Denver PR Blog


Great Moments in Marketing
January 8, 2018, 11:10 am
Filed under: Public Relations

This week’s nominee for “Company that needs a more diverse group of people around the table in order to not make a stupid decision” is … clothing retailer H&M.

H&M



The Biggest PR Winners of 2017
December 28, 2017, 9:27 am
Filed under: Public Relations

Earlier this month, I have shared some of 2017’s biggest PR disasters. I thought it would also be interesting to take a look at some of the year’s biggest PR winners:

JJWATTJJ WATT …  JJ Watt is a star player for the NFL’s Houston Texans who is known for his community involvement. He took it to a new level following Hurricane Harvey, however. He started a fundraising campaign with a $200,000 goal that would be used to help Houstonians affected by the devastating flooding. Football fans quickly responded, and he met the $200,000 goal within hours. So he raised it to $1 million, and media coverage helped him reach that goal within a day. As the number climbed and climbed, and media attention got stronger and stronger, celebrities starting donating six- and seven-figure checks – people like Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Miley Cyrus and Drake. And then corporate donors such as HEB and Walmart started adding even more. When it was done, Watt had raised more than $37 million that is being used to help people directly affected by the flooding.

TSWIFTTAYLOR SWIFT … This summer, Taylor Swift became the face of girls and women who fought back against sexual harassment and assault, and her battle occurred in a courthouse in Denver. Swift was groped by a local KYGO disc jockey at a Denver pre-concert meet-and-greet photo session, and he was fired after her complaint. When the publicity made him essentially unemployable, he sued Swift alleging defamation. Swift said she refused to be shamed by someone who assaulted her, and countersued for assault, asking only for the symbolic amount of $1. The case went to trial in Denver, and Swift prevailed. And in doing so, she became a champion for women everywhere.

CajunNavyCAJUN NAVY … Herbert Hoover popularized the concept of rugged individualism, the idea that individuals – and not government – should be primarily responsible for the welfare of Americans. The ideal is perhaps nowhere more obvious today than in the “Cajun Navy.” Formed in the aftermath Hurricane Katrina, the Cajun Navy is an ad-hoc group of volunteers largely based in Louisiana who help rescue victims of flooding when traditional first responders are overwhelmed. The group uses the smartphone app Zello to connect rescuers on bass boats, air boats, jet skis, etc. with those needing help. The Cajun Navy reappeared this year in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and it is credited with saving thousands of lives.

THIRTEENWOMENTHIRTEEN WOMEN … Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful people in Hollywood for decades. His track record of delivering hit after hit gave him enormous power, and he took advantage of that power to hurt women in the industry. His behavior had gone on for years, but this year 13 women summoned the courage to share their experiences – ranging from sexual harassment to rape – with NBC reporter Ronan Farrow. His article in The New Yorker sent shockwaves through Hollywood. Weinstein instantly became a pariah and a subject of criminal investigations, and more women throughout the worlds of entertainment and politics began sharing their stories, resulting in a wave of firings and resignations known as the “Weinstein Effect.”



The Biggest PR Disasters of 2017
December 4, 2017, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Public Relations

As 2017 comes to a close, I take time to reflect on the year’s biggest PR disasters:

United_Airlines_Logo.svgUNITED AIRLINES … The only good news for United Airlines is that its string of PR disasters occurred early in the year when they could be overshadowed by newer debacles over time. But what a year it was. The airline took the worst hit when it literally dragged a passenger off an overbooked plane, breaking his nose and knocking out teeth in the process. While that incident took the lion’s share of the headlines, the airline also managed to make additional waves when it banned two girls from flying because they were wearing leggings and forced a mom to hold a toddler in her lap for a full flight because it gave away the toddler’s paid-for seat to a standby passenger. United apologized for all the incidents, but the airline’s brand was harmed and its stock price remains down nearly 17 percent since the first incident.

 

Uber Logo UpdatedUBER … When the hashtag #DeleteUber becomes your company’s most impactful marketing campaign, you know what kind of year it has been. You can pick which issue was the worst: privacy and tracking concerns, erratic behavior from its CEO, a plot to evade regulators through a complex program named “Project Grayball,” allegations of systemic sexual assault, being banned in the London – the choices go on and on. Former CEO and still-current board member Travis Kalanick added to the miserable year by feuding with his fellow board members, threatening a potentially lucrative IPO.

 

Equifax Logo.svgEQUIFAX … There are only about 320 million Americans, so it takes a special kind of incompetence to let hackers steal the personal data (names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and driver’s license numbers) of more than 145 million of them. But the good folks at Equifax rose to the challenge. Particularly frustrating is that there is little to nothing that average consumers can do to punish the company. Fortunately, Equifax’s corporate clients have also grown leery of the company. And to date, it has spent nearly $90 million in legal fees and other expenses to respond to the incident.

 

Red_Cross_Logo.svg

RED CROSS … NPR and ProPublica have been a thorn in the side of the American Red Cross since the media outlets examined the nonprofit’s spending following Superstorm Sandy in 2014. They found, for example, that seven months after the storm, the Red Cross still had not spent $100 million of the $300 million it had raised. Unfortunately for the Red Cross, NPR revisited the questions about the Red Cross’ efficacy just as Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and the Red Cross was frantically trying to raise money for relief efforts. The Red Cross promised more transparency, but a generation of Millennials who like to invest locally have been finding smaller nonprofits on the ground in affected areas to support. The long-term implications of this PR disaster for the Red Cross have to be scary.

 

facebook-logoFACEBOOK … Advertisers love Facebook because it allows them to customize ad campaigns to target people with very specific tastes. Football fans, country music lovers, frequent vacationers … and “Jew haters?” An investigation by ProPublica found that Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform allowed individuals and organizations “to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally.” After ProPublica contacted Facebook, it removed anti-Semitic categories such as “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’” Facebook said the categories were created by an algorithm, not employees, and “said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers.”

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Great Moments in Social Media Marketing
November 22, 2017, 8:43 am
Filed under: Public Relations

MoonPie has apologized for sharing its strategy via Twitter for preventing the flood of sexual harassment and assault allegations we are experiencing:

moonpie-deletes-hands-to-yourself-tweet

 

The company did do better with its Thanksgiving recipes, however:

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 8.41.12 AM

 



Colorado Companies Dominate Outside’s Best Places to Work
November 9, 2017, 11:41 am
Filed under: Public Relations

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 11.36.19 AMOutside Magazine is out with its annual ranking of the Best Places to Work, and 40 of the 100 winners are Colorado-based companies, including all of the top four. The Colorado-based marketing companies on the list are:

#2 – GroundFloor Media
#7 – Room 214
#18 – Bluetent
#31 – Sterling-Rice Group
#47 – Blizzard International Marketing
#53 – Mondo Robot
#56 – TDA_Boulder
#67 – Backbone Media
#85 – Ascent360
#89 – Turner PR



Great Moments in Journalism
October 26, 2017, 10:14 am
Filed under: Public Relations

Chris Parente: “Ohhh.. ohhh… Natalie threw up…”



Great Moments in Public Relations
October 20, 2017, 9:25 am
Filed under: Public Relations

Having worked for large, publicly traded companies, I know firsthand that CEOs always want coverage in The Wall Street Journal. This, however, is not what First Data’s CEO was looking for. Allison Prang at the WSJ reports:

First Data Mistakenly Announces Acquisition Plan for BluePay

First Data Corp. said it mistakenly posted a draft of a news release Thursday morning that it would acquire credit-card processing firm BluePay Holdings Inc., a deal it says hasn’t been finalized.

The payment-processing company has since removed the release from its website and said the conference call mentioned in the release isn’t going to happen.

First Data, however, did confirm Thursday that it is in talks to buy BluePay.