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The Naked Journal of the PR Business

Copyright: Copyright 2007, Furthermore, Inc.

Mega PR Firm Does About-face; Stakes Claim in 'Authenticity'

Wed, 05 Mar 2008 03:52:00 PST

In a press announcement that sent ripples throughout the business community yesterday, Edelman, one of the largest PR firms in the world, proclaimed that the agency was doing a complete about-face radically shifting direction. The firm has staked "its claim in ‘Authentic Communications.’” According to the release, Edelman is mobilizing rapidly to convert its entire ambiguous worldwide PR operation to “authentic.” In support of the initiative, the agency said that it has consolidated its three digital service practice areas into one global operating unit. The new group will be a combination of the firm’s Web design team, its social-media toy lab and a couple of ideas that were being bandied about last fall under the name “Edelman Mobile." Heading the overhaul will be Rick Murray, former head of the Agency’s botched “Me2Revolution” Practice. Murray set the stage for the announcement a little over a year ago articulating Edelman's very public optimism regarding Second Life. Then he said, “Anytime you can bring fake people together spending real money on fake things to create value... [well] I don't really know how it's going to end up or where we're going to end up in it but it's really cool." Along with yesterday's announcement Murray described the agency's investment: “We think authentic communications is where it's at. The debate over what is and isn't authentic is likely to be rich, complex and never-ending.” Continue reading "Mega PR Firm Does About-face; Stakes Claim in 'Authenticity'" [...]

My Middle Name is Satan

Tue, 04 Mar 2008 04:35:00 PST

Talking to My Cats: 03-04-08

(image) Long story short, my middle name was supposed to honor my uncle Sal and my aunt Tanisha. I'd be more comfortable it if the reasoning behind the name was something along the lines of "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash -- something to toughen me up a bit. Alas, my parents didn't really give it a whole lot of thought (obviously), and by the time they did, it was already on the birth certificate. So I am Bruce Satan Pilgrim.

Thus, throughout my life, I've had a bit of a PR problem. I've been taunted countless times, endured such sobriquets as Devil Boy, Beelzebubba, Lucy Fur, Satan's Little Helper, and the Prince of Snarkness.

Carrying the baggage of Mephistoles has made it pretty much impossible to pass myself off as angelic. When my mom declaimed my full name in a certain tone of voice, I knew I was in very big trouble. Each year in grade school, the new teacher would take me aside and warn me that they wouldn’t tolerate any of my tricks. Which I always took as a challenge.

As a teenager, I experimented with using initials as an alternative, but B.S. Pilgrim has its own set of problems. Bruce S. Pilgrim didn't really ring, either. In my senior year in high school, I briefly embraced the opposite strategy and unsuccessfully campaigned as "Satan for Student Council." This did not go over very well in an all-boys Catholic institution.

Continue reading "My Middle Name is Satan"(image)

Obama’s Homage to Mark Penn

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 09:04:11 PST

Well that makes 10! As you know, last night Barack Obama added Wisconsin and Hawaii to a historic primary winning streak. The Illinois senator's Wisconsin victory gives him 1,303 delegates compared to Clinton's 1,233. Funny, as in ironic, he seemed to not so subtly give a lot of credit to his opponent’s chief strategist.

(image) According to The Washington Post: “While not [Hillary's] campaign manager in name, [Mark] Penn controls the main elements of her campaign, most important her attempt to define herself to an electorate. Armed with voluminous data that he collects through his private polling firm, Penn has become involved in virtually every move Clinton makes, with the result that the campaign reflects the chief strategist as much as the candidate. If Clinton seems cautious, it may be because Penn has made caution a science, repeatedly testing issues to determine which ones are safe and widely agreed upon. If Clinton sounds middle-of-the-road, it may be because Penn is a longtime pollster for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. If Clinton resembles a Washington insider with close ties to the party's biggest donors, it may be because her lead strategist is a wealthy chief executive who heads a giant public relations firm [Burson-Marsteller], where he personally hones Microsoft's image in Washington. And if some opponents see Clinton as arrogant, her campaign a coronation rather than a grass-roots movement, it may be because of the numbers wizard guiding her campaign and the PowerPoint presentations he likes to give on the inevitability of his candidate.”

Continue reading "Obama’s Homage to Mark Penn"(image)

Anti-Web 2.0 Group Resorts to Kidnapping and Torture

Tue, 19 Feb 2008 12:16:00 PST

Noted Author Offers Alternative

(image) WARNING: This article includes graphic scenes that may not be suitable for younger audiences.

If you are a regular reader of Strumpette, you’re acutely aware of what lengths we’ll go to get at the truth. This is arguably our most extreme.

You know how in a debate with a social media evangelist or blog booster, you just don’t seem to get anywhere? Arguments tend to go around in circles always returning to the same libertarian platitudes: the "democratization" of information is a universal good; customers (Jarvis’ 6 million pitchfork and torch bearing mob) are in control; there’s wisdom in crowds; hierarchies are all bad; intellectual property stifles creativity; anyone over 30 or in a suit is inherently evil and doesn’t “get it.” Their beliefs seem almost totally intractable.

Well, as we’ve concluded here many times, in the words of Woody Allen, “It’s nothing a fistful of Prozac and a baseball bat couldn’t cure.” It was in that spirit that we recently decided to set up an experiment. We wanted to see if a social media evangelist could be “deprogrammed,” so to speak. Could we actually stop their various proselytizing and return them to reality, or are they hopelessly lost forever.

Continue reading "Anti-Web 2.0 Group Resorts to Kidnapping and Torture"(image)

How to Game Social Networks

Mon, 18 Feb 2008 13:16:00 PST

PR Agency to Offer Clients Proprietary Methodology

(image) Goin’ to the “Ragan Social Media Show” in Vegas this March? The $1,000-per-person tickets got your wallet feelin’ a little light? Hey... then how ‘bout a dance with Lady Luck to make a little of that back? How 'bout all of it back and then some? What if I told you a few of her intimate secrets that make the game no gamble?

Hey... pssst... are you familiar with card counting? That’s the practice of tracking the ratio of high cards to low cards; that’s all. Well, we've got a sophisticated system. Here's the deal: if you could better judge your advantage or disadvantage at any given time, obviously, you could place better bets and shift the odds from the house to you. Trust me; it's easy money.

"But that’s cheating!," you say. Don't be so negative. Let's PR it and refer to it as “intelligent game play.” Sure, if you get caught, you’ll get booted from the casino. However, keep in mind, there are other casinos on the Strip.

Or, how 'bout this? Turns out, we can get you a similar deal with social networks. But this is even better. It’s totally unregulated; Ya can't get caught; And ya can’t get kicked out!

Continue reading "How to Game Social Networks"(image)

Timely Inspiration for the PR Industry (ironically)

Sun, 17 Feb 2008 08:21:00 PST

Directed by Chiat/Day's Jennifer Golub and narrated by Richard Dreyfuss, the above is a famous Apple Computer ad. Imagine a variation for the PR industry:

Here's to the conformists. The complicit. The compromisers. The round pegs in the round holes. The ones who see things similarly...

You can disregard them, pretend to agree with them, caricature or lampoon them. About the only thing you can't do is respect them.


"New PR" on Trial; Prosecutors Turn to Motive and Method

Fri, 15 Feb 2008 09:32:00 PST

Ask any reasonable person in the PR biz where PR 2.0 and all this newfangled social-media stuff is and you'll get the same pat answer, "the jury's still out." Indeed. Here for the benefit of the jurors, we want to review motive and method. See, when PR is done right, there are no fingerprints let alone a body. But certainly one could show definitively that the defendant had motive and method. Here for demonstration purposes we connect a few dots. If you're tuned into PR's new 24/7 social media channel, in between all the innocuous drivel -- "I totally love my shirt;" “Love to connect. I'm around all day with no specific agenda;” and “Off to SFO. Anyone up for late drinks tonight?” -- there's evidence of subterfuge. It's subtle but it's there. MOTIVE "Lots of people have rightfully made fun of how much I've touted every little new site to come along. Their criticism is accurate. Let's face it, it's because of money." - Steve Rubel, Spokesperson, World's Largest Independent Ambiguous Marketing Agency "We are trying to get companies to disadvantage themselves through the adoption of open dialogue. Yes, that's our dream. I confess." - Stowe Boyd, Social Media Guru "Screw the owners!" - Shel Holtz, PR "Expert" and Prolific Online PR Evangelist "Social media is one of the hottest commodities going." - Mark Ragan, CEO and Ringmaster, PR Conference Company Continue reading ""New PR" on Trial; Prosecutors Turn to Motive and Method" [...]

Horrors! Target Disses Bloggers

Tue, 12 Feb 2008 05:33:00 PST

Talking to My Cats: 02-12-08

(image) What's worse: the recent Target ad showing a woman in winter clothing lying on the Target logo, or the subsequent shit storm over Target's policy of not responding to bloggers? This is a real toughie, because both acts are extraordinarily heinous events.

First the ad. Unmistakably, the model's crotch is positioned dead center in the bull's-eye of the logo! This is the most horrific example of the classic sexist objectifying of women in the history of civilization! The art director – obviously a man, of course – is clearly acting out his own violent rape fantasy with this misogynistic piece of dreck – and inviting all other men to indulge in their own sick mind games.

The impact of this crime is likely to be felt for generations. Young girls will be forever traumatized, unable to make eye contact with other women or, most especially, with men, lest they too be targeted in just the same way. It could even drive them into lesbianism, which is just what men want, isn't it – as long as they're permitted to watch, right?

It sickens me as a member of the advertising and communications community that this sort of thing still happens, even now in the 21st century. I thought we were beyond this, liberated at long last from centuries of treating women as chattels, as somehow less then men, as something to be used, wrung out, and then discarded.

Continue reading "Horrors! Target Disses Bloggers"(image)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Top Ten Reasons Why Yes We Can

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 10:04:00 PST

(image) Are you the head of a service firm looking to cash in on this historic socio-economic trend? Are you an avid blogger, social-media enthusiast, new marketing tech or "conversation" guru? Then this article is a must read. Here we grapple with and finally resolve what Chris Heuer, President of the Social Media Club, appropriately refers to as “pushing a boulder uphill." Although the spread of social media has been a global phenomenon, it still seems to inspire significant resistance on the corporate front.

First, let's constructively confront our mistakes. Unfortunately, this social media stuff has its roots in tech where strict business rationale is not a common occurrence. ITs have historically had carte blanche. Like lawyers, how much it's going to cost is equal to whatever it takes. As such, the typical once-removed 3rd-cousin-by-marriage SM geek has co-opted that very same posture, i.e. the "smarter than" persona. When pushed to generally accepted standards of due diligence and formal business case rationale, the typical reaction in the "community" is that the oldsters "just don't get it".

Not good. Regrettably, counter-intuitively, the appearance of unbridled arrogance has only led to market confusion and even greater demand for reason. The C-suite apparently has all but rejected "well, because."

Fact is, this is no small problem. Business is now calling the entire fad a bubble. Practically speaking, at the very least, the uptake of the "paradigm shift" in business now seems to be all but stalled.

Continue reading "SOCIAL MEDIA: Top Ten Reasons Why Yes We Can"(image)

HARSH REBUKE: Ragan Trades Integrity for Vegas

Fri, 08 Feb 2008 08:42:00 PST

(image) Vegas! That’s right, Sin City. The lights, the glamour, the glitz. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Anything you want baby. Oh yeah!

Oh no. This is actually a sad story. It's about someone for which I used to have great respect who's apparently lost it all on the Strip.

Very depressing. Remember when Ronn Torossian got into bed with Joe Francis from Girls Gone Wild; or how 'bout when Joe Jaffe used his 5-year old son Aaron to shield criticism from peers who thought his virtual lap dances for cameras and such was unseemly. Awful stuff. Well, now Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, has become Pimp Daddy in PR’s Great Web Seduction and is "working" the Wynn Hotel.

I know, I know, "PR’s seduction" is Ouroboros (snake bites its own tail). At the very least it's redundant by definition. All things considered, just how would one be able to tell? I mean look around! Other than O'Dwyer's, who’s pretty much been banned from the industry for telling the truth and providing a critical perspective, you've got dedicated sycophants PRWeak, PRNudes and Lapdog Reporter gently stroking the industry’s privates, currying the favor of the highest bidder. C’mon... PR’s moral world headquarters today is Pahrump, Nevada, home of the famous Chicken Ranch. And that’s exactly what Strumpette originally, ironically, set out to expose. PR sadly has become intellectual prostitution and no one except maybe Kevin McCauley, John Stauber and Jack O’Dwyer, has the courage to question it.

Continue reading "HARSH REBUKE: Ragan Trades Integrity for Vegas"(image)