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.
This is more a clever commercial than a PR outing, especially as the souped up wheels won’t be showing up anywhere besides TV land. That being said, the image being touted is arresting enough that everybody’s going to be sharing it anyway. What Dad can resist the masculization of the final frontier? Good work. The only downside is that connecting it with the product actually being promoted, a new Skoda car, might eventually prove difficult.
Read more about it here.
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.)
One of the most frustrating aspects of the contemporary PR scene is the fact that public relations has become inextricably linked with technology. The medium and its viewership is king, and as a result, PR must now keep step with every tech and platform change that rears its pointy head. If we want to take a snapshot in the present, though, this report is a pretty good summary of what PR pros should be focusing on. (Dangling prepositions be damned.)
A recent PR stunt from Douwe Egberts has airport patrons receiving a free coffee when it senses that they are yawning. Obviously that’s a clever trigger, but is it enough to push through a brand? I’d be very surprised if this really got their sales pumping, especially as it seems they have a distribution issue. (I’ve never seen them anywhere before this.) Is the cart being pushed before the horse? (Am I falling into antiquated cliche?) And just on a conceptual note, does it make sense to associate yawning with coffee in the customer’s mind? Wouldn’t a coffee manufacturer want to associate alertness with a specific cup of java? If I’m sleepy, a yawning trigger would make me think of Douwe Egberts but not neccesarily as a wake-up inducer.