smartly etched campaign pitched through various forms of media helped resolve hard hitting issues such as “Gay rights”.On December 25,2010 The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” legislation was signed. “The War in Iraq, and the war on obesity where all fulfilled through great press tactics. The “Hunger Free Kids Act that was passed in 2010 with the help of a fund drive campaign promoted through pages such as Facebook. ‘Like It” or “LUV it” this was a great strategy! Great ideas such as these have help revolutionized the way politics use press.
With help from his press team , Obama has created an image of Celebrity that no one; republican, democratic or just plain undecided can ignore. Thanks to the new wave of technology every message is just as affective as the next. This President realizes that 50% of the population is under 30 and that this generation is the generation of technology, and social site paradise.
In my opinion he creates a different tone for every audience, and its always personable making you feel involved and accounted for. The proof of this tactic is in my emails, and my twitter retweets-Take a Look!

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For years this billion dollar press corporation has been boasted for its on point press tactics. I personally respect him because he took a strategy that no other president had the guts to do. They neglected to use all of their resources, and most importantly they failed to connect with the silent majority.

From all of this well structured press comes the hard part OPPOSITION :-(. In this video clip the man of the night is the last person you would expect throwing rocks! In this situation the O.A attempts to use its youthful communication strategy to maintain its positive image, but what happens when the playing field isn’t the Internet? Watch and see, but also answer this question: Is the new generation communication becoming more acceptable in even the most conservative battle fields? Do you think this atmosphere was appropriate for this message?

I THINK this new aged angle was very affective. Call it what you want, but that there my dear was the sweetest revenge. I can imagine all of the presidents that would have patted him on the back for finally standing up to bad press.

Our book went on to mention that Public Relations

“Includes research, analysis, policy information, programming, communication, and feedback from numerous publics. Its pratictioners operate on two distinct levels *as advisers to their clients or to an organizations top management and as technicians who produce and disseminate messages in multiple media channels.”

Through research, communication and feedback his press admin has held a great campaign, and in the process gained celebrity by connecting with its core audiences. I find him devoted to America, and it’s interesting to me how he can turn a plate of politics into a bowl of tweets- How fun is that? When you can reach out, and relate to us(America) we will love you, and laugh with you even more! With press and a little bit of play you can rule the world.

Ashley Coleman

Tiger Woods Life in Public Relations

I would think it is safe to say we all remember in 2009 when over thanksgiving Tiger Woods got into the car crash that help make his infidelity a matter of public concern. If you don’t know what happened here is the link to an article that explains everything.

Tiger Woods is like any famous person, his life revolves around the image he represents although he is an athlete he also has many very powerful sponsors who make money for him being someone people look up to. So when the suspected infidelity became known world-wide his fans and sponsors wanted to know if it was true. Tigers sponsors soon took all ads off the air with him in it claming different reasons but not saying it was because of his unfaithfulness. Some sponsors such as Nike said they would stand by him thought the family issues.

Many months later Woods finally released a statement about everything that has happened and apologized for his actions. I really think this video is an ok example of what we have practiced in class as far as being in front of a group of people and trying to get the right point across. I am sure in this press conference Woods PR team had planned everything he was going to say.

I feel like Tiger Woods PR team really did a good job making sure he had a few key points that made him look like a better person but to some extent he also talked about how he messed up a lot which kept bringing it to our attention. The next article I found talked about how his PR team hadn’t really done a great job so far that even with his press release he hadn’t handled the press well. In his last act for a better image Nike his more popular sponsor released this ad which is his father’s voice asking him questions.

Now this commercial also had some mixed effects because some people thought it was a little cheesy and a pathetic attempt to change his image and some felt it was a good step in the right direction. As far as I see it Tiger Woods is someone who everyone looked up to and was a real role model for families so by destroying his image it is going to be a rough road to recover his image. I personally haven’t seen a commercial with him in it since the Nike commercial above.

As far as the PR campaigns go How does everyone feel they did? Do you think that Tiger Woods image has recovered since 2009 or do you still feel it isn’t doing well?

Ashley Counterman

Amazon.com : Pedophiles Deserve Freedom of Speech Too…Right?

What has to be the most interesting defense I’ve ever heard for “freedom of speech” came in 2010 when Amazon.com put a self-published eBook on their online market. After all, anyone that wants to write a book on any subject has the right, because it’s in the Constitution! That’s the American way, after all, or at least should be.  Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Wait until you hear the title…

The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure
by Phillip R. Greaves II

Yeah. I was pretty shocked as well.

What was even more unbelievable was Amazon’s argument as to WHY they allowed this eBook to sell on the website…

Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.”

For some reason, it’s hard for me to believe that a corporate giant like Amazon would have a priority list that looked something like this:

  1. Not censoring anyone (even if they are pedophiles)
  2. Making money (even if an eBook is only selling for $4.79…every dime counts!)
  3. Not upsetting the customer base and losing profits
  4. Maintain a positive image (who needs those, anyways…PR is completely unnecessary! duh.) 

The Pedophile’s Guide is not Greaves’ only book on the subject, but has also released a book with a more shudder-inducing title (I know, I didn’t think it was possible): Our Gardens of Flesh: From the Seeds of Lust Springs the Harvest of Love.

Perhaps the most disturbing side of this Greaves’ angle in his books is his attempt at trying to justify the pedophile “lifestyle” by pointing out things that are apparently condoning sex with children in American culture.

Aspects of our culture which celebrate a sexual attraction between adults and young children include little naked statues of child-like cupids and comical references to such relationships like the ones on “Family Guy”.

Somehow, when the writers of Family Guy developed the character Herbert, I don’t think they were attempting to defend pedophilia.

If that wasn’t enough, more rantings can be heard from the horse’s mouth itself in the following video…

My favorite quote from the video: “What they don’t realize is, the word ‘pedophile’ itself means somebody who loves children!’ Using this logic, apparently every mother, father, grandparent, and sibling that loves a child is a pedophile. I guess we learn something new every day!

One commenter on this Youtube video says: “Honestly I’d have no problem with this man living in my house. He has a head on his shoulders that is probably more intelligent than all the commenters here combined. It’s disgusting that people say that pedophilia (to love a child) is wrong based on some dogmatic world view of what is ‘good’and ‘right’. It says a lot about society, one can not simply think for themselves. Reality is there a hundreds of thousands of pedophiles by definition. As he said, most are not murderous rapists.”

When I read this comment, I was even more shocked – there are other people that seem to think pedophilia is excusable and an actual OPTION for a lifestyle? That commenter can and probably should live with Greaves…preferably, in a boarded-up house. I am not surprised that “disgusting” and “pedophilia” would be in the same sentence…however, I am a little confused as to why someone would say that people who believe pedophilia is wrong (hopefully, the majority of people) are “disgusting.”

At this point, I feel like someone should be calling up Chris Hansen.

All joking aside, I’m fairly inclined to agree with the book’s commenters. This subject is very touchy, understandably so, as people who have dealt with victimization, rape, and child abuse have tragic memories that they don’t want others to experience. My heart goes out to the people that were personally offended by the release of this eBook, including this one:

“It is ILLEGAL to molest children, and for Amazon to promote such is insane. I’m an abuse survivor, and am OUTRAGED Amazon would choose to promote this nonsense. I will not be purchasing anything from your website until this is removed.”

Amazon apparently put their thinking caps on and decided to remove the eBook, but only after an overwhelming public outcry made them hide in the corner. Personally, I feel that they should have removed any of Greaves’ work off of the site after this ordeal...but people can still enjoy his “revolutionary” and “innovative” thoughts. Perfect for any Christmas list, I’m sure.

At any rate, Amazon should have predicted that putting a book like this on their website would not receive positive feedback. Seeing as I don’t really believe they were worried about “free speech,” it makes me wonder how this little gem passed onto their markets. Is the reviewing process for eBooks not very vigilant? Or did some less-than-clever associate decide that this material would actually sell?

Clearly, Amazon’s handle on their public relations was pretty flippant in this case. Namely, the conflict management seemed to be lacking. On page 48 of Think: Public Relations, the “threat appraisal model” is mentioned.

“A threat to an organization requires an assessment of the demands that the threat makes on the organization as well as an assessment of the resources available to address the threat…Are the knowledge, time, finances, and management commitment available to combat the threat?”

In this case, I’d have to say yes. All Amazon had to do (and what they did end up doing after over 2,000 people posted irate comments on Greaves’ book site) was remove the eBook. The general reluctance and outstanding lack of judgment on the part of Amazon was inexcusable. I’m still quite puzzled as to how this happened. Time and finances were no obstacle, especially considering the fact that the eBook was selling at less than $5 a copy. I’m just baffled why this eBook was placed on the market in the first place…much less why it took Amazon a few days to delete it.

For those of you who are curious what happened to Phillip Greaves, I don’t think you will be surprised. But at the same time, I do find that Florida cops must be pretty tricky. The man lives in Colorado, after all. But I won’t criticize their actions, it just makes me wonder how many states don’t have strict obscenity laws. Specific laws by state are surprisingly difficult for me to find on the Internet – can one of the commenters help me out?

Silvana Taylor

“PR AGENTS WRITING SKILLS BENEFIT FROM TWITTER”

In the video below, Dom Sagolla, the Co creator of twitter, explains, “One can change the world with 140 characters.”

 

As stated in one of the earlier blogs, “I am no expect in PR”. But I am and expert at researching and gathering my own opinion about something. While some of you may agree or disagree with twitter enhancing or hindering your pr writing skills, I want to know your opinion either way.

Example of the way it all started

In grade school, we all learned the basics of how to write an essay or a research paper. Some of your teachers have told you that the paper has to be a certain length. 200 words, 600 words, either way you were limited to how much you can write. You knew that you couldn’t write no more than that, so you had to come up with different strategies when trying to get your point across addressing the topic of the paper. Mean while, you had to write it so that it wouldn’t be below or exceed the limit given to you. This is an example of how Twitter helps PR agents enhance their writing skills.
The importance of social media and public relations

How can I get my point across using only 140 characters? There are many people that work well under pressure, and in certain situations in the PR industry, you are not givin alot of time to come up with ideas and broadcast them to the media. In order to become a successful PR agent, it is imparative that you familiarize yourself with the social media platform to network with people and promote your business or blog. You need to be able to adapt to any circumstance when it comes to your career. Successful business across the United States have a twitter account and expect PR to communicate with consumers as clear, crisp, and quickly as possible.

Referring to Jeremy Porter and his article, he discusses how the media have embraced Twitter as their new platform of choice, and many PR specialists use this tool as a way to communicate fast-paced and efficient. Using too many words to convey a message can hinder you from explaining the core idea. Being persuasive is all about simplifying, but still able to convey the message. Social media gives you the ability to communicate in real time with your customer base and gives you a chance to build strong interactions. With social media you can provide special incentives, promotional codes, as well as sneak peeks at upcoming products.

Name one company that chooses not to communicate via twitter? I don’t think I can. Persuasive tactics are used on a daily basis from businesses via twitter. 140 characters must not be that difficult to phatham with. According to our text book “Think Public Relations” on page 241, Coffee company Starbucks uses twitter messages to refute a rumor that it wasn’t sending coffee troops to Iraq in protest of the war. It’s interesting to see how such an important and controversial issue can be discussed using Twitter even though your limited to the messages. Facebook is another story in how using the tool can enhance writing skills. Some have argued that Facebook is an easier tool to use because you are not limited to conversations and have room to carry out the message. In PR there are situations where you are not givin a lot of time or space when getting the message out to the public. Since the industry is so faced paced, twitter is a more productive tool when trying to reach the point.

Ways in which microblogging can enhance PR writing skills:

  • You start writing short and to the point-Writing short and crisp allows you to attract others and make them read your post. Also gives a fast-paced launch.
  • You get a chance to sharpen your editing skills-The purpose is to share your idea w/in a few words such that it encourages your followers to perform some action such as clicking on the link or retweeting your post and spread it amongst their followers.
  • Your vocabulary gets better-Look through the dictionary and thesaurus and find out the right words which can be used as substitutes for phrases.

Now, you should be able to focus only on the important pieces of your topic! The less words, the more interesting! Millions of PR agents use twitter to launch new products and events, send messages, communicate with other businesses, and inform consumers about the benefits of their product in only 140 characters. How cool is that? Twitter

“Social media is like a snowball rolling down the hill. It’s picking up speed. Five years from now, it’s going to be the standard.” – Jeff Antaya, chief marketing officer of Plante Moran

-Martise Wilson :]

Brady’s Words in Hot “Water”

Let’s take a trip to Foxborough, MA, a lovely town in Norfolk County about 22 miles southwest of Boston. This charming settlement is named after Charles James Fox, a member of Parliament who deeply supported the American Colonies leading up to the Revolution. It was also once home to the world’s largest straw hat factory. Most notably, it is home to Gillette Stadium and the three-time Superbowl Champion New England Patriots. On Sunday September 18, 2011 the Patriots played host to the San Diego Chargers in a game that was uncharacteristically played at 4:15 p.m. in order to accommodate the visitors hailing from the Southwest corner of the country.

A kind signal indeed, however a more peculiar action was politely volunteered four days earlier by New England’s own signal caller, quarterback Tom Brady.

In a weekly interview with local reporters from the team’s locker room, Brady was asked “How much are you looking forward to the home opener, any message to the fans early on?”

With a wry smile, and his left arm leaning against the locker he utters “Yeah, start drinking early!” Eloquent in its brevity, but that’s not all! Through the reporter’s hoots and hollers he proceeds; “Get nice and rowdy, 4:15 game that’s a lot of time to get lubed up, come out here and cheer for the home team”. The question is asked at the 6:32 mark of the video.

Fans rejoice in the streets, beer flows, and everybody’s happy! In a perfect world, may be. But here in reality there is always someone who is offended, responds sensitively, or loses their religion over public statements from a role model who needs to “carry themselves like a responsible adult”. That’s not what this blog is about (who knew?!?).

The response that generated concern was that of Stacey James, vice president of Media Relations for the New England Patriots. Before things could get too out of hand with angry mothers, drunken fans, or bored retired elders, she attacked the matter head on with a release stating what Tom Brady meant to say was “stay hydrated, drink a lot of water, be loud, drink responsibly”. Did she hear the same thing the rest of us did?

Even a village idiot can read between Brady’s lines the way Brady reads a defense. Why such a watered-down, almost naïve reiteration of Brady’s statement? You’re guesses are as good as mine.

This certainly is not the first time a celebrity has made a statement then been forced to recant, or better yet, have someone else cover their no-no square. It’s everywhere, every day. Celebrities like Mel Gibson, Tracy Morgan, and Tiger Woods have said and done shoddier things to people, the information leaked, the public lashed out, they issue their apology, and life carried on. The Brady/James episode is by no means to the level of the previous three mentioned, nor has there been as violent a backlash, but it makes the average person start to wonder “how naïve do these public relations people think we are?”

It’s understandable that James was simply doing her job and diffusing a possible public outcry. By nipping the issue in the bud, she can protect the face of the franchise and its franchise player. However, there is a concern with the way Brady’s words were “re-framed”. James simply takes advantage of the fact that the word “alcohol” was never expressed, so no literal interpretation is available. To “clear up” Brady’s statement, it is directly assessed to the intent to “stay hydrated, and drink a lot of water”.

The book THINK Public Relations refers to the challenge of being a spokesperson stating “what a spokesperson tells the media is not considered a personal opinion, but rather management’s official response or stance to a situation or event”.  Blame cannot necessarily be placed on Stacey James for doing what the job calls for, but in a manner that isn’t so half-hearted would be greatly appreciated. Was it because she wasn’t given much to work with? Was she rushed to release a statement? Did she slap together something, say “good enough”, and the rest is history?

Perhaps a better approach could have been taken. According to Dan Williams, a corporate communications consultant and former network news correspondent, there was. Williams states “the more honest and upfront someone is when acknowledging an issue, the quicker the public will accept a follow-up explanation”.

Williams goes on to offer an alternative response. “We hope everyone realizes that Tom was joking with the reporters. The fact is neither Tom Brady nor the New England Patriots organization endorses irresponsible alcohol consumption or the behavior associated with. We understand some people will drink before and during games, we just stress they do so responsibly.”

When watching the interview, it’s clear that Brady cracks the joke in order to lighten up the droll, clichéd interview questions he faces from week to week. Russell Goldman, a New England Sports blogger, commented “I honestly don’t think Brady meant any harm in his comments. I think he was talking about his hope for an energetic and loud crowd on Sunday. I think too much is being made of it.” It should be that simple and that should be the end of it. Brady knows it, the reporters knew it, and the American people know it.

Let’s face it, we get it. Man says something, something gets taken out of context, company corrects with statement, the end. Most issues never go beyond that. Brady doesn’t apologize which should be enough of a clue that he meant what he said in good fun. The release of a statement in order to protect the organization is fine as well.

It simply comes down to the fact that there isn’t a believable way to spin what Brady said, so why bother? Does the organization REALLY think the public will eat that up and say “oh, I understand, hooray sobriety, go Pats!” So why feed the public in a high chair spouting here comes the airplane? They’re not hungry.

-Dan Williams III