A blog by Campbell Consulting Group, based in Bend, Oregon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scrabble PR gimmick

A brief word on this PR stunt from a couple weeks ago. It looks like this stunt was orchestrated by Mattel:
The rules of word game Scrabble are being changed for the first time in its history to allow the use of proper nouns, games company Mattel has said.
Although it has been widely reported that Scrabble will soon allow the use of proper nouns, it turns out that that is not true. In England, an entirely new version of the game will allow that plus other unusual play, but the original game will stay the same.
Needless to say, people freaked out over this story. It got a lot of press and successfully got the word out about a new version of the game called Trickster. I guess the stunt was in keeping with the spirit of the new variation, in which anything goes, including stealing tiles and spelling words backwards.
Still, I thought it was bad form when the company turned around, after clearly implying that the rules would be changed to allow proper nouns, and accused the press of sloppy reporting. To me that goes beyond clever Trickstering in service of promoting your product, and starts to get into burned-bridges territory.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nike ad with Tiger, redux

You probably read or heard some debate over the Nike ad that @JacqSmith posted last week. Lots of people loved it; some found it counterproductive, unpersuasive, creepy and in poor taste. I have to admit that as an ad, I wasn't really into it either.
The spot was actually created by artsy brandmakers Wieden & Kennedy, an ad firm here in Portland, Oregon. WK recently got blasted by Willamette Week for their new TV channel/radio station, Califunya, which WWeek thought was silly, dumb and obscure. I think the root cause of both these failures is that WK's fantastic creativity slipped the reins and carefully determining what the message should be sort of fell by the wayside. Tiger has learned something from this sex scandal? Really? Our interest in his sex life is celebrity voyeurism, and our interest in him at all is his ability to play golf, which is wholly independent of his ability to stay faithful to his wife. What do we care if he learned something?
I think WK crafted a beautiful, mesmerizing viral video but it doesn't have the right message. The result was perpetuating a narrative that should have been contradicted. WK and Nike -- a sports brand that people look to because skilled athletes wear their stuff, not because it's a moral authority -- should have made that the message. Maybe they could have done a spot where Tiger is so focused on the ball (remember Tiger's Gatorade?) that he doesn't notice a crowd of bikini-clad women jostling each other for his attention.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nike Golf ad: Tiger and Earl

Have you seen the most viewed video on YouTube today? We have. No matter what emotion this ad has evoked in you - we're sure you felt something. Nike is making you think with this unlikely introspective ad, because Tiger is back in the golf game. This ad is brilliant. Nike's message is clear in condemning Tiger's recent behavior as not a sponsor or corporation, but as a parent. The ad was quick, moving and thoughtfully finished in black and white. They had to say something, and they said that something quite well. Bravo! -@jacqsmith #

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Public relations and April Fools' Day

April 1st is a chance to pick up some easy PR. It's all in fun and it's no biggie if it doesn't go over well. Google changed its name to Topeka, design firm ZURB launched a Sharpie-sharpening campaign, and a law blogger punked the New York Times.
Fun and games, right? If it doesn't go over well, you just throw up your hands and say, "April Fools!" None of that usual burden of responsibility that comes along when a public relations agency controls a client's brand's messaging!
Just kidding. April Fools' Day is a hectic, headaching, aggravating tradition for our poor friends in the news media. And trying to separate the real news of the day from the publicity stunts, the jokes and the wild spin can make them cranky.
Quite a few reporters were irked, for example, when the Eugene Emeralds put out the news that they had recruited former Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was recently convicted for second-degree burglary.
Ducks quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, potential Heisman candidate turned convicted burglar, will not be playing minor league baseball this summer. That was only an April Fools joke. But some in the media aren't laughing. They call it a lie and a scam. "Eugene Emeralds Lie About Masoli Playing for the Ems," says KEZI. "The management team for the Eugene Emeralds played an April Fools' joke and then lied to local media to keep it going." The complaint is that, when asked if this press release was an April Fools joke, the Ems said no.
-Oregon Media Central
Other annoyed journalists called it "a breach of trust" and "tasteless." Well!
The moral of the story? Use April Fools' Day to put out something charming, and leave the deception to the Yes Men.
If you're not convinced, check out this list of truly tasteless April Fools day stunts.
-Adrianne (@msfener)