Archive | June, 2008

J.C. Penney Removes Video

25 Jun

To my surprise J.C. Penney has already removed the racy advertisement from You Tube! I do not think this was a good public relations move. I believe that by removing the video from you Tube is only covering up the issue. Crisis communication is about speaking out and addressing the issues at hand, not just shutting up the problem!

I wouldn’t have a problem if the situation was clear; the current situation is about pointing fingers. It is also still unclear how the J.C. Penney logo got in the advertisement and why it was first spotted in the blogosphere after winning a prestigious award. J.C. Penney needs to address these questions.

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J.C. Penney Points the Finger

24 Jun

It’s hard for me to believe that J.C. Penney had nothing to do with the racy advertisement submitted to the Cannes Lions Awards by Epoch Films. The advertisement, which can be found on You Tube, suggests that the retailer is endorsing teenage sex.

The Wall Street Journal writes that “Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer for the Plano, Texas, retailer, said he was “terribly disappointed” when he first saw the video Monday, after another Penney official noticed it on blogs that described the video as a Penney ad.”

Boylson adds, “It’s obviously inappropriate and nothing we would ever condone,” he said. “We’re very disappointed that our logo and brand position were used in that way.”

The thing that looks fishy to me is how J.C. Penney is blaming their own advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, who blames the third-party vendor Epoch Films. This situation is obviously all about pointing fingers and it ends with Epoch Films declining to comment.

“When asked if Penney was reconsidering its partnership with Saatchi, Mr. Boylson said he was having a ‘serious discussion’ with the firm, but said “our relationship with them is beyond the scope of this one incident’,” explains The Wall Street Journal.

The crisis communication seems a bit weak on J.C. Penney’s end of things. Even though J.C. Penney says they had nothing to do with production, the use of their logo in the advertisement automatically ties them to the sexual content. They should be much more concerned with the message of the advertisement than whether or not they are directly involved with production. J.C. Penney’s should address the issue of teenage sex and speak out against this “inappropriate” behavior.

Blog Pitching Tips

12 Jun


On June 3, 2008, Allison Blass from the MWW Group, was kind enough to speak in our Advanced Public Relations Writing class. Our class was particularly interested in her immense knowledge of social media. Blass had started exploring the world of social media early in her career by starting a blog. She then became an expert in all forms of social media by landing a job with MWW Group as a new media coordinator in New Jersey. She works on health and lifestyle accounts, such as Vitals.com, FreshDirect and 1-800-Flowers.

Our class was interested in pitching to bloggers and spent the entire hour discussing the topic. Blass first explained the importance of blog research and how to “blog hop.” Blog hopping is when a person goes from one blog to another by way of one’s blogroll. Noticing that many people have linked to or featured the same blogs reveals which ones are popular and relevant.

Blass also recommended that we tally our blog research with an Excel spreadsheet. This enables us to compare blog authority according to a set of criteria. She stressed that the ranking on Technorati is a poor indicator of popularity.

Blass gave us a few tips to remember when pitching to a blogger:

1) Find the correct contact information. Do not rely on database records for e-mail addresses; they can often be incorrect.

2) Check out the “About” section on his or her blog and relate back to it in your pitch.

3) Include an interview opportunity, link to the press release, or link to multimedia in the e-mail pitch. It is important to give the blogger as much as possible for them to get hooked on your story.

4) Monitor Technorati and Google Blog Search after you send the pitch.

Wall Street Journal Targets Women

7 Jun

I will never forget the early mornings before school when my father would pour a cup of coffee and open the Wall Street Journal. After he would finish reading the newspaper from front to back I would have free reign. As a little girl, I would add my personal “touch” to the illustrated faces of prominent figures like Alan Greenspan. For example, carefully drawing mustaches on any person featured on the front page.

I’m happy to say that I am currently pursuing a career in public relations and an avid reader, surely not a graffiti artist, of the Wall Street Journal. The Lifestyle and Personal Journal sections are my usual go-to because it features stories that appeal to female readers. After reading PR Couture‘s top PR fashion links on May 23, I’m super excited to read the new “Journal Women” section online.

“Journal Women” targets professional women in the work force and includes “Style and Dress” and “Theory and Practice” sections. In a recent article titled “Bare-Legged Ladies: Hosiery Reveals Office Divide,” Christina Binkley discusses whether or not to wear hosiery at the office.

I loved reading this article because I usually never wear hosiery and it looks like I’m not alone! “Journal Women” is a great resource for career women and I encourage my female classmates to check it out!