Monday, April 04, 2005

Ain’t singing for MacDonald's...

Ad Age reports (registration required) MacDonald’s is ready to sign deals with music performers who mention their products in their songs. The cash register will ring every time the song is played on radio.

Neil Young sang it best :

Ain't singin' for Pepsi
Ain't singin' for Coke
I don't sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke

Sunday, April 03, 2005

How to use an embed

While still used after the start of the ground offensive, Pentagon-packaged news were pushed aside by the changing nature of the war in Iraq. They were replaced mostly by embedded reporters, an innovative technique making correspondents dependant on the military not only for information, but also for their lodging, meals, transportation and security.

Defenselink offers an interesting Feb 2003 U.S. military memo on embedding journalists. Apparently they even fly reporters high-priority and assist with filing their stories.

Interestingly, the document states that "media embedded with U.S. forces are not permitted to carry personal firearms." One wonders what NY Times correspondent Dexter Filkins did to convince his unit commander to let him carry a handgun across Iraq.

Bomb Cam VNRs

Two years ago during the first stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was having a drink in a hotel lounge with a group of young PR flacks I was training. Looking at the TV screen, I saw CNN had split its screen in two: on the right side, precision bomb camera images and other footage distributed by the Pentagon. The left side alternated between the anchor and a reporter describing the images, obviously what he heard minutes earlier in a media briefing.

I turned to the others and pointed at the screen: "Look at that. It’s about the best VNR (video news release) you’ll ever see."

The media may not think see it that way, but commented bomb cam and prepackaged military satellite images are the most successful of VNR. Consider what a VNR is. The only fundamental difference the person replaced by the media outlet is a general trained in PR instead of an actor.