Can Pinterest Find Amy Dunne?

September 12, 2014

by Kim Taylor

We’ve all seen movie trailers or celebrities on the talk show circuit promoting their latest film.  And, it’s not uncommon for a big movie to have a website totally dedicated to its characters, the soundtrack, related promotional material—anything that might incite more interest and sell tickets.

So how do you stay fresh, stand out and build buzz when reports are indicating that fewer people are going to the movies?  You have your movie’s main character create a Pinterest page.

Why a Pinterest page?  Well, Amy Dunne, the main character from the upcoming movie “Gone Girl” turns up missing in this mystery-thriller.  The main plot of the novel-turned-movie is finding her.  Her Pinterest page, then, might hold clues about who she is, what her interests are, and most importantly where she might be.

If Ben Affleck doesn’t get you to the movies for this one, maybe this extra level of creativity will.

It’s Not Delivery. It’s Anonymous. And Wrong.

September 12, 2014

by Dan Ward

Like many PR people, I’ve been monitoring reaction to the @DiGiorno Twitter debacle, in which the person behind the company’s Twitter account made a joke using the #WhyIStayed hashtag without realizing that tag was being used to discuss stories of domestic violence.

Beyond providing a lesson on the need to think before you tweet, as well as the benefits of a sincere apology, the story has shown once again how anonymous message boards are, as Roger Pynn has pointed out, the sewer of the Internet.

Check this comment from “guest” to a PR Daily story:  “PR people have to clean up after clueless and ignorant social media staffers who don’t read and think before they comment … if this guy worked for me, he’d be gone.  No second chances.”

So not only does the anonymous “guest” make the assumption that the poster was some ignorant staffer with no PR background, he advocates the always successful “no failure” business policy.  So, unlike the MythBusters team, those who work for him know that failure is never an option.  I’m sure that leadership style makes his team eager to take risks and try new things.

Then there’s this comment from “Anonymous:”  “The premise that apologies are required is a fallacy of the young and inexperienced and naïve.  What is required is corrective action … firing the person responsible and announcing that.”

I’m neither young, nor inexperienced, nor (I hope) naïve, but I happen to believe quite strongly that apologies ARE required when you screw up.  When you make a mistake, say so, apologize for it and then take corrective action.

But is dismissal really the appropriate corrective action in this case? The poster realized his mistake almost immediately, apologized profusely to all followers, then apologized over and over again to everyone who rightfully called his post stupid, idiotic, moronic and every other word that means just plain dumb.

We’re not in the habit of firing people for making mistakes.  If so, I’d have fired myself a thousand times over the last 20+ years.  This was by all means a whopper of a mistake, one that was easily avoidable. But it wasn’t willful.  It should be an experience from which the poster hopefully will learn, rather than a mistake from which his career will never recover.

Taking a Risk on a Played Out Trend

September 10, 2014

by Kim Taylor

Flash mobs were all the rage a few years ago.  Well-orchestrated mobs have garnered millions of views on YouTube and gained worldwide attention.  Then, poof!  They faded quietly into the background.  To assemble a flash mob now—in 2014—would be inviting praise’s ugly cousin, mockery, to your doorstep.  Or, would it?

Kudos to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater for taking a chance on a played out trend and performing a spectacular Les Miserables flash mob at The Mall at Millenia to publicize the show’s opening.  With nearly 100,000 views on YouTube, coverage on NBC’s Today show and CBS Sunday Morning and more press than they probably imagined, they hit it out of the park.

Delving a little deeper into why this worked:

  1. They nailed the element of surprise.
    Actors in plain clothes carrying shopping bags and Starbucks cups don’t exactly draw suspicion.
  2. It was well-planned and executed.
    Perhaps by technical terms, this wasn’t a flash mob.  We can assume the Mall knew well in advance the performance was going to take place, and it likely wasn’t a spontaneous act, but rather a calculated performance for publicity.  However, flawless execution was a big factor for success here.
  3. Direct promotional tie-in.
    Orlando Shakes wants to sell tickets to the show.  They brought a glimpse of the show to a crowded mall, many of whom may’ve been unaware of the show’s opening.  What better way to sell than to let your buyer sample the product? 

Sometimes the reward is worth the risk.

“Do the Right Thing” is No Longer Enough

September 9, 2014

by Dan Ward

I recently wrote about the First Rule of Public Relations: Do the Right Thing (hat tip to Frank Stansberry).  The rule is a good reminder that what you do is much more important than what you say.

I’ve been thinking about that rule a lot since TMZ released the video of now-former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his wife in an Atlantic City elevator.  Following release of that video, the Ravens did the right thing, releasing Rice from his contract and denouncing his abuse.

But I have to ask, where were the Ravens months ago when it became clear that Rice had committed a horrendous act of domestic violence? Where were they when video was made public showing Rice dragging his unconscious wife from an elevator and dropping her, face-first, to the floor?

Instead of taking action then, they defended their star player, calling him a “good guy” and releasing one of the most offensive tweets of all time, saying the domestic abuse victim “regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.”  (A tweet that was only removed following release of the second video.)

The Ravens knew that Rice had knocked his wife unconscious in that elevator, but they only chose to act when video was released showing the actual punch.  They chose to act as a “PR move” when the video stirred understandable public outrage.  But when you know something is wrong, you shouldn’t wait; you should take action.

The First Rule of Public Relations needs an update – Do the Right Thing, and Do it Now.

Sometimes You Wonder

September 2, 2014

by Roger Pynn

We’ve had a long commitment to internships over our 30 years in business.  In fact, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a young student working side-by-side with our team of professionals learning the real world application of what their professors were teaching in the classroom.

We’ve been fortunate to hire many of them.  But the vast majority, who must now number close to 100, have gone on to other things … many to very good careers where we have been able to watch them grow as professionals with other companies.  But you can’t help wonder, “Did we make an impact?”

Late last night one former intern took the time to send an email that made my day.  We had run into Jon Hanson last week where he now has a very promising job with one of our clients, Electronic Arts Tiburon.  He got his “dream job” working in the video game industry he loves.

“Great seeing you the other day,” he wrote.  “I shared a story with one of our new employees today of the lessons learned at Curley & Pynn.  Namely, taking complicated stories (I’m looking at you, Florida High Tech Corridor Council), and making it easy enough for an eighth grader to understand.  My time with your team has proved invaluable, and helped set me up for success at EA.”

In this improving economy, talent may be the most important issue facing employers.  Internships are a great way to pay back all those who gave you a chance … and have an impact on the quality of workers transitioning from college to career.  The key is to make sure you are giving them a meaningful experience that leaves them with a portfolio demonstrating their knowledge and with you the knowledge you’ve paid it forward.

First Rule of Public Relations: Do the Right Thing

August 28, 2014

by Dan Ward

Those who work at Curley & Pynn are often reminded of their responsibility to lead in their profession and lead in the community.

I’m glad to say that we have many here who do both.  My colleague Kerry Martin, APR, begins today as president of our local chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, for which Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, will serve as state president in 2015/2016.  Our team serves on boards and committees for both professional associations and charitable organizations.  I’m proud to serve as a board member for the American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region.

Such involvement is almost always among our recommendations to clients, as well.  Leading in one’s profession and in the community is a critical component of public relations.

But why do we really do it?  What makes it important?

Yesterday morning, the Red Cross directors met a young woman named Shaneka, a mother of three who had been living in a car with her family until that car and all her family’s belongings were destroyed in a fire.

The Red Cross and its volunteers found temporary housing, provided clothing and meals, established relationships with a potential employer, and provided ongoing assistance and counseling to Shaneka in her time of need.  And Shaneka was so touched by that experience that she took a bus across town just to say thank you to a volunteer board made up of people she had never met, and to express her intention to give back as a volunteer to help others.

When we advise our staff and clients to lead in their communities, there is certainly an element of enlightened self-interest.  It allows you to build beneficial relationships.  It creates opportunities for business development and professional development.

But the real reason?  Because it makes you feel good.

Hashtag Politics

August 19, 2014

by Kim Taylor

Political campaigns have entered an entire new arena with the addition of social media to a candidate’s campaign.  Campaign advertising on television is now heartily supplemented by Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.  And, nowhere is that more apparent than in our own state governor’s race … in particular, in Charlie Crist’s second attempt at winning the seat.

If you’ve seen at least one of Crist’s ads on TV, you might’ve noticed the catchy #ShadyRick hashtag referring, of course, to his opponent and current governor, Rick Scott.  It caught my eye because it’s the first time I recall seeing a hashtag deliberately used as part of a campaign.

And, while hashtags can often be abused and overused, their intentional use can be very effective.  The incorporation of hashtags into other mediums such as Facebook and Instagram make them even more powerful.

Suppose you’re not really into politics or are unfamiliar with a candidate.  A simple search of Crist’s #ShadyRick hashtag will yield pages and pages of reading material.  An added benefit for the candidate is that popular hashtags often become trending topics garnering a topic even more attention.

Of course, as with all social media, results can’t always be predicted and since the use of hashtags is organic and can be used by anyone, you can expect an outlier or two.  I’m almost certain the #ShadyRick pictured below is not our current governor.  Choose your hashtags wisely.



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