Say something nice…

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Another awesome guerrila marketing stunt! This time it was Improv Everywhere, a New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places, that constructed a custom wooden lectern with a megaphone holster and an attached sign that read, “Say Something Nice.” The lectern was placed in public spaces around New York and then left alone.

This stunt was produced as part of the Guggenheim Museum exhibition stillspotting nyc.

This is what happens when New Yorkers are given the opportunity to amplify their voices. My favorite was definitely the “To Infinity and Beyond” kid.

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Please answer!

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These past few months I’ve been really upset for the lack of attention and respect that companies pay to people (all of them possible customers).

I’ve been sending e-mails to PR companies and to communication agencies in order to find a suitable project for my thesis. I sent my application and CV to 4 companies and only 2 of them answered in a 2 week period. Keep in mind that the e-mails where sent after a previous phone call where they all gave me the contact of the person whom I should e-mail directly. A bit curious I was with this situation, so I managed to contact and send my CV to other 6 agencies (not dream projects, but lets see how it goes) through the same process I applied previously. Result: in a period of 2 months, 3 out of 10 agencies answered my e-mails. A very sad result if you ask me since they are COMMUNICATION agencies and they should know better that no e-mail or solicitation should go unanswered. A simple “We received your e-mail, but unfortunately we will only be able to answer in a few weeks” or “Thank you for your interest. We are glad you have chosen our agency, unfortunately we have no staff to help follow your project” would be great! No… instead they leave the e-mail forgotten in the mail box, no matter how many replies you send asking them politely to give you some feedback. Big NO NO!

Guys, you are working in communication agencies and you should know better than anyone that everyone deserves attention and that no question should go unanswered, risking having unsatisfied possible future customers that will for sure spread a bad word about you. Why is this very bad for your business? well first you never know who is on the other side of the screen and who that person may know (oh yeah, his dad is a major CEO that now thanks to his son unanswered e-mail has a very bad impression of you) and secondly because a bad impression spreads 5 times faster than a good impression.

Just to show you a practical example: a few weeks ago, the page of REVISTA PREMIERE on facebook posted an incorrect information about a movie, a post to which me and other 43 people replied saying “the info is incorrect, the correct info is this one”. Guess what they did? They didn’t erase the post, they didn’t correct the mistake, they didn’t thank their fans for paying attention to that, they didn’t apologize for posting wrong info, they simply ignored their fans who were politely trying to help… Well the direct consequences of this action were less 6 fans 2 days after (all of them previous fans who had replied to that post). 6 fans you may think is not that much, but think about what they may have told other people they know about Revista Premiere? How many of them were thinking of liking the page and now won’t do it for sure? How many of them own a blog like I do?

Some stats I found this morning about unsatisfied customers in America, not directly related but just to give you an inkling: http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/research-consumers-wont-spend-money-with-rude-companies_b23280

It doesn’t take a lot of time… you may have a million things to do, but if you just reply and say “Hey, I received your e-mail. Right now I’m loaded with stuff, but I will reply as soon as I can. Regards” believe me you will be saving yourself a big headache in the future and your reputation. Answer… it will only take 2 minutes of your time and it might save you a lot of hours trying to rebuild something that hardly can be rebuilt, TRUST!

Comunicar a “Portugalidade”

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Já não temos Ministério da Cultura… duvido muito que, nos próximos tempos, a Cultura Portuguesa e a chamada “Portugalidade” venham a desenvolver-se em casa. Apesar disso, e com muito agrado observo, Portugal tem feito uma excelente comunicação e promoção do país no estrangeiro, algo que, na minha opinião, pode contribuir em muito, não só na nossa economia, como na nossa auto-estima “Se até os estrangeiros gostam de Portugal é porque deve ser bom de certeza”. Em honra do passado Dia de Portugal e em jeito de chamada de atenção para o novo Governo-Culture-Less seguem algumas iniciativas que venho a acompanhar e que achei simplesmente geniais.

Já neste Domingo é o Dia de Portugal em Nova Iorque uma iniciativa que nasceu de um grupo de portugueses a residir em Nova Iorque, intitulado Portuguese Circle. O evento é realizado em parceria com a New York Road Runners, entidade responsável pela maioria das corridas oficiais que têm lugar em Nova Iorque, incluindo a famosa New York Marathon.  Este evento tem o apoio e o patrocínio do Turismo de Portugal, Banco BiG, Cafés Delta, EDP e CISA Trading, o Portugal Day NY reúne também apoios de empresas como TAP, Vila Galé ou Ivity Brand Corp. Uma iniciativa a louvar!

A criação do Porto Forward, um movimento para promover o Porto e o Norte e atrair turistas e visitantes à região. Para promover as festas Portuenses do São João, o Porto Forward levou a cabo uma flashmob de “marteladas” em Madrid no passado dia 10 de Junho (curiosamente, o Dia de Portugal).

Portugal afinal até ganha uns prémios no estrangeiro (sem ser soccer related). Um dos prémios que ganhou este ano foi o de melhor stand na Feira de Turismo em Madrid (Fitur), destacando-se entre 166 países e regiões. O stand tinha como mote “Prove Portugal” e como objectivo envolver o visitante, comunicando a riqueza da gastronomia portuguesa, a sua modernidade e sofisticação. O Stand foi recheado de cultura e tradição Portuguesas que, pelos vistos, fizeram as delícias dos visitantes.

Estas foram 3 das iniciativas que me vieram à memória, tendo descurado de certeza umas quantas outras. Agradecia aos leitores que se lembrem de outras iniciativas semelhantes que tenham acontecido nos últimos tempos, que partilhem essas notícias aqui no blog.

Esperemos que de futuro a cultura Portuguesa não seja mais famosa e conhecida pelos estrangeiros do que pelos Portugueses.

Don’t Judge too quickly =)

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Believe it or not it is one of the biggest sources of our problems…

Don’t judge too quickly… there is no need to…

PR Lies – recipe for disaster

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Ever since I got into college I hear people referring to PR as a practice that involves lying and deceiving people… It always seamed really unfair that such an amazing practice could be perceived as the art of lying.

PR is actually the art of communicating with publics. Any kind of public and any kind of message… A good PR professional manages to communicate any message to any public in an effective way and by an effective way I mean in a way that people understand exactly the message we want to convey, no false interpretations. Even if we are dealing with a negative message, a good PR professional will work to communicate that negative message in a way that publics will perceive the truth and understand it or cope with it. We may conceal specific data, but lying and altering fact should be always out of the equation.

Bad PR pros not only manipulate messages, but also the truth, which is basically the recipe for disaster!

It is a really sad truth, but most of this negative image is actually promoted and caused by PR professionals themselves. The outcomes of this? Headlines and articles like this and PR professionals being perceived as the Masters of Deception.

Fashion insanity or PR flaw?

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The last 2 fiascos on the fashion industry are seriously compromising its sanity and liability: the Ann-Taylor Agency photoshop massacre and the MAC-Rodarte ignorance. Seems like the world of fashion is going through a tuff period or is it?

Recently Ann Taylor Model Agency decided to add some dynamics to its website and implemented roll over behaviors on the models’ pictures: when the mouse rolled through the pictures they would change and show the original picture without photoshop retouching. Very neat, cool feature to implement on the website if it weren’t for the massive deformation of the models’ photographs. What Ann Taylor Agency did was basically publish to the world their poor photoshop retouching expertise and their lack of respect for the female body. The proportions you see in the pictures are utterly impossible and transform those beautiful female bodies into Escher‘s mazes! Many famous fashion designers and collections had their catalogs’ photos taken and edited by Ann Taylor‘s photoshop retouching masters, including the Ralph Loren catalog cover that as you can see is perfectly natural and humanly possible.

The second fiasco, also very recent, involves MAC-Rodarte from the Mulleavy sisters, two young successful fashion designers a little too eager to reach the top and make their statement. MAC and Rodarte gathered to launch a new make-up and clothing collection inspired and named after the border city of Juárez, Mexico. Nicole Phelps from style.com commented about the Rodarte Fall/Winter 2010 collection “[T]hey became interested in the troubled border town of Ciudad Juárez the hazy, dreamlike quality of the landscape there and the maquiladora workers going to the factory in the middle of the night“. Lovely you would say… Well the thing is that Juárez is known for being one of the most dangerous cities in the whole world: more than 500 women have been murdered in the Mexican border city of Juárez since 1993 and 1,500 people were killed so far this year and 5,700 since 2008, largely a result of the drug war. The result of this “dreamlike” collection was a tasteless, twisted paraphernalia of Juárez eye-shadow, lip gloss, nail polish and clothing that suggest carnage, blood in the desert, blood of abducted, raped, strangled women…

Driven by the thirst of fame or not, the Mulleavy sisters might have ruined a big part of their credibility due to this tasteless and unthinkable make-up and clothing collection.

My question is… both of these failures were they caused by fashion’s twisted mind or by a major lack of wisdom from the PR professionals that work on both of these companies?

Although I think fashion is growing dangerously extreme, I think this shows the incompetence and lack of knowledge of Ann Taylor‘s and Rodarte‘s public relations offices. The website content has to go through the PR professionals (or at least they should) how could a communication expert let anyone publish the “un-retouched” photographs from the models? It’s the same as stating “Hey! Behold the respect and love we have for human female bodies… not”! Same situation goes for the MAC-Rodarte fiasco: PR experts are supposed to be the right hand of the CEO, giving advice on the collections and how should they be launched. Of course good PR professionals know their history and have a wide cultural overview, predicting all potential cultural, historical, political, philosophical offenses and advising their clients according to this knowledge… not what happened with the eager Mulleavy sisters.

So… if you’re a business owner, be careful with whom you hire as your PR expert for they might lead your business to success or drown your business in shame…

Related Coffee Cups:

MAC and Rodarte Press Releases

More Ann Taylor’s Models with ridiculous proportions