Sword and the Script

Avoid the Noid: A Mascot that Became a PR Crisis Case Study

PR Crisis Case Study

The freakish mascot McDonald’s unveiled to pitch its Happy Meal this year landed #6 on AdWeek’s 13 Biggest Brand Fails of 2014.  It also proved, in part, a useful segue in a recent Marketplace story about another mascot by a separate fast food franchise – the Domino’s Pizza Noid:

In the late 1980s, the Noid was pizza’s worst enemy. He made pies arrive cold, late or crushed, with cheese stuck to the top of the box – at least that’s what Domino’s ads would have you believe.

Domino’s could “avoid the Noid,” delivering hot, fresh pizzas in 30 minutes or less. The Noid ads were a huge success, spawning toys and even a video game.

But it all came crashing down in 1989, when the Noid suffered what may be the worst PR disaster in history. Zachary Crockett has written about the Noid for Priceonomics, and he tells us the strange, sad story.

The worst PR disaster in history?  Really? Read More…

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Warren Buffet Underscores the Value of Reputation

Warren Buffet Reiterates the Value of Reputation

It may be hard to quantify the value of a reputation but it sure is meaningful when one of the world’s most prominent financiers says it’s important.

Reputation was a key message billionaire Warren Buffet conveyed in “biennial” memo to his leadership team – the 80 or so business people that run the subsidiaries of Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway company.

The Wall Street Journal’s MoneyBeat blog embedded a copy of his memo which reads:

“We can afford to lose money – even a lot of money.  But we can’t afford to lose reputation – even a shred of reputation.” We must continue to measure every act against not only what is legal but also what we would be happy to have written about on the front page of a national newspaper in an article written by an unfriendly but intelligent reporter.

Read More…

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6 Pragmatic Content Marketing Predictions for 2015

5 Pragmatic Content Marketing Predictions-top

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is out with its annual list of content marketing predictions. The organization published its list in a blog post yesterday titled 60 Content Marketing Predictions for 2015.

It’s hard to believe CMI has been publishing predictions on “content marketing” for seven years because it doesn’t feel that long, perhaps serves to underscore the important role of data.  While my own writing on these very pages often laments how far we have to go – one thing that struck me in reading through this year’s predictions was the realization of just how far we’ve come.

It is perhaps, the beauty of paradox: it is nearly impossible to look forward without in some way, shape, or form, reflecting on the past. Read More…

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Dark Social Enlightens Marketing Vanity Metrics

Dark Social Enlightens Vanity Metrics

The blog posts weren’t especially compelling, in fact these were a little heavy with sales messages; case studies that had been re-purposed.

However instead of the classic problem-solution-format, they featured little vignettes showcasing minor customer victories. The posts were accented with liberal subheads, short paragraphs, and spotted with lots of bulleted lists – classic web writing if such a thing exists.

These were however, solid blog posts, but just not of the epic variety…or so we thought.  While the social share counts were quite low the web analytics were displaying sizable volume of traffic.  It caused us to ask – where was the interest coming from? Read More…

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Persistent Sales Calls and Walking Into Spider Webs

Persistent Sales Calls Walking Into Spider Webs

It must have been the 5th time they called to sell me an extended warranty.  It was certainly the 5th time I’d said “no.”  Rest assured on the last three attempts I asked them pointedly to remove me from their list and stop.

Still the calls persist…

And persist they should, according to any number of sales statistics in circulation today.  For example, a meme appearing in my stream on LinkedIn stated to the effect, that 80% of sales close on the fifth interaction, yet most sales people rarely go beyond one or two touches. Read More…

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Symphony of Gates and a Healthy Debate Over Gated Content

Should We Gate Our Content

It’s a question as old as the web – should you gate your content?

It appears that most marketers do and reported gating “80% of their major content marketing assets” according to a survey vetted by MarketingProfs.  The same study points out there’s some content – infographics for example – is rarely gated.

There are credible – and often very passionate – arguments on both sides of the debate but the answer that’s right for an organization probably varies. It depends on the goals across the content marketing spectrum – is the content intended to attract, convert or retain customers? Read More…

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Marketing as a Bona Fide Profit Center

Marketing as a Profit Center-header

The party room rivals any I’ve seen in the local area.  It comes with four slides, a handful of forts, some bridges, a climbing wall, several swings – and enough space for a whole bunch of kids and one heck of a birthday party.

It’ll cost parents about $200 on to reserve the room for a birthday party on a weekend, though it’s less expensive on a weekday.  I can personally attest to the fact the pricing is very competitive with other options for hosting parties in the local area.  Most importantly, Rainbow Play Systems of North Carolina is more than accommodating, based on my conversations with parents and customers.  Read More…

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4 Creative PR Ideas for Crisis Communications

4 Creative PR Ideas for Crisis Communications-Chevy-Tweet

Constraint breeds creativity.  It may seem counterintuitive, but the ingenuity of deftly navigating the most difficult of binds goes to show PR is often as much about problem solving as it is communication.

Corporate crisis communications provides a demonstration because there are very clear constraints:

  • Unknown unknowns – the effort to understand what is happening
  • Time hacks – crisis PR demands speed
  • Dichotomy – substantial pressure to credibly refute or validate

1. Chevy embraces the truck.

As a Chevy spokesperson Rikk Wilde’s job was to present a new truck to San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner.  As a corporate sponsor this was Chevy’s big moment to showcase some of the finer points about the vehicle they were about to handover to the World Series MVP.  It was an awkward presentation through and through, but at one critical moment, Mr. Wilde noted the new Chevy Colorado, “…offers class-winning and -leading, um, you know, technology and stuff.” Read More…

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Kevin Spacey: Conflict as a Marketing Counter Narrative

Conflict as the Counter-narrative of MarketingThe story is everything, but conflict is everything to the story.

So says Kevin Spacey who was the key note speaker of the Content Marketing Institute’s annual conference and CMI released this highlight video in an email today. The video is embedded below and well worth the five minutes it takes to watch it.

Though he can clearly pronounce the term “GIF” correctly, I’m not sure he knows much of anything about content marketing.  He does appear to have a grasp of storytelling and insofar as that’s a foundation of content marketing, then his ideas are interesting. Read More…

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Study: Big Companies Lag at Blogging, Social Media

Study Big Companies Lag at Blogging Social Media

I’ll beg Dr. Barnes to forgive me the editorial liberty I’ve taken with this headline, but that’s my takeaway after finally reading the UMASS Dartmouth Study: The 2014 Fortune 500 and Social Media: LinkedIn Dominates As Use of Newer Tools Explodes.

My interpretation of the results are completely different than those of the researchers who concluded:

“The 2014 Fortune 500 has now fully embraced new communications tools that have taken so many other sectors by storm.”

“These giant corporations are demonstrating an interest in experimenting with new tools.”

“This is a group that now seems comfortable and even excited with its newfound ability to engage its vendors, partners, customers and others in ways that could not have been imagined when most of their corporations began.”

With apologies to Dr. Barnes again, I just don’t see that in the data. I see tepid interest in small pockets of consumer oriented businesses among the Fortune 500. My frame of reference is in knowing what is possible, as compared to what is demonstrated. Read More…

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