If you’re going to be in the public square, you learn quickly that not every criticism is going to be fair, legitimate, or sensible. Most folks say they understand that, but when they’re confronted with something entirely ridiculous but presented with credulity, they freeze up, unsure how to respond. Toy brand Mattel recently found itself in that position after a pundit ridiculed the “Thomas & Friends” TV program by placing KKK hoods on the eponymous trains.
“It’s essentially a computer you carry around in your pocket” is the way countless people have described the smartphone over the years. Now, Apple is testing that cliché, and asking consumers to put their money where their mouth is. The age of the four-figure smartphone price is here, and, once again, Apple is leading the charge both in hardware and messaging.
As smartphones became both more complex and more ubiquitous, most people thought it was inevitable that, at some point, they would eclipse some laptops in price. But, with the recent reveal in Cupertino, CA, Apple released not one but two different iPhone X models that will cost you more than a grand to take home. Sure, the original iPhone X was $1,000, but that was positioned as a premium model, the top of the line, rather than the average cost of the newest model.
Serena Williams was the queen of women’s tennis, the unassailable matriarch, boundary breaker and face of the sport. Then came the US Open loss, and, before that, a verbal clash with an official that many fans have said was out of line. Those fans thought Williams handled herself with grace and poise, despite the momentary and uncharacteristic outburst. Others said there was no place in the sport for slamming racquets and yelling at officials.
After an inspiring, if obviously uncomfortable medal presentation, Williams continued to be confronted by the media, trying to dig deeper into what was, clearly, a story that was not going away any time soon. Finally, Williams gave them a quote that caused the story to blow up even more. The greatest women’s player of her era, the woman some consider the greatest female athlete of this generation, “insinuated” without directly saying, that sexism played a role in the code violations that were levied against her during the US Open Final.
It’s one small sip for man, one giant leap for mankind.
The former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who now plays for Australian A-League football team Central Coast Mariners, has entered new heights as part of a campaign by French firm Mumm’s Grand Cordon Stellar to showcase a new Champagne bottle- developed specially for use in zero gravity.
On board an Airbus Zero-G aircraft, the usually grounded star floated in zero gravity as he sampled the goods: namely, a specially-designed clear glass bottle that uses pressure within the bottle to expel champagne into a ring-shaped frame. In zero gravity, the effect looks like a droplet of bubbles, that can then be gathered into a custom-made glass.
Another major company is apologizing for a data breach. This time, the company in the crosshairs is British Airways, which recently admitted 380,000 customers had been exposed in a data breach that happened between August 21 and September 5.
The breach is being called “the worst in British Airways history” and specifically affected consumers who booked through the company’s website or mobile app, which, these days, could be pretty much anyone.BA said no passport information was leaked, the company did admit that “personal and financial” details had been compromised. So, very bad news, all the way around. But, looking at the situation from a PR perspective, there are some things that British Airways did very well.
When Papa John Schnatter was ousted by the successful pizza company he founded, it may not have been an existential PR crisis, but it was certainly a walk through a proverbial minefield for the board deciding the company’s immediate future.
First, Schnatter was on everything. He was, literally, the face of Papa John’s and at the center of nearly all marketing and advertising. And, then, he was not. Schnatter was gone, persona non-grata at the office and in the commercials. As he continued to proclaim his innocence, Schnatter, by default, kept the company in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
When you take a step back and look at it from a long-range PR perspective, the biggest takeaway from the ongoing NFL “anthem protest scandal” is that it’s a PR nightmare that should have long since been dealt with.
From the very beginning, it was clear that some NFL fans were not going to be happy no matter what decisions were made about players kneeling in protest during the National Anthem. Some group of fans, then, were going to “lose” in this situation. That much was crystal clear from the very first time Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the preseason in 2016.
When a significant number or percentage of your customers make certain demands, how should a brand respond? That’s the question being answered all across social media these past few weeks. Many users want bad actors booted, but others say to do so would infringe on the free exchange of ideas upon which social media is ostensibly based.
Each of these sides has been busy building a narrative of layered messaging in support of their position. Now, when a company makes a related decision, they are linked with that entire apparatus of connected messages. It’s no longer an isolated incident, it’s being seen as taking a public stand on an issue. That may not be fair or even accurate, but that is the perception, and these companies need to craft their messaging with that in mind.
John Schnatter is firing back at the company he founded, which has taken steps to distance their brand from the guy who, not that long ago, was the, face of the operation. “Papa John” was on everything, from the branding to the TV commercials to the radio spots.
All that was true for years, until a few weeks ago, when reports surfaced that Schnatter made some remarks on a conference call that some considered racist. Once those allegations surfaced, Schnatter was quickly wiped away from the company’s branding. Schnatter maintains both that what he said, in context, was not inappropriate, and he says the company would be better off keeping him as the center of its brand.
The Simpsons is one of the longest running and most popular animated programs on television. The show has also spawned countless pop culture icons and references, even adding to our language in certain circumstances.
The program has also built its reputation for smartly-crafted satire that, at times, cuts very close to the bone. When engaging in that level of satire, offending people can be par for the course. But there is one aspect of that offense that keeps coming back around and doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. That topic is Apu, the Kwik-E-Mart clerk that, some say, promotes negative stereotypes and is harmful to certain segments of the population. Some are even calling the Apu character overtly racist. There’s even been a “documentary” released called “The Trouble with Apu.” Now, Fox officials and Simpsons creators are responding to these criticisms…