Savvy Public Relations Strategy Helped Make ‘James Bond’ an Icon

The James Bond movie franchise reached iconic status with the release of its third movie, “Goldfinger.” What was the secret to becoming one of the most beloved movie characters in history? Why, public relations, of course. Oscar Holland at CNN reports:

“In a then-unprecedented publicity move, journalists and photographers were invited to the Swiss Alps for the seven-day shoot, where they mingled with cast and crew members. The strategy appeared to work — ‘Goldfinger’ became, at the time, one of the box office’s highest-ever grossing movies.” 

“‘Almost every day was a press conference’ said Peter Waelty, co-author of the new book ‘The Goldfinger Files,’ over a video call. ‘The idea was to get into the newspapers before the film was even made.’ Reporters were also given detailed plot information, even though the movie was months away from release, he added. ‘They knew exactly who was going to die, who was going to win, what was going to happen. It’s unimaginable that this could happen nowadays.'”

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Are at ‘War’

The Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts are in a “ground war” for the hearts and minds of America’s youth, and, as is the case in most of these situations, it is the lawyers who are winning.

Amid declining enrollment in 2017, the Boy Scouts changed its program to just “Scouts” and opened its ranks to both boys and girls. The Girl Scouts sued, alleging that the Boy Scouts are marketing its program in a way that infringes on the Girl Scouts’ trademark.

Great Moments in Journalism

The Hill: “Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo told viewers Wednesday that her show had been ‘punk’d’ after she interviewed an animal rights activist who claimed he was the CEO of the pork producer and food-processing company Smithfield Foods.”

“The segment earlier on in the show was presented as an interview with CEO Dennis Organ on the process of coronavirus vaccines being distributed to food workers at the company, which had an outbreak of coronavirus cases at one of its plants.”

“However, as it was later revealed, Bartiromo was actually speaking to Direct Action Everywhere activist Matt Johnson, who remained in character as Organ for the nearly six minute interview.”

Defying Expectations, Corona Beer Holds Steady During its ‘Eponymous’ Pandemic

One of the early predictions of the pandemic was that Corona was in real trouble because beer drinkers would associate the brand with Coronavirus. Stuck in a position that didn’t really have a playbook, Corona even tried to lean into the association last spring, only to quickly realize that it was a bad idea.

Good news for the brand, however. A Wall Street Journal article headlined, “Echo of Coronavirus Didn’t Keep Beer Drinkers From Corona” reports that its sales are doing just fine:

“In-store spending on Corona-branded beer and hard seltzer in the U.S. comprised 6.78% of the category this year through Dec. 6, essentially unchanged from the equivalent period a year prior, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.”

“Excluding fast-growing spiked seltzers—such as Corona Hard Seltzer, which was introduced during the pandemic—the story was the same: Corona’s share of in-store beer sales through Dec. 6 held steady with a year earlier, IRI said.”

“’There wasn’t really any kind of negative impact on Corona sales,’ said Vivien Azer, managing director and senior research analyst at investment bank Cowen Inc. ‘That’s clear in the data.'”

Boulder’s MAPRagency Partners with Stryker-Munley Group

Boulder’s MAPRagency is partnering with South Carolina-based Stryker-Munley Group (SMG) in an arrangement that gives MAPRagency additional resources and capabilities, and SMG additional geographic reach.

SMG is a national integrated public relations and marketing communication agency, and now has nine independently owned offices in Boston, Boulder, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Knoxville, Portland and San Antonio.

Great Moments in College Bowl Games

Army had a great football season – it went 9-2 while winning the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for head-to-head wins over both Navy and Air Force. So which bowl game will it be attending? None. Army has been left out of any bowl game due to a number of them being cancelled and byzantine contracts between bowls and conferences.

Adding insult to injury, the Armed Forces Bowl selected 6-2 Tulsa and 3-7 Mississippi State.

UPDATE: Army will now face West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl after the University of Tennessee had to withdraw due to positive COVID-19 tests among players and coaches.

Denver’s Dominion Voting Systems Retains D.C. PR Firm to Combat Fraud Allegations

Daily Beast: “A voting machine company baselessly accused by President Trump and pro-Trump conspiracy theorists of illegally tipping the 2020 presidential contest is working with one of Washington, D.C.’s most prominent public relations firms to beat back the allegations.”

“Shortly after the election, (Denver- and Toronto-based) Dominion Voting Systems hired the firm Hamilton Place Strategies to coordinate a public relations campaign responding to the outlandish claims by the president, his legal team, and their supporters, according to Michael Steel, a HPS partner and former spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.”

Critics Accuse Tattered Cover of ‘Highjacking’ BLM Movement Amid Minority Ownership Claims

“The local and national investors who bought Denver’s Tattered Cover book stores have watched as reactions roll in to their purchase, ranging from joy at the local chain’s apparent salvation to fury that its owners would dare claim it as the nation’s largest Black-owned book store,” John Wenzel from The Denver Post reports. …

“However, skeptics of the deal say the Tattered Cover invited this scrutiny for claiming to be the largest Black-owned book store in the United States despite Pearson being the only Black person in the mostly white, 13-member investment group.”

“Shortly after the sale was made public, Black booksellers across the U.S. denounced the Black-owned claim as an insulting marketing ploy that ignores their work, at best, and at worst, cynically hijacks this year’s Black Lives Matter progress for commercial purposes.”

PRWeek’s ‘Best Places to Work’ Overwhelmingly Excludes Non-Coastal Firms, Companies

PRWeek is out with its annual ranking of its Best Places to Work, and it identified 23 winners in five categories: Small Agency, Midsize Agency, Large Agency, Extra Large Agency and In-house Teams.

As has become common for PRWeek’s various lists, non-coastal firms are largely excluded. Here’s how the “Best Places” list broke down geographically:

  • 0% – Denver
  • 0% – Colorado
  • 0% – Rocky Mountain Region
  • 4% – Midwest
  • 22% – San Francisco Bay Area
  • 26% – West Coast (Calif. & Wash.)
  • 39% – New York City area
  • 61% – New York City area & California
  • 70% – East Coast (NY, NJ, DC, Va., Fla., Ga.)

The only winner not located in a coastal state was Belle Communication in Columbus, Ohio.

2020’s Biggest PR Disasters

It has been quite a year, one that I doubt any of us will forget. We had a global pandemic, an unprecedented economic crisis and record unemployment. We witnessed widespread protests against racism and racial injustice, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the 1960s. We saw the impeachment of a U.S. president, and the shocking deaths of the Black Mamba (Kobe Bryant) and the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).

All of that certainly overshadowed the PR disasters we experienced this year. In fact, if you were going to have a PR disaster, this was the year to do it. Below are some of the most high-profile mistakes that were made this year. I hope you enjoy them. And, as usual, I excluded most political ones because there are just too many and we are so polarized that everyone views them through a partisan lens.

Jeffrey Toobin
Lawyer, author and cable-news legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin reminded everyone that there are worse things than mindlessly scrolling Twitter when you are on an interminable Zoom call (you’ll have to read the details for yourself). Unfortunately for Toobin, the New Yorker fired him immediately. Fortunately for Toobin, CNN took a much, ahem, softer approach, allowing the analyst to take a leave of absence to address a “personal issue.” 

Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo has made a lot of bad headlines the last few years, such as the $3 billion fine it paid after illegally targeting senior citizens and retirees for services they did not request and providing substandard investment advice. With that speed bump in the rear-view mirror, the company was free to look forward to new opportunities to make headlines. And it did just that in September when its CEO blamed the bank’s lack of diversity on the “very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from.”

Tyson Foods
Managers at a Tyson Foods plant in Iowa allegedly ordered employees to report for work while they secretly wagered money on the number of workers who would contract COVID-19. The details were shared as part of a lawsuit against Tyson, and specifically alleged that the plant manager “organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers.” 

The founder and CEO of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, resigned after making inflammatory comments online about the death of George Floyd. The comments caused high-profile CrossFit sponsor Reebok to drop its affiliation with the organization, and dozens of local CrossFit franchises quickly rebranded without the CrossFit name. 

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) regulates, not surprisingly, the oil-and-gas industry in Colorado, and part of that job requires carefully balancing the needs of the industry with the needs of the state’s communities. Building trust and credibility with all its stakeholders is critical. Alas, in November, the COGCC was forced to apologize after sending an inappropriate email ridiculing the very companies it regulates. Staff members testing a new e-filing system inadvertently sent an email to hundreds of oil and gas workers statewide that referred to fictitious companies such as “‘Snake Oil Inc.,” its law firm “Blah Blah Blah,” and its cause or case number “666.”

Continue reading “2020’s Biggest PR Disasters”

Fox31 Presents Corporate Press Release on DISH Dispute as ‘News’ on its Website

Fox31’s parent company, Nexstar, is in a carriage dispute with DISH, and it has put the editorial staff at the station in an awkward position as to how to cover a story the station is involved in.

It appears, however, Nexstar has solved that conflict of interest by letting its public relations staff cover the issue rather than its reporters. This morning, Fox31 posted a press release from Nexstar as a news article in the “News” section of the Fox31 website.

Father Woody, Former PR Director for Archdiocese of Denver, Implicated in Sexual Abuse Scandal

Arguably Denver’s best-known priest – the late Father C.B. Woodrich, better known as “Father Woody” – is the latest Catholic Church figure to be caught up in Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s investigation into sexual abuse, according to Kevin Vaughan at 9News.

“For years, he was in essence the church’s public face in the metro area, serving as the archdiocese’s director of public relations from 1969 to 1986 and as editor of the Denver Catholic Register from 1972 to 1986.”