Pope Working on Vatican Bank PR

When you think about public relations in the banking industry, you might think of patriotic commercials, earnest-looking tellers and clean-cut guys in pinstripes waiting to “earn your business.” But, would you expect any of those folks to wear the robes and crown of the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church? Probably not. Well, Ronn Torossian says, think again because the Pope is now in the game of banking PR. Recently, Pope Francis gathered with a host of cardinals to discuss the financial health of the Holy See. There…

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Sainsbury Chief Headed to Jail

Things just went from bad to much, much worse for Mike Coupe, head of British supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s. Coupe was just handed a two-year jail sentence in Egyptian courts for “attempting to seize checks from Egyptian businesses sixteen years ago. At the time, Sainsbury’s was trying to break into the region. According to reports, Egyptian courts said they convicted Coupe because he is the most senior employee of the company. When Coupe chose to skip the trial, he was convicted in absentia. The conviction won’t mean much as long…

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Will Facebook’s Focus Shift to Mobile Ads?

Has the whole world gone mobile? Apparently. Fresh off its app split – remember all the controversy over the FB messenger app? – Facebook has announced a move toward more mobile advertising. The move comes on the heels of less than stellar first quarter revenues. When Wall Street hemmed and hawed, the folks at Facebook decided to look at a fairly bright silver lining. User engagement and mobile ad revenue were both up, indicators that user habits are shifting…and so is the profit center. How skewed is that shift?…

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Playoff Time For The NHL

It’s playoff time for professional hockey, and NHL officials are hoping for some major ratings. Despite the fast pace, interesting personalities, and cool culture, hockey still lags behind several other sports in the hearts and minds – and wallets – of many Americans. While the NFL and MLB fight for the top spots in sports marketing, the NHL, and the NBA both want to be number three. And both have been rocked by lockouts, work stoppages, and other issues in recent years. Back in 2012 the NHL experienced a…

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Microsoft at 40 – Where will the Brand go from Here?

A recent report by CNN released an email sent by none other than the godfather of the computing age – Bill Gates. Apparently, the Microsoft co-founder sent the email as a way to connect with Microsoft employees and celebrate four decades of changing the world, one computer at a time, since 1975. According to CNN, here’s what the email said: “Early on, Paul Allen and I see the goal of a computer on every desk and in every home. It was a bold idea, and a lot of people…

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Target Rebounds After Breach

These days it seems like news of major retailer data breaches has become weekly events. But even the frequency of these breaches does little to calm the public outrage when they happen. Surviving to re-engage and thrive after a breach is a tough hill to climb, and no company seems to have managed that obstacle better than Target. Back in 2013 Target experienced a massive data breach, compromising the credit card records of a huge number of customers. Business, as expected, took a serious hit. Sales stalled as customers…

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Maserati Takes Aim at Porsche

When it comes to high-performance coupes, both Porsche and Jaguar have legions of loving and dedicated fans. But now, according to Ronn Torossian, there’s a new player on the scene that should create a rather interesting automotive love triangle. Maserati recently introduced the Alfieri coupe, a 2016 model that seems clearly aimed at stealing market share from Porsche’s vaunted 911 and Jag’s adored F-Type. When Maserati presented a version of the Alfieri at the recent Geneva Motor Show, high-performance car fans ignited. Some of the reasons to love the Alfieri…

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AOL Founder: Now is the ‘Pivotal Point’ of the Internet

Speaking to a crowd of thousands of tech junkies and industry entrepreneurs at the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) music, film and interactive technology festival, keynote speaker and former AOL CEO Steve Case stated that the world is at a “pivotal point” of the internet as the Web enters its third wave. The first wave, of which Case’s AOL was at the forefront, ran from 1985 through 2000 or so and consisted of the internet’s rise in popular culture from a closed-off network used by governments and educators to…

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Singers Get Crunchy over Granola

  Imitation may be the best form of flattery, but copyright infringement will get you nowhere but court. That, says Ronn Torossian, is a lesson an NYC-based granola company is learning the hard way. Powerhouse singer-songwriters Hall & Oates are suing a Brooklyn-based granola company for selling a brand of granola called “Haulin’ Oats.” Hall & Oates took the company to federal court to stop them from selling the product, stating that to do so violates their trademark and damages their brand. The company in question, Early Bird Foods,…

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Why Snapchat is Exploding

According to reports in TechCrunch, social media upstart Snapchat is looking to bring in more than $500 million in new investment. To that end, the company has been wooing groups that include Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. The amount they are seeking nearly matches the $648 million the company has already received to date. While the companies in question are not talking to reporters, Bloomberg reported that Alibaba has agreed to invest $200 million in Snapchat. A couple of interesting notes here. First,…

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