Dream Big; Live Bigger

Jeremiah 29:11-13

One Stage; Two Iconic Beverages March 31, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 11:04 PM

I am one of the few people who actually still watch American Idol. This week on Tuesday, the Idol finalists paid tribute to Elton John. All was going according to plan. Steven Tyler was calling everyone “beautiful.” Jennifer Lopez was beautiful herself as usual. Randy Jackson was pretty generous in his compliments. Ryan was his usual charming self. All that being said, there was one one major gaffe in the Tuesday show of American Idol.

For as long as the show has been on the air, it has had two major sponsors: Ford and Coca-Cola. All season long, American Idol shows ads for Ford. Finalists perform in weekly Ford music videos, and the final two receive a Ford vehicle. Coca-Cola is the other major sponsor. The show shows ads, has their own “backstage” Coke-themed room, and the judges, of course, drink their drink-of-choice from Coca-Cola cups.

Regular viewers know all of this. So when James Durbin finished his flaming version of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, Ryan Seacrest commented on the flames on stage. Durbin joked back that he had so much hairspray in his air and was lucky to not have experienced a “Pepsi moment.” (He was referring to an incident where deceased Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire on a Pepsi commercial site.) Seacrest hurriedly looked into the camera and reminded the audience that the show was “sponsored by Coca-Cola.”

I noticed this immediately and thought, “Wow. Coca-Cola must OWN American Idol.” It was entertaining to see Ryan so nervous; Randy was also shocked at the less-than-ten-second incident. Product placement is a big deal for especially prime time shows because advertisers know people will be watching at those golden hours. Coca-Cola is so successful that I highly doubt they need to worry about a innocent slip of Durbin’s stammering tongue.

 

Pokemon: 15 years of success March 10, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 10:37 PM

Every company has an ace product, that product that keeps on selling. Public relations professionals have their work cut out for them when working for popular products or businesses in that they must to make the public realize again and again that there is worth in using or purchasing the product.  One such returning product is the Pokemon phenomenon. The Pokemon franchise has been a success for fifteen years now. An article that I read taught me many things that I did not realize go into having such a successful product. The Pokemon franchise extends beyond just the games. Gaming consoles have been designed with Pokemon themes. A television show and a few movies have been produced. Comic books and the card game are popular as well. Of course, there are the action figures  and plush dolls in the shapes of Pokemon characters.

Gaming companies should look at the Pokemon franchise as a guide for how to succeed because the industry has raked in $24 billion. That figure is only in regards to the games and does not include the other merchandise that has been released. That places Pokemon second after the Mario game series.

Bugs are what inspired Pokemon’s creation. Pikachu, the famous electric mouse-like creature, got its name from Japanese words that are used to describe electricity and squeaking noises. The world of Pokemon and some of the humans’ names in the game are based on real-life places in Japan and a couple of the guys behind the Mario franchise.

So why write a blog post on a kids’ video game? The reason is because it the Pokemon franchise can teach many lessons to PR workers. Friendship and loyalty are just two of the themes found the world of Pokemon. Teamwork is another huge factor of success. Never write something off as a possible source of enlightenment. After all, much wisdom can be taken from the most seemingly childish of places.

 

Oscars Helps Economy February 25, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 4:17 PM

The Oscar Awards Show air every year. This is a time for directors to earn bragging rights for their films. Both leading actors and actresses as well as their supporting co-stars also are recognized for their finesse in their art. Just like with the Super Bowl or TV show finales, all of the buzz surrounding the event normally wears off within a couple days. But, my question is, is there a point to the Oscars besides allowing those who win to feel pretty good about themselves. Does winning a little golden man do anything besides look good on an acting or a directing resume?

The more I thought about it, the more I connected the awards show with the economy of the film industry. The times are, of course, hard. Everyone knows that. It has been this way for about three years now. Before I start rambling about the crumbling economy and when it might improve again, let me explain just how the movie industry gets some really good PR out of the Oscars.

The movie industry needs some help. When people have less money to spend, bills take the priority over moviegoing, and understandably so. Wise people, who might not jump at the chance to see every movie that comes out that looks cool, probably watch the Oscars or read an article about them or hear about it from coworkers, family, or friends. The excitement and hype from the Oscars usually reaches its max within a couple days, like I said. I would like to say that when less avid moviegoers hear about the results of the show they might be more intrigued to go check out a movie. Sometimes this is because their favorite actor or actress has a major role in the film; other times it is because a renowned director has produced it. Whatever the reason, the Oscars help generate interest in the film industry.

 

Old Navy Ad: not that “c-u-t-e” February 24, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 12:48 PM

An Old Navy commercial as well as a hacker sparked outrage and annoyance from one Kim Kardashian and her public relations people. Yesterday, the star’s Twitter account was hacked. For a celebrity this can cause a lot of backlash from the public should something out of character be tweeted. Kardashian, like several of her celebrity counterparts, tweets constantly about wherever she is, who she is with, and she is doing. Tweeting is a type of micro-blogging according to a Yahoo! TV blog. The twitter issue has been resolved; that is sure to be a relief for Kardashian.

This blog labels Old Navy’s ad as “obnoxious” and goes on to say that the ad will give a review “nightmares.” The singer/actress in the ad is Canadian Melissa Molinaro. Molinaro’s popularity on the Web has increased (by 16,000%!) because of this television ad. Critics speculate that Old Navy chose Molinaro rather than Kim Kardashian because Molinaro is a cheaper endorsement. Kardashian can supposedly receive up tp $25,000 to simply tweet about a product. Oh, if life could only be so easy!

For a celebrity to be legible for actual payment from merely tweeting or posting a status about a product blew my mind. But the more I thought about it, the more I was intrigued. I suppose the same concept applies to celebrities appearing in commercials. It’s actually probably cheaper for companies to pay celebrities to tweet about their product rather than create a commercial. Tweets take mere seconds to produce. Commercials require a script, plot of some kind, choreography, a shooting crew, actors, a myriad of other things to consider such as time and finances.

Here is the advertisement under scrutiny. Check it; is it “obnoxious” and “nightmare-“invoking? Personally, the harshest words I would use to describe the ad are “indulgent” and “annoying.” And yet, I can’t help but humming along.

 

Bieber Fever: a PR phenomenon February 22, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 9:51 PM

I used to think Justin Bieber was the Aaron Carter for today’s teenage girls. Until recently I have been a holdout when it came to becoming a fan of Bieber’s. I still consider myself far from being a screaming, swooning fan, but I am curious to see what all of the fuss is about. Until reading a blog (Social Media Lessons from Bieber Fever) that I stumbled upon, I had never considered the public relations that go into Justin Bieber and his performances, appearances, and his latest achievement, his film called Never Say Never.

Susan Sweenie, who wrote the blog, spoke of Justin Bieber’s rise to fame. His ability to have captured the hearts if so many adoring fans in so little time is truly indescribable. His success is more than mere luck or naive youth who flock to the next big thing. Sweenie argues that Bieber is a “marketing whiz.”

His mom recorded him singing/performing; YouTube was his first huge arena that he played for. His Twitter page is enormous because he replies to all of his fans. He even retweets his fans’ messages. Appearances on hot TV shows are a norm for Bieber now; he also regularly interacts with other celebrities of influence.

Sweenie says that there are three main takeaways from Bieber’s marketing techniques:

1. Listen and Engage With Your Audience.

2. Understand Your Target Audience.

3. Get Creative and Give Back.

By listening and engaging, fans/customers feel connected the cause, organization, business, or celebrity. They feel truly cared for and like their opinions and thoughts matter. They feel important and valued. Public relations practitioners need to remember that they deal with the public, yes, but that the public is made up of individuals.

Understanding the target audience will provide much greater results than if PR professionals do not understand the needs or desires of the consumer. For Bieber, he understands his fans love his music, his hair, and his personality. He therefore continues to produce his catchy tunes and keep up appearances.

Creativity and giving back are two things that have the potential to attract holdouts. Just recently he visited a children’s hospital; he is also known for giving out free tickets. Giving back shows fans that companies/celebrities are not all about money and that they do have a heart (even if some of their giving back is a PR ploy). Overall, good public relations can turn up in even the most unlikely location, such as the career of teen sensation Justin Bieber.

 

Twitter: a PR and social media wedding February 20, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 3:31 PM

While Facebook is primarily used for social media content such as music and photos, Twitter is the place that combines the social aspects of Facebook with the current events found in newsrooms. In an online debate, Brian Solis explains why Twitter can be defined as journalism. This article caught my eye because I am just beginning to learn about Twitter, so I thought it would be a good way to combine a school assignment with actual curiosity; hence this blog post was created.

Solis stated that the question was not whether or not  Twitter could be defined as a method of journalism but whether or not a tweet held the same rights as other media out there. For Solis, a better way to phrase the question posed by the debate is, “Can Tweets represent acts of journalism?”

This question intrigued me. I had never thought of Facebook statuses or Twitter updates as having the capacity to be of a journalistic quality. However, when I reconsidered the idea, I came to the conclusion of why not? After all, journalism is a methods of communicating current events, both international and local; Twitter is a way of communicating. When a user goes to post an update, the box is marked, “What’s happening?” So, my opinion is yes, Twitter might be considered a platform for journalism.

Journalists from all over the world Tweet their updates daily, hourly; even sometimes by the minute updates are being streamed across the web. Reports especially from the Middle East are being broadcast via Twitter. In places like Egypt, Bahrain, and Iran, things happen too fast for a journalist to sit down and compose an article. It makes sense to consider Twitter a form of journalism because that is precisely what it is becoming to many people.

By the time newspapers and even some television stations receive the news, much has already changed. With Twitter, streams of information are flowing constantly and are continuously being updated with the latest information. Twitter is immediate, current, and relevant which is everything that breaking news and follow-up stories should be about.

 

Flickr Flicked Photos February 15, 2011

Filed under: PR Connections — Angela @ 11:09 PM

You go to the park on a beautiful day. You go to the beach at sunset. You go to dinner at quaint restaurant by the lake. You go to your best friend’s bridal shower. You take some amazing photos. But, since they are not amazing enough, you decide to perform plastic surgery on them- or in this case, technological surgery on them. You take the time to upload and edit them on Flickr. There! Now they are perfect. You can print them for a photo album or scrapbook or picture frame. You can use them as the background for your computer or you can customize a gift with one of them online. You can even try to make earn some money off of them.

But you are too tired of editing the photos to worry about any of that right now. Besides, they will be still be there in a couple of days, or a couple of weeks. So, you come back all ready to work again. But wait? You just saw your photos last week, a couple of days ago even. Where did they all go? No, it can’t be. No, they can’t all- all– be gone?!

Well, this is what Flickr did (accidentally) to one photographer Mirco Wilhelm. The site designed to allow users to share their photo creations deleted 4,000 of Wilhelm’s photos. Flickr’s response to this crisis? The company, owned by Yahoo!, offered to let Wilhelm use Flickr Pro free of cost (24.95 a year) for three years.

While Flickr originally said that they could not restore the lost photos, now the company is claiming to be working on a program to retrieve deleted accounts. They hope to have it up and running as soon as possible.

My questions for Flickr are only a few, really. How did this mistake even happen? Why was Mirco Wilhelm the only one who lost this many photos? Were there any other occurrences similar to this? Shouldn’t there be some type of archive to store the photos in case of an event like this? Needless to say, Flickr might be facing some backlash after this situation. The good thing about a crisis like this is that it is small enough that it will not necessarily drive away all of the costumers, but it is big enough that it should cause changes for the better to be implemented to the site.