Tag Archives: public relations

Maker’s Folly


I try not to comment on trendy topics but this really got my attention.

Maker’s Mark bourbon can’t meet customer demand this year.  What a great deal for the PR guy.  He can do anything with this.  This situation calls for his creative skills to protect the brand and potentially gain some good press about it.

Add water?  Ummm, that’s not exactly what I was thinking.

What a terrible move.  Instead of enjoying customer demand and the press that was generated by the lack of  inventory, Maker’s Mark decided the best course of action was to add water and charge customers the same price for watered down bourbon.

Knob Creek sent T-Shirts to customers during their drought.  Maker’s Mark added water.

Weak.  Probably (I hope) a case of the boss not listening to his PR guy.  Fail.

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Just Stop Talking


Remember the other day’s post about listening? You can listen while you talk too, in fact, I recommend it.

Watch the audience or the person you’re talking to. Listen to their body language and comment.

It should be clear if they are getting it or not. If it’s not clear, ask.

If there not getting it, start again, reframe your point and see if they catch on.

If they still don’t get it or just don’t care about what you’re saying, stop. Please, just stop.

Your prudence now will pay dividends later. People will see you and say, “See that guy? He doesn’t have diarrhea mouth.”

They might not say that but they might be more receptive to listening to you later.

Courtesy: http://www.improbable.com/2009/11/29/please-stop-im-bored-mug/

Courtesy: http://www.improbable.com/2009/11/29/please-stop-im-bored-mug/

You think I’m listening because I care?


The truth is I do care.  But, I’m also listening for selfish reasons.

I’m looking for a bridge that I need to use to get you to where I need you to be.

While at work, much of the time I have an agenda.  I need to get things done, I need a resource, support or a decision.  My talking points are always in my back pocket.

When I’m listening to you I’m getting to know you more.  I appreciate you and your deal, whatever that is.  At some point during your talking you will present an opportunity for me.  An opportunity to bridge to my agenda.

I will use what you are talking about to insert some of my talking points.  You will see that I was listening (because I referenced what you just said) and feel heard.  You’ll be happy.  You might even listen to me.

I care about what you are saying.  I also care about what I need to say.

Thanks for listening.

The Toothpaste Presentation


I just need some toothpaste.  There are so many choices.  The toothpaste aisle is a dark fluoride forest and I don’t have a map (or fresh breath).

Whitening, Tarter Control, All in One, Mouthwash Combo.  ProHealth?  I thought they were all pro-health?

Worse yet, there are a different set of choices than last time I had to buy toothpaste.  Apparently, 9 of 10 dentists recommend them all.

Why can’t I just find fucking toothpaste?  The kind that cleans your teeth.

You can do the same thing at work, when you’re talking.  If you don’t plan ahead you can give your audience a confusing menu of ideas clouding their understanding of the point you’re trying to make.

Ask yourself:  What’s your brief about?  Why is what your talking about an issue and/or  what do you want from your audience?  What will be solved by getting what you want?

Don’t give your audience too many choices, give them what they need to make the decision and leave.  They have other shit to do like choose toothpaste.

Dolphins: Winning Friends and Influencing People

Awww, look at those two. It’s all part of a huge PR scheme by the dolphins. Genius.
Courtesy of Matthew Meier Photo

Dolphins are expert PR people.  Here are a few reasons why:

1.  Cooperate and win:  Going back to ancient times, Dolphins used to assist fishermen by herding fish in the fisherman’s direction then being rewarded with fish.  Genius; catch your fish but be sure to give me a cut.

2.  Winning Friends and Influencing People:  Dolphins are playful and seem to smile a lot, this is straight out of Dale Carnegie’s famous book.  Humans (the top of the food chain) love dolphins and protect them beyond what is done for many other sea species.  When was the last time you had “Unsafe Dolphin” tuna?

3.  Our allies in combat:  Like many countries, dolphins have chosen to side with the US in conflict.  They work for us as spies and messengers; I wrote about it here.  Whose side do you think we’ll be on in the next sea life war?

4.  Isolate the black sheep:  Did you know that the Killer Whale is actually a dolphin?  Yup, genius branding move by the dolphin elite.  It was especially useful when the trainer was killed at Sea World in 2010 by a “killer whale.”

So, while we watch and cry about Dolphin Tale, the heart touching movie about the tailless dolphin, the rest of the dolphin population swims through the ocean in super pods, protected by humans, and brutally slaughters other fish families by the thousands.  Genius.

The Japanese on the other hand are not fooled by big dolphin smiles or playful wave play.  They are not impressed by the dolphin public relations scheme.  For reasons of which we are not entirely sure, they slaughter tens of thousands of dolphins each year in somewhat of a ritual beginning in early September.   Read more about it here, pictures are graphic.

Read more about our mammal brothers:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphin

The Homosexual Cow – A Chick Update

People lined up outside our local Chick fil A, hopefully for the right reasons.

As many of you have seen, popular political pundits called for a Chick fil A day yesterday.  And so it was.

I don’t intend to jump on the political commentary bandwagon.  There are a few important things I need to address since my last post on the subject linked here.

1.  The PR dude died.  I don’t know or care about the cause but I am sympathetic.  You see, good PR guys care very deeply about the organization they represent.  Often their bosses and organization members do things to tarnish the reputation of the brand, despite our [PR guys] advice or tireless preparation.  We take the organization’s reputation personally because it’s our job to and we believe in it.  If PR guys don’t care and believe in their brand, they should leave- good PR is real.

2.  My family attended CFA day. Not because we are opposed to same sex marriage, because we are in favor of non-government agencies being able to represent their own values.  I don’t want to live in a country where values that are in opposition to the accepted norm are forced into silence by the government or anyone else.  Yeah, I got the thousands of comparisons in retort… bottom line, if you are personally opposed to the beliefs of a product or company, just don’t buy it.

Unfortunately, if I was their PR guy, I would have advised the President not to make that statement.  I would have coached him to dance around the issue; my best bosses never listened to that advice.

Anyway, I hope the people that waited in the lines today explained to their kids that it’s a lot less about disliking gays than it is about everyone being allowed to have a belief and practice that within the law and their rights- without the fear of government intervention.

…and it’s a little bit about the shakes too.

Another good Wiki read here, outline the issue and some local government’s illegal response.

Gay Haters? Homophobs? Staunch Conservatives? Maybe they’re just people who believe in the right to believe.  Maybe they just like the shakes.

Chick-fil-A and the Homosexual Social Media Dilemma

This sandwich is sexual orientation neutral according to Chik fil A’s Facebook.

My kids like Chick fil A, they like the food and the ice cream that often follows.  I like it too (not in excess, see the More or Less Diet).  The restaurant being closed on Sundays is a little bit of a pain in the ass, but whatever works.

So, their opposition to gays aside; take a look at this disastrous social media venture:


Basically, they made an official statement trying to show that they are not discriminatory and they just want to go back to making good food; well, they got 28,856 comments back (at the time that I checked).

That’s tough.

I’ve been in a similar social media situation.  We posted something supportive of one of our organizational and national initiatives and received mixed feedback, some of it very critical.  Some of the PR guys at our higher headquarters, asked us to delete the critical remarks.

Answer:  No.

The deal with social media is that it has got to police itself.  We edit and delete inflammatory, abusive or offensive remarks but not simply remarks in opposition.  Let the crowds sort it out.  If the host gets into censorship then it’s no longer social media, it’s just advertising and people don’t go on your Facebook page just to look at advertising, they go to join the conversation; however useless it is.

So, my hats off to the Chick fil A PR guy for not locking down his page, although I’m sure many non-PR people suggested that he do so.  If someone did pose as teenage girl, Abby Farle; bad move!  Like I said, social media will police itself, and it did!

Nice move on the Peach Shakes though.

Marketing I-95; A mystery to me

I will drive 3 hours in each direction on I-95 every weekend this summer. During the long drive on Sunday night I wonder:

Do billboards work: Pedro seems to be the man, so does JR. I want to visit these places because, according to the billboards, they are really cool. I probably never will.

Another thing on billboards: PR people at local municipalities use them, sometimes a lot. Is it an effective use of money to say to the weary travelers that your town has a lot of hotels? What about the museum? I guess it might work. I’m pretty sure the full size billboard requesting that I don’t litter doesn’t work. In fact, I’m sure it doesn’t.

There is something I don’t know about gas: The gas price differs by $0.20 per gallon from one exit to the next. Why the huge difference? Better yet, if you are the high cost gas station, why advertise? Was that Bill, the clerks, error?

The green lady: Having Starbucks at your exit must bring a ton of traffic. If I were a gas station or fast food place owner, I would lobby for, maybe even subsidize the building of a Starbucks.

Exit Pride: Some exits have their own website. Some are dirty and not inviting. Perhaps local owners should get together and adopt the highway or something. Perhaps they live in India; who knows.

Then again, who knows what factors draw business? Sounds like a good graduate research project.