Monopoly has a certain advantage for its PR team in the fact that the game itself is iconic, and any significant changes made to the icon will be dutifully reported by the press at large. Its latest incarnation, however, takes it to a whole new level by invoking other icons in a massive cross-branding effort. Coca Cola and McDonalds are just some of the brands that players will be able to purchase in the newly revised edition. It’s hard to imagine a better PR coup for all involved. Monopoly gets major media coverage for expanding its own brand, as well as a quick boost in sales with the new board. The featured brands themselves meanwhile score even bigger as they indelibly imprint themselves on the open psyche of the young game playing public. Score!
Let’s admit it. The hipster/geek/ironic/sardonic subculture made a good run for it. They influenced TV, movies, literature, internet memes, and other various forms of virality. But what happens when a company that itself is supposed to be cutting edge realizes that the real money lays not with the intellectual bufferoons but with the common folk? Facebook, who has always considered itself hip with a laid back flavor, has recently made a personnel change that suggests that they’re becoming hip to the new normal. And the new normal is (drumroll please)… Normal! Facebook is changing tracks and moving away from offbeat and subtle imagery to embrace a more popular aesthetic. To accomplish this, Facebook is hiring Gary Briggs, a marketing executive who has worked at Google, Ebay, and Pepsi. Will ill-worded snarkery finally meet a not unwelcome demise? Only time will tell, my good friend Mr. Watson.
The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is the agency most likely to win the Favorite Blechhh! award. Even if they do their job properly, they’re going to annoy people with invasive searches, travel delays, and general governmental obsequiousness. Which makes it funny that another beloved government organization, The U.S. Government Accountability Office, has found an uptick in extra TSA naughtiness. They found more security breaches, more rude behavior, and more general laziness. Come on! The TSA? If you need to hold somebody accountable, take it up the ladder. Picking up the water gun and shooting the comatose duck doesn’t earn you any points in the court of public opinion.
Bill Ackman made a serious short wager against Herbalife, and now he’s looking at big numbers in the loss column. Can he PR his way out of this pickle and regain part of his fortune? (And to my fellow PR peeps – doesn’t if feel validating to see our services being called in by the finance titans? Sort of like the average joe who sees a Roto Rooter truck in the driveway of the local mansion.)
President Obama, already known for his wily use of the PR machine, is now turning to Hollywood to “educate” the public. Healthcare reform is not the most user friendly of topics, (and it certainly hasn’t been the most popular,) so where does an aspiring history maker turn when he needs to get the message out in a favorable way? To Amy Poehler, Jennifer Hudson, and Kal Penn apparently. While this move may not be good for the country going forward, (cue the Hollywood government in Idiocracy,) it will certainly produce a few delayed yawns in the here and now. “Oh look, Jennifer Hudson! (pause) And she’s talking about healthcare. Hey, what’s on Animal Planet?”
Read more on this story in Variety.