March 26, 2009
“I just wanted to find a way to save money. “
- Jeb Harrison, a high school teacher, referring to the ads from a local pizza shop printed on all papers he passes out to his students
Looks like he copied the dude we wrote about a few months ago.
“Will you act your age and stop playing with that sign?”
- Barney Frank, House Financial Services Committee chairman, after protesters interrupted a hearing
Good for him. Silent protesting is more respectful.
“China is not afraid of the Internet.”
- An unidentified Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Beijing’s action to block YouTube for mainland users; clips of soldiers beating monks and other Tibetans were revealed this week
“It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak. All right? “
- President Obama explaining why it took him a few days to comment on the AIG bonus scandal
Well that’s reassuring. He actually understands what he’s saying.
“I secretly felt … like I was the last of the real gunslingers.”
- David Letterman after marrying long-time girlfriend Regina Lasko
They’ve been dating since 1986. Imagine how much shit she’s given him over the years.
“I’m going to be a winner with this guy, even though everyone lost money with him.”
- Ralph Amendolaro, a Queens, NY construction worker, who won $1,500 playing Bernard Madoff’s prison number in a state lottery
He actually won…that’s amazing.
“Performers come and go, but the constant factor has been the elephants.”
- Kenneth Feld, producer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is being sued for allegedly mistreating animals
Give me a break. They should dress the elephants in these for each show.
“I get my best travel ideas from the State Department’s travel warning list.”
- David Chung, of Manhattan, on visiting Iraq with a tour group
Oh those crazy New Yorkers!
March 25, 2009
Prior to my departure to work with a client at the ends of the Earth (aka Abu Dhabi), I was supporting another in blocking the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. It was a pretty interesting campaign and—being public affairs—was right up my alley. So when I came across this article from PRWeek, it was an instantaneous marriage of excitement and nostalgia!! Not really, it was just a relevant issue to me that I wanted to share with the world…
Basically, there’s a battle on the Hill over EFCA, which would essentially make it easier for employees to unionize. There’s much controversy surrounding the legislation because it could take away certain rights workers currently have (a line right out of our message doc). So you have the labor groups going head-to-head with employer groups in a mad dash PR blitz.
It’s the standard lobbying/public affairs 101 tactics, but the Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Freedom Airlift program is pretty cool. It’s essentially a series of fly-ins of small business owners to DC so they can voice opposition to the bill. Generally, it’s the big corporate execs who are jetting into Washington, but to bring in the little guys who are affected as well can be pretty compelling.
It’s a decent read that reminds me of “how a bill becomes a law.”
March 20, 2009
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“When you talk about virginity and sex publicly, people just actually picture you naked.”
- Taylor Swift on sharing her views about love
Um, she’s absolutely correct.
“The bloodline will live on.”
- Roger Oglesby, publisher and editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which will no longer produce a print edition
Another one bites the dust.
“While he may not put ‘Honk If You Love Jesus’ bumper stickers on the back of his car, he is the kind of guy who practices what he preaches.”
- Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, a pastor and spiritual adviser to President Obama
“You would never know. He doesn’t hold up a sign reading, I’m Michael Jordan’s son.”
- Bruce Weber, U. of Illinois basketball coach, on his point guard Jeff Jordan, son of Michael Jordan
However, I probably would…
“The government has been literally sustained by beer and cigarettes.”
- Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti claiming that his country has become overly reliant upon “sin taxes” for revenue during the economic crisis
“In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up.”
- Charlie Villanueva, Milwaukee Bucks forward, who was reprimanded by team officials for posting this message to his Twitter account during a recent game’s halftime
The game just ain’t like it used to be.
“Jesus could have been walking with Moses that day and I would have killed them.”
- Scott Johnson, 38, of Kingsford, Mich., who awaits a mandatory life sentence for shooting and killing three teenage swimmers last year
“He deserves my silence.”
- George W. Bush refusing to criticize President Barack Obama in his first public speech since leaving office
March 17, 2009
In the world of communications, honesty and authenticity are essential components to anything you write, say, portray or sneeze. And that’s especially true for blogging. So when a brand or organization decides to grace the online community with a new blog, we tend to assume that the company’s own employees or real-life advocates are doing the writing—not folks who are monetarily encouraged to do so. It’s just not as credible and persuasive that way.
But this recent PRWeek article suggests otherwise. Apparently some companies have begun to compensate people for blogging about their products or services. Sears, specifically, forked over $500 gift cards to six bloggers who then went on a shopping spree and wrote about the experience. While this isn’t the same as paying someone to write what you want them to write (Op-Ed, anyone?), being compensated in any manner ultimately leads to subjective, biased opinions.
True, blogs are by nature just another editorial outlet. But when a company, who is working to attract customers or build support, starts incentivizing bloggers to write about it, you have to question the authenticity (Pee-wee Herman’s Word of the Day) of the content. That’s why full transparency is key for any blog. Though a company likely won’t dictate what is written, disclosing the fact that the bloggers were asked/encouraged to write is essential.
Paul Rand of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association agrees: “The feeling of the WOMMA membership is that [payment] is creating a condition that is not beneficial to the consumer. If it was, ‘Come to Kmart, we’ll give you the full shopping experience, but you have to buy the products on your own,’ that is totally different.”
So what do you think—Good idea? Bad idea? Don’t really give a damn? Let us know in the comments.
March 13, 2009
“When Miley grows up, she’ll learn not to have such a sense of entitlement.”
- A representative for Radiohead in a statement after Miley Cyrus’ comment that she would “ruin” the band for refusing to meet with her at the Grammys
“I thought he was an idiot to be honest with you.”
- Phil Richmond, a resident who lives near Niagara Falls, after a man jumped into one of the waterfalls
“Barack’s name ain’t Jesus. Barack ain’t gonna improve your child’s reading score. There are things we’ve got to do on our own.”
- Rev. Jeremiah Wright warning against asking too much of the President
Just stop talking before you create any more problems.
“Craigslist is the single largest source of prostitution in the nation.”
- Thomas Dart, sheriff of Cook County, Ill, after the FBI found more than 2,800 child prostitution ads posted on Craigslist
“My experience in Iraq is that despite having been shot seven times, it is very great.”
- Oses Matsiko, a Ugandan working in private security in Iraq
Seven times?? And you still use the word “great”…
“I’m the, as I said, loyal opposition. And both words, I think, are operative.”
- John McCain on criticizing President Obama and the Democratic Party one day and standing by their side the next
“I think my agent told me it’s a benefit for some horrid disease like restless leg syndrome. All I know is, I’m getting a private car.”
- Ann Coulter on why she is participating in a series of debates with liberal Bill Maher
“My stocking was full of condoms this Christmas. She buys me the economy box.”
- Zac Efron on his mom’s present to him, after he and his girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, were photographed at a sex shop
You’re still a massive tool.
“It’s like cancer. That’s what he was. Cancer. He had to go.”
- Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox pitcher on LA Dodgers Manny Ramirez, who was traded last season from the Sox
March 9, 2009
After years of trash talking and not-so-friendly banter between members from the DC Council and members of the city’s press corps, a long-overdue basketball game will settle the score. This afternoon, awkwardly non-athletic middle-aged men and women (and some who can actually play) will clash in a charity ball game at the Verizon Center at 4pm.
The game will serve as “a hilarious opening act to the much more interesting City Title Championship game, which pits the best DC public school against the best DC Catholic school.” If you can slip out of the office a bit early, I’m sure it’d be a pretty entertaining afternoon. And you can feel good about yourself for contributing to a generous cause.
The team rosters look especially interesting, with Marion Barry as coach of the DC Council’s squad (the “Good Guys”??), and a variety of folks making up the media team, including Tom Sherwood, dean of the DC Press corps, who said: “The only way the council will score enough points would be if they gave Abe Polin another $50 million to lower the rim.”
Read this WTOP piece for context—I didn’t get the joke at first, either—as well as for more details and ticket info.
March 6, 2009
For those of you who read The Sports Guy’s Mailbag, you’ll appreciate this one. In his most recent, a reader inquires about the phenomenon of constantly updating statuses on Facebook and Twitter (about a quarter of the page down). Bill’s response is pretty hilarious, but he also makes an interesting point about where writing is headed thanks to our overwhelming desire to get and share information instantaneously. He says:
In 15 years, writing went from “reflecting on what happened and putting together some coherent thoughts” to “reflecting on what happened as quickly as possible” to “reflecting on what’s happening as it’s happening” to “here are my half-baked thoughts about absolutely anything and I’m not even going to attempt to entertain you,” or as I like to call it, Twitter/Facebook Syndrome.
Pretty accurate statement. And I find myself falling victim to the new-age writing style as well. Even some of my clients’ emails consist of abbreviated words and to-the-point half-sentences. But hey, I’m not complaining. The easier and quicker, the better. And…done. No more writing.
March 6, 2009
“Scooter Libby is a wonderful, wonderful person, and I think about him every day.”
- Karl Rove responding to reports that Dick Cheney unsuccessfully lobbied George W. Bush to pardon Libby for his perjury conviction in the Valerie Plame leak case
“This letter is the last. There will be a black out. Total silence.”
- A death threat sent to the French president and eight other top French politicians in bullet-stuffed envelopes
Envelopes stuffed with bullets, huh? Nice touch. Yeah, that would be pretty scary.
“I am prepared to take my fair share of the green revolution on my shoulders but I am less keen on having it in my face.”
- Peter Mandelson, Britain’s Business Secretary, after an environmental campaigner threw green custard on him to protest development of another runway at Heathrow Airport
Hold up a sign, don’t throw sh*t on someone. Not cool.
“I think it’s just another phase.”
- Michael Lohan, father of Lindsay Lohan, on his daughter’s reported plan to convert to Judaism
Just like her anorexia phase and her lesbian stint.
“These will be my final shows performing in London. ‘This Is It’ really means this is it.”
- Michael Jackson announcing his plan to perform 10 concerts in London in July in what he described as a “final curtain call”
Hang it up, Mike. You’re old and creepy.
“Bet yourself a new hat or a fine dinner that you are going to have a scandal a month. They are running around like a lot of headless chickens.”
- John Dingell, a U.S. Representative, on problems encountered by the Food and Drug Administration
“The days of trading on who you know in your Rolodex are over.”
- Billee Howard, Weber Shandwick
Pretty good article here with the quote (subscription required).
“Therefore we have reached an agreement to stimulate, to favor, to f*ck.”
- Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain’s Prime Minister, accidentally cursing during a press conference with the Russian president
Gotta love accidental public cursing.
March 5, 2009
The Post had a pretty entertaining front page article today about the trials and tribulation of people with unusual last names trying to get Facebook pages. Facebook apparently has a list of names that will be automatically denied if you try to set up an account. They include Yoda, Christmas, Batman, Pancake and Beer.
Facebook, via e-mails (of course), won’t say how many names are on its blocked list or how often names are rejected. It occasionally happens when it appears the chances of fraud are greater than the chances that someone is really named, say, Seymour Butts. A name like Batman gets flagged by Facebook because, writes spokeswoman Meredith Chin, the number of real Batmans is probably “fewer than the number of people who could potentially misuse the name on the site.” Applications coming from official-sounding e-mail addresses (email@example.com) are less likely to be rejected than those from random ones.
The article goes on to describe how another woman with the last name of “Batman” (seriously though – who would have thought) who ended up changing her last name to her husband’s “bachelor surnname.” (Side note: He had apparently taken her name when they married. I have never heard of a “bachelor surname.”) Essentially because of Facebook’s efforts to eliminate fraud, she had to use a fraudelent name to register.
You’d think Facebook would recognize that there are plenty of odd last names out there and make the process a bit more manageable for those that do. I can sympathize with these people- “Roche” wasn’t an easy one in 3rd grade. Though by 8th it had a whole different connotation and was thus “cool.”
From the gist of the article, there is a process in which you can verify your name – submitting driver’s license, etc. But I imagine Facebook could automate this process by cross referencing applicants with phone books, etc. From a business perspective, it’s never a good thing when people are trying to use your product and you’re making them jump through hoops to do so.
Do you know anyone named Oliver Clothesoff or Mike Rotch who had a hard time getting a FB page?
March 5, 2009
Courtesy of Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog, Google CEO Eric Schmidt isn’t all that impressed by Twitter. To wit:
Google CEO Eric Schmidt doesn’y buy it that real-time microblogging and messaging services like Twitter could potentially become a threat to the search giant — whose search index doesn’t keep up with conversations as quickly as Twitter’s. “Speaking as a computer scientist, I view all of these as sort of poor man’s email systems,” he told Fortune this week at Morgan Stanley’s technology conference.
He goes on to decribe Twitter as having aspects of an email system, but not the full offering. He also temper’s the “poor man’s” remark with “Twitter’s success is wonderful, and I think it shows you that there are many, many new ways to reach and communicate, especially if you are willing to do so publicly.”
I don’t think Twitter is any kind of business threat to Google at all, but I’m sure Google is looking long and hard at Twitter’s popularity and wondering how/if they should emulate it. I’m sure they also realize they could buy the company with their daily breakfast budget, so they aren’t losing mych sleep.
Speaking of Twitter, as we have been wont to do lately, WaPo’s Dana Milbank had a great column last week highlighting the use of Twitter by Congressional members while Obama was speaking at the joint session of Congress. A highlight was:
Then there was Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), in whose name this text message was sent at about the time the president spoke of the need to pull the country together: “Aggie basketball game is about to start on espn2 for those of you that aren’t going to bother watching Pelosi smirk for the next hour.” A few minutes later, another message came through: “Disregard that last Tweet from a staffer.”
I’m all about government transparency and communicating with your constituents, but Twittering about which Senators you’re sitting next to instead of, oh, I don’t know, listening to the President of the United States and figuring out which of his policies you agree/disagree with??? Milbank put this in perspective with his closing:
And how many were reading these dispatches? Those following Congressman Wittman at 9:40 p.m.: 44. Senator McCaskill: 1. Congressman Blumenauer: 0. The live-streaming Culberson topped them all with 8,216.
All of which raises a question: Should these guys maybe spend time fixing the country and leave the Twittering to somebody else?
So what do you think? Should our elected officials be allowing much closer access to their constituents by Twittering, or perhaps not f*cking around on their Blackberries during important events like this? Wonder how many were G-chatting…
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