April 2nd, 2013
- by Tristan Price
/ Tags: Tags: April Fools'
, Australian Financial Review
, BMW Australia
, Channel TEN
, Dick Smith
, Michael Sebastian
, practical jokes
, Ragan's PR Daily
, Social Media
, Steve Fielding
, TV Tonight
/ Comments (0)
PN’s top five April Fools’ hoaxes
April 1 – that dastardly day of deceit that often gets the media in on the customary pranks one way or another, and is now an annual maelstrom of sometimes-plausible social media stunts.
Here are our five favourite Australian April Fools’ pranks this year:
- Bigger is better: Kudos to the team at Mumbrella for their report on the Australian Financial Review announcing plans to move to broadsheet format. The AFR overhaul even had its editor Michael Stutchbury and CEO Brett Clegg voicing support, with the backing of ‘neuroscience research’, no less
- Life in the fast lane – BMW owners only: BMW Australia (that’s German auto-maker Bavarian Motor Works) promoted the Australian Bureau of MotorWays’ (cue side-splitting laughter) decision to restrict the use of right-hand lanes to BMWs only for Easter Monday. The prank, which featured on BMW Australia’s Facebook page and was also noticed on page five of The Australian, included a nice mention for Hertz car rental
- Gina’s triumph: TV blog TV Tonight had a whopper of an exclusive - mining magnate and media mogul in the making Gina Rinehart supposedly took the reins at Channel TEN after the company’s board unseated CEO Hamish McLennan. Special mention for the creative, if a little stinging, remarks about McLennan from an unnamed source
- Raiders’ star has an inkling: Chinese telecoms technology company Huawei might not be rolling out high-speed fibre optic cabling any time soon, but it’s certainly doing its bit for Canberra’s NRL club, the Raiders. Raiders’ star Sandor Earl was so thankful for Huawei’s sponsorship, he decided to express his affection for the brand by having its logo tattooed to his right thigh. Or did he?
- That’s Krafty: Self-styled champion of truly Australian products Dick Smith got in early this year to remind us that one of the nation’s best loved most recognisable flavours is in fact owned by American fat cats. A mock press conference saw one of said fat cats announce a re-branding of the Australian classic to ‘Yankymite’ in honour of manufacturer Kraft’s owners overseas
Of course April Fools’ pranks aren’t always appropriate. As Michael Sebastian of Ragan’s PR Daily noted yesterday, a hoax, like the recent Whitehaven Coal scenario, can often mean adverse effects for companies, PR practitioners and journalists.
Unless you’ve been learning from April Fools’ prank master and Family First Senator Steve Fielding. Senator Fielding proposed that the April Fools’ tradition be banned on the grounds that people had the right “to not be molested by pranks”. Given his campaign against the annual day of high-jinks took place on said day, this proved to be the ultimate prank of all. Inception.
December 1st, 2011
- by Zoe Brown
/ Tags: Tags: content
, Justin Bieber
, Porter Novelli
, Public Relations
/ Comments (1)
Video content is king
I’ll start by saying; this should be a Vlog, but, unlike hundreds of thousands of other people, I don’t like seeing myself on camera. Call me old-school – as opposed to some people: I really love cats.
I’ve been spurred on by the sheer number of videos we’ve been creating and intrigued by the announcement of Moby’s offer to provide his music royalty free (If you’re a NFP – jump on this offer).
So, I thought I’d ponder how more and more, we’re creating video to help us spread “the word”.
This is “word” that was once placed in a media release, splashed across collateral and blasted via email is coming to life. And, whether it’s something to make you laugh on a Friday or enact change on a Tuesday, or simply showcase the work we do, it’s a great space to play in.
I received an email the other day about the power of stories. It made me think about one thing we’re very good at: telling a story. That’s in our nature as ex-arts and comms students, ex-journos and generally people who, at school, were bad at maths and good at English.
In 2010 alone, 700 billion YouTube videos were viewed. The 2010 Neilsen poll on Internet use tracked the amount of Australians who watched video content for September –more than three quarters of our population. More current figures show that YouTube is the second most viewed social media platform (after Facebook) in Australia, with 10 million unique visitors – up 100,000 unique visitors from 2010.1 It seems video content is king and it’s not just consumer brands that need to be there.
Newspaper mastheads are now broadcasters and broadcasters use print online bring black and white stories to life. It greatly changes the media landscape. This is something that we teach in media training; “if you have a handheld recording device, you can report the news.” So, while we usually raise this as an issues management matter; it’s also a lesson of how, with the right tools, we can create integrated media pitches that extend a news story to different platforms.
It’s no new news, things are changing in the land of communication. And it’s fun keeping up.
I leave you with my favourite funny video. And three questions:
- What’s your favourite video?
- What do you find compelling, funny or interesting about it?
- How can that formula be used to help share the story of your brand, organisation or cause?
The answer, may be in a phone call.
Reference 1: http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-january-2011/
Opportunism an insult to a profession
As a former newspaper journalist and senior editor I’m appalled by the News of The World scandal. The unethical and illegal practices of that paper’s reporters, and of the private investigators employed to gather information about public figures, is reprehensible.
The ramifications for the NoTW publisher News International and global parent News Corporation are profound, with Rupert Murdoch offering humiliating public apologies to British politicians in a globally televised inquiry and the likelihood of tough new regulations and legal action.
There is little doubt in my mind that other UK newspapers will be swept up in this.
The danger in Australia is to associate a distinctly British media culture (borne of the ferocious competition between that country’s national daily tabloids, known as Red Tops) with News Corporation’s Australian media assets.
In almost 18 years working for daily and weekly newspapers owned by News Ltd (the Australian holding company), I did not see or hear of any journalists hacking phone messages, employing PIs, bribing police or indulging in other outrageous illicit or illegal behaviours.
That’s not to say reporters and editors (and the readers who consumed the stories) weren’t indirectly complicit in some ways with the NoTW scandal. Australian newspapers, TV and radio stations and online news sites probably reprinted stories from British newspapers that had been sourced from phone message taps or other illicit activities, or generated their own versions of these stories. But they were certainly not aware of the methods used to gain the original material.
I’m therefore disappointed that public figures, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, are using the NoTW scandal to push for inquiries into Australian media behaviours and changes to Australia’s own laws governing privacy when no evidence has been provided that it is in fact a problem here. No connection has been drawn between the culture of Britain’s Red Tops and Australia’s News Ltd titles, which operate under a much different business and behavioural framework. It is a step too far.
I am not defending News Ltd, nor all journalists in Australia, but I regard these calls as opportunistic and unjustified. They are an insult to thousands of ethical journalists who work for News Ltd, Fairfax, AAP, ACP, the ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine, Ten and many other proprietors.
Politicians may not like the way some news outlets report on their activities and policies, but they should remember that reporters cast a sceptical eye to governments, oppositions, politicians and policies of all persuasions. It can make them uncomfortable, and when wrongdoing is uncovered it can even cost them their jobs. That’s one of the responsibilities journalists have in a robust democracy.
June 30th, 2011
- by Lindsay McHugh
/ Tags: Tags: blog
, Google Plus
, Google Wave
, News Corp
, Social networking
/ Comments (0)
Google Plus – a game changer or more of the same?
This week, Google announced the launch of the newest player in social networking: Google Plus. Described as “real-life sharing, rethought for the web,” Google Plus – still in trial stages – is being seen as Google’s answer to Facebook. Plus is made up of three key components – circles, hangouts and sparks. Mixing familiar elements of Twitter with differentiating features such as video conferencing and a real-time listing of web trends, Google hopes their version of bringing real-life social interaction to the web will be enough to persuade us to jump on board.
Has Google got it right or is this just another Google Wave?
Regardless of the eventual success or failure of Google Plus, we as public relations professionals need to take a step back before diving head-first into the next best thing and remind ourselves that social media is simply a tool. Since the infancy of social media, we have adjusted the way that we practice public relations. We have amended our strategies to incorporate Facebook groups, Twitter pages and blog activities. We have experimented with new platforms and tailored our communication tactics to fit in with the flavour of the week.
Is it really worth our time to adapt our practices to specific new media platforms that – in many cases – fade away when our basic principles as public relations professionals stay the same?
The introduction of new media is not a new occurrence for our profession – we have coped with the introduction of radio, television and the early days of the World Wide Web. We need to remember the core principles of our job: to influence behaviours and opinions for our clients. We cannot let the ever-changing, exciting landscape that is the internet change our underlying credo.
Myspace, having been sold this week by News Corp for a mere $35 million – a shadow of the $580 million it was worth six years ago, is a prime example of the transient nature of the internet and a reminder of why we need to approach new technological developments with a grain of salt. Though all media have their lifecycle and we inevitably have to adapt how we operate, the fact that the lifecycle of internet properties are so short should play into how we practice.
By developing an adaptable assessment tool to evaluate new technologies, we can better judge the role they will play in our PR toolkit. It’s easy to get caught up in the newness of things, but it’s essential to remember that technology is just that – a tool. By working together to create a framework for the medium, we can test out new platforms without losing sight of the ultimate goals for our clients.
Technological advancements are not going to slow down and the need for strategic advice as these new platforms arise will not fade away. We need to be prepared for our clients while developing a strategy that will allow us to use our time wisely.
Time will tell whether Google Plus will prove itself valuable, but ultimately it won’t change the way that we practice. If we remind ourselves of our core responsibilities to our clients, we will be able to get the most out of our ever-expanding PR toolkit.
What elements would you include in an adaptable platform assessment tool?
June 16th, 2011
- by Anna Lavdaras
/ Tags: Tags: BBDO
, Public Relations
, Public Relations Institute of Australia
/ Comments (0)
A stunt for the sake of a stunt is pointless.
If you work in PR and live in NSW, chances are you have hosted a stunt at Martin Place. How about a survey? Ever crafted a set of questions that you know will provide predictable results…cue media release to news desk!
I know I’ve certainly been there, and following an event hosted by the PRIA called Creative Juices, I’m pretty certain I’m not alone. When speaker Ryan Peal, Director of Imagination at Momentum Worldwide, posed these same questions to a room full of PR practitioners, the response was an overwhelming and undeniable YES.
In the consumer PR environment, driven by an ongoing string of deadlines, constant innovation can be challenging. Therefore, a stunt set in an opportune location in the heart of the city, guaranteeing attention – hard to say no to. Likewise some quirky stats that will most likely get you a spot in the news pages – yes please!
I’m not saying that these sure-fire ways to garner media attention should be dismissed; however I do believe that PR people should reconsider their relevance.
Last week, Executive Planning Director Al Crawford from BBDO offered PNS an insightful summary of what it is he does on a day to day basis. One comment he made in particular about brands really resonated with me. He stated that despite what many people assume, creative thinking should not always be employed to reinvent, re-create and replace. Sometimes the more difficult yet effective challenge is to creatively reinforce the brand’s essence in a different and unique way. This provided a powerful reminder about the significance of the brand’s established value.
In addition to ensuring PR campaigns embrace the heart of the brand, PR tactics should also ensure that they are achieving the set task. Whether it is to encourage sales? Promote public engagement? Heighten brand awareness? Stunts and surveys are not always the most efficient means to an end when considered against a clear business objective. Dressing up a granny in a bright orange bikini and marching her through Town Hall station may certainly turn heads and generate discussion. However if establishing the brand as a credible player in the market is your goal, then is this really the right tactic?
Thus when planning your next PR strategy, always remember the essence of the brand and set a goal for your campaign strategy accordingly. Having these simple underlying guidelines before sparking off a brainstorm will assist substantially in maintaining a purpose to your creativity.
A stunt for the sake of a stunt is pointless.
An Open Letter To Bloggers
Mummy bloggers are growing at a rapid rate in Australia.
There are more than 2,000 mummy bloggers nationally, and to provide a one stop shop to help educate Mums how to build their blogs into businesses the Mummy Bloggers Blog was launched 1 March 2011.
I was invited to contribute an Open Letter to Bloggers from a PR perspective to help bloggers understand our place in this sphere.
This was first published here
I’ve been working in PR at Porter Novelli Melbourne for three years, on campaigns for Walt Disney Studios, Rubbermaid, Coles Supermarkets, Stahmann Farms and many others.
What I have to say here is about our workplace; I can’t vouch for others in my industry.
Bloggers vs Media
About two years ago we started really reaching out to bloggers, in recognition of the growing value and influence, particularly of Mummy bloggers.
Even a couple of years ago Australian blogging was relatively uncharted, and many PR people made the mistake of approaching bloggers in the same way as print, broadcast or other online media.
The rise of email has made it easy to overlook the art and value of building relationships, personalising contact and doing research to make sure we’re approaching the right people with the right ideas.
Paid vs Earned media
Most brand companies have a number of marketing services suppliers, and that usually includes a media buying agency as well as a PR agency. The media buying agencies plan, negotiate and book ad space. For bloggers, these are the people who work with Nuffnang and pay for sponsored reviews.
In other media, this would be declared as “advertorial” or “sponsored” content.
Much of our PR business is to earn media attention.
In principle, we don’t pay for media space.
We work with journalists and bloggers to identify information that’s worth telling other people about.
It’s not that we don’t believe your work isn’t worth paying for; it’s that content that stands on its own two feet has greater integrity and authenticity than content that is paid for.
More brands understand the influence you wield, but they are still uncomfortable putting their ideas into an uncontrolled environment that where they can’t dictate what’s said or the dialogue that follows.
Paying bloggers to write reviews allows them to feel they have some control, but readers see this for what it is: paid media. Advertising.
PR companies set out to work with you, to earn your interest, unbiased and unhindered by financial reward.
We should never ask you to change something you’ve written, or ask to see reviews before they are published.
We have no right to do that, and you have no compulsion to do what we might ask.
Your supporters value your thoughts and opinions, and that’s why we want to work with you.
But we do believe we should provide something of value for you if you dedicate time to our campaigns.
To date we’ve never asked for sample products to be returned. I understand for some PR people this can be tricky when dealing with very expensive items, but the principle is the same.
For starters, we will recommend our clients buy banner advertising on blogs.
And, should we ask something a lot larger from a blogger, such as acting as an ambassador for a campaign, we will negotiate a fee, just as we do with brand ambassadors – but we will also declare that commercial interest.
We’ll always work to offer a reader giveaway with a review. But if we can offer you a giveaway, it’s because we fought for it; brands aren’t always willing to give away product. We have to argue the case, but we know giveaways are popular and help drive traffic to the post, so everyone wins.
There are so many “Rules”, “What Not to Do” lists and PR-blogger horror stories.
If we hear somebody here has sent a “Dear blogger” email, it’s not just me who’ll have words with them about it.
This PR/blogger relationship is a new dynamic for us all.
We’re still feeling our way around and working out how to make it work for everybody.
As an example, we’ve had feedback that you don’t want to pay postage for sending out winners’ prizes. So, we’ve taken that back as one of our jobs.
I’ll be at the Aussie Bloggers Conference in Sydney on March 19.
I hope to meet many of you there. Please come and say hi, and I can ask you about life as a blogger, and you can ask me about life in PR. I’m sure we’ll get along fine.