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Thursday, November 20, 2008

PR Wins: Motrin

The rapid response from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a Johnson & Johnson Company, to the controversy about the Motrin Mom ads is an example of a PR Win. Earlier this week, the blogosphere reacted swiftly to what mothers felt was an offensive ad. It was not reporters who criticized the ads, it was moms who took to tweets and youtube responses. There was no time for a poll by a newspaper or a review by an accepted expert.

The PR Wins part of the story was the speed with which the PR teams at McNeil responded. Knowing that this could damage the long term reputation of the brand, PR huddled with the other stakeholders at the company and quickly issued an apology and pulled the ad. While we are not privy to all of the conversations, this response indicates that PR had a seat at the table.

As we chronicle PR Wins, it is not intended to make PR look good at the expense of other departments. Our baseline is to help demonstrate the value of PR and when the PR team has a seat at the table for both good and bad news.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PR Wins

In an economy of scarce resources, PR, Advertising, and Marketing fight over tight budgets. Justifying programs, activities and ROI becomes even more important for each department.
So who gets credit for success is not to be trivialized.

For example, the customer-created commercials by Doritos which play during the Super Bowl are clearly an advertising story www.crashthesuperbowl.com. Yet this advertising idea was hatched by the Frito Lay (PepsiCo) PR group. The promotion was a combination of traditional PR spreading the word and the interactive world of viral marketing.

The phenomenally successful videos from BlendTec www.willitblend.com have contributed to a 700% increase in sales for the high end appliance. Who gets credit? Of course the company does. However, if PR can show it created the idea, maybe they do better in getting a seat at the table and increasing budget for the next big idea.

When a crisis plan created by the PR department keeps a story from getting bigger, who gets credit? Externally it is a non-event, but internally there should be some credit.

So we want to chronicle the PR wins. Share some with us on this blog so we can share them with others and help PR demonstrate its worth as well as provide ideas to other professionals. Let us know the situation, what you did and how it proved the value of PR, and yes in a competitive way, when PR should get credit over other departments in an agency, organization, or company.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

A or B: Do we appoint the best communicator?

Lawrence Glazer, managing partner of Mayflower Advisors in Boston, commented this week that whoever President-elect Obama picks to run the Treasury Dept., it was critically important that the Secretary be able to communicate clearly and simply about the impact of the ongoing economic predicament and the implications of any new policies.

"It's a very complicated financial landscape,” he said. “Being able to convey this in simple terms to the American public is key. Someone with political experience would be helpful," Glazer added.

Question: Was this a not-so-veiled swipe at Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his technical and jargon-filled public comments in the 48 hours before Congress turned down the first rescue package?

Clearly a better politician than Paulson might have done a better job of selling Congress or would have had provisions in the rescue package that benefited more stakeholders than just the financial services industry. Paulson’s experience is a reminder that being smart and experienced in your field is only part of the skill set required in public policy/political arena these days.

What do you think about Glazer’s comment? Should the Obama administration take communications skills into account for the job of Treasury Secretary? Or should that job be left to the President so he can hire the best financial strategist available regardless of communication skills?

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pleasantly surprised

In victory, President-elect Obama was gracious and looking forward. In defeat, Sen. McCain was positive and bipartisan. Both showed leadership with messages to supporters and to those who did not vote for them. We asked the question last week about what each needed to communicate in acceptance and concession speeches.

So the first post election communications were strong and positive. Obama appeared sober, deciding that he would leave it for others to chest thump and avoiding an in-your-face or "look what we did" posture.

Can he keep up this positive, collaborative, "we have a lot of work to do" communication while taking advantage of the spoils of victory? Will McCain come back to Washington and help?

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