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.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

We trust hunky men who save babies

Léger Marketing mercifully omitted PR practitioners and lobbyist in their Profession Barometer (PDF doc).

Once again, firefighters score highest. Canadians literally trust them with their lives. Nurses, farmers, doctors and teachers come next.

Publicists come 18th on 20. It may be snobbish, but I refuse to think flacks are lumped with that category! C’mon, who do you trust more, a NGO flack or Michael Jackson’s publicist?

Canadian politicians end up at the bottom of the scale. An effect of the Gomery inquiry? Not really, they’ve always been there. Frankly, I think it’s sad given that many of them are hard-working, earnest people (disclaimer: yes, I’ve worked for some of these guys in a previous life.) Perhaps we should have a few firefighters running for office.

Get Your Vote On

A B.C. youth group is trying cell phone text messaging to bring first-time voters to the polls.

It’s certainly worth a try, I’m curious to see if it makes a difference in the voting stats. Then again, perhaps the continued tuition increases in that province will be more effective in bringing students to the polls.

Lost in translation

Statistics Canada announced that in 2017, more than half of Torontonians and Vancouverites will likely be members of a visible minority. Most of these people were not born in Canada. They grew up in a different culture and often have a less-than-perfect grasp on English or French. More and more, these people have their own media and influence networks.

One PR/marketing implication: when you use clever wordplay or references to popular Canadian culture, half your audience is wondering what the heck you’re talking about.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Did I really say that?

Watching the papal coverage on RDI:

Anchorwoman, going into a commercial break:

Stay with us, we hope to have news from the Vatican authorities very soon…

Reporter, feeling smart:

I wouldn’t count on that, if they intended to do so they would have done so by

Ouch! I bet they lost half their audience right there.

The changing face of John Paul II

I remember the first years of his pontificate, which is telling considering how young I was. The new Polish pope was energetic, progressive, aggressively pacifist. He traveled a lot and was fond of young people. For a time, it seemed he would save the Catholic Church from middle-age fundamentalism.

1. Pope John Paul II is a fervent believer that the devil, who he calls a "cosmic liar and murderer", is a real presence in the world and has personally carried out exorcisms.
2. The former Archbishop of Boston, accused of covering up the activities of paedophile priests and forced to resign, was given a prestigious sinecure by the Pope yesterday.

3. A solid wall of Vatican-published paper now stands between his successors and an attempt to review the doctrine on birth control and much else.

In contrast, here are some news tidbits from the last year or so from The Guardian:
Add to that his stances against contraception and the any form of legitimacy for homosexuality, it doesn’t paint a bright picture.

The pope’s PR has always been excellent. However, when the product becomes stale the best PR in the world can’t do much.