Dec 6 2013
As PR professionals, we all know how difficult it is to make noise in the media, especially during the holiday season. So when we see a campaign that makes a public splash in all the right ways during this busy season, we pay attention and take note.
The holidays are a time to be merry, and without question, nothing in recent times has made me merrier than Paramount Pictures’ PR blitz and marketing campaign promoting the Anchorman sequel, starring Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy.
The Ron Burgundy campaign is a creative and memorable advertising initiative that has not only led to a measurable increase in consumer sales, but has resonated deeply with its target audience.
Unless your television has been off since Labor Day, you’ve undoubtedly seen the ads Will Ferrell has been starring in for Dodge Durango. And I’m willing to bet whether watching in a group or alone, they made you chuckle or, at the very least, grin. What I bet you didn’t guess is that the ads have successfully encouraged consumers to go out and actually buy the SUV.
The Ron Burgundy spots debuted at the beginning of October and October sales for the SUV increased by a staggering 59% as compared to September, according to Chrysler Group data (Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Forbes first reported the news.) Chrysler group also reported an 11% increase in October sales compared to the same month in 2012. Not impressed yet? The company has seen a nearly 80 percent increase in web traffic alone since the campaign launched.
The 10 million views the ad spots received on YouTube in their first 30 days are a sign that Ron Burgundy resonates like no other personality in pop culture. “Like the Dodge brand, he is confident, unapologetic, irreverent and fearless: as a result he is culturally relevant to our customer,” said a Dodge spokesperson in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
That said, Ron Burgundy has been doing a lot more than just selling Dodge Durangos. Most recently Farrell as Burgundy was seen at Emerson College when its communication school was renamed for one day the Ron Burgundy School of Communication.
Meanwhile, Burgundy has also found time to:
So what can we take away from this?
With so many ways to reach the public these days you have to be original, unique and completely out of the box. That is exactly what Paramount has done with this campaign. They have replicated the fictional-character-in-the-real-world concept, and done so beautifully. They have also taught us that a spokesperson, no matter how outlandish, who aligns with a company’s core verticals, is truly its anchor.
Dec 5 2013
By Liz Rea and April Sciacchitano
2013 is coming to a close, and it’s been quite a year for health news and communication. A lot of great (and not so great) things happened in health this year, and we made it through the year despite the government breaking, er… shutting down. In case you missed it, here are our picks for the need-to-know moments of 2013.
16-year-old Jack Andraka opens news doors for cancer detection. With the help of Google and Wikipedia, Jack Andraka unveiled a simple test for detecting pancreatic cancer in 2012 that is 168 times faster, 400 times more sensitive and 26,000 times more economical than traditional tests. In 2013, the news spread about the test, which uses mesothelin as a marker to detect cancer, and talk of its vast potential began, with some hoping it can be modified to detect a multitude of cancers.
Boston hospitals responded swiftly to the marathon bombings, thanks to emergency preparedness.
In the wake of 9/11 and numerous natural disasters, Boston hospitals come together for an annual training to better prepare themselves for the unthinkable. When just that happened at the Boston Marathon this year, the hospitals were prepared, helping physicians and nurses save countless number of patients who needed immediate medical care. These drills have become standard in most cities, helping hospitals to work together, should disaster strike.
The Angelina Jolie Effect boosted genetic testing. In May, Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed, “My Medical Choice,” in the New York Times discussing her preventative double mastectomy she chose to have done after she learned she carried the BRCA1 gene. This gene increased her chances of developing breast cancer to 87 percent and ovarian cancer to 50 percent. After her announcement, which urged women to get take control of their health, physicians have seen an increase in women who want to be genetically tested to better understand their risks of developing cancer.
Coca-Cola repositions on a health and wellness platform. Diet Coke sales dipped in 2013, prompting the soda giant to test a new campaign, defending aspartame as a safe substance that will help fight obesity. The campaign’s launch came with quite a bit of resistance and didn’t quite make the splash Coke had hoped.
Healthcare.gov crashes is still not up and running. Although there were quite a few developments related to healthcare reform this year, our PR pick is the launch of Healthcare.gov. We still can’t decide whether or not it’s working, but you can bet PR teams everywhere are adding “website crash” to their crisis training manuals in 2014. A website has never stole the headlines in quite this way. Meanwhile, there’s a poor showing of interest in the new healthcare game plan – only 29,000 Americans have signed up for insurance via the website.
And, a preview of what to look out for in 2014:
What do Elmo and Michelle Obama have in common? A love for teaching kids the importance of eating their fruits and veggies! Over the next two years, the Sesame Street Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), in conjunction with Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative will work with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to help children (and parents) make better, healthier choices when it comes to food.
Unless you’ve been under a rock this year, you know these six picks are only the tip of the iceberg. What’s your pick for memorable PR moments of 2013?
Dec 4 2013
It is December again and with yet another year coming to a close, I find myself in a reflecting and sentimental mood; maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, or maybe it’s just the nostalgia evoked by the intoxicating blend of nutmeg aromas, Christmas music and embarrassing amounts of tinsel strewn around town.
No matter the reason, in looking back I realize I have read so much wonderful wine content this year, which, more and more, is coming from digital sources like blogs, e-zines and mobile apps. After attending this year’s European Wine Bloggers Conference, also known as the Digital Wine Communicators Conference (or as I like to call it, the Wine Nerd Bowl), I’ve been introduced to a new crop of international wine blogs and e-zines, which officially guarantees that my husband must share our precious, post-kiddo bedtime hours with my computer.
While I am a faithful reader to go-to wine writers, like Eric, Tyler, Joe, Tom and Jon, the following six blogs topped my list this year for awesome wine content. Why six? Because top ten lists always strike me as suspect…too round to be true. Some of these guys and gals are well-known, some are diamonds in the rough, but all are worth adding to your favorite reading list.
Happy Holidays y’all. Cheers!
1. Wine Folly
Madeline Puckette is the brain behind this fan-diddly-tastic wine blog. I love every single thing they put out because it’s inevitably witty, visually appealing (given her background as a graphic designer) and new to vino cyberspace. Truly unique content is hard to come by and the smarties at Wine Folly just keep rolling out the good stuff.
Founded by my well-hydrated pal, David White, Terroirist took home the “Best Overall Wine Blog” at the 2013 Wine Blog Awards. Another winner in the content division, Terroirist puts out an amazing amount of useful, original and news-oriented wine content every day. And this isn’t even his day job! I read it every morning and you should, too.
Whatever Ron Washam is on, I want in. Reading this blog penned by a retired sommelier from Southern California, I find myself feeling some mixture of elation, glee and confusion. He took home two wine blog awards this year, but based on this post, I’m pretty sure he didn’t pick them up in person. His satirical blog is incredibly funny and pointed, sometimes uncomfortable to read, but always worth the time.
A blog more about digital topics than wine itself and penned by Paul Mabray and his team, VinTank is a digital think tank. If you’re looking for Paul, he is likely multitasking on a conference call while driving his car somewhere in the Bay area, or speaking as a keynote at a wine conference, or announcing some piece of news that spreads like wildfire around the wine world. They have rad algorithms I don’t understand that tell us what fellow wine nerds are talking about, and more importantly, are kind enough to share this social intelligence, mostly for free. Check it out.
5. Palate Press
Co-founded by David Honig and W.R. Tish (incidentally one of my favorite and oldest wine industry pals), Palate Press is a wonderful online wine magazine with a serious lineup of columnists and contributors, both professional to citizen bloggers. This is a well-researched, well-edited e-zine, packed with all forms of wine content and news from around the world.
Newly launched last month by Christopher Barnes, co-founder of amNewYork, this video-centric wine blog/e-commerce site has signed on some heavy hitters to provide and edit wine content, including Nick Fauchald, Kristen Bieler, Dorothy Gaiter and Barbara Fairchild. WHAMO! I am clearly partial, because they launched with a massive feature on Rioja, but it doesn’t change the fact that this site is worth checking out.
Dec 2 2013
If you plan on launching a new website or redoing an existing site in 2014 you can easily be focused purely on the aesthetics, content management system or markup of the site. Those elements are indeed important but as the web evolves I wanted to highlight 3 really important elements that shouldn’t be absent when launching a website in 2014. To ensure success and to have a truly modern site you’ll need to consider these elements:
At it’s very basic level, a rich snippet is a standardized way to represent data to users and search engines. As of now rich snippets exist for calendar events, news, media, recipes, reviews and handful of other pieces of content that can follow a set archetype across all websites. These “rich snippets” are the few lines of text that appear under a search result and are designed to give users a sense for what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their search.
Why Rich Snippets?
In the age of Pinterest it’s no joke that we are watching more and reading less. Visual content isn’t just for the Pinterest audience, every website should be taking a more visual approach to content no matter who your target audience might be. Larger photographs, infographics and video should all make their way into your website’s content and relaunch in 2014.
Why Visual Content?
It feels like the digital community has been pushing responsive design for years and by now it should really be a standard approach to website development. Mobile adoption rate is staggering and mobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop internet usage in the very near future. We rarely launch a site that isn’t mobile friendly as responsive design is a standard technique at PadillaCRT.
Nov 26 2013
By: Guest Blogger, Sabrina Kidwai, APR
Over the past few years, we’ve seen several crises take place: Susan G. Komen, Penn State, and more recently with the mayor of Toronto to the players situation with the Miami Dolphins.
Some organizations believe that a crisis won’t ever happen to them, but it’s important to realize that everyone will experience a crisis. For example, it can include: embezzlement; board member misconduct; controversial speaker, program, ad, or product; weather-related cancellation; or a crisis during a meeting.
When a crisis hits, it’s essential for your organization/client to be prepared. Here are some simple steps:
Sometimes the crisis that occurs isn’t a big deal, but it’s the response or lack of one that can turn a small crisis into a bigger one. So, it’s important for the organization to manage its brand effectively by having a communication plan in place.
Sabrina Kidwai, APR, has been involved in public relations for 14 years working in associations, nonprofits and high-tech PR agency. She is currently the senior manager of PR for ASAE where she handles both internal and external communications, provides counsel to senior leadership, and develops strategic communication plans for the organization. She is a board member for the National Capital Chapter Public Relations Society of America, and the co-chair for the 2014 International PRSA Conference Committee. She is an alumnus of the IEL Education Policy Fellowship Program in Washington, DC. Sabrina received her Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of South Carolina.