What Do You Say?

June 10, 2015

by Roger Pynn

I gave a talk titled “Old Ethics, New Media” at a media summit hosted last week by the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.  My premise was simple.  There is absolutely no difference in ethical decision-making for PR people when it comes to traditional vs. new media.

We reviewed a number of high-profile situations where governments, businesses and people made bad judgements … from the currently raging FIFA soccer scandal to the NFL/New England Patriot #Deflategate drama to ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos’ questionable treatment of his donations to the Clinton Foundation to the continuing saga of managing editor and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.

I took a poll and asked the nearly 100 attending whether:

  1. Brian Williams is toast and should look for a new job?
  2. Brian Williams deserves a second chance in the chair?
  3. NBC is having really bad heartburn over what to do?

It was divided between #1 and #3.

My prediction was that Brian Williams is damaged goods and NBC cannot afford to put him back on the Nightly News.  Then today comes this story predicting you won’t see him in the anchor chair again.

Just Couldn’t Wait

June 3, 2015

by Roger Pynn

Sometimes I wonder why advertising folks go to the effort (and cost) of some of their promotions.

When I got this bill (I won’t embarrass the advertiser because I take enough pot shots at them already), I wondered if perhaps the ad folks just wanted me to have a good laugh.


Or did they think I would enthusiastically rip open the envelope to see what new form they had chosen to ask me to pay my annual bill?  When I finally got around to opening it a few days later, it looked the same to me.

There’s a lesson here:  paper real estate like a monthly statement can be very valuable, but as with all other consumer communication you ought to make the message matter to the receiver.

Back from the Dead

April 14, 2015

by Roger Pynn

Remember the days when everyone was predicting the death of shopping malls?  Bricks and mortar are doomed, they said, because online shopping will do away with the need for behemoth shopping centers.

Well think again.  This story based on an International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) study says 2014 was the best year the industry has seen since 1987 and that malls have higher occupancy rates, tenant rents and net operating income.


I buy things online all the time, but there’s nothing like the ability to touch before you buy.  And I find that once I’m there, if it looks, feels and performs like what I want there’s little motivation to save a few dollars by ordering from Amazon.  Sure, drone delivery sounds novel, but if I can wear a pair of shoes right now, the charge card confirmation hits my iPhone faster than a drone will ever deliver those loafers.

The Space Between the Ads

March 13, 2015

by Roger Pynn

We often tell clients that a modern definition of news could easily be “the stuff that fills the space between the ads” as media are more and more limited in the space they have to devote to news.  I’m growing accustomed to bottom banner ads on section fronts of our newspapers even though my first and perhaps most revered journalism professor told us “it will be a cold day in hell when you see an ad on Page One.”

But now comes CNN to prove our point.  As if those scrolling news updates weren’t annoying enough, Variety reports that the home of Wolf Blitzer and other around-the-clock newsies may be toying with ways of inserting advertiser logos in the bottom-of-the-screen scrolls.

Next up:  intravenous advertising.

Generational Decoding

March 4, 2015

by Roger Pynn

In an AdWeek interview, AT&T’s @CatherineBorda shared what she’s learned about marketing to millennials in her role as director of youth marketing.  Her Secrets to Millennial Marketing:  be transparent, authentic, immediate and versatile.

As I read the article whose subhead promised to decode how millennials use smartphones, I thought “how interesting.  At 65, those are exactly the things I demand if you’re going to market to me.”

Let’s hope all marketers are listening.

Government Cat Herding

March 2, 2015

by Roger Pynn

Remember when the U.S. succumbed to global pressure (and that of the engineering community) to abandon the inch, the foot and the yard?  The rest of the world, went the argument, uses the metric system and we ought to get in line.

It was in 1975 that the Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act.  Although some still claim we are in the process of converting, it may be simply the most stunning example of failed government regulation in our history.

But we may be about to witness something even more doomed to failure than mandated metric conversion.  For those who are saddened by the approval by the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality and the havoc it could wreak on the wild west of the Internet, take heart.

Mark Hendrickson, a Forbes contributor and self-described libertarian economist, suggested in a post today that net neutrality has about as much chance of success as the old Soviet price setting bureaucracy.

The Internet has led to the most stunning transformation of communication since Gutenberg invented movable type.  A day doesn’t go by that we don’t see someone invent a new way to take advantage of its open, endless possibilities.  Hopefully net neutrality will prove to be the equivalent of a mandate for the government to herd cats.

Media Crystal Balls

March 2, 2015

by Roger Pynn

I got an invitation today to a webinar titled “Using Big Data to Predict the Biggest Nights in Entertainment.”  It asked, “Can media intelligence forecast a winner?”

We’ve long known that media love what we call “crystal ball stories” and we encourage our clients to give us insights that we can share with media … things our clients know that reporters haven’t heard yet and readers would love to know.

In this era where big data rules, some think that media have gone overboard in trying to predict winners … elections come to mind where people on the West Coast often feel disenfranchised as networks predict winners before their polls are even closed.

But when it comes to entertainment … who will win a Grammy, an Oscar or the Super Bowl, using big data for a prediction seems to be the equivalent of Las Vegas bookies setting the odds.  Let’s face it … it’s fun.

Picking winners has become an art form for our client Electronic Arts, where the “scientists” at EA Tiburon in Maitland use the wealth of data from their best-selling Madden NFL franchise to run simulations of Super Bowl matchups and regularly pick winners.

What’s in your crystal ball?


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