Category: Ronn Torossian

Maricopa County says no more iPhones

If you were wondering how much of a political PR football this fight between Apple and the FBI is becoming, now you know. Maricopa County, Arizona, you know the place that always seems to find a way into the news when there’s a far right political issue in the press, has taken a hard line stand against Apple CEO Tim Cook’s refusal to create a backdoor into its iPhone. According to a statement released to the media last week, Maricopa County officials declared they will no longer give Apple devices to employees. The message came directly from county attorney Bill Montgomery: “I don’t expect my action to affect Apple’s stock price,” Montgomery said in a statement. “But I cannot in…

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Intergalactic PR: Space Tourism Become a Reality

As SpaceX continues to surge ahead in the consumer race back into space, its competitor, Virgin Galactic is doing its best to get off the launch pad. Virgin Galactic’s latest initiative – which should be revealed next week – is a second generation of its previous space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo. The rocket is the first to roll out since an accident in 2014, which destroyed its predecessor and killed the pilot. It was a rough setback for the industry, and Virgin Galactic’s owner, Richard Branson, wisely pulled back out of the spotlight, going back to the drawing board and allowing SpaceX to get some – though not too much – of the positive press. At the time, Branson told the…

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Does Macy’s closing signal the end of malls?

These days most department stores are hemorrhaging cash. Macy’s was supposed to be one of the big holdouts. Strong, while JC Penney’s and Sears suffered (some by self-inflicted wounds) Macy’s stood strong on the strength of unimpeachable positive consumer PR. Everyone loved Macy’s thanks to the Thanksgiving Day Parade and Miracle on 34th Street. Consumers see Macy’s as more than a department store. It’s a part of Americana, as ubiquitous as shared holidays and apple pie. Malls Are Out Maybe not anymore. The company recently announced plans to shutter up to 40 stores nationwide. Not a huge number, but a significant one. The closures are seen as harbingers of the end of an era. America isn’t interested in malls anymore.…

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Who’s better: Cam or Peyton?

The Super Bowl is once again upon us, and the matchup – Peyton Manning versus Cam Newton – has many industry commentators asking which quarterback is better. On paper, that question is laughable. Peyton Manning is one of the best of all time. A five-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champ, and advertising powerhouse. Acknowledged as one of the best-prepared players to ever take the field, even Newton calls him “The General.” Manning has inspired and informed a generation of QBs. He has been a model of how to play the game. And that’s where the rub is. Manning “has” and “has been.” While clearly he’s not a “has been” quite yet, Peyton is clearly in the twilight of his career.…

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Jamie Foxx Rescues Driver

Sometimes fantasy comes crashing into reality, leaving both looking the worse for wear. Other times, when tested, the on-screen hero comes through in a big way. That’s the story coming out of Hollywood after actor Jamie Foxx found himself in a life or death situation. Foxx heard a crash on the street outside his home. He ran outside to see a truck on it’s side, engulfed in flames. He could have called 911, he could have run, he could have done all manner of things nobody would have blamed him for. Instead, Foxx climbed inside the burning vehicle and rescued the man trapped there. Brett Kyle, 32, was driving too fast, reportedly drunk when he crashed his Tacoma in a…

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AT&T greets the new year by taking it back

No more two-year contracts with AT&T. The story broke through tech industry site Engadget.com, which reported they obtained internal memos claiming AT&T will kick off 2016 by eliminating two-year contracts, effective January 8. That means AT&T will officially join other competitors by forcing new customers – or current customers who want a new phone – to pay full freight upfront or pay for the phone in monthly installments. The move, pioneered by Verizon, effectively puts a stop to a major upside to switching to another carrier. Both T-Mobile and Sprint have offered to “pay you to switch” from the higher ranked carriers to offset any dreaded early termination fees. Those fees kept many On The Bubble consumers from trading into…

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Is Alibaba Getting Even Bigger?

When it comes to business success, bigger and more is almost always better. Particularly when you can take something struggling and turn it into a winner … or better still, take a winner and turn it into an untouchable dynasty. That’s exactly what Alibaba founder Jack Ma is hoping to accomplish on the heels of his company’s takeover bid of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English only daily newspaper. If the deal goes through, Ma will be added to an ever growing list of Internet tycoons turning to print media in search of profit. Not that long ago – back in 2013 – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos came out of his own pocket to purchase the Washington…

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Walmart Workers Seeking Wages

Black Friday is coming, and some Walmart workers are using the annual bacchanal of retail excess as an opportunity to push their political agenda in a headline grabbing way. The organization, called “Our Walmart” plans to start a fifteen-day fast scheduled to end on Black Friday. The effort has been dubbed “Fast for 15”, an obvious connection to the Fight for 15 movement, a grassroots group demanding a $15 minimum wage. According to press reports, the fast will include both current and former Walmart employees as well as other sympathetic citizens. The current roster of participants stands at well over 1,000. At this point, not every protester has pledged to fast for the full 15 days, while the founders of…

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Why A-list Star Power is Not Enough

In the salad days of Old Hollywood, when the studio system ran Tinseltown, Star Power mattered more than anything else. Theater fans didn’t go to see this or that movie. They went to see the latest movie starring this or that person. And, when people didn’t know much more about a film than who was in it, that worked wonders.        Today, not so much. In an era when even teaser trailers are endlessly dissected and discussed online, no movie is safe from negative impressions before release. And, if a film deviates from a proven formula, the results can be financially disastrous and catastrophic for an actor’s career. Making a “bad” movie when you are a relatively new actor can send…

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VW’s New Boss thinks his Brand is Only Headed Up

Fall has not been kind to Volkswagen. An international scandal rocked the brand on two continents. While the literal price tag has yet to be tallied – VW expects it to cost them billions – the PR price tag has led to immediate changes at the top and among the rank and file. As expected, newly installed VW CEO Matthias Mueller says there’s nowhere for his company to go but up. He expects a shining new VW brand inside of three years. That’s an optimistic timeline, considering they will probably still be tabulating damages at that point, but, hey, a guy can dream. In his recent address to company managers, Mueller said the company needed to grow leaner and make…

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