Friday, December 11, 2009

Fashion && The Social Media, minus Twitter.

Fashion has forever been and will continue to forever be an extremely visual industry and concept. The heart of fashion is centered on looks, styles, appeals and of course - response. One's style makes them look to be a certain way and that draws a response of various appeals....either positive or negative...or sort of just in the middle. Fashion is a highly marketable industry...taking up tons of magazine space in the grocery store and local bookstore. Fashion is also all over the television. Turn on any station and there is either a commercial for some fashion, or an infomercial directly selling a particular fashion. Fashion is even popularized and sold inconspicuously through means of trend-setting and recognition. Say perhaps a certain celebrity wears a particular style dress to the Oscar awards. You can be sure that by the next month, recreations of the dress will be circulating the world's boutiques and countless people will attempt to recreate the style and look that was so appealing to them. Fashion can also be spread through music artists through their public appearances and through their music videos. Whether it is through magazines, television, internet advertisements, or public display of self-expression, fashion is a part of each persons life whether they know it or not. There is always a new fashion, there is always a new designer, there is always a new fashion faux-pas. As public relations practitioners, we know that there is also always a new innovative form of marketing, selling, advertising and/or promoting. Together, fashion and public relations now meet at social media. Lovers of fashion are finding countless new uses for social media within the realm of fashion. One of the top social media's for fashion is blog sites. The new "it" thing is to blog, and the new "it" of course a fashion blog. Being a fashion blogger myself, I can say that it becomes highly addictive. If you have a passion for fashion, and you are also a public relations entrepreneur - fashion blogging is where it's at. One such blog combining fashion and social media to show how the two really go hand-in-hand is  - now beware, this is not a fashion blog, per-say, but rather a blog promoting the idea of public relations/marketing/advertising in fashion...all through social media. With blog entries such as: "9 ways to use video content to drive sales", "Is Vogue going social" and "New York fashion week designers embrace new technologies" - this blog really goes into day-to-day constantly current updates on the two industries together under the social media umbrella. The NYC fashion week blog gives examples of various designer's personal acts of social blogging during that week stating that Kimora Lee Simmons of Baby Phat twittered about the fashion and streamed some of the fashion shows live as they were happening onto Youtube.  Tory Burch also twittered and uploaded pictures to facebook of fashion shows from the week. Issach Mizrahi live streamed his fashion shows onto the Issach Mizrahi Web site. In another article, entitled "On Twitter, Fashion designers and ROI", this individual blogger gives facts and figures for Dell, saying that their twittering Web site helps to bring in over $3 million in sales, and she says this to convince those non-believers among us that fashion and social media are two peas in a pod. In reading the blog entries from this particular blogger, Yuli Ziv, who is originally from Russia - one really gains insight into how social media can really help modern day fashion designers promote their brands and trends through creating awareness and using marketing/advertising methods as well. It is important to note that Ziv and many other fashion lovers are only fans of certain forms of social media for fashion however. When it comes to making fashion available through social media, these people are worried about control and validity. Therefore, they prefer social blogging as the main form, as opposed to social media sites such as Twitter Below is a video of Viv herself at a conference, telling why she thinks Twitter is not suitable for fashion, as a form of social blogging. Enjoy~!


City of El Reno: Coming Up in the Social Media World

Using social media to relay important and helpful information is hardly a new phenomenon in today’s socially saturated online world. But it’s always interesting to see when it is being effectively utilized by entities you just wouldn’t think would be on the upside of social media. The City of El Reno is an example of this. Established in 1898, this relatively small Oklahoma town of 15,000 citizens has, in the last two years, undertaken many projects in an effort to enhance the quality of life for its citizens and gain additional residents. Such projects have included walking trails around Lake El Reno, new facilities for the public schools and about $2 million worth of public infrastructure improvements. They also started updating how they communicate these efforts, becoming dedicated to, and good at, social media.

City officials began using social media in 2009 primarily because they wanted a more effective way to help citizens continually keep up with city-related information. Call volumes were high regarding questions about city information when such information had already been posted to the City Web site. So officials began strategically thinking about ways they could not only keep citizens updated with factual information, but also keep up a relationship with their publics – including local and state media.

The City established a Facebook site and a Twitter site. Updates were sent out usually once a day, and information ranged from road closings to the City’s pet adoption program on YouTube. Now, updates are usually sent three or more times a day, and many updates include up-to-the minute photos of projects and other in-progress City events.

One such instance of effective utilization of these social media tools was a recent crisis involving a building collapse. A downtown building in the process of being remodeled collapsed, injuring construction works and temporarily shutting down nearby businesses. The incident hit the news station within 30 minutes. Immediately upon learning of the incident, the City’s Director of Community Relations hit Facebook and Twitter with information about the actual incident and subsequent updates as the City learned more about the next steps.

It’s a common occurrence to see people and organizations using social media for promotion or information distribution because they think everybody else is doing it, so they should too. But El Reno is demonstrating that regular and simple attendance to these social media tools can more actively provide information to their publics, and therefore help increase the overall perceived value of the City.

Photo care of City of El Reno

Public Relations Disasters

Public Relations Disasters

By: Natalie Vaughn

We have been studying and formulating pubic relations case studies all semester. We have seen some great examples of creative campaigns that have accomplished all of the goals they set. But, what about campaigns that were complete failures? I think it would be fun and fitting for the closing of the semester to highlight a few cases that we can be grateful that we were fortunate enough to not be a part of. For this blog, I am going to pick a few of my favorite recent public relations nightmares.

This fall, Nike launched its new line of football gear, Pro Combat, by debuting the product on prominent college football teams throughout the country. Our very own Oklahoma Sooners were even included. But some Virginia Tech Hokie fans were not prepared for what came along with the football gear. Nike commissioned a military combat vehicle with the motto “Prepare for Combat” written prominently across the side. The vehicle was driven throughout campus on game day. Many saw this as insensitive to the violent acts that occurred on the Virginia Tech Campus in 2007 and Twitter users and bloggers alike agreed that “war-like references” should have been avoided, especially because students who were freshmen during the tragedy were still on campus as seniors.

More recently, Tiger Woods’ has experienced some public relations woes. The news first broke when he left his home in Florida and proceeded to run into a fire hydrant at around 2:00 am. Then many news outlets began to report that his wife was on the scene brandishing a golf club. What made matters worse was the way Woods tried to side step the issue in the eyes of the law enforcement and the public. If Woods had taken the advice of any public relations professional in this situation he would have responded with a truthful and timely statement that addressed the questions of the public.

Whenever your organization encounters a situation like the two above, it is important to take a step back and remember the basic principles that ethical public relations is founded on. Tough situations can make or break an organization. By choosing to react to a challenge in an ethical way, one is much more likely to survive an event of this type. A choice selection of these principles can be in the Public Relations Society of America's code of ethics. Do yourself and your organization a favor by taking into account the effect that your public relations actions will have on everyone involved, not just the organization's interest.

For more information on the Nike Pro Combat case, please visit:

For more information on the Tiger Woods case, please visit:

For a complete guide to public relations ethics, please visit:

For more public relations disasters, please visit:

For more information on crisis situations and how to deal with them, please visit:

Trends in Public Relations

PR Trends
By Ashley Bower

What will the 2010 year bring to public relations? The answer: Social Media and Creativity. In these uncertain economic times it is especially important that the job you do isn’t just worth doing, but worth doing well. Everyday there seems to be a new development in public relations, with the biggest shift stemming from the use of social media. It is vital for public relations practitioners to be fluent in the uses and advantages of using social media in the best interest of the client. Paul Roetzer said this about social media, “That is the power of blogging and the social Web (aka Web 2.0). Every business, and every professional, has the ability to influence audience and affect change like never before with self-published content.” (
Another up and coming area that will grow in public relations is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is basically a marketing strategy in which consumers are choosing to learn more about the product or company by conducting a keyword search online, subscribing to a feed, downloading information, subscribing to a company’s newsletter, watching videos about the company on sites such as youtube, listening to podcasts, and visiting a company’s social network and/or commenting on blogs or tweets.
Inbound marketing is content focused. “In order to grow smarter and faster than the competition, organizations must continually publish multi-media content online through blogs, podcasts, videos, optimized press releases, case studies, white papers, ebooks and by-lined articles,” says Roetzer.
With the decline of mainstream media, it is imperative that anyone wishing to work in the realm of public relations must understand content marketing as social media and inbound marketing is reaching the tipping point. › Marketing and Advertising

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Public Relations and Social Media Expertise
By Ashley Bower

According to a study in Los Angeles (2009) public relations professionals are taking the lead in managing the organization’s use of social media communication channels, and social media skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills when searching for and hiring public relations professionals. New media and social media communication skills are top qualifiers in today’s hiring by decision makers according to Eric Schwartzman.
According to the 2009 Digital Readiness Report, Essential Online Public Relations and Marketing Skills:
· When searching for prospective new hires, social media communications skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills.
· Public relations leads marketing in the management and oversight of all social media communications channels within the organization.
· Marketing leads public relations in the management and oversight of bulk email communications and search engine optimization.
· Social networking, blogging and micro-blogging skills are the three most important social media communications skills for job candidates to have, according to public relations and marketing hiring decision makers.
· Most organizations are considering hiring social media specialist. (registration is required).
With the rise in social media, public relations practicitioners must now be efficient if not on the cutting edge of new social medias. Social media is the newest way to reach an audience or target public. It is especially important when members of the intended public are less than thrilled or satisfied with the product or service. Public relations specialists are now in a position to monitor these sites and social media to discover what improvements can be made as well as what pleases the audience.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Innovative Social Media Ideas for the Small Business

The Digital Information Age is here to stay. When FaceBook and MySpace mania began, many speculated on it’s short shelf life but it has proven itself to be here for the long run. Emerging online medias, online social networks and the influx in recent mobile Internet technologies allow information to be delivered in real time. Consumers can purchase a product or service and immediately comment on their experiences to anyone online through the use of mobile online applications. Blogs, micro-messaging systems (Twitter), chatrooms, social networking websites, and E-zines can all be significant sources of information and should be used as public relations tools for small business.

In Washington D.C., CoCo Sala, a small restaurant, monitors tweets posted that include it’s name. If the Tweet is unsatisfactory, managers contact the sender and attempt to reconcile their relationship.

Creating mobile applications for cellular phones that support those capabilities is another innovative use of social media for the small business. A mobile phone application can include important vital information to potential customers such as directions, business hours and information on product sales.

TGIFridays, a national restaurant chain, aired commercials nationally with a spokesperson named Woody. Commercials called for viewers to go online and become FaceBook friends with Woody. The first 500,000 users to friend Woody received a coupon for a free Jack Daniels Burger. Currently Woody has over 900,000 friends and counting on FaceBook. TGIF is hosting events around the country at local restaurants where Woody will make an appearance.

Social media provides small businesses the chance to be innovative and creative in the new Digital Information Age. Consumers and online users are all vying for the chance to participate and interact online with businesses and other users alike. Jumping on board the social media bandwagon is a surefire way to increase customer loyalty and increase notoriety.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What every Public Relations practitioner should know about social media

What every Public Relations practitioner should know about social media

As a college student, it has always been very important to me to keep up with all of my friends and family. We all know that this task can be challenging with busy schedules, It is also difficult to keep in touch with friends and family back home when you live over 150 miles away. Very few people are going to take the time to text or call all of their acquaintances. This is where social media come in. Thanks to sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter we can let all of our friends and family know what the latest news is with the click of just one button.

With so many social media sites popping up today, users are likely to choose the outlet that is most convenient and fun, as well as the site that all of their acquaintances are using. But what are the most popular social media sites? According to, the top five social media sites for marketing use and popularity are (in order) Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, and Digg.

In other big news, it was recently announced by AddToAny (the makers of a widget that allows users to share content in multiple social media sites at one time) that Facebook had jumped substantially ahead of e-mail as the all time most popular way to share content over the web.

What does all of this mean for the public relations practitioner? The most important thing that should be gathered from this information is the at the social media landscape is constantly changing. If you choose to launch a campaign using social media, it can be very affective if properly targeted toward the correct audience. For example, Facebook gives the opportunity for the public relations practitioner to target a specific group of people using fan pages and groups.

An example of my own use of this tool would be my subscription to the Taste of Home magazine. Once I started to subscribe, they suggested that I should be a fan of their page on Facebook. I accepted the offer and now I can interact with the very people who make the magazine. They regularly post different recipes and news content to the magazine fan page. This then shows up on my Facebook news feed every time I log in. Taste of Home's utilization of social media has ensured that I and many subscribers like me, stay connected to the magazine.

For more information about social media, please visit:

"Social Networks: Facebook takes over top spot, Twitter climbs"

Facebook Statistics

Further examples of Public Relations through social media: "Airlines follow passengers onto social media sites"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Like, OMG, LOL...did you read her status this morning?!

What are you doing right now? …How do you feel? …What’s on your mind?

These probes are just a few of the vast array of thought provokers amidst the ever-popular and growing group of social media “status” prompts. 

As defined by Joseph Thornley, social media is:

…online communications in which individuals shift fluidly and flexibly between the role of audience and author. To do this, they use social software that enables anyone without knowledge of coding, to post, comment on, share or mash up content and to form communities around shared interests”.

The leading examples of Social Media nowadays are Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Other Social Media web sites that are often used, yet have not created as much of an impact as these top three are:,,, and

As stated in the above definition, Social Media web sites offer a wide array of possible “things-to-do”. Upon having created an account, these web sites allow a user to create a personal profile, find and add “friends”, upload pictures, comment on friend’s pictures, send an e-mail type message or instant message…and the list just keeps going! Basically, Social Media web sites allow users to communicate (!). Whether it be positive or negative communication is an entire different article to be written…and featured… on the front page of The New York Times.

 For public relations, these Social Media have opened up countless doors for the PR practitioner and her world. Allowing her to keep in contact with several different persons, she can observe her clients target public through their own personal Social Media web site profile, or develop and maintain a profile for her client.

Benefits received by a public relations practitioner from using these web sites are as follows:

  •      Easily and readily accessible in the case that any edits and/or updates need to be administered
  •      Highly interactive, thus allowing her to involve her clients target public and be able to quickly respond to whatever input they give
  •      Option to mix one certain media with another - say mixing your clients web site with videos of their accomplishments, pictures of their employees and audio of a speech given by the CEO at an awards ceremony
  •      The ease with which a public relations practitioner can publish a piece of collateral for her client…without having to plead with a reporter for just bare-minimal coverage
  •      Ability to provide as much information as desired…since there is no space or surface area capacities, the sky really is the limit when it comes to Social Media web site design and layout.

From a personal standpoint, I too use these Social Media web sites. Although I only have two main accounts (Facebook and MySpace) within the realm of thousands of web site profile possibilities, I spend enough time just maintaining these two. In a sense, I do use my profiles for personal “public relations” matters; however, I keep all exported information balanced, appropriate, beneficial and positive upon my personal image…err…brand!



 For more information on the leading Social Media networking web sites and/or the benefits to using these web sites, visit:


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Social Media Trends: What’s Ahead for Public Relations?

Social Media Trends: What’s Ahead for Public Relations?

By Lauren Floyd

If you want to be included in the social media phenomena all that is required of you is to get out of bed in the morning. Our world, be it professional or personal, is inundated with the ever-booming social media trend. Be it Twitter ‘tweets,’ or Facebook posts, our communication is becoming more reliant on social media tools by the hour.

So what’s this mean for public relations professionals? David Armano of has predicted six social media trends for 2010, and how these trends will affect corporate life. Let’s look these trends in the context of public relations, and see how public relation professionals should consider the future of social media.

  1. The first trend addressed by Armano is that as the popularity of groups within social media tools and the ability to filter information grows, the very foundation of “social” media becomes more exclusive. Social media technology is allowing people to become more discerning in the information they let in. PR professionals should be sensitive of this. As social media technology expands, so should our creativity in engaging our audience. They can turn us off faster than we can say “tweet.”
  2. The second trend is broad utilization of social media as a way of effectively managing customer service. PR professionals can use social media as a way of effectively managing public service or awareness. Find out what people are saying about your company or client and be proactive. Features in social media tools allow you to search key words, allowing you find out what people are saying and then personally respond.
  3. Third, there is a growing trend in incentive-based participation, primarily with virtual incentives. This could be a great way for PR professionals to more actively engage its audience.
  4. More businesses are implementing social media policies, including those relating to conduct. PR professionals should absolutely have set policy guideline in place if using social media. We thrive on strategy, and developing guidelines for social media use is essential for effective utilization.
  5. Expanding technology is allowing mobile access to social media sites. The iPhone, for example, has applications for many social sites, including Facebook and Twitter, that allows quick access to these sites. Armano sites that 70 percent of organizations are banning participation in social media sites while at work, so more people are relying on mobile access to these sites. He thus predicts that mobile access will increase in use and sophistication. I infer from this information that people are consistent in their social media use… and quick about it too if such use isn’t allowed. If trying to engage publics, especially during the day, keep in mind that postings and other information should be quickly consumable.
  6. Finally, sharing is on the rise. Sharing is basically just passing information along, such as news articles, and is a function added by businesses or organizations that makes it easier to for publics to do. This is a pretty obvious application to public relations. Encourage ‘sharing’ of information by adding this function to social media endeavors.

If you have to pick just one, I recommend at least using social media to find out what people are saying about you or your client. I’ve witnessed this kind of social media use, specifically with Twitter, and being able to respond personally to a member of your public is beyond valuable. It puts the personal touch on “social” media.

For more details on Armano’s Six Social Media Trends for 2010, visit

Here are some more great resources for recent social media information.

Photo retrieved from s

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reaching Millions in One Act: The relevance of social media in public relations.

Social media is rapidly becoming one of the fastest, easiest and most convenient ways for businesses or any type of organization to reach its target publics, audiences and stakeholders. The variety and availability of numerous social media outlets can make maintaining and keeping various social media accounts up-to-date a menial task for public relations practitioners. Social media can be defined as any media outlet that allows interaction, response, or flexibility in the sharing of information. Social media is the beginning of a shift in how people discover, share or read news, information and content.

The effort of maintaining complex social media relationships is well worth the hard work and time in exchange for the rewarding contacts and networking it provides. Companies like Comcast and Jet Blue Airways have actually created new positions within their company, social media specialists, to accommodate consumer’s demands for contact through social media outlets (

Social media provides a way for consumers to have a dialog with one another and allows organizations to have one with consumers as well.

Social media include social networking websites such as FaceBook, MySpace and Linkedin. Twitter, a micro-messaging system, and blogging forums are also well known social media outlets. Companies such as BF Goodrich have created applications for mobile devices as a part of social media campaigns ( Regardless of platform, social media has the same serious implications as any other form. Libel and slander are two real serious situations facing any media outlet, regardless of its initial purpose (

Personal use of social media is as diverse as the availability of social media outlets. Personal use could be based towards work-related contexts, romantic relationship contexts, connecting over shared interests or worldviews, or school relation contexts. I personally do not use any social media outlets unless required by my academic classes. I don’t have the time to keep up to date with existing social networks much less the time to keep up with virtual or online social networks ( I do, however, understand the importance of social media and the implications of it in the public relations field. All forms of social media provides an unique and engaging way of communicating with consumers and stakeholders, yet, there are a few things social media cannot do. Check out this list of 10 things Social Media Can’t Do, (, to remind yourself that no matter what, nothing beats a good old fashioned strong marketing strategy.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Americans in denial about their "self-inflicted" maladies?

As we all know, healthcare is a major issue facing our nation today and not only because of its scarcity but also, in my opinion, because of its format. America always seems to be facing problems with healthcare, health insurance – and most importantly (!) – the basic health of its own citizens.

Published back on August 11 of this year, in The Wall Street Journal, was a controversial article from the CEO of one of our nations most beloved and leading grocers – Whole Foods. CEO, John Mackey, wrote this article with an emphasis on eight key points he believes would better aid Americans with healthcare reform than the current plan being enforced through the Obama administration.

The eight points included in the article from Mackey are:


·      Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs)


·      Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits


·      Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines


·      Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover


·      Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year


·      Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost


·      Enact Medicare reform


·      Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren't covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program


These eight points were taken directly from the article located at:


Before presenting his eight key tactics to lowering the overall cost of health care for all American citizens, Mackey explains his perception of the current healthcare state. Mackey feels as though the steps that the government are taking in reforming healthcare are not leading in the direction most beneficial for the nation. Contrasting our current deficit in 2009 of a projected $1.8 trillion to that which it could result at in following years – Mackey commences the articles controversy. Claiming that we are “running out of other people’s money” and that as the next 15 years come, Baby Boomers are going to be costing the nation extreme amounts of unfunded…frankly, nonexistent money in healthcare issues, now is a critical time to point out the flaws of the system(s) – and more importantly reform those flaws and take action to enact them.

In my personal opinion, I feel as though the “tipping point” of this article really comes from one critical paragraph included in the article – the paragraph in which Mackey simply explains that Americans would not have as many healthcare problems as they do, and therefore would not need healthcare as much as they currently do – if they were to take better care of themselves and their body’s. This is not to say that some illnesses can in fact still arise even if a person is as healthy as a horse; however, quite frankly the American people are the least healthy in the world.

When Mackey points this out, the issue becomes controversial – it becomes sticky – it becomes the tipping point. People do not want to hear that they are doing something wrong, or even just that they could help themselves more by changing some of their daily behaviors. Therefore, this is what made the issue tip.

Nowhere else in the world is the obesity rate as high as it is in America. Nowhere else do people get less exercise than the average American in America. No where else do children get fed candy bars and soda for a snack at school, like they do in America.

Personally, I really liked the article by Mackey simply because I feel the same way as he does. Perhaps we do not share all of the same political opinions; however, I feel that the political points within the issue are secondary to the more fundamental basic health issues that stem from proper diet and adequate exercise.

People are always comparing our healthcare system to that of the healthcare system in France; Americans want the healthcare assistance that the French have. This is because in France, healthcare is virtually free…and when you need a doctor, the doctor comes to visit you at your house instead of you having to wait hours upon hours in a waiting room…and when you need to abstain from going to work because of a temporary illness, your employer fully acknowledges this and allows absence and continued pay.

On the same note, Americans also want the HEALTH of the French people. Phrases such as: “The French drink a glass of wine every night”, “French women are always so thin”, and “The French eat tons of cheese and pastries” are stereotypical phrases you tend to hear. And they are all true.  The French eat very healthy though and they exercise like there is no tomorrow. They do not automatically run to the doctor for umpteen different prescriptions at the onset of a mild cough or bellyache. Therefore, if people wish to be treated as the French are treated, in healthcare terms, they must first act as the French act.

With all of this said, it is important to note that Mackey was not extremely out-of-line for publishing this article. He is in fact a CEO of a multi-billion dollar health food enterprise. It’s not the guy is not informed on health, diet and exercise issues. The facts that he pointed out and the suggestions he made are definitely debatable to anybody as informed as he. What is not highly debatable though, is the notion that America and its people are not only facing an economic crisis – they are also facing hundreds upon thousands of health crisis.


For more information on both the article published by John Mackey, as well as information on the French healthcare system and lifestyle, visit:


Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Big Apple gets "bogged down" with cranberries


The Big Apple gets "bogged down" with cranberries

By: Natalie Vaughn

Most of us have seen the clever Ocean Spray commercials promoting their 100 percent juice cranberry juice. In particular, the commercials with the two cranberry farmers standing in the middle of a cranberry bog while telling the consumer why they should buy their products are especially memorable. They have a knack for getting the viewer’s attention and getting a few laughs in while informing the consumer about where their product comes from. Now Ocean Spray is taking this tactic a step further by bringing the bog to the consumer.

On October 6, Ocean Spray kicked off their “Bogs Across America” events with a real, freestanding “bog” set up in Rockefeller Plaza. The bog also featured the May family who has been harvesting cranberries for three generations.

This event coincides with a new Ocean Spray campaign that focuses on the personal stories of the cranberry growers. New labels on Ocean Spray cranberry products will feature the pictures of the actual growers of the product. This campaign also informs the consumer of another tie they have to the cranberry producer. Many people will be surprised to know that Ocean Spray is an agricultural cooperative, that is the company is owned by more than 650 cranberry and grapefruit growers in the United States and Canada.

When looking at this case in light of The Tipping Point, it is easy to see that Ocean Spray has found its stickiness factor. They have found a way to personally connect their product to the consumer by opening up and introducing the very people who create the product as if they were our next-door neighbors. Also, many people have become more concerned about where their food is grown and who is growing it. The wholesome family image that Ocean Spray has successfully conveyed eases the minds of picky mothers along with the rest of us.

Photo credit: Sarah Lohman

For more information, please visit:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

wii love nintento

by Ashley Bower
Wii is for Everyone
Nintendo has been demanding presence and leader in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, in recent years the brand began losing it’s momentum until the release of the Nintendo Wii. PR Week stated, “By 2006, Nintendo had dropped to third in the video-game industry behind Sony and Microsoft after dominating the landscape about 20 years earlier.” Now Nintendo is back on top as the industry leader. While other brands were busy racing against one another to introduce the next big expensive high tech graphic games specifically for hardcore gamers, Nintendo opted to develop an inexpensive hand held machine marketed toward all walks of life. John Gaudiosi stated, “The Wii is a pop culture smash of such dimension that Nintendo still can’t make consoles fast enough.”
The Wii campaign began to gather fans before the actual console was introduced. The name alone, garnered attention. Next they spread the message that this game was more about the act of “playing” than the graphics. Nintendo’s idea was to bring games into the active world. Finally, the Wii launch was a positive experience for buyers as stores were adequately stocked.
The tipping point for Nintendo wasn’t simply the introduction of the Wii; it was the public relations campaign “Wii would like to play.” This campaign targeted grandmas, gamers, exercise fanatics, children, bowlers, you name it. Their approach was that Wii is for everyone or as PR Week says “a game for non-gamers.” The Wii ushered a change in how we think about games. Nintendo was focused on only gamers until the Wii was introduced and an epidemic was born.
The stickiness factor, identified by Gladwell, says, “There are specific ways of making a contagious message memorable; there are relatively simple changes in the presentation and structuring of information that can make a big difference in how much of an impact it makes (p.25).” Nintendo made the message memorable by including everyone not just serious gamers. The Power of Context says, “Human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment then they may seem (29).” Commercials featured families in their homes instead of teenage males inside the world of the alternate universe. Because of the inclusion of all ages and gamer levels, the Wii became accessible to everyone.

Image courtesy of:

Monday, October 5, 2009

'Save the Boobs' Campaign All That Bad?

Although they can arise a chuckle out of me every once in awhile, I am rarely impacted by advertising messages that are centered on sexual inuendo. Not the case with ReThink Breast Cancer’s ‘Save the Boobs’ public service announcement. This video and the strategy behind it had a surprisingly positive effect on me.

This Canada-based organization, which targets men and women under the age of 40 in an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer in younger generations, decided to go a little bolder than your run-of-the-mill public service announcement. The Save the Boobs video featured a large-chested, attractive, bikini-clad woman getting ogled by male onlookers at a pool party. The visuals feature close-ups of the woman’s chest, and even a wet t-shirt shot that I’m sure advertisers could not have gotten away with in the United States. To view the video, visit The overall message was the promotion of an annual event supported by ReThink Breast Cancer called Boobyball.

This video is certainly not without controversy. Its strongest critics claim that the message is too flippant and resembles a beer commercial. Also visit

Although I am usually one of these critics who looks down my nose at such commercials, I think it’s important to take a little insight from Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point before I, and others like me, judge too quickly. The Tipping Point lends a valid explanation as to why this campaign went from just any other sex-driven commercial to the controversy it ultimately became. That explanation is that the video ‘tipped’ into such controversy because of three functions that cause social epidemics. These functions are the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor and the Power of Context.

Aliya Jasmine-Sovani, a host of Canada’s MTV affiliate, was the actress in this video, as well as the writer and co-producer. The Law of the Few holds that it takes just one charismatic, influential and social person to transmit a social epidemic to the masses. The message, on the other hand, has to have a ‘stickiness’ to it – it has to take a crucial step from just being memorable to actually having an impact. The combination of these characteristics are driven to further epidemic proportions when they occur in the right context. Basically, this campaign ‘tipped’ when a grave issue was packaged in a sexual context and delivered by a charismatic and popular television host. So when I viewed this message, I didn’t laugh and consider just another sex-in-advertising instance. It actually impacted me, and stuck.

So before we judge, I think it’s important to understand that this video was not just a gratuitous display of sexual content. It was an attention-grabbing tactic that focused on an important awareness message. I’m not convinced it was all that bad.

For more information on, or how to purchase The Tipping Point visit

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Public relations practitioners as Connectors, Mavens and Salesman

According to Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, the world revolves around three types of people; connectors, mavens and salesman. Connectors are people with large social networks who span different fringes of society and being people together. Maven's are people who collect information and knowledge about the marketplace, then relate and connect it to others so that many can benefit from the information as well. Salesmen, according to Gladwell, are the charismatic persuaders skilled in making others agree with them. Successful public relations practitioners encompass all three of Gladwell's variables of people.

Public relations practitioners commonly use research to connect organizations with their target publics. As connectors, they enhance and strengthen organizational relationships both internally and externally.

Informing publics about opportunities is a public relations practitioner’s main responsibility. As mavens, public relations practitioners are not only beneficial to consumers and target publics by informing them of valuable resources their client can offer but they also benefit the clients themselves by getting their message out into the world.

Public relations practitioners are skilled in the powers of persuasion. As salesman, public relations practitioners know how to target and influence their publics to change their attitudes, awareness and behaviors. To be successful in public relations the practitioner's ability to sway opinion in others is necessary.

In case study 4-2 (Hendrix, Hayes, 102), the public relations practitioners working for Dean Foods overcame difficult changes and obstacles to create a fast and barrier-free transition externally while maintaining a shared mind-set within the organization to make the internal transition easy.

The public relations practitioners for Deans Food acted as connectors, mavens and salesman. They connected employees to the new accounting and finance function of the organization by establishing a coalition of employees to help with the changes.

At Dean Foods, public relations practitioners acted as mavens by increasing employee access to information about the project in a timely and consistent way.

As salesman, the practitioners sold the idea of change to employees and persuaded them to join the program.

The role of public relations practitioners is based on the ability to bring publics together, inform them of necessary information and sell them the idea. Without this skills and personality traits of public relations practitioners as connectors, mavens and salesman, the role of public relations would be altered dramatically and might not exist at all.


Image courtesy of

Sara Brubaker

October 3, 2009