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musings and oddities about PR at the college level by Charlsie Sturm

It Ain’t Where You’re From, It’s Where You’ve Been

Being an only child has allowed me to enjoy a lot of things my peers who had siblings did not. One apparent one was the ability to travel. I have been to a few countries in Europe, Canada, Puerto Rico, and to over half of the states in the US. It is always exciting to explore a new place and learn about a culture that is different from your own.

There are more than just Kodak moments to be had when you travel, you learn a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of at that particular time in your life. Certain trips are for sheer pleasure and others are strictly business but all  of the trips you can enjoy those moments when you can reflect on what’s to come or what was experienced. Sometimes traveling is necessary and a dreadful experience but those are the times you often learn the most about yourself.

Spring Break is generally a college student’s time to getaway, relax, and enjoy some “well-deserved” partying. I other the other hand found that it was the perfect opportunity to begin my job search. Not the most relaxing subject but an exciting one to say the least. I learned a lot in the three days I visited Los Angeles hoping to find some cracked door that I could work my way into. I found that most of those doors are bolted shut and you have to earn the key that will let you in.

This key might be a person, an opportunity, or just good timing; otherwise you might be stuck in a never-ending cycle of coffee meetings and interviews. Luckily- the caffeine induced hyperactive state can be focused into other money-making methods, i.e. retail or babysitting.

So what does traveling and job searching have in common? In my opinion you gain certain abilities and tricks when you travel, sometimes they change your everyday way of life or you stash the trick up your sleeve for just the right moment. Quick thinking and critical thinking aren’t things that can be taught they are something that one picks up, usually from an unsuspecting teacher.

So on one interview, I was told that it concerned her that I didn’t know the area. Well, at one time or another you don’t know an area, whether it is while traveling  for business or pleasure, moving away from home or visiting a friend in a neighboring town. I felt like this woman wasn’t giving me the benefit of the doubt, in her eyes it was black or white, I didn’t know Los Angeles and this would not be a good fit for her. That’s fine, and I may not know it well for two years but I know in the four days I was visiting, I got around just fine.

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Very Clever Rips, Very Clever!

We all know it was April Fools Day last week and SOMEONE over at Rips Licorice thought it would be a brilliant idea to do a little tom foolery on the day designated for pranks and good fun.

So natually I visited the Facebook page and read the “release”. This is what it said:

PRESS RELEASE

HULL, IA–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Foreign Candy Compan, Inc. has announced an intention to stop what it says is unauthorized commercial use of its trademarked term “RIPS”.  The company claims the use of the phrase “R.I.P.” implies an affiliation with their trademark “RIPS” and that the company’s image is tarnished by the association with death and dying. On this basis, the candy company asserts broad rights restricting use of the phrase RIP in written form including, but not limited to, electronic media.

A public relations director for the company explains, “We see #RIP as a top trending phrase on days when semi-famous rappers, actors, and other celebrities pass away and we don’t want Twitter followers to mistakenly associate our product name with the demise of another human being.”

Therefore, the company is now asking the United States Patent and Trademark office to enforce U.S. Registration #2848847 on the phrase “RIPS” by requiring any tweet containing #RIP be accompanied with the following phrase: “RIPS is a registered trademark of The Foreign Candy Company, Inc. and is not associated with death, dying, or the aforementioned dead person or animal.”

Initial reaction by twitter user @DeadCelebrities claims this clarification takes up too many characters in the allowable 140 limit, so the company suggests using the Latin phrase #RequiescatInPace instead, noting that tweets such as I wudda luv 2 c marvin gaye n michael jackson on stage live #RequiescatInPace :’(“ will still be understood by the majority of twitter users without infringing on the name of their licorice candy nor associating it with the sadness of the loss of legends of the music industry.

Company Spokesperson, April F. Oolsday comments, “It’s all fine and dandy for Snickers to allow the public to use their name in association with quiet laughing, but death is no laughing matter.”

RELEASE DATE: APRIL 1, 2011

So there you have it folks, good April Fools fun! However if they were trying to promote publicity I don’t think they did a very good job, they have a PR student covering it and I am loyal to Twizzler brand licorice!

In other news, who thinks that the Bronx Zoo Cobra escape was a big PR stunt? I do, especially since they are having a naming ceremony and all that jazz.

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You mean call… on the phone?

Did anyone catch this NY Times article?

Well it is pretty interesting. We talked about it in class one night about how no one calls anymore. In my Case Studies class we talked about how in the work place no one calls anymore, there is a mention of that in the article. I just find it interesting something that was so second nature, something that used to employ people specifically to ensures that call got to where they were going!

Even the other day at my internship one of my supervisors wanted me to call in products and at first I was like are you kidding?! But I realized after that we get so used to emailing that making a phone call seems like a chore. I didn’t mind it after the fact, I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I pride myself on being pretty professional and handling sticky situations on the phone.

What do you think? Did you like the article, do you mind calling people?

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Is All Press, Good Press?

In my PR 104: Case Studies class this past week a girl in my class did the whole PETA comparing the treatment to animals to treatment of some of the victims of the Holocaust. Since I wrote a post about the museum that is now at Auschwitz, I found this case study particularly interesting.

In 2003 PETA developed a campaign that would travel to different cities featuring large (6x10ft) panels of images of animal cruelty juxtaposed against  images of Holocaust victims. Clearly an emotional site I’m sure. As the case study goes on, it is apparent that PETA, while their cause is perfectly outlined, fights for animal rights at the expense of humans.

Clearly you all know that there was considerable backlash from this campaign from not only Jewish organizations but other human rights organizations. I wont get into all the nitty gritty details but in 2005 the president of PETA sent out an apology email (an email people, not a statement) to these organizations. She did make a point in the email to mention that “most” of the feed back was positive. I have a hard time believe that but still. Then a few months later PETA turned around and released another campaign similarly comparing slave trades and animal cruelty.

So, I pose the thought, does PETA spare no expenses in order to get their name out there? Is all press, good press?

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Edelman’s “Intervene Now!”

I was browsing the interwebs this week and I found a PR Week article that struck me. The title of the article is “Pro bono PR increases awareness for Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation”. The article, found here, gives a brief overview of the campaign and what Edelman did.

The headline initially surprised me because I had no idea what the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is/does! Obviously my first thought was the Auschwitz from the depths of my high school history books and general knowledge of the Holocaust. So I further researched and found out that the remaining buildings in the camp and the surrounding areas of Auschwitz have been turned into a museum.

The foundation wanted to promote the museum and the artwork and literature on display there from survivors. They used a lot of social media and even some remote donation pages on their website for anyone to donate money.

Usually I would just skim this over and note the success of the campaign for Edelman, but this week I have been feeling particularly sad for our culture and how we’ve placed a lot of emphasis on a certain overpaid, over-hyped actor than we are on our country’s and our world’s rich culture and history. I also feel that there has been so much hatred occurring around the world lately. People spewing anti-semetic comments, people abusing their power as “so-called” leaders, and amount of racism that still exists not only in the US but around the world.

Can’t we all just get along?

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I’m A M#$%^&* F!@#$%*& Monster

Yep. I went there.

I didn’t want to do it. Really, I didn’t. I was so against it in the beginning, honestly, but I caved. I gave into it, and now I’ll shout it: I LOVE NICKI MINAJ.

I figured, if I have to write about PR and the like, I would do it on my terms. I want to incorporate as much of the things that I like and I enjoy into it; weddings, music, eating/cooking, and other things that probably have nothing to do with PR. Oh, but after I’m done with them they will. I hope that’s okay, Prof Morosoff. Please don’t take off points for the use of eluding to swears in the title, its all apart of the schtick. 

So why have I titled this blog “monster PR”, because well a) PR monster is already a website/blog/thing with articles and stuff about PR. Didn’t want to seem like I was copying them. Nicki, the queen of alter egos, and personas, I must admit is my inspiration. I’m not implying I’m going to bust out my alter egos, even if I did have any, I am saying Nicki for the most part is multi-faceted. Similarly to the diamond I hope to wear on my left hand someday public relations.

So let the blogging commence!


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