Archive for November, 2004

November 29, 2004: 4:45 pm: Uncategorized

Note to “self appointed public relations representatives”: Don’t skimp on the purple tee-shirts.

Seriously, we wish nothing but the best for Marengo County Junior Miss Contestant Elizabeth Hamilton (That’s her on the left, by the way. If you know her, apologize on my behalf for singling her out.) Though a little long, this article does carry some valuable lessons.

  1. Puff pieces do get ink.
    When you see something like Special to the Times, that usually means someone at the paper took a press release that was lying around, and dumped it into the word processor. When you see a newspaper that has a lot of “specials,” you know where you can find an outlet for easy publicity.
  2. Don’t laugh at the tee-shirts.
    It’s not the most sophisticated thing a marketer could use, and it certainly doesn’t always qualify as cost efficient. But then again, these pageants are highly political, and there’s nothing wrong with a little campaigning. When you have a limited target audience (a panel of judges), a little bit of well-placed advertising can help. Judges like to be popular, too.
  3. Mom and dad are right.
    Pageant people don’t get enough credit for their training:
    One of the unnerving parts of the competition is the personal appearances. The girls have been warned they could be photographed at any time, and Beth already got a taste of what she is in for.

    “They stuck cameras in our faces during orientation.”

    To help her poise, she has spoken to the Demopolis Pilot Club and will speak at Kiwanis. She will be using a line from the poet e.e. cummings as part of her 15-second self-expression statement.

    She also is boning up on current events.

    “Mom kind of walks around the house and says ‘Beth, what do you think of…’.” laughed Beth.

    She doesn’t even get a reprieve from her father. “I thought he was on my side,” she said in jest.

    Yeah, 15 seconds doesn’t sound like much. But how many of you aspiring and current spokespeople can nail a perfect 15 seconds at a moment’s notice? With the camera in your face? On a random topic?

    Sounds like a winning training exercise to me.

November 24, 2004: 11:22 pm: Uncategorized

Have a safe Thanksgiving weekend, everyone.

And don’t count on the turkey to knock you out.

: 1:35 am: Uncategorized

Seriously — someone please step in and help Ron Artest

“I have been trying to make a big effort to change the image of the league. That’s not the image that David Stern wants to put forth. I have this album coming out. It’s positive. It’s about love. It’s not rap or hard core. I am trying to do nice things.”

Yep. You changed it, alright.

“I think that I never harmed anybody. That’s really important. You don’t want to harm anybody. And all of these suspensions, I am glad that nobody was hurt.”

…other than the guy that was clocked by the chair.

It’s one thing to lose your credibility by being silly. It’s another to lose it by being so factually wrong as to appear to live in an alternate reality.

Matt Lauer: “At any point during this melee in the stands and back on the floor fighting with another fan, did it pop into your mind: I have crossed the line here? I am way over the line?”

Ron Artest: “I think the tape speaks for itself. I think if you watch everything on the tape, you will be able to answer that. All I can say is I am trying to stay positive. That’s all I can do.”

…until Ticketmaster starts selling out my world tour.

Artest needs a PR intervention. Badly.

The guy who threw the cup (John Green) also needs a little help. It’s clear he’s got a lawyer crafting his statements:

“The cup got hurled from the general vicinity of where I was sitting. He [Artest] looked up. We were shocked that the cup hit him. … He looked up at us and started charging up there. It was pretty shocking. I didn’t know what to think.”

Gee, “the general vicinity of where I was sitting.” His hand just happened to also be in that general vicinity. Purely circumstantial.

His attorney (Shawn Patrick Smith) is really building a credible defense:

“The video is clear about what happens. I suggest anybody who wants to look at the video, there’s questions involved in what the intent was. John is saying, look at the video. The video speaks for itself.”

…and that video says — GUILTY! So why not own up to it? Be a standup guy. The entire Western Hemisphere saw you do it.

November 16, 2004: 4:49 pm: Uncategorized

…courtesy of

The FDA is throwing a cold shower on the “Wild Thing” Viagra ad. Even though the dude and the “blue horns” are still prominent on the website.

Now that Viagra is feeling blue, and Bowflex is getting all bent out of shape, what’s a guy to do to feel better about himself?

“Ah may be floppy, and ah may be fat, but I gots my hair.”

: 2:50 pm: Uncategorized

… is being Anna Nicole Smith’s publicist.

How do you explain that behavior?

You lie.

Which is easy, if you happen to also be her lawyer. (Not to imply that lawyers, and only lawyers, are allowed to lie. No siree.)

Ultimately, those in the media will have to figure out how much of it is real, and how much of it is self-aware self-promotion by the formerly-plump one. We’ll just have to keep an eye on the fortunes of Trimspa, the company that for the time being is standing by its pitchwoman.

Seriously… somebody help this woman.

November 12, 2004: 5:17 pm: Uncategorized

For both of you who read this… no updates this weekend.

Seriously. Go outside and enjoy yourselves.

November 10, 2004: 11:19 pm: Uncategorized

According to the London Daily Telegraph:

A Commons official resigned as the Speaker’s spin doctor after he was caught trying to generate anti-Labour publicity, it emerged yesterday.

Wow — must have been something pretty inflammatory…

John Stonborough had to hand in his notice after an e-mail he wrote to a Tory friend was sent by accident to a researcher working for a Labour MP.

In the e-mail, Mr Stonborough urged the Tories to attack the Labour ‘snouts in the trough’ disclosed in the list showing the expenses claimed by MPs.

“Snouts in the trough,” eh? Kind of pales next to Cheney’s F-bomb, where the Washington Post had to defend running the word in question.

: 5:01 pm: Big Blunders, Rants

Latrell Sprewell, who once lost most of a season for choking coach P.J. Carlesimo, recently learned a valuable lesson in math:

One pithy comment, plus two reporters, equals infinite fan heckling and taunts.

It seems the former All-NBA guard was a little peeved that Minnesota Timberwolves management wanted to restructure his $14,000,000/year deal down to $9,000,000 — and that “a guy’s got to feed his family.”

And exactly why would anyone take offense to that?

Update (5/19/05): Wolves owner Glen Taylor recently called the pairing of Sprewell and Sam Cassell a “failed experiement,” and said neither was coming back to the team. Well, now he’s backtracking, and Cassell is back — and so is Spree (if he can live on less than $14M)

: 3:48 pm: Uncategorized

Michael Goldman has some very pertinent things to say about the importance of crafting a message.

He is known primarily for work with political candidates, even though most of his clientele is in the business world. I agree with this philosophy whole-heartedly: “People don’t know what to say. We help them clarify their message.”

: 3:19 am: Uncategorized

Being a spokesman can be daunting enough, but just imagine being a spokesman forced to fire your “unofficial spokesman.”

Face it — the “Mr. Wendy” ad campaign was awful. But cheesy rebound lines like this one only tend to make reporters laugh (and damage your credibility.): “While decisions are still being made about new creative, food has always been the hero at Wendy’s, and we’re going to make sure that comes through loud and clear,” Wendy’s marketing executive Don Calhoon said.

Give me a break. I can swallow a triple with cheese easier than I can that statement. It needs to be more conversational. Yeah, you can make the case that the “bite” made it into print… but I can also make the case that today’s politically-savvy reader/investor will recognize it as spin, and reject the cheese.

“Food has always been the hero at Wendy’s”. I thought you had to go to Subway or Quiznos to get a hero.

Folks — it is possible to craft a statement that is too cute to be effective. Don’t outcute yourself.

Late in the piece, the CEO gets it right.

Asked during a recent conference call by one analyst whether the company was rethinking its advertising in light of sales slippage, chief executive Jack Schuessler replied, “Any campaign you tend to tweak it from time to time … and I suspect we’ll tweak Mr. Wendy.”

He ought to tweak Calhoon while he’s at it.