Flak Attack

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The Spin View: Hillary dances the Congo line

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Like the Lone Ranger racing on the plains busting Silver and her “High Hos,” former president Bill Clinton galloped on some North Korean tarmac, met with Kim Jong Il and traded two captured U.S. reporters for two sweet Cuban cigars and a stained dress.

Evidently, while Hilary was showing off the latest U.S. fashions in pant suits, yet another version of the Jerry Springer show broke out during her presser in the Congo, as seen here:

Nevermind all the kitschy “Lost in Translation” headlines (originated by the great Jake Tapper) seen internationally, Hillary popped her neck, snapped those fingers and told the Congo dude asking about President Obama what’s up.

Gurl, no, you di’nt!

Don’t believe me? Rewind the video and watch her get that gangsta lean on. The way she flops back in the chair after she gesticulates all over the front row because she thought someone had the nerve to ask Hillary about her hubby and his jet setting trip.

“You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?”

That was the beginning of the end. That one blue vein pulsing in her forehead and what little of a smile she quickly was erased by her fangs. As. If?!

“My husband is not secretary of state, I am,” she replied. “If you want my opinion I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.”

Keep it classy there, Madame Secretary.

Does that shadow darken more than the sun always shining on your broad shoulder pads? Looks like it may be your legacy in politics unless there is a PR campaign revving up soon to correct this angst and envy of Captain Charisma.

During his sinful ways and non-sexual-relations-with-that-woman, Hillary kept her cool. While he was being probed by every national network in the U.S., she was steadfast by his side.

But now that she’s got the title and he’s some washed-up has-been, his shadow still looms and now she would like to get it all out. The real problem is if some student with a haphazard translator can make her square off that easy, what happens when some starched-shirt GOP acolyte confronts her when she is back stateside?

She going to shank him? Scratch his eyes out. Man up, Hillary. Come on. Who’s the good secretary of state?

Remember what they say, “Smile, and the world smiles with you. Fart… and, well, watch the video.”

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It’s official: PR makes advertising its Bee-yatch

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Advertising Age recently published its findings and waxed melancholy about the state of advertising in the second half of 2009.

To summarize, take this as a warning-slash-really-bad-pep-rally for the industry:

It’s not getting a lot better, but at least it’s not getting any worse. And it probably won’t ever get back to where it once was.

Communications

I think it makes sense now. Don't you?

What’s this say to clients and other company’s creative types who us flacks want to love so, so much (call me)?

Find different ways to get in front of your target audiences. You know, do something you’re not currently doing to change the profits from going lower than the president’s approval ratings. (Hey, just sayin’.)

Does Ad Age have any recommendations? Glad you asked:

We found that there are pockets of strength: online and PR, for example.

So, why the change? Typically, it was make a logo and sand blast that on any embankment, billboard and mode of public transportation within a 5000-mile radius of your corporate office.

Well, that swooshing sound of all your cash going down the toilet has something to do with it. Couple that with the lack of interest in print products for anything outside of lining bird cages and creating cozy comforters for the homeless and you have an answer.

People have to look for not necessarily inventive ways to reach their target base, but definitely optional ways to sustain that catchy new mark.

Without a skilled PR campaign attached to a brand that directs folk to a billboard, or the very reason behind said advertisement, what good does it do the company? How long will it last? And where can find an ROI with a two-week blitz for a poster seen in your local parking garage?

Sure, some sleuth reporter will bump into the ad and write a story, but without a high-performance Web site or a strategic PR campaign, that story will have the longevity of “Jon & Kate: the Divorced Years” or new Coke (woof!)

“We are seeing a paradigm shift in our industry taking place as agencies grapple with how to deal with the new realities and manage costs to revenues. The industry is in for a fundamental, enduring reset over the next 10 years,” said Jim Heekin, chairman-CEO, Grey Group.

I like that – “new realities”. You know, billboards and print are still tangible but there’s this Internet thingy that’s really catching on.

I once heard in “Advertising 101” (not sure if that’s the real name):

Advertising is what you pay for, while public relations is what you pray for.

Anyone in the corporate arena wanna come with me to church this Sunday? I’ll drive.

Women talk more… and now it pays off

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BlogHer at WorkFor years, statistics have shown women talk more than men. No big surprise, but now it seems to be working.

Thanks to Kara at All Things Digital,the women’s blogging network, BlogHer, just received a lovely $7 million in Series C funding (whatever that is, but it’s a nice big, floppy check they can’t take to a bank).

“This is a true grassroots effort that shows the growing influence of women in social media,” said [BlogHer CEO Lisa] Stone. “We want to focus on taking advantage of that growth and momentum with this new funding.”

$7 million can create quite a whirlwind of momentum. And if you think women talk three times as much now, just watch them chatter a monsoon now.

The Web site for Woman Power is cleaning up more than a good portion of cash. The 30-employed-person haven is now attracting the eyes of 14 million women globally per month.

It has attracted Hollywood sponsorship, notable brands and nationally regaled conferences. And now, they have gone completely social on Twitter with more than 9,000 followers.

That said, there was one troubling quote:

While it is not yet profitable, Stone added, BlogHer is ahead of its internal financial projections, and “I hope next year I can raise a glass of champagne to meeting that goal.”

A salty million-dollar underwriting and still not profitable?! What? There’s not a sale or something to push that over in the black?

Well, whatever the case, speak on women of the world. The buzz is paying off.

Written by theflak

August 5, 2009 at 9:00 am

Bruno Punks PR

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O.J. was so innocent in his youth, huh?

O.J. was so innocent in his youth, huh?

Anyone see Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest spoof, “Bruno”?

Meh?

It’s the same shtick of stereotypical chicanery and pushing that envelope until everyone in the theatre gets paper cuts. With the exception of one thing, he punks some publicist hacks in Los Angeles.

Meet Duet PR and its founders – the self-dubbed “hot identical twins” Nicole and Suzie DeFosset, if you need them. (Again, meh?)

So, here’s Bruno gallivanting in their LA-based studio looking for insight on how to rock it Hollywood and get involved with charities.

The conversation that transpired was a microcosm of why some folks lump flacks into the same gene pool as used car salesmen and those guys who go door-to-door with lawnmower in-tow looking to make a few bucks.

Thanks to this Ecorazzi story, we have an excerpt from a Bloomberg review:

In America, Bruno has encounters with B-list entertainers, redneck hunters, bloodthirsty fight fans and a couple of airhead PR consultants who advise celebrities on how to boost their public images by supporting charities. (One of the flacks mispronounces Darfur and indicates that global warming is no longer buzz-worthy.)

Keeping it sooooo classy in So-Cal. Nice.

Aside from that, they couldn’t even find the Sudanese area on a map.

Well, since this wasn’t the most flattering appearance in Hollywood – their backyard to make a dime – the “blunder twins” put out this statement to continue their 15 minutes:

We just saw the movie and thought it was hilarious and Bruno is a comedic genius. We were directed on playing up the blonde roll (sic) and they definitely captured those parts! Like all reality shows it was cleverly edited and we are excited to be apart (sic) of a successful film.

Uh, yeah.

Well, true to form, the girls continued to play the “blonde roll” when they hit enter by misspelling a couple of words, misplacing a few commas and misrepresenting an entire industry.

There’s never a good media alert – or an AP style guide – around when you need one.

POTUS Beer Run: This Bud’s not quite for you

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Nice. It even has a logo. (Not really)

Nice. It even has a logo. (Not really)

So “Beer Summit 2009” took place in the back of the White House last night.

You know, I’m sure Barack Obama put out the Chex mix, peanuts and badly cooked Vienna sausages to give it that feel from “Cheers.”

And so we have the President, Dr. Gates and Sgt. Crowleyand Veep Biden (?!) … all hanging out like a bunch of guys on a weekend pass fresh on the heels of some Amway convention.

Just look at them. How staged was this dumb thing? It’s been in the news for more than week and there’s not even a pool table or a jukebox blaring “All My Exes Live in Texas.” What gives?

Evidently “Happy Hour” wasn’t so happy. Sad, you try to get a few dudes together to play beer pong and quarters and now the Congress and national media get involved. No fun. And spin control at its finest. Yawn.

As if the outdoor-lounging, suit-wearing, Biden-interrupted toast to nothing was bad enough, we have another national debate sparked out of what beer should be shotgunned… er, sipped out on the White House lawn.

In a letter to Obama dated Wednesday, Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal strongly urges the president not to drink Budweiser, now owned by a Belgian company. Nor should the White House consider serving Miller or Coors, Neal writes, both owned by a United Kingdom conglomerate.

This country’s deficit is going the way of U.S. War Bonds, swine flu is killing everyone but pigs and then there’s that government-run health care idea, and this is what this tool thinks is most important?! Shilling for the president to slurp on a Sam Adams?!

So, for those dunderheads keeping score at home:

POTUS: Bud Light
VPOTUS: Bucklers
Gates: Sam Adams Light
Crowley: Blue Moon

And after the round of suds, what happened? Did Crowley show Gates more moves he learned at the police academy, slamming his grill in the rose bushes outside? Did Gates get so hammered, he began giving Obama nuggies? Did Biden… well, he always looks that way. Nevermind.

Let’s put the brakes on this ridiculous news cycle, everyone. Back to running the country. Places!

Written by theflak

July 31, 2009 at 9:06 am

POTUS Beer Run?

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Recently, the leader of the free world overstepped his boundaries just a skosh when he decided to comment on the Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ plight of being arrested at his own house for breaking and entering.

This arrest sparked yet another tired debate on police ethics, racism and what is and is not the business of the federal government.

You know, your typical week in America. (Sigh.)

Evidently, the good doctor flared a little attitude when asked for I.D. (understandably so) at his own crib and the cop was fueled by a 911 call. MEMO to the police, the caller said “suitcase”, not “race.” Just sayin’.

Anywhoo.

President Obama spent 55.5 minutes discussing health care policy for an entire nation. Good stuff for a headline, but he was thrown a ticking time bomb that blew up in his face for the last 4.5 minutes of that news conference.

“Mr. President, care to comment on Dr. Gates’ arrest?”

Come on 2012! Woohoo!

Come on 2012! Woohoo!

It doesn’t matter what was asked. That statement was in slow motion, SPOTUS Gibbs was in the back slicing his wrists as the result has now been dubbed… “HenryLouis-Gate” (cute, right).

What everyone does know is the police officer apparently acted “stupidly.” Doh!

Much ado about nothing ensued causing a national upheaval and one large presidential wedgie of his now-heralded Mom pants.

Being the casual, laissez-faire kind of cat, Obama decides to do what all presidents would do in this situation – make it worse by offering diplomacy on tap.

That’s right. This week, both Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley will walk up to the bar at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for Happy Hour and a nice cold one. Just us guys.

Sweet. Stupidly. And evidently at Crowley’s behest?

Mr. Obama phoned Crowley, who suggested the three men sit down for a beer at the White House. The president said he liked the idea, and Gates reportedly concurred when Mr. Obama phoned him next.

Man, if it is that easy to influence an executive order, I need to make a phone call or blog my man about these pesky tax returns. Maybe, we solve our grievances over a dollar store visit or something.

Hey, uh, your royal exuberance? Call me.

Written by theflak

July 30, 2009 at 10:00 am

Walter Cronkite: And that’s the way it was

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Without a doubt, there will be memorials into perpetuity because this brilliant reporter and sage of the airwaves was finally overcome by his illnessesand there should be.

Walter CronkiteHowever, what’s lacking is Walter Cronkite’s legacy upon those talking heads giving the homage to the iconic CBS veteran.

This was “the most trusted man in America” for decades, and today, who in the world would allow a single news anchor to even babysit their kids?!

National news is pathetic regardless of where your TV remote finds you. There is no joint broadcasting, tiered openness or unleavened bias anymore. One network touts our president as “sort of God” and the other may as well accuse him of being Rosemary’s Baby.

Long gone are the days when you can turn on an evening news report and rest assured with all the facts to know that’s the way it is.

You know if the Edward R. Murrow disciples these days want to show any respect to Cronkite, consider this: the greatest tribute they can pay him is actually broadcast like him.

Whether you were old enough to see it live, or had a professor show you in school, most of us flacks have seen the regaled Cronkite announcement of JFK’s death.

You couldn’t tell if he was a gun-totin’ member of the GOP or a tree-hugging member of the Democratic Party. Why? It didn’t matter. He was there to report the news, not opine on political dissuasion.

Cronkite was the progeny of a soon-to-be extinct breed – trusted news anchors who valued integrity on facts rather getting hits on Facebook because of their misguided conjecture.

No, now you have to sift through the empty rhetoric, political bent and flat-out mudslinging to get any “facts” these days.

Godspeed, Walter. The media has become unceasingly sorrier since you left it. And now that you have left us, so will we become.

And that’s just the way it is.