Crossover Marketing Strategies Grow

If you think you are seeing more NFL players making cameos on TV shows, it is not your imagination. From the Wall Street Journal:

When CBS signed its deal to carry Thursday night football in 2014, part of its pitch was the power of its programming to promote the league and its players and that is when there was a marked increase in cameos by NFL stars.

“CBS uses the prime time line up to promote Thursday night football and they think the best way to do that is to integrate their programming with players, which we love and agree with,” said Tracy Perlman, the NFL’s vice president of marketing and entertainment. “We had a meeting with their marketing people and the conversation became, `what can we do to show you that we’re unique?’”  …

For the NFL, whose image has taken a hit when its players have run-ins with the law — from domestic abuse accusations to gun incidents — putting its stars on TV is an opportunity to show them in a good light and attempt to counter the negative perceptions.

NFL Inexplicably Fans Flames of HGH Story

For the second straight year, the NFL inexplicably has fanned the flames of a controversy that threatens to overshadow its signature event, the Super Bowl. Last year, it was Deflate Gate, a controversy that ultimately fell flatter than Tom Brady’s footballs. This year, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy has used the lead up to the Super Bowl to shine a light on an ongoing NFL HGH investigation into Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning.

Are Your Crisis Efforts Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege?

When you help a client involved in a crisis situation, are your communications with the client covered by attorney-client privilege? As with most complex yes-no questions, the answer is maybe. Attorneys Michael F. Buchanan and Angela Redai offer a helpful checklist of issues to consider to best protect yourself and your client:

While there are no guarantees that a court will uphold a claim of privilege, here are some steps that a company can take to improve its odds of maintaining a privilege assertion over communications with a PR firm:

  • The public relations or crisis management firm should be engaged directly by outside counsel, not the client.
  • The engagement letter should be carefully written by outside counsel to make clear that:
    • the PR firm is working under the direction of outside counsel and reporting directly to the law firm;
    • all communications between the PR firm and outside counsel and/or the client’s representatives shall be confidential and made solely for the purpose of assisting counsel in rendering legal services to the client;
    • all documents and work product prepared by the PR firm are confidential and should be treated as such; and
    • the PR firm has an obligation to protect the confidentiality of the information exchanged with counsel and all documents it prepares.
  • To the extent practicable, communications between the client and the PR firm should be through outside counsel or in the presence of outside counsel.
  • PR firms should label documents (including email traffic) as “Attorney-Client Privilege/Work Product Communications.”
  • Because it is essential that the services provided by the PR firm facilitate legal advice and services, great caution should be taken to define what services the PR firm is being asked to perform.
  • Careful consideration should be given to the nature of each service the PR firm is undertaking when contemplating a disclosure to it. If, in connection with a particular assignment, the PR firm is not engaged in helping outside counsel formulate legal strategy, sharing privileged information should be avoided.
  • The PR firm should invoice the law firm for its services whenever possible.

CBS News Investigates Wounded Warrior Project

Is there a PR crisis brewing at one of the nation’s most respected nonprofits? Chip Reid and Jennifer Janisch at CBS News report:

Where is the money is going? …

CBS News spoke to more than 40 former (Wounded Warrior Project) employees who described a charity where spending was out of control. Two of those former employees were so fearful of retaliation they asked that their faces not to be shown on camera.

“It was extremely extravagant. Dinners and alcohol, and just total accessm” one employee explained. He continued, saying that for a charitable organization that’s serving veterans, the spending on resorts and alcohol is “what the military calls fraud waste and abuse.”

According to the charity’s tax forms, spending on conferences and meetings went from $1.7 million in 2010, to $26 million in 2014. That’s about the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery — its top program.

Denver PR Jobs

Among those hiring this week are the Alzeheimer’s Association of Colorado, American Lung Association, Aurora Public Schools, Chipotle, Clinica Family Health, Colorado Department of Public Safety, Colorado State University, Communications Strategy Group (internship), DMI, Fort Collins Coloradoan, HealthOne, Janus Capital Group, SearchSpring, The ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter and The International Erosion Control Association.

Smashburger Selects Mullen Lowe as PR AOR

PR Week reports that Denver’s Smashburger has selected the Boston-based PR firm Mullen Lowe as agency of record:

The restaurant chain issued an RFP at the start of December and selected Mullen Lowe later that month. Aside from Mullen Lowe, 10 agencies pitched for the business, including DKC, Canvas Blue, Connect PR, Kaplow Communications, Stuntman PR, MWW, M Booth, Spong, Exponent PR, and Allied Integrated Marketing. The finalists were Mullen, M Booth, DKC, and Exponent.

Mullen Lowe will manage Smashburger’s media relations nationally and locally. For instance, the firm will help to get the word out about the chain’s promotion windows, which change every eight weeks, and support restaurant openings with proactive and reactive communications.

The firm’s first order of business is helping Smashburger put together a core PR strategy, including key messaging points to be included in all pitches throughout the year, and defining what beliefs drive Smashburger from a consumer and internal perspective.

BMA Accepting Gold Key Award Entries

Business Marketing Association Colorado (BMA Colorado) is accepting entries for its annual Gold Key competition. The competition features 60 categories, including innovative campaign strategies, branding, integrated internal and external marketing communications strategy, digital marketing strategy, multimedia and video strategy, and successful public relations campaign. The deadline for entry is March 4.

Competitors Marketing Off Chipotle’s Woes

PR Week reports:

Fast-casual restaurant chain Freshii is halving the cost of its Mexican menu items, when Chipotle shuts its doors on February 8 to meet with employees and discuss its response to E. coli outbreaks. Freshii CEO Matthew Corrin said in a statement, “We figured the least we could do was look after their customers while Chipotle pauses to recalibrate.”

How generous.

Chipotle to Close All Stores Feb. 8 for Food Safety Meetings

Daniel Victor, reporting for the New York Times:

As Chipotle Mexican Grill tries to recover from a series of contaminations that have caused some customers and investors to flee, it said it would shut all its stores for several hours on Feb. 8 to hold food safety meetings with employees.

“We are hosting a national team meeting to thank our employees for their hard work through this difficult time, discuss some of the food safety changes we are implementing, and answer questions from employees,” Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman, said in an email. The stores will open at 3 p.m., later than the usual start time of about 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., skipping the lunch hour rush on a Monday.

Hard to tell if this will help or just prolong the story, but a lot of market cap rides on the answer.

Denver PR Jobs

It is a good week for Denver-area PR agency jobs. Among those hiring this week are B Public Relations, CIG (paid internship), Communications Strategy Group, GroundFloor Media, Comcast, Community First Foundation, Craig Hospital, Foothills Animal Shelter, Foundation for Global Scholars, Great Outdoors Colorado, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, History Colorado, Kaiser Permenente, The Nature Conservancy, University of Colorado Boulder (multiple positions) and the Water Research Foundation.