Friday, January 16, 2009

YouTube On Your TV

YouTubers and couch potatoes alike can rejoice in the arranged marriage of YouTube and TV.

The website (currently in beta) offers YouTube users a "10-foot television viewing experience through a streamlined interface that enables [users] to discover, watch and share YouTube videos on any TV screen with just a few quick clicks" of the remote. One more reason to quit that New Year's
resolution to exercise and be active!

Full post: YouTube blog

My Take

YouTube's ultimate goal is to create universal access to web videos through television. Sure, why not? I can't wait to see the "YouTube channel NEW on Time Warner Cable" commercials in a couple of years. You folks with DirecTV, well you'll just have to watch funny fart videos and All-Star campaigns on TV the old fashioned way: Going through a PS3 or Wii game console.

Million dollar thought: Nintendo should develop a "game" for Wii that allows players to create animated YouTube videos. Act it out, load it up, bring 'em in. Imagine Wii users creating dance routines and sports games highlight reels for YouTube. Anybody could be a digital Billy Blanks or Stewart Scott. It's a whole new ballgame, literally.

Exciting or exhausting? You decide.

NBA Stars Go Viral for Votes

If presidential candidates can campaign successfully on the internet, why can't athletes?

NBA players went all out for the annual All-Star Game with online campaigns to garner votes for roster spots. Positions are decided partially by fan votes as well as coaches' votes.

Last year the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh received headlines (and votes) from his YouTube video that parodied a used-car salesman (at right). Encouraging fans to vote him into the NBA All-Star game, Bosh's video has been viewed more than 685,000 times and the star forward was selected to the 2008 West team.

New year, new online campaigns...
  • Amar'e Stoudemire - RESULT: Starter
  • Devin Harris - YouTube RESULT: Selected as a reserve
  • Joe Alexander - RESULT: Just missed dunk contest selection to...
  • Rudy Fernandez - Dunks on YouTube (below) RESULT: Selected for dunk contest

The internet is a vast space with plenty of room for fans to support players (whether they deserve it or not). Take Knicks guard Stephon Marbury. "Starbury" hasn't played a game all season, but had no less than five fan sites lobbying on his behalf for All-Star votes. Count for yourself: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Five! Ah, ah, ah! (Best Count Chocula laugh)

More impressive than a player who hasn't suited up for a game this season making the All-Star ballot, is the online support for him. Yet another demonstration of the changing face of media and the influence of user-generated content on business and society today.

Look for this social media campaigning to continue over the years, not only with sports stars and politicians, but with musicians, artists, religious advocates, organizations, groups, schools, businesses, governments and individuals - everybody. That's not a half court heave. It's a slam dunk guarantee.


Addition to original post: announces the 2009 All-Star starters.

Peter Shankman Speaks at NC PRSA Banquet - Video

The first few minutes they're trying to get his microphone and the projector to work, but bare with it, Peter Shankman has great social media experience and insights.

Wayne Sutton TV streamed the presentation live. The video is archived here:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Social Media Stumble

Social media advice: Don't post, write, Tweet, IM or otherwise distribute any message via social media that you don't want read.

Simple as that sounds, Peter Shankman of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) posted a great example of how a professional public relations practitioner can make an amature (and costly) mistake.

Just hours prior to delivering a presentation on digital media to FedEx's global communications group in their headquarters city of Memphis, an exec at PR giant Ketchum (NY office) Tweeted this message:

"True confession but I'm in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say, 'I would die if I had to live here!'" (referring to Memphis)

A FedEx employee saw it and called him on it - with a slew of Ketchum execs copied on the message. Ouch. Needless to say, everyone should think twice before publishing any information these days.

Original story: Be Careful What You Post

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Public Relations and 'Peanuts'

The New York Times ran a fascinating article on Peanuts in today's print edition. Charles M. Schulz's famous comic strip is an ageless favorite, partly because of what this story discusses: Authenticity.

An excerpt from the story:

"Accuracy and authenticity are hallmarks of the strips, whether they deal with music, sports or medical conditions, Ms. O’Cain, the museum’s curator, said. 'With figure skating, he [Schulz] would carefully study books to make sure the jumps or spins that he had characters portraying, that they were correct,' she said. He would add subtle twists or inside jokes for readers familiar with skating or surfing or shorthand."

Authenticity and credibility are the backbone of public relations. Public relations practitioners in Charlotte, NC and around the globe for that matter should consider for a moment the research and effort that one man put into a comic. Comics tell stories, albeit hand drawn and humorous ones. PR is storytelling as well.

With any good story, it must engage the audience (relevance), contain factual information (authenticity), and be told through a believable person (the PR pro).

Pubic relations should not be an email blast and random direct mailings, or poorly researched media lists and off-target pitches. PR requires attention to detail, an understanding of the messages, knowledge of the audience(s), and an authentic story and storyteller through which the messages are disseminated.

Otherwise, the story will consist of inaccuate characters, a seedy plot and - you guessed it - a sad ending. What kind of story are you telling?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Public Relations Blunders - 2008 Edition

As we ring in 2009, rest assure that the best, er, worst, public relations projects of 2008 continue to resonate loud and clear. Here are some of my favorites from the annual Fineman PR list:

1. After the $85 billion federal bailout package was approved, AIG partied like college students when they receive their financial aid checks. The AP reports that AIG executives spent more than half a million dollars on golf trips, spa packages, banquets and a New England hunting trip. Nice.

Now where do you suppose we get some of those stereotypes involving corporate execs?

4. John McCain cancels on David Letterman. Oops. As a public relations professional this one really tickles me. To think that John Weaver, the Maverick's chief strategist, didn't see a red flag in cancelling on Letterman at the last minute only to have McCain interview with Katie Couric, also of CBS, just down the street is comical. Supposedly McCain was catching a plane to deal with the financial crisis...

That's the political equivalent of cancelling a date with a woman then showing up with her sister at the Applebee's where you two had planned to meet. Nice cover.

5. "Nike Just Blew It." Good headline Fineman, really.

Nike sponsored a women's marathon in San Francisco only to disregard the winner's time, a personal record by school teacher Arien O'Connell. Nike only monitored times of those in the "elite" leader pack, or in layman's terms, those athletes who Nike thought stood a chance. Really, the headline is good.

11. "The boobs have it, the biggest PR blunder since New Coke." OK, it's only a top 10 list, but this one involving UPS, Hooters, and a thoroughbred horse came darn close. Check it out.

Complete 2008 list with explanations is on Bulldog Reporter here.

I link to Bulldog Reporter because I've always found them to be a great source of information relating to the public relations field - check out the list and spend some time on their site. No, I'm not working for them. It's honestly good information for PR pros, firms, freelancers, students, professors, and anyone interested in managing your messsages in today's world.

You might also want to see the biggest PR Blunders of 2007.