Freed to Abandon All Standards of Objectivity

January 31, 2011

by Dan Ward

Interesting memo sent today from Philadelphia Daily News Editor Larry Platt to his staff.

In announcing a new approach for the paper, Platt frees his staff “from the tyranny of the Inverted Pyramid,” going further to tell his journalists that they “should also not be afraid to have a point of view about what you report.  Our pages should never be home to ‘he said/she said’ neutrality.  Instead, you will be explicit adjudicators of factual disputes, and you’ll be free to draw conclusions from your reporting.”

Wow.  There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about whether newspapers are losing sight of their mission to factually report the news, rather than to compete with the TMZ’s and bloggers of the world.  Readers of the Daily News need wonder no more.

As Platt says, the Daily News is “no longer in the newspaper business.”



Talk about Tasteless

January 28, 2011

by Roger Pynn

From the “What Were They Thinking?” department comes this unbelievable promotion from Ad 2, a local chapter of the American Advertising Federation, sent today the anniversary of the Challenger Disaster. Promoting a mentoring workshop, they used an empty astronaut’s suit to illustrate an invitation to “meet someone who once felt lost in space.”

I give them credit for recognizing they’d made a mistake and issue an apology:

Good Afternoon Members,

We realize that the artwork on this morning’s e-blast for the 2011 Mentorship Program was confusing or insensitive to some, given that today is the 25th Anniversary of the Challenger disaster.

Please know that the design and distribution timing of this eblast was purely coincidental, and in no way intended to reflect the events of that day.

We sincerely apologize if anyone has found it offensive, it was certainly not our intention.

Best Regards, Ad 2 Orlando

But, this just illustrates why organizations rely on public relations people to review their messaging. Someone has to be the conscience of the organization and in this case, it seems the conscience wasn’t consulted.


The Challenger Challenge

January 28, 2011

by Roger Pynn

 

Anyone who lived in Central Florida remembers the exact spot where they were standing 25 years ago today when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded and left a looping day-long contrail in icy blue skies and an indelible mark on our memories.

Despite the grief, a small group of business leaders worked to create not just a memorial that came to be known as The Space Mirror, but also a lasting educational tribute in the form of the Astronaut’s Memorial Foundation.  Renowned Central Florida architect Alan Helman, then AT&T executive Randy Berridge, now of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, former University of Central Florida VP Bob McGuiness and the late SunTrust executive David Walsh among others developed an ingenious funding mechanism we now take for granted … affinity license plates … and raised millions to see their dream come true.

Our firm was fortunate to have the opportunity to help them with the dedication and grand opening of this national monument to the Challenger Seven … and even won the highest honor in public relations for that work.  Looking back, I have to say the challenge was easy because we were given an incredibly positive story to tell that stands to this day as proof that actions speak louder than words.


Where’s the Beef?

January 28, 2011

by Roger Pynn

Taco Bell President Greg Creed’s appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America today quickly had media talking heads, as well as public relations wags chatting up the advisability of everything from the company’s full-page ad campaign (“Thank you for suing us”) … to the company’s aggressive use of online tools from its website to Facebook and an aggressive media relations effort.

The lawsuit filed against Taco Bell claimed you’re actually eating “a Taco Beef Mixture.” What does that mean?  “In reality,” the plaintiffs say, “a substantial majority of the filling is comprised of substances other than beef” including “isolated oat product.”

Admitting he is not a food scientist, Creed said he couldn’t explain what an “isolated oat product” is but refuted claims Taco Bell uses extenders and fillers.  You have to pity oat product sentenced to solitary confinement.

After Creed noted there’s a big difference between 33 percent (which the suit alleges) and 88 percent (which the company claims is the percentage of ground beef in its tacos), conversation erupted among members of the Florida Public Relations Association’s Counselors Network, made up of the state’s senior practitioners.  Said one, “What concerned me more was that a company only has to have 40 percent to say that it’s beef.”

As another practitioner said, “I, for one, think the Taco Bell strategy is strong … they’re basically saying, ‘here’s our recipe.  Yes, it’s not all beef, because if it was you wouldn’t like it.’  They’re certainly getting people talking.”

Talk about a messaging mess.  Wendy’s most famous pitch lady Clara Peller must be laughing from the grave?

Where is “Yo Quiero” when you need help?


If The Shoe Fits

January 27, 2011

by Dan Ward

Is ethical reporting as important in sports journalism as it is in mainstream news?  If so, then ESPN reporter Erin Andrews’ recent take on a new Nike shoe should draw more scrutiny.

While covering the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, Andrews took a swipe at Nike, saying that TCU’s players were slipping on the turf because of new Nike cleats they were wearing.

Two weeks later, a Nike competitor, Reebok, announced that Andrews has signed on as an endorser of its ZigTech sneaker.

Perhaps Andrews had no idea Reebok was interested when she made her report on Nike’s cleats.  But if she or her representatives were negotiating with Reebok at the time, what does that say for the credibility of her report?  And now that this sports “journalist” is a paid endorser for a sports product, how can she credibly report on any issues regarding athletic footwear or apparel in the future?


What’s in a Name?

January 26, 2011

by Kim Taylor

Last week I received an unusual phone call. The woman on the other end of the phone had a request for me: she’d like my name … my Twitter username to be exact.

She proceeded to explain that she was calling on behalf of a fashion designer in NYC who shares my name, Kimberly Taylor. And as the publicist for said designer, she was experiencing difficulty with the “branding” because there was often confusion between her Twitter account and mine.

Admittedly, I had received a few misdirected tweets, but nothing to indicate that the Twittersphere  was up in arms about the name confusion.

She went on to explain that “I’m just a person” and they’re working on a “brand.” I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think that’s the most convincing or endearing argument to make.

Furthermore, I wasn’t about to school another PR person about branding. Branding is more than just a name. A brand is a promise you make to your customer.

So, my questions to you are: What’s in a name? And, would you give yours up?


Awards Season is Here!

January 25, 2011

by Kerry Martin

With all the excitement of the Golden Globes and Oscar nomination announcements, it can only mean one thing:  Awards season has arrived.

Of course Hollywood can’t take all the attention.  As most communication professionals know, each spring is the time for recognizing the planning and effort that comprise major Public Relations campaigns through programs like the Florida Public Relations Association’s Golden Image Awards and the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Awards.  Local chapters of FPRA participate in Image Award programs across the state, while the PRSA Silver Anvil takes nominations from the entire country.

In its 25 years, Curley & Pynn has received its share of awards, becoming the first Florida agency to win a Silver Anvil Award in 1992.  But each year presents a new opportunity to showcase the hard work that is involved in promoting a client’s program or brand—and to remind that client that the tools and strategies of a public relations campaign are instrumental in carrying out a sound business plan, whether communicating with internal audiences, potential customers or even public figures.

With deadlines just around the corner (PRSA Silver Anvil is February 25, Orlando’s FPRA Image Awards is March 4 and FPRA’s Golden Image Awards is May 20), we encourage all communication professionals to seek recognition for their work and show clients the power of PR.



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