Saturday, January 2, 2010

woohoo, no more grades.

So. Here is the first post that I don't have to worry about length, content, or grammar because this is no longer a graded blog.

Therefore, I'm crazy for even continuing this.

Maybe I am, but observing and thinking from the PR POV has become engrained.

Anyways, I was watching.... some tv show, and I saw this Domino's Pizza commercial and I immediately thought "hey, I'm finding the video and sending it to Jacque! She can totally use this." I know, I know, I'm a freaking nerd.

So I found a video on youtube which gave me even MORE than the commercial. yay.

In short, this company is facing their criticism head-on. (about time.) But, I thought they did it very creatively and it shows their customers that they are doing something about their cardboard pizza. I thought taking Angela a sample was pretty cool. I'm confessing, I'm going to look for how it turned out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

PR Blog #14- PR in my social media!

Oh wow. I know how we discussed in class that employees like to hear things straight from management, but I never thought I'd be to "tickled" to get this. I'm not even an employee of this organization!!

I was looking at my Facebook homepage, when at the very top I see a link for a note titles "An Open Letter from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg"

I thought it might be important, or it might be fake, or it might be telling me that Facebook has decided to changes its formatting AGAIN, but nevertheless, I clicked on it and found this:

An Open Letter from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg

by Mark Zuckerberg Yesterday at 8:23pm

It has been a great year for making the world more open and connected. Thanks to your help, more than 350 million people around the world are using Facebook to share their lives online.

To make this possible, we have focused on giving you the tools you need to share and control your information. Starting with the very first version of Facebook five years ago, we've built tools that help you control what you share with which individuals and groups of people. Our work to improve privacy continues today.

Facebook's current privacy model revolves around "networks" — communities for your school, your company or your region. This worked well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense that a student might want to share content with their fellow students.

Over time people also asked us to add networks for companies and regions as well. Today we even have networks for some entire countries, like India and China.

However, as Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we've concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy. Almost 50 percent of all Facebook users are members of regional networks, so this is an important issue for us. If we can build a better system, then more than 100 million people will have even more control of their information.

The plan we've come up with is to remove regional networks completely and create a simpler model for privacy control where you can set content to be available to only your friends, friends of your friends, or everyone.

We're adding something that many of you have asked for — the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload. In addition, we'll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings. If you want to read more about this, we began discussing this plan back in July.

Since this update will remove regional networks and create some new settings, in the next couple of weeks we'll ask you to review and update your privacy settings. You'll see a message that will explain the changes and take you to a page where you can update your settings. When you're finished, we'll show you a confirmation page so you can make sure you chose the right settings for you. As always, once you're done you'll still be able to change your settings whenever you want.

We've worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone's needs are different. We'll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you're sharing with online.

Thanks for being a part of making Facebook what it is today, and for helping to make the world more open and connected.

Mark Zuckerberg

How nice! Thanking ME for using Facebook, from the founder himself? Feeling that I'M important enough to notify about a system change? Of course, with my PR knowledge, I take into account that Zuckerberg might have had some PR professional writing or editing this. But, my initial reactions show that this note was probably a very smart, successful, pathos and logos appealing strategy. I, like probably so many others, am happy that the Facebook Founder felt that all the members were important enough to "personally" talk to about these new system changes.

Plus, security and privacy. These are issues that are current and everyone is starting to be aware of them. As the daughter of a parent who has had identity theft, I was told as a high school teen that social media such as Facebook, myspace, etc. were risky and not worth it because of potential identity theft, predators, etc. This letter gives me the impression that Facebook is doing more to ensure the privacy of its users and give them more control over their information.

Other observations:

At the bottom of this note, 21802 people said that they "like" this message. Repeat, 21,802 people like it. While all things on Facebook have the opportunity to be "liked," I would say the "like" feature in this case is an excellent evaluation technique.

Comments on the notes included more things that people would like to see on the website. The main request I saw was a "Dislike" button.

Another fair point was made with this comment: "I don't see anything about assuring people that you won't share their personal information with the CIA and the NSA. After all, maybe anyone dumb enough to think the internet has true privacy settings deserves to have their sordid details of mundane life exposed."

Interestingly enough, people began to comment this note in the form of advertising, such as for steroids. While annoying, this idea is actually pretty smart. If you comment on a note in Facebook, you will be notified of all other comments that are posted on the same note after yours. As there are 20,535 comments as of 11:16 am Central Time on Dec 2, 1009, anyone who advertises after this time can potentially reach 20,535 or more people.

Anyway, good job, Facebook, for this strategic move and showing your users that you care about their security.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blog Post #13- Map Commercial

Following up on the previous blog. Here's the AT&T map commercial featuring Luke Wilson. Finally someone put it up on

There are two parts. Part one is where Luke Wilson starts flipping all the postcards he's collected of the places AT&T covers. Then another commercial follows. After that, part 2 comes on where it shows he still has postcards, because there are so many places.

Check it out! One thing I like about this commercial is that Luke Wilson doesn't verbally bash Verizon (maybe because they are accurate in their claims- see previous blog). All he says is, "Recently Verizon has been making a big deal about maps.. I'm here to set the record straight." With this statement, AT&T appears to be a "nice guy," and displaying an attitude of taking the "high road." Good strategy for crisis communication!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

PR Blog #12- AT&T and Verizon

Verizon recently released a commercial that poked fun at AT&T's ads with Apple, while simultaneously providing some supposedly inaccurate information about their 3G networking. AT&T previously had commercials suggesting certain things a consumer might want to do with an iphone, and responding "There's an app for that." Verizon's commercial suggested that a consumer want to know about AT&T's 3G coverage and saying "There's a map for that." This map shows significant lack of AT&T coverage, particularly in the Southwest area.

I'm showing AT&T response to Verizon's commericals. They have featured Luke Wilson in three commercials that combat Verizon's claims.
Commercial 1 compares the networks "side by side."
Commercial 2 does another comparison, mainly showing how AT&T coverage allows to to access the Internet while talking on the phone, and Verizon's coverage does not.
Commerical 3 was released three days ago. It shows the coverage of the map AT&T allows. Luke Wilson claims he's here to set the record straight. Interestingly enough, the map shows AT&T coverage, but does not specify 3G coverage. If one is paying attention, one might question if Verizon is correct. Because the ad is only three days old, I haven't been able to find a very clear video; this is one someone recorded while watching a football game. (Coincidentally I first saw the commercial during the Cowboys game today which gave me the idea for this post.) I hope to find a clearer video before the semester is over.

Despite this detail, I commend AT&T from a PR perspective for their quick responses. They are acknowledging that other companies are taking a swipe at them.

Another smart PR move of AT&T- publicizing their connection to Toms shoes. In short, Toms is a company with a "1 for 1 ratio." For every pair of shoes they sell, they give away a pair to a child in need. The "Chief Shoe Giver" operates his entire business through his Blackberry using the AT&T network. Toms is a reputable company that has ethos and pathos appeal. Here are a few videos that show the process of the commercial.
Video 1- this is from the AT&T website. It gives the crash course on how the commercial was made, and at the end shows the commercial. This link takes you to the media gallery where you have to browse for the video. The picture is yellow with the profile of Blake Mycoskie (The Chief Shoe Giver). The title of the video is "Toms Shoes Counts on 'More Bars in More Places'".
Video 2 and video 3 show the crash course and commercial separately, in case you want to skip ahead to the commercial, but the video footage is not as clear and not everything is shown.

Blog Post #11- Top Places to Work in PR

When September Wade visited our class, she mentioned that Weber Shandwick received an award as one of the top places to work in PR by PR News. I found this very interesting; this clearly means that her company has excellent employee relations. Employee relations are perhaps the most important of all public relations. We learned in class that if a company does not have excellent relationships with its employees, its other relationships with other public might not matter.

Here is the article from PR News Online, posted September 22, 2009, that announces the top places to work in PR. It is divided into three categories: agency, corporate department, and non-profit. The nominations were analyzed by a panel of external judges and PR New editors, who considered "everything from the organization's turnover rate and opportunities for growth, to employee's candid descriptions of the intangibles that keep them happy and driven."

Here are the top places to work in each category, as of Sept. 22, 2009

Best Buy, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Chesapeake Energy Corp., Cisco, Discovery Communications, First Horizon National Corp., Pfizer, State Farm Insurance, Symantec, Turner Broadcasting System

APCO, Carmichael Lynch Spong, CJP Communications, Cohn Marketing, Marina Maher Communications, MWW, Sterling Communications, Text 100, Waggener Edstrom, Weber Shandwick

American Red Cross, Children's Home Society of Florida, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blog Post #10- Chris Brown, Celebrity Apologies

I'm sure most remember the Hollywood buzz regarding Chris Brown's physical abuse toward Rihanna, so I thought I would blog a little about his apology.

Some background information: On Feb. 8, 2009, Chris Brown had turned himself in to the LAPD and was taken to jail on felony criminal threats charges. He posted bail at $50,000. Rihanna (Robin Fenty) was the victim in the alleged assault. Article from People Magazine that gives more information.

Chris Brown's official apology- this was posted on his official website, myspace page, and youtube channel in late July 2009, five months after the incident.

FIVE MONTHS?!?!? Clearly our class speaker's "Golden Hour" has come and gone approximately 3,600 times. Chris Brown says he was legally advised not to come out with an apology before his sentencing, but from a PR perspective, he should have ignored that little tidbit of counseling.

Speaking of legal counseling, Brown's choice of lawyer does not seem very logical. He hired attorney Mark Geragos, who is known for defending convicted murderer Scott Peterson (remember the Laci Peterson/Chandra Levi cases). He also defended Winona Ryer after a 2001 shoplifting arrest, and Michael Jackson during his child molestation trial. Personally, I do not know anything about this lawyer other than the facts above, but from a PR standpoint, I don't know that you would want your defense to be the same as that of icons people regard as strange or unfavorable? Not to mention his client, Scott Peterson, is on death row.

Back to the apology, this is a video posted by DukePowell on showing what he thinks Brown's apology should roughly consist of. He makes some excellent points. For one thing, if you are going to apologize for something that EVERYONE knows about, it might be better to acknowledge what you actually did. Unlike the Jet Blue situation would would have involved the need to state what happened to hundreds of people, Chris Brown did not need to go into full or even slight detail. But he could have acknowledged the simple assault charge. He is clearly reading off of cards, like this spoof shows, which affects his tone. The result is that the viewer is not inclined to believe that Brown himself believes his own words. They seem empty and his tone seems false.

This video shows how Brown faced consequences other than six month of community service. His ad campaign for Double Mint Gum was postponed in light of his actions. What could have been a plus for his PR was shut down, and his image is now in a negative light.

So, it seems to me that Brown is trying to protect and build back his image, an obvious PR goal. But, THAT is not what the public wants to see; they want someone who is truly sorry for their actions, and they most certainly DON'T want to look up to an abusive 19-year-old. He has to take that side of his image away, and through his current tactics, it doesn't seem that he's doing a very good job.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blog Post #9: Cheers for Lysol

I thought I'd touch on some smart moves Lysol brand is making regarding the issues publics truly care about. Of course, publics, particularly moms, are worried about germs and bacteria that can cause colds and other sicknesses. BUT, everyone right now is focused on... Swine Flu!

As we have learned, it's important for an organization to consider what issues are really central and important to a public. Here are a few things that Lysol is doing right.

Their website homepage: The main focus of the homepage is H1N1, explicitly stating that Lysol kills 99.9% of Cold and Flue viruses, including H1N1.

Lysol Germ Protection Center: The second main focus of the homepage. This area provides useful information and resources regarding what one can do to protect oneself from H1H1. It also explains terms the World Health Organization uses to make sure everyone understands the pandemic alert level.

Television ads: The first two commercials on the list focus on H1N1. This shows that Lysol is reaching out through multiple media channels. The first commercial uses a credible source, Joe Rubino, Director of Microbiology, Lysol Brand Products, RB as a spokesperson.

Key Facts: Another portion of the website that does a question and answer setup of FAQs.

Healthier Habits Rewards Program: This is a program in which teachers send a monthly letter home to parents educating them about germ prevention at home and school. This is a good way to reach publics that may not have cable or Internet.