Saturday, March 13, 2010

Please don't let this story go away.

A more appropriate blog post is necessary after such a long interval between entries, but let me just say, I hope this lawsuit does not die. Did anyone think about Lindsay when they saw the eTrade (courtesy of Gray Advertising NY) spot? In what may be the most egotistical celebrity suit of 2010 yet, Lohan wants money ($100...million...dollars) for the "milkaholic" baby that "obviously" modeled after her. She said it, we didn't.

Here's the AdAge article about LiLo's pursuit of justice.

And, of course, the spot.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Freelancing can be a very good thing.

As I've been lucky enough to freelance while searching for the perfect full-time opportunity, I've been taking advantage of as many professional development workshops and club meetings as I can. This week I've had a few breakthroughs. 

During a Coast Young Professionals "Insights" luncheon (business leaders around the Coast come for lunch with a group of us CYP's and basically let us pick their brains for an hour), Vicki Barrett of the Sun Herald said something that really hit home . She talked about wishing she had the chance years ago to decide her next professional steps and consider being more entrepreneurial. Before finishing her talk, she said "be open in your career, because you never know what may come along." The core message Vicki delivered was to embrace professional evolution, which has been a recurring theme during my own job search. 

I thought about Vicki's advice again today when I read this post from Anonymous at Conde Nast, regarding the widespread panic among 30-somethings in the media industry who aren't sure about their next step. The pro's who've been writing/editing/being fabulous for a decade in the industry worry that as the feasibility of print subsides, they're high overhead and lack of digital trends are going to really end up screwing them. As we learn in marketing, "positioning " is unbelievably important for our clients, and these journalists--positioning themselves as entertainment/fashion media entities--may have positioned themselves against the trends. So how do I, approaching those years in my career, keep that from happening? 

It's difficult--and, I think, unwise--at this point in digital media/public relations/journalism to pigeonhole ourselves, am I right? What can we Gen Y'ers do to maintain our adaptability as the economy and media industry continues to evolve? For my peers who are also mid-job hunt right now, consider this time a gift to really think about how we can best contribute. I think during the past two months I've discovered so many new things about my abilities that I've really been able to narrow my search to the positions where I will be the absolute best. 

Despite this "blessing," pros, please tell me: how do we young professionals ensure our relevance in 10, 20 years? 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ah, Mitch Stewart, there you are! Just as the Heartland blows a gasket.

A few things struck me today that reminded me timing is really, really freaking important. First, health care.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the previously-successful-at-social-media Obama administration has completely missed the boat in utilizing its network to dispel rumors about the health care plan and public option. 

According to an NBC News poll, not only is Obama's disapproval rating at an all-time high, so is the misinformation permeating conversations across the country regarding the health insurance reform proposal. Forty percent of those surveyed said Obama's health care plan would only worsen the quality of their current coverage and that it will limit patients' access to doctors as well as medical treatment options. However, when presented specifics about the plan 53% said they would support a plan with those details. 

Just today, I received only my second email from Mitch Stewart with more details and rumor clarification about the program. Here's the thing: the 'damage control' ship has sailed. As NBC News also asked, are there too many misconceptions circling the nation to ever reel in this issue? Had the administration better planned for the worst-case-scenario word-of-mouth before introducing the proposal they would have had a better shot at controlling the conversation. Now it may be too late. 

Another time sensitive issue--of a much lighter note and of less national significance, so take a breath--happened today in the public relations world. Many of the PR pros I follow on Twitter were discussing Beth Brody of Brody PR and a huge faux pas she committed earlier in the day. Long story short: Beth spammed a "marketing piece" for her firm to every PR big wig in her contact list. And when I say big, I mean big. The problem: she open cc'd all of the addresses instead of choosing the much more subtle bcc option, allowing a public "Reply All" free for all.  Rather than immediately issuing a mea culpa, apologizing for the email debacle, neither she nor her team released a statement until about 7 hours later. In the meantime, the topic harpooned on Twitter into the Biggest Mistake Ever made by a PR professional. This is a perfect example of the need to respond immediately and clearly. Social networks just move too fast (if you're the one who made a mistake).

PR pros, I'd love to hear your thoughts on timeliness. Can you be prepared for everything, with a plan ready to go, even for social blunders like the famed "reply all" response? 

Friday, August 14, 2009

Is digital media a Woodstock-esque movement?

I just watched a story about Woodstock (part of their publicity blitz for its 40th anniversary), noting the way the iconic event forced mainstream news organizations to pay attention to the messages of the younger generation.  T.J. Winick (of ABC News) interviewed Dan Garson, a photojournalist who actually began his career at Woodstock...and not in the traditional way. Merely a high school 17-year-old, he bought a camera, applied for a media pass, got it, and from the 3rd row shot some of the most memorable Woodstock photos taken--like the treasure to the left. Keep that concept of citizen journalism in mind. 

Last night I attended Zehnder Communications’ seminar “The 411 on Social Media” in New Orleans, and Tom Martin (check him out here and here) noted the newfound ease of live streaming broadcast. With a wireless 3G card and a laptop, I can stream live from anywhere, most likely beating national news networks to the punch. What does this mean for the future of the “breaking story?” And how often will those who just happen to be at the right place at the right time bring a story to millions the fastest? 

That's the direction in which we're moving, folks, and those of us proficient in digital media will be able to move it forward, helping our clients shape the conversations around their brands in the same manner. Why can't a spokesperson for a company live stream exactly what a corporation is doing to manage a crisis in real time, from the scene even? To me, it's going to be great way for us to have our clients' issues addressed first and, most importantly, transparently, by those on the front lines. 

With the popularity of social media to break and relay news, this movement really could be compared to the attention demanded by the Woodstock generation. Look at the respect attention networks give to information taken from the Drudge Report, formerly a weekly e-mail. Twitter entered the national dialogue when the first image of "The Miracle on the Hudson" broke via TwitPic from a rescue worker's iPhone. The media is changing and mainstream channels are being forced to participate. 

It's going to be especially interesting, though, to watch the way live video streaming affects broadcast news. How do you think it's going to affect reporters? Will the citizen journalist become a part of the story? 

Photo credit: Jimi Hendrix performs at Woodstock. From the collection of Dan Garson (Dan Garson/Genesis Publications / April29, 2009)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are you there, Obama? It's me, Rebecca.

I thought we were almost BFF's. We were tight. You were emailing me every day! 
But for a president who revolutionized the way candidates interact and rally their troops during a campaign, your team has apparently forgotten that using both mainstream and social media might also help with pushing your agenda. That is until today, with the launch of the Health Insurance Reform Reality Check. 

I will say that this is a totally bipartisan blog post, but it was just yesterday that I was so frustrated at the difficulty of finding out specifics about the program. And I'm not talking about finding the actual bill that's proposed. I want laymen's terms, is-my-grandma-gonna-be-put-to-pasture and is-my-dad-gonna-go-broke kind of details to respond to to circulating rumors. To me, this type of communication is essential for people like me, Gen-Y young professionals who can't study the 1000-pg. bill right this minute, but truly want to know what's going to make it work. 

It seems that more right-leaning networks as well as opponents of the bill know exactly why Obama's health care plan can't and won't work, and those are the things I'm hearing. I want facts and statements just as simple about why it WILL work. In a fairly decent example of integrated marketing communications to push the message, today I was finally reached by the administration with the campaign, both through my social networks and of "Reality Check" coverage on my local news (which I only saw because it was on one of the TV's at the gym). 
If you're like me (typical Gen-Y attention span and fairly unfamiliar with the health care industry), the videos on the site may help get a better, more balanced idea of what the president is proposing. I'm anxious to watch the polls over the next few weeks to see if the campaign is the "reality check" America wants after all. 

If the Obama campaign successfully utilized social networking (and built what I thought was a strong relationship!) to disseminate information and gain support, why would the Obama presidency not do the same? 

Monday, August 3, 2009

Annihilating social media for my job hunt

I am doing it all. In the past few weeks, I've updated my LinkedIn profile, fallen in love with Twitter, and read all of the advice sent my way from Alison Doyle, Tory Johnson, and a few other advice columnists while trying to keep my head from spinning. I'll update on how it goes, and there's one main reason that I'm truly confident that in this terrible economy, I'll find the perfect home for my talents: I know how to integrate marketing communications into a successful campaign. It's an absolute necessity for today's job seeker, and I've created a fully integrated campaign for myself. Main objective: connecting with my potential employers hopefully addressing a need for a kickass change agent (that's me) and using every possible resource to make it happen. 

Another awesome thing I've realized through my job search? I don't have to worry about keeping my thumb on the new media pulse outside of grad school. I've learned so much about entering the social media conversation during the free time I have that I can barely keep up. 

This morning I was scoping out Trumpet, a very cool agency in my area that often blurs the line between venture marketing and advertising. I've applied for a handful of jobs there and plan to continue to stalk them down, but I digress. They're launching a campaign for Thriv (not sure if that's a long "i," but I can find out for you), and I took advantage of a great promotion for its organic "performance gear" line. After answering some questions about my workout patterns, I'll receive a free product sample. I know the cost of a promotion like that may be high, but what a great way for the new company to get to know its consumer upon the launch. Plus, who doesn't love free stuff. I'm a brand ambassador already. 

More on my job search coming up. This week, I'm soliciting advice for getting out there and finding the perfect agency job. Offer it up! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about social media...

...but let's hope that Wedding 2.0 does not become a trend of the future. I prefer to think of this as a (very successful) social experiment. 

Wouldn't you be annoyed if your friend sends this to you two days before her wedding? Then again...I'm a planner.