Everyday PR

Pink Is The New Black

I’ve never seen so much pink in my life as I have in recent weeks as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Big-name businesses supporting the cause include AvonComcast and the NFL.  When you see professional football players, coaches and officials wearing pink, you know you’ve reached your marketing goal!  Major kudos to all the public relations and marketing efforts promoting the critical message of the importance  of early detection via a single color – pink.  Three cups of coffee – but check with your doctor first – go to all those participating in this worthwhile campaign.  You’re all very deserving of this week’s Virtual Cup of Joe Award.

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The virtual Cup of Joe Award from EveryDayPR spotlights our pick of the week for a public relations performance –  good, bad or ugly.  If you’d like to make a nomination, contact shart@hartpr.com or www.Twitter/susanhartpr

And The Point Of Halloween Is……..

Besides costumed children coming to your door for candy, what is the point of Halloween? I know the holiday is rooted in tradition, superstition and, of course, retail.  But seriously, what is the point?



Zombie has question about purpose of Halloween.

As I’ve stated in previous blogs, I don’t have or even know any children.  However, as a former child, I do remember dressing up like a ballerina for one Halloween. With that kind of benchmark, I believe this annual ritual has evolved from a harvest celebration to children oozing innocence to teens dressed like zombies.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to turn this mix of pumpkins and pimps into something beneficial and worthwhile for the community?  I’m always hearing about the need for school supplies, canned goods and clothing.  In addition or in lieu of giving out all this unhealthy candy for kids (and overserving yourself), how about “celebrating” Halloween by working with neighbors to meet a local need?  I know that idea sounds dull and unappealing to children (and maybe to parents), but so is going to school without learning materials or warm socks. And once again, what are our children learning from the current Halloween rituals?  

Finally, please don’t egg my house for my opinions.  I welcome yours – should Halloween continue as is or can we improve on it?

Media Strategy Includes Its Own Hoax

Sheriff Jim Alderden’s strategy to be less than forthright with media about last week’s balloon incident gives authorities the last laugh.   The Larimer County Sheriff apologized yesterday to media for disseminating “misleading” information to reporters in order to investigate the Heene’s story about a runaway helium balloon having their six-year-old son in it. Initially, the sheriff publicly supported the accuracy of events before revealing what authorities really suspected.


Law enforcement deflates TV dreams for the Heene family.

Granted, issuing less-than-candid beliefs and statements wasn’t exactly transparent.  Unlike most elected officials, publicly traded executives and nonprofit leaders, law enforcement officers can’t always be totally open while still in problem-solving mode.  From my experience in the corrections industry, I learned that good police work involves analytical skills, the process of deduction, specific interviewing techniques, astute observer of human behavior and role playing.  As a former journalist, I know that most, if not all, of those same skills apply to members of the media.

So while the Heenes believe they’re launching a career in reality TV, law enforcement ensures that the last laugh will be on the parents.  Tossing in a little contradictory messaging to throw the perps off track is just part of the punch line. 

Am I missing something here, or should we insist on transparency all the time, regardless of the strategy?

Pizza + Soldiers = World Record

While an order for 28,000 take-out pizzas is a bit unusual, Uno’s handled it with great aplomb as they recently fulfilled the order to U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Operation Pizza Surge was the brainchild of Pizzas 4 Patriots Founder Ret. Master Sergeant Mark Evans, who recruited UNO’s original deep-dish pizza to supply the pies and DHL Express to ship them.  The event was recorded by Guinness as the World’s Largest Pizza Party, and plans call for another pizza party for the 2010 Super Bowl.  Thanks to all involved in making our soldiers’ day a little brighter with the universal comfort food of pizza.  Although coffee isn’t the beverage of choice for pizza, you get three cups as this week’s Virtual Cup of Joe recipient.

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The virtual Cup of Joe Award from EveryDayPR spotlights our pick of the week for a public relations performance –  good, bad or ugly.  If you’d like to make a nomination, contact shart@hartpr.com or www.Twitter/susanhartpr

Nobel Prize Committee Continues In Failure To Communicate

UPDATE:  The Nobel Prize Committee continues to step in it.  Yesterday, four of the five-member committee issued statements in defense of its decision.  The comments only reinforce their failure to communicate the criteria for the award.

October 12:  In light of last week’s announcement that President Obama was the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the entire Nobel organization has diluted its brand by not effectively communicating that the annual award is an expressly political one. The current debate focuses on whether or not the President is deserving of the award, with the general perception being the honoree has demonstrated accomplishments toward peace as opposed to intentions.   


Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, founded the Peace Prize.

Previous Laureates include Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, all of whom are unquestionable choices as their life’s work revolved about bringing physical, racial, political and spiritual peace.  However, according to its website, the “Nobel Peace prize is not only for past achievement, although that is the most important criterion. The committee also takes the possible positive effects of its choices into account. Among the reasons for adding this as a criterion is the obvious point that Nobel wanted the Prize to have political effects.  Awarding a Peace Prize is, to put it bluntly, a political act – which is also the reason why the choices so often stir up controversy.” 

By not clarifying what appears to be an inconsistent selection process, the Nobel Committee has done itself a disservice, created a firestorm of controversy and deepened political differences.  Next year’s winner will either be a proven pursuer of peace or another controversial choice with hope of things to come.  And by the way, kudos to President Obama for deciding to award the prize money (about $1.4 million) to charity.

Mattel – Too White To Get It Right?

Not having or even knowing any children puts me at a disadvantage about the latest toy options for them.  So when Mattel announced its new black Barbie dolls last week, I was stunned.  Where has Mattel been?  Apparently the only black Barbie, introduced in the 1960s, was basically a white Barbie painted brown.  The newly launched “So in Style” line, designed by an African American mother of two, is for young black girls who look like them, and were inspirational and career-minded.  Yippee for Mattel for the new Barbies, but what took you so long?  As this week’s Virtual Cup of Joe recipient, you only get one cup.  Stay current with your research and demographics, and you might get a refill.

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The virtual Cup of Joe Award from EveryDayPR spotlights our pick of the week for a public relations performance –  good, bad or ugly.  If you’d like to make a nomination, contact shart@hartpr.com or www.Twitter/susanhartpr

Rethink Customer Service

While consumers are on hold with your company’s call center, they could be posting unflattering things on Twitter about their wait while simultaneously researching for blogs that badmouth you. And in today’s social media environment, consumers are listening more to consumers – not to your pre-recorded music or marketing messages.  Read more.

How One Man Fought Internet Rumors

One football weekend, business is going great with the usual 200 to 300 cases of chicken sold.  Within days, barely 80 cases are used.  What gives?  A false rumor via the Internet - the kind of virus that attacks the 20-year upstanding reputation and cash flow of a small eatery renowned for its fried chicken wings and Chinese food.


Owner Tommy Nguyen fights the Internet. Photo courtesy of the Times-Picayune.

In this modern day David vs. Goliath scenario, Manchu restaurant owner Tommy Nguyen took several crisis management tactics that have helped turn around the inaccurate rumors of unsafe food.  Among the steps taken include:

*    Hung a large banner saying “Rumors Are Not True”

*    Asked the Health Department and the Police Department’s Public Integrity Bureau for an investigation

*    Requested an immediate inspection by the Health Department that resulted in an overall good report

*    Bought broadcast and print ads to get out the facts, which led to a comprehensive media story

Nguyen’s experience with viral media illustrates the power of the Internet, an unmonitored medium that doesn’t involve fact checking.  The situation also reinforces the need for all organizations to have a crisis management plan.  In addition to the steps Nguyen took, what other crisis management tactics could help?   And what are we, as public relations professionals, doing to ensure that our clients and organizations are prepared in today’s Internet world?

Hollywood Insanity Has No Morality

This is stupid insane.  More than 100 Hollywood celebrities say director Roman Polanski should be let off the hook for drugging, raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s.  Whoopi Goldberg even denied the incident was rape, saying it wasn’t “rape-rape”.  What’s the difference? Research shows that one in every four girls and one in every five boys are sexually assaulted by the age of 18.  I’m disgusted at the lack of humanity of some Hollywood celebrities as it is a sickening and egregious display of Hollywood insanity having no correlation whatsoever to societal morality. If you agree, sign the online petition to bring Roman Polanski to justice.  As this week’s recipient of the Virtual Cup of Joe Award for a public relations performance – good, bad or indifferent – the only coffee Whoopi and her peers will get from us is the kind that causes a righteous and permanent burn, which could cause some pain, but not nearly as much as child victims of sexual assault suffer.

Susan Hart

Susan Hart, APR, is an independent public relations consultant with 25+ years of experience. Beginning as a journalist, she represents clients in health care, financial, technology and real estate. Accredited by the Public Relations Society of America, she serves as Co-Chair of the Ethics Committee for her local PRSA Chapter.

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