Why I Told You That Using Athletes As Publicity Spokespersons Has a Downside

Arthur Solomon

Much was made by the New York media when New York Mets infielders Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez gave thumbs down signals to fans because they were bothered that the few fans that attended Mets games booed theirs and the team’s performance (which has been pretty awful).

The thumbs up, thumbs down war between some of the Met players and fans commenced on Sunday, August 29, when Lindor and Baez decided to give a thumbs down salute to the fans whenever a Met player did something good, which thus far has been a rare occurrence this season. Doing so would teach the fans a lesson not to boo them they decided, I presume. 

But it didn’t become a national story until Tuesday, August 31, when the New York Times and Wall Street Journal gave it major play and the thumbs up, thumbs down signals were discussed on the Mets telecast by announcers Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez as if they were dissecting the plus and minuses of the Afghanistan evacuation that concluded that day, or sticking to baseball if it  really mattered to the outcome of the pennant race, which the Mets have as much a chance of winning as I do of receiving the Pulitzer Prize for opinion writing.

After the short lived ruckus, the hand signaling duo gave the obligatory apology saying they didn’t mean to upset any fans. Which they obviously did. Actually it was a breath of fresh air for Lindor and Baez to say what they really thought in contrast to those controlled after the game pressers where athletes never express their true feelings.

I’m not the type of guy that says “I told you so,” when I’m correct about something. But for many years I’ve been telling you that using athletes as publicity spokespersons has a downside.

Why I Told You That Using Athletes As Publicity Spokespersons Has a DownsideIn the Mets situation, what Lindor and Baez concocted doesn’t matter. Because, knowing Met fan fanatics as I do, all it takes is a couple of good games by the duo and all will be forgotten. 

But in our business, and most likely only in our business, it takes on more importance when sports marketers spend millions of dollars on athletes’ endorsements hoping that it will result in favorable publicity or, considerably more important, increased sales.  For the great majority of brands, how athletes conduct themselves are important. No brand wants an athlete endorser arrested for off-the-field transgressions with the resulting negative media coverage reporting the athlete’s tie to a brand. Athlete’s commenting on off-the-field happenings regarding politics, racial and other social matters are something brands would rather their publicity hawkers don’t do. Because doing so can upset potential customers who disagree with the athlete’s comments.

But gone are the days when brands can control what their athletes’ representatives say. When athletes weren’t make the salaries that they now command, most would be wary of making comments that might upset executives of the brands they were hawking. Not so today. And that’s a problem for the marketers.

What I have been suggesting for many years to clients is not to automatically think of athletes as publicity spokespersons. For marketers that want to avoid being dragged into politics, racial and other social matters because of what their product endorsers say there’s an easy solution: Don’t use athletes. There are many other ways to achieve national publicity.

Most brands that use athletes as publicity or product representatives don’t consider a more localized targeted promotional approach, like supporting a community mission, an arts organization or an educational project. But doing so, if crafted correctly and supervised by savvy PR practitioners, can achieve as much and in many cases more major media coverage as costly sports promotions at a fraction of the budget. That’s because, except for marketing, advertising and trade journalists, the size of a budget doesn’t matter to reporters, editors and producers. It’s the news or feature elements that are the deciding factors that achieve coverage. 

I’ve gained major national publicity for clients many times by using none sports publicity spokespersons. I’ve used a psychologist to talk about at-risk personalities for a national addiction organization.  A former mayor of a large U.S. city as a spokesperson for an educational promotion, because he was a teacher before entering into politics, a fire marshal to talk about fire safety for a program on that subject,  They all gained major national publicity for clients because of their expertise regarding the subject. (And when athletes fit the client, I used numerous athletes, but always made certain that that athlete-client connection wasn’t forced as happens too often.)

So, when creating a program for publicity purposes, use a spokesperson that fits the account. For a financial client, use an investment advisor, for a building supply client, use a contractor, etc. Doing so provides expertise to the discussion.

Offering an expert to the media is much more likely to get meaningful publicity with message points for a client than serving up an athlete who can only say, “I’m a spokesperson for XYX Company.”

As for the controversy ignited by the thumbs down gesture to the Met fans, it’s a warning of what I’ve always told clients. Be careful. Unlike the days past, today there’s no way that you can control what high salaried athletes do or say.  

I can understand why the sports media jumped on the story and made it more than a one day yarn. It certainly gave them something new to write and talk about other than their repetitive discussions necessitated by the 162 game seasons.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and nonsports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net

 




Where in the Publicity Orchestra Are You?

Tom Madden,  Founder & CEO, TransMedia Group

Strange dystopian strains of thought run through my mind as I imagine conducting my PR orchestra, trying earnestly to keep apart the woodwind and brass sections at TransMedia Group.  

First, I listen to the lilting clarinets play a rhapsodic variety of health and medical passages from traditional doctors, surgeons, and assorted specialists predicting a melodic end to the pandemic.

Then, prior to performance I take into account the gender differences in instruments.  For example, clarinets and flutes are feminine and conductor Gov. DeSantis believes they should be banned from playing with the more masculine brass sections in orchestras.  Just as fervently he disapproves of flutes pretending to be trumpets. 

Interspersed are oboes offering alternative, holistic chords or more fashionably integrative selections reminding audiences not to be so shy as to simply rely totally on Western medicine.  

Then a blare of trumpets heralds a crescendo of profits from soaring sales as businesses rebound, consumers celebrate, our offices repopulate and media applaud the merry-go-turn-a-round.

Then erupting timpani provoke cymbal crashes of breaking news of trillions more rushed into the now monumental musical stimulus program in A-flat major.   

For those in trouble needing crisis management come violins to sweetly soothe or distract and cellos to underscore repentance while bass fiddles and French horns emphatically promise it won’t happen again, so help me Flugelhorn Fauci, Trombone Trump and Bassoon Biden.

Yes, public relations is indeed an exhilarating, enterprising orchestra filled with many instruments played by talented musicians called publicists, each with an ear for news and an eye on some maestro’s baton, while in the front-most balcony sits the royal clients.

Thank you.  The concert is over.  Go in peace.  Drive home safely.  Get yourself vaccinated and it’s up to you if you want to please the governor by competing just with players who were born with the same instrument as you. 

Excuse the scherzo.


Thomas MaddenAbout the Author: Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available this summer on Amazon.   He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for some of America’s largest companies and organizations.




How To Make A PR Crisis Worse: An Abridged Trump Time Line Of The Twice-Impeached Former President’s Amateurish Publicity Failures, Including The Most Recent 

Arthur Solomon

I thought that my writing about the PR crises of Donald Trump would cease and that he would keep a low profile for at least several months after he lost the election in November. But I was wrong. Then I definitely thought he would keep a low profile after his encouragement of the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6. Again I was wrong.

Instead the ego-driven self-proclaimed “stable genius” decided to speak at the CPAC conference. His speech again revealed that Trump would flunk a course of PR 101 if it was given at his scam Trump University. The result of his speech was another PR crisis, proving that Trump is the PR crises gift that keeps on giving.

If in the future, historians categorize a list of political public relations crises that was made worse because of inept handling, several of President Donald J. Trump’s actions in 2020 certainly qualifies for being at the top of any list. In fact, an entire book could be devoted to the president’s amateurish PR 101 actions during the first six months of 2020. (It’s as if those advising Trump on public relations were drop-outs from Trump University.)

But even after he was defeated for reelection and fled to Florida the ineptness of his public relations skills became evident as his latest action again led to an unnecessary PR crisis — the revelation that he and his wife secretly received the coronavirus vaccine in January prior to leaving the White House. The news was kept secret until Trump urged people to get vaccinated when he spoke at the CPAC convention on February 28. 

The Handling Of The Coronavirus Pandemic Provides A Lesson On How Not To Make A PR Crisis Worse For All Types Of CrisesPublicly encouraging people to be vaccinated in January would have provided him with a modicum of favorable publicity. By keeping it secret for more than a month, as people continued to be infected by the virus and died, the result was another PR crisis disaster for Trump. His lack of alleged PR skills, that by now should be evident to everyone in our business, can occupy a wing of the Library of Congress. 

There are too many Trump PR flubs to write about. Certainly more than I can remember. But below are several ones that I believe led to the defeat of Trump’s re-election bid.

Trump’s inept handling of his first crisis of 2020 (he had many others PR problems previously during his presidency) occurred on January 22, when he said, “We have it totally under control…It’s going to be just fine.” 

Labeling the coronavirus a “hoax,” instead of immediately acknowledging it for what it  is and taking immediate steps to contain it transformed a problem that he did not create into one he now owns, which was used against him in the lead-up to the November presidential election, as were the other examples in this article. 

His second mistake was using military style action against peaceful protesters in order to clear a free path so he could stage a photo-op.

His third faulty PR attempt occurred on June 16, while the coronavirus continued its deadly march through the U.S., when the president had his justice department sue former national security adviser John Bolton, trying to stop publication of his former advisor’s memoir  about his time in the White House.

His fourth error was his inept attempt to damage the reputation of Dr. Fauci.

Here ‘s why I consider these four actions among the worst handling of PR crises  during the last few years; only the incompetent handling by Boeing and Wells-Fargo of their crises might challenge Trump for the public relations stupidity title.

The following are abridged reasons for my selections.

Trump’s coronavirus handling:

Trump’s original sin was denying that there was a coronavirus problem. But he exacerbated the situation by several of his actions:

  • On February 28, he said that the deadly coronavirus was a Democrat hoax. 
  • His press conferences were too long and were judged by many as a platform for him to replace his rallies. Most important, he   championed unproven scientific cures for the coronavirus. 
  • He contradicted his medical scientists.
  • He cut short the remarks of his medical scientists when he didn’t like what they were saying, and
  • He encouraged his followers to disobey safety rules set in place by governors of several states, still on-going, telling them to liberate your state. 

Trump’s protest handling:

His original sin in this situation was not permitting peaceful protests near the White House.

  • He exacerbated the situation by directing that the protesters be pushed back by use of force, including gas, rubber bullets and other means.
  • He advocated the use of U.S. military forces to quell protests. That resulted in numerous three and four star generals and admirals to criticize the president for saying that the military should be used against protesters.
  • He conducted a Sherman-like march to St. John’s Episcopal Church to stage a photo-op, and then to the John Paul II National Shrine for another photo op. In both instances he was criticized for using religion as a political tool by clergy of the church and shrine.
  • Even during his June 17 speech, which was supposed to address police violence, he announced several times that he was a law and order president and that the silent majority supported him and that some people didn’t even know that they supported law and order.

Trump’s handling of John Bolton’s book.

Trump’s original sin in this matter was his bad mouthing of Bolton, which led many people to believe that the president was blocking publication of the book, not because it contained classified information, as he said, but because Bolton didn’t praise Trump like Vice President Pence, Attorney  General Barr and the other presidential lackeys always did and still do. 

  • His attempt to stop publication of Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened” demonstrated a lack of media smarts when the president was enmeshed in a situation that he could not control.
  • His filing of a law suit after the books were already in stores and galleys were provided to book reviewers and political media was ill timed. The chance of the book’s contents not leaking, despite the lawsuit, was nil, and, of course, the leaks occurred and received major media coverage. Leaks from the book began even prior to the lawsuit. The president attacked the contents of the book, claiming it contained classified information that would compromise national security and that it was all lies, which raises the question, if it was all lies how could it damage national security? (After more than five years of listening to Trump denounce everyone and everything that he disagrees with by labeling them lies or fake news, it seems to me that the -president’s favorite readings might include the books and speeches of Adolph Hitler — on June 18 Facebook removed an ad from the Trump campaign targeting antifa and leftist groups because it included an inverted red triangle in a black outline, a symbol the Nazis used for political dissenters Benito Mussolini, Chairman Mao, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin ,and Idi Amin. Missing from his reading list obviously was “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by the Greek story teller Aesop.) 
  • By filing the lawsuit, it guaranteed that the sales of the book will be much greater than if Trump ignored it.

Trump’s attempt to damage Dr. Fauci’s reputation.

  • An article in the New York Times on July 13 detailed statements that Dr. Fauci made about the coronavirus that the White House said showed he was wrong. 
  • One example cited by the White House was from a February 29 interview during which Dr. Fauci said, “at this moment there is no need to change anything you’re doing on a day-to-day basis.” The Times article, as did other media outlets, pointed out that was not Dr. Fauci’s full statement, which said, “Right now the risk is still low, but this could change.” 
  • Disseminating misleading statements should never be done. Once they are fact checked and found to be false, whatever else you release will be treated with skepticism by the media.

What does the above actions by the former president show?

  • That he believes whatever he says and does will be accepted as the thinking of a “stable genius.”.”
  • That he flunked PR Crises 101.
  • That he is a hypocrite. By urging his followers to disobey shut down orders by governors of several states because of health concerns, Trump only believes in law and order when it helps him.
  • That “Trump The Media Genius” is a myth created by tabloids and cable TV networks, which catered to  Trump, not because of his PR savvy, but because it helped their ratings.
  • That as his keeping it a secret for more than a month about receiving the coronavirus vaccine reveals, his gut feelings about public relations are wrong.

There’s an important lesson from the above that people should remember: When things go smoothly, everyone is a star. But it is how an individual reacts during a PR crisis that shows real expertise. And President Trump responses to his PR crises demonstrate a lack of PR savvy and the temperament of a bully.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.




OP-ED: PR Stunt Lessons From Trump University: Don’t Use!!! (Unless You Believe That There Is No Such Thing As Bad Publicity)

Arthur Solomon

As a senior level PR practitioner for many years, I have managed or played key roles in many national and international flagship agency accounts. During that span, novice account people would excitedly run into my office early in the morning telling me about an event they heard on the radio or read in a newspaper that might affect accounts they were working on. 

“Did you hear what happened? What can we do,”? I was often asked. And my reply was always the same. “Let’s think things through before we suggest anything to the client. If the client calls before we have a plan, we should say we’re working on a response and will suggest one that fits the situation, because rushing a response can make matters worse.” And President Trump’s photo op stunt showing him holding a Bible upside down, which received massive negative press coverage, illustrates the dangers of rushing without thinking. 

All during his tenure it seems that the president’s PR advisors learned their trade at Trump University before it was shut down as a scam. Insults, finger pointing, feeling sorry for the president, lies, blaming others and acting tough seem to be all they learned. 

There are too many times that the president has insulted others to cite examples. There are too many times that the president has pointed fingers at others to cite examples. There are too many times that the president has felt sorry for himself to cite examples. There are too many times that the president has lied to cite examples. There are too many times that the president has blamed others for poor results to cite examples. There are also too many times when the president has insisted he’s right, when events show he’s wrong, to cite examples. But the president’s irrational less than PR 001 stunt is a prime example that deserves citing. 

The president has always acted as the tough bully in the school yard. But on June 1 he bullied a peaceful group protesting the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and gathered all sorts of government forces, including active military ones, to do his fighting while he stayed in the safety of White House grounds.

The assorted forces used gas attacks, rubber bullets, and flash grenades against the peaceful protesters gathered in Lafayette Square so Mr. Trump could stage a photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church, during which he held a Bible up like a sports fan showing off an autograph. 

The live televising of the event showed the world that force was used against peaceful protesters. On the following days, TV, print stories and even some of the president’s strongest supporters – like Sen. Lindsey Graham – criticized the strong arm tactics of the bully in the White House. “I don’t know what the purpose of the trip was,” Graham said. “I do know that last night was a bad night and we need less bad nights.”

When Graham criticizes the president you know something extraordinarily terrible happened. Graham’s lukewarm displeasure of the president’s actions was like a rain drop in the middle of an ocean, hardly making a splash. But it was soon followed by a loud  downpour of criticism of the president by other Republicans, most notably Sens. Lisa Murkowski, who said she might not vote for Trump in November, and Mitt Romney, who said, “From the news clips I have seen, the protesters across from the White House were orderly and nonviolent. They should not have been removed by force and without warning, particularly when the apparent purpose was to stage a photo op.”

Other Republicans joined the criticism of the president’s use of force.  Sen. Ben Sasse, said in a statement. “There is a fundamental — a constitutional — right to protest, and I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the word of God as a political prop.” Sen. Susan Collins said she found it “painful” watching peaceful protesters subjected to gas attacks so he could go to a church he had visited just once before. Mr. Trump “came across as unsympathetic and as insensitive to the rights of people to peacefully protest,” she said.”  Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, answered a question by saying, “Should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo op? The answer is no.” 

But some congresspeople did more than give lip service. GOP Sen. Mitt Romney marched with protesters; Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden distributed water bottles to protesters, and Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attended a protest and handed out masks.

(All four former living presidents – Carter, Bush, Clinton and Obama. – issued statements condemning racism in American society, in contrast to the statements of our current president, who proudly said he was a Law and Order president. Other criticism of Trump was more direct.)

Retired and active military officers feared the use of active soldiers in clearing the way for a presidential photo op would destroy the high regard civilians now have for the military.

As of this writing on June 13, criticism of the president’s decision came from high ranking civilian and military personal, including defense secretary Mark Esper and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, even though they were   among the senior administration officials who walked with Trump from the White House across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Episcopal Church shortly after the president delivered remarks threatening military action against protesters. (On June 11, Gen. Milley again apologized for participating in the photo with President Trump because, he said, it created a perception that the military is “involved in domestic politics.”…“I should not have been there,” Gen. Milley said in a pre-recorded speech for the National Defense University in Washington. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from. And I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”)

The first condemnation of the stunt by a ranking government official was the departure of a top policy Pentagon staffer, James Miller, who resigned from his role on the Defense Advisory Board for what he saw as Esper’s violating his oath of office. Other criticisms of the president soon followed.

Among the many high ranking retired and active military officers who criticized Trump’s actions directly or indirectly were Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Adm. Mike Mullen, another former chairman, (who said on Chris Wallace’s June 7 Fox TV show that he was “sickened by the forceful removal of protesters, especially when the constitution gives them the right to protest”), and James Mattis, who resigned as Secretary of Defense in 2018 to protest Trump’s Syria policy. In an extraordinary statement, Gen. Mattis called Trump a threat to the Constitution and said that he has deliberately attempted to divide people. Also finding fault with the president’s actions were Generals John Allen and David Berger, current Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Marines; Barry McCaffery, Raymond Thomas, Paul Eaton, Wesley Clark, Vincent Brooks, Loree Sutton, Joseph Votel, Dana Petard, Mark Hertling, James Pillsbury, Douglas Lute, and current Army Chief of Staff James McConville, Army; Richard Myers, also a Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mike Hayden, Air Force, (who also directed the National Security Agency and the C.I.A.); Adms. James Stavridis, William McRaven (who said, “President Trump has shown he doesn’t have the qualities necessary to be a good commander in chief.” “…The country needs to move forward without him at the helm.”), Joseph Maguire, Sandy Winnefeld, Mike Franken and current Navy Chief of Operations Michael Gilday; current National Guard Bureau Chief Joseph Lengyel, plus William Perry and Ash Carter, both former secretaries of defense. Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, was the first senior serving military officer to speak out.

After Mattis released his statement, Trump, in his default lying mode, said he fired the former defense secretary, causing his second chief of staff, former Marine General John Kelly to say, “The president has clearly forgotten how it happened.” And a day later, on June 5, Kelly said, “I agree with Mattis,” and added, “I think we really need to step back. I think we need to look harder at who we elect.” Maj. General Thomas Cardin of the Georgia National Guard said, “We in America should not get used to or accept uniformed service members of any variety having to be put in a position where they are having to secure people inside the United States of America.

(This wasn’t the first time retired generals and admirals have criticized Trump. They have spoken out in the past about his admiration for totalitarian leaders like Putin.)

FBI Director Christopher Wray also defended the right of nonviolent protests saying, “They are signs of a healthy democracy, not an ailing one.” And Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under former President George W. Bush and was previously chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on June 7 that Trump is a liar, a danger to the country and he will vote for Biden.

In addition, CNN reported that more than 280 former national security officials criticized Trump’s aggressive approach to peaceful protesters, and expressed concern about the presence of military assets at demonstrations across the country.

Perhaps the most damming comments against the president for using a religious backdrop while threatening military style action against peaceful protesters were the comments on television by Bishop Mariann E. Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. She said that she had not been informed of Mr. Trump’s using St. John’s as a prop for his get tough rhetoric. “He did not pray,” she said. “We need a president who can unify and heal. He has done the opposite of that, and we are left to pick up the pieces.”

The day after his initial stunt backfired, the always so sure of himself president visited Saint John Paul II National Shrine, doubling down on his PR mistake. That visit drew scorn from Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who said he was “baffled” by Trump’s visit to the shrine, calling it “reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree.” Pope John certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence scatter or intimidate protesters for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship, Gregory said in a statement.

Even Pat Robertson, the televangelist who once ran for the Republican nomination for president, criticized Trump on his long-running television show The 700 Club. “It seems like now is the time to say, “I understand your pain, I want to comfort you, I think it’s time we love each other.”…. “But the president took a different course. He said, ‘I am the president of law and order,’” said Robertson.

But Attorney-General Barr, the lackey, denied that the photo-op was a stunt, which shows his lack of PR knowledge. But he did demonstrate his historical memory by using tactics honed by Sen. Joe McCarthy and President Trump, when the A.G., as the president often does when he makes inflammatory statements without providing facts, accused foreign actors of exacerbating the violence without providing details.

The president and A.G. also employed lessons from Putin’s play book. When the Russians annexed Crimea in 2014, soldiers wearing a variety of uniforms and civilians clothes, as well as camouflage without insignia, were used in the take over. At Lafayette Square, a combination of police without identifying insignia was ordered to clear the way for Trump’s walk to St. John’s.(Putin must have been flattered that the A.G. and the president thought so highly of the Russian dictator’s strategy that they copied it.) The A.G. told the A.P. that he didn’t give the tactical order to assault the protesters, although he supported it. But CNN reported that a Department of Justice official said Barr did give the order. President Trump went a step further than Barr, saying he had not ordered peaceful protesters forcibly removed so he could walk to St. John’s Church. (Seems no one wants to take responsibility; any volunteers among you readers?)

Trump’s bad stunt judgment was again on display when he insisted that the graduating class of second lieutenants reassemble from throughout the country at West Point so he could deliver a speech on June 13, despite the coronavirus outbreak increasing and deaths from Covid-19 mounting. It was another instance of the “me first” behavior that Trump has demonstrated throughout his life. But this time it put the newly commissioned Army officer’s lives at risk. The cadets were sent home in March because of the virus scare and were ordered back when the president insisted he wanted to address them, coronavirus be damned.

Everyone in our business knows, or should know, the president’s photo op was a stunt and so was his West Point address. Stunts can be a valuable PR tool if thought through and executed in a manner that lessen the possibility of negative media coverage. Stunts should be orchestrated only by PR practitioners who have the creative ability to make them mediable. Do-it-by-the-books staffers should ask for help from colleagues who think out-of-the-box to manage a stunt. 

Stunts should not be used in an attempt to change the topic, as Trump does. They are like eating an ice cream cone under a 90 degree sun. It will soon melt away. Even a well executed stunt will resonate with people for only two or three days, if that long. (I know. I’ve orchestrated many successful publicity stunts that made the evening news or next day’s papers. Only one had a long shelve life, “Math Baseball,” but that was because we crafted it knowing that we would transition it into a year-long program.”) 

Stunts are mainly a “for the moment” attention-grabbing publicity tool. The flawed march to the church Trump stunt did not divert attention from topics that concern many Americans: the killing of George Floyd, peaceful protesters being attacked, racial injustice, the use of military personnel against civilians, over aggressive actions by some policemen and the threat still caused by coronavirius, which is trending up in parts of the U.S. (As of the writing on June 13 at 6 pm, John Hopkins University reported, “The first case of COVID-19 in US was reported  on 1/22/2020. Since then, the country has reported 2,048,986  cases, and 114,699 deaths,” and trending up.) Those are all facts. But what is not known is how elderly Americans view the protests. Few joined the protesters, TV showed. Most stayed inside. Was it the fear of being infected by a virus that is most harmful to seniors that kept them from marching, or were they opposed to the protests and looting? Did it make a difference to seniors that the looters were a small minority of the protesters? The November election will give us the answers to those questions. But elderly voters are among Trump’s most loyal supporters. So their negative reaction to the protests might not help the president when the votes are counted.

Trump’s West Point stunt also did not divert media attention from the criticism of his actions by many three and four star generals and admirals. Their comments certainly will carry more weight in the presidential election than West Point cadets tossing their hats in the air.

Obviously, the president and his PR staffers, like so many people in our business, are so assured of themselves that they never considered that their church stunt might be received negatively by religious leaders and the media. (They broke a rule that I have always told people reporting to me: Don’t assume that you are the smartest person in the room. And if you are, don’t act like it.) 

I created many stunts during the days when media outlets had enough reporters to cover them. A few examples:

  • During my political PR days, a U.S. Senator campaigned on the Staten Island Ferry. I also had a candidate for the New York State Assembly do whistle stop campaigning on the city’s then BMT line. He would get off at each station, greet people, board the next train and repeat the process. 
  • To introduce a new line of athletic wear, I arranged that a portable tennis court be set up in Broadway’s Shubert Alley, where passers by could attempt to return the serve of a professional tennis player. If they could they would receive merchandise. (Not much merchandise was given away.)
  • For a client who sold educational material to schools, I arranged for Hall of Fame baseball player, Monte Irvin, to be named “Math Baseball Commissioner.”. A portable infield of cloth with bases was created. According to the difficulty of the math question the youngsters would be awarded a single, double, etc. Major League teams participated, using Math Baseball as a community event in their areas.
  • For a Broadway show featuring a belly dancer, I arranged for the performer to give free belly dance lessons.

All of these stunts, and others, had one thing in common. They were orchestrated so that the results of a media backlash were minimal, and there was none. (With reduced staffs, today it’s more difficult to get coverage for stunts unless they are tied to a specific newsworthy happening. I rarely advise stand-a-lone stunts.)

Trump’s use of religion when using incendiary tactics and rhetoric is a perfect example of what I’ve seen many times when account people are under pressure from their clients because of poor results – shooting from the hip instead of carefully evaluating why things aren’t working out and making mid-course corrections to previously approved plans, Trump’s actions showed a lack of thinking things through. It showed the necessity of crossing the T’s and doting the I’s before embarking on any PR plan. Because of trying to immediately react to the moment, instead of considering how his march to the church plan might be received by the media and by religious leaders, it resulted in extensive negative press coverage. It’s too early to know how his putting West Point graduates in danger of being infected by the coronavirus will play out. But there’s a bigger downside than upside.

There’s an old proverb “haste makes waste.” The Trump fiasco proves it. PR practitioner should heed it.

In addition to showing a lack of PR know-how, Trump’s inept photo op stunt again exposed his admiration of the strongman tactics of Russia’s Putin, Xi Jinping of China, Kim Jong-un North Korea, Duterte of the Philippines and other dictators. In using gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades against peaceful protesters he now has gained official membership in their club by putting his totalitarian instincts into action. And that’s more important for Americans to remember than a flawed PR stunt.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr @ juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.




Meet The Real Me From Planet Publicity

Thomas MaddenThomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

Like many in my profession, I’ve lived a good part of my life on Planet Publicity.  Our mission?  Making enterprising earthlings famous!  

A boutique PR firm I launched in Manhattan in the early 80s, has rocketed the careers and bottom lines of many entrepreneurs and their businesses to awesome altitudes . . . into opulent orbits.  

We fuel them with the most formidable form of marketing that still exists even in these perilous, riotous times–Publicity!  Now digitally delivered, it’s faster, more flexible and can be aimed at targets like an assault rifle.

Judging from my rapid ascents up Rockefeller Center’s stateliest buildings, some might say I was a heavy hitter, but what a publicist needs to be is a never quitter.  PR firms hound media non-stop until their clients get the recognition they deserve.

When I left NBC, I was the #2 astronaut at 30 Rock being the right hand to then CEO Fred Silverman. 

Then I rocketed myself up into PR space launching one of the country’s high-powered, award-winning firms, TransMedia Group.  

Over the years TransMedia’s clients have included industry captains and skippers of many of America’s largest, most successful companies and organizations, from AT&T to the City of New York.  

When Carl sold Rexall Sundown for $1.6 billion, he’d say how much our non-stop product publicity helped.  The many millions of dollars’ worth of media exposure we generated yearly for his nutritional supplements became his booster-rockets, lifting him into billionaire orbit.

Yes, we publicists have helped enterprising entrepreneurs worldwide to become not only wealthy, but well known, praised and appreciated.  I wrote a book about it, “Spin Man,” and several more since then, including my latest, a steamy paperback, “Love Boat 78.  You’ll find it on Amazon with moist lips and a flirtatious smile.  I recommend reading it at arm’s length for proper moral distancing.  

Now working alongside me is my talented, indefatigable co-pilot daughter Adrienne and her tireless crew.  Together we propel clients to nose-bleed levels of branding through media exposure across all channels, platforms and galaxies. 

So why just advertise to skeptical, indifferent earthlings, often with blind eyes and deaf ears.  Let them read about you, hear about you from more trusted sources in print and broadcast and on social media.

The most business-generating exposure comes from the rockets that blast off from publicity launchpads at PR firms like mine in Boca Raton and from our office in Rome, Italy.  

PR has the power to make you, your company, your charity or hobby pricelessly, permanently, ubiquitously known by making what every business, event or personality must be . . . NEWSWORTHY!




Does Love Island Have a New Publicity Stunt On Its Hands?

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

Britain’s darlings Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham from 2018 Love Island have finally called it quits, it seems, and fans are cynical: with reality star Dani releasing her autobiographical self-help book earlier this week, it seems this is one publicity stunt that no one is buying.

Jack confirmed their break-up in an Instagram statement earlier this week, just one day after Dani celebrated the launch of an autobiographical self-help guide What Would Dani Do?

Cynical fans on Twitter were quick to point out the questionable timing of Jack’s announcement coinciding with Dani’s book promo. As one wrote: “Funny how Jack and Dani break up when she has a book coming out.” In the words of another: “”So Jack announces the break up the same day Dani’s book is out? Either a big publicity stunt or he’s a p****.”

Another fan was equally narky, “”A little convenient @Dani_MasDyer has been putting Jack down these last couple days to make herself look good… just in time to get people to buy her book.”

Posting on his social media story, Jack shared: “There is no easy way to say this and it isn’t going to be an easy time but me and Dani are not in a relationship anymore…We have some amazing memories together and have been through a lot but sometimes things aren’t meant to be and we really did try to make it work but it unfortunately didn’t and that is life.”

Dani has not yet commented on the split and is currently on a book tour; she is currently in the middle of celebrating the launch with her father Danny Dyer.

The pair previously broke up in December last year after six months together, before quickly rekindling their relationship while deciding to live apart. The fact that this particularly reunion coincided with the release of their ITVBe spin-off show, Life After Love Island did not go unnoticed either.

Still, their first split provided good material for the reality show spin-off, with Dani explaining the situation candidly: “I didn’t realise how much it would affect you, Jack, I genuinely didn’t. Obviously, I thought we was over. You have to put things out. It’s not like he didn’t know, he knew we were over at that point. It was horrible, I don’t want to upset anyone, it makes me sad.”

Still, it seemed they were on rocky ground again in an interview Dani gave in recent days. “It’s difficult, because when you are in a relationship with someone, it can change week by week,” she admitted. “We could be so in love one day and I could be, ‘Ooh, it’s amazing!’. Like On Valentine’s Day when I got so many balloons from him… I was like, ‘Oh my god, I want to do a whole chapter on him!’ But then there are other times when I want to moan about him. But relationships aren’t perfect. We say to each other, ‘I don’t know how we’re doing this, but we’re doing alright.” Somehow we’re surviving.”

This might be one publicity stunt that pays off for the celebrities.


About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR firm. His book, “For Immediate Release,” is available on Amazon.




Time’s Up! Overcoming the Negative Publicity of the #GoogleWalkout

 Kate Weckerly, Crisis Communication Specialist, SSPR

 Ok, Google. It’s clear that “time’s up” and the cat’s out of the bag. The culture of inequity the company has clearly embodied has been exposed. And the 20,000 participants in the #GoogleWalkout are gaining media traction and support for their mission to create a better working environment. So, how can Google overcome this negative publicity and move forward? 

1. Meet the protestors where they are. The #GoogleWalkout hashtag is trending all over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But, Google has stayed silent on those platforms. There’s not even a pinned tweet of apology. If the company wants to overcome this hurdle, it needs to meet the protestors where they are and communicate with them. And right now,they’re on Twitter.

2. Do the right thing. It sounds cheesy and overly simplistic, but that’s really all there is to it. Google payed $90 million to an executive found guilty of sexual misconduct. It has terminated 48 employees over the last two years for similar reasons. Google has also systematically paid women less than men and created an environment of male superiority.

The solution to this is simple—stop it. Create a system that evaluates job roles and ensures fair pay, regardless of gender or race. Protestors are demanding a “clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct.” There is no good reason to deny them this request, and it’s a policy that will help Google eliminate these transgressions within the organization moving forward.

3. Communicate and negotiate. The list of protestor demands is lofty, and they aren’t all going to be achievable. One of the demands is to “end pay and opportunity inequity,” with the goal of placing more minority women in all positions throughout the company. The intentions behind this are noble, but to actually execute on this, Google would have to hire based on race and gender, not merit for a position, which is illegal.

However, Google can use this as an opportunity to communicate and negotiate with its employees. Because it can’t meet this demand, company leaders need to explain exactly why and outline what can be done instead. For example, the company can implement the “Rooney Rule” in hiring executives to ensure a minority is interviewed for every leadership role. And that’s just one of many possible solutions for overcoming the diversity barrier Google is facing.

4. Apologize. An apology can go a long way, if it’s done well. This can’t be an insincere “sorry your feelings were hurt” type of statement, either. This should be an apology you would give to your mom. Google must admit wrongdoing, demonstrate it understands why what was done is wrong, and outline steps for how it will correct the problem. The only way to move past the hurt caused by the transgressions is to apologize for them.

5. Implement real, lasting change. Apologizing only goes so far—actions speak louder than words. So, once Google has negotiated with the protestors, reached a compromise and said sorry, its leaders need to get to work on ensuring the issues that caused this protest in the first place don’t occur again.

Frequent updates to stakeholders and employees on what’s being done to drive a culture of equality and fairness is a must. It’s understood that these changes won’t take place overnight, but Google needs to be setting realistic goals and timelines for achieving them. Then, it needs to clearly and frequently communicate the progress it’s making toward these goals.

If Google can follow these tips and overcome this negative publicity, it can set an example for other tech companies. In an industry plagued by sexism, Google has the opportunity to redefine what it means to be a tech giant, leading not only in innovation, but also in workplace equality. Hopefully, other companies can learn from this, implement effective policies to prohibit sexual misconduct and prevent their own employees from being mistreated.


Time’s Up! Overcoming the Negative Publicity of the #GoogleWalkoutAbout the Author: Kate is an integrated media and public relations professional with an expertise in crisis communication. She loves connecting PR successes to business objectives and finding creative ways to tell a company’s story. She is passionate about using communication strategies to create innovative business solutions and drive brand awareness. She spends her free time trying new hobbies, playing with her ferrets and exploring the Rocky Mountains.




Is It Time to Retire That Publicity Bris, The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony?

Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

Why do we keep circumcising our businesses?  Can’t we come up with more creative, imaginative ways to open our stores, restaurants, factories? I know I sure can.

Once I had the secret Krispy Kreme recipe arrive at one of their new stores in an Armored Brinks Truck. I had armed guards carry it into its new home in Palm Beach County. Another time, I gave out thousands of toothbrushes in front of the new Laugh Factory on 42nd St. and 8th Ave in Manhattan.  There were inscribed with “Fight Glum Disease.”

Is It Time to Retire That Publicity Bris, The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony?Now back to that tired old ribbon cutting.

“Okay George you hold that end.  Alice you hold the other end.  Dave and Liz, you two come here, hold the big scissors like this and when I say three, you cut.

Have you ever seen anything more insipid, more boring, and uneventful than a ribbon cutting?  It’s like holding up a big sign saying . . .  SORRY FOLKS, WE’RE NOT THAT IMAGINATIVE!

Ribbons started appearing way back at weddings signifying a bond between a bride and a groom.  How the scissors got in there I’m not sure, but cutting the ribbon is supposed to be a sign of a fresh start.  Yea, sure.

Lately with so many Chambers of Commerce mass producing them, they’ve become commonplace and stale.

Business ribbon-cutting ceremonies started around the end of the 19th century with the opening of railroads, then more prominently with openings like Disneyland Monorail (1959) and the World Trade Center (1973). Like a couple beginning a new life together, the ribbon cutting shows a business is ready for romance and marrying off its products to eligible customers.

Unfortunately today it signals how UNIMAGINATIVE we are with such a conventional send off.  Now folks, come in and sample our restaurant’s UNIMAGINATIVE menu. Shop in our unimaginative store.  Try our UNIMAGIATIVE products.To make it more exciting you’d have to have somebody like Trump cutting the ribbon.  Now that would be a circumcision with sizzle. Or better yet, bring on Stormy Daniels, who could make it a bris to brag about. Not even hush-man Cohen or a tabloid tote’n Pecker could put that buxom genie back in the bottle.

Still every Chamber of Commerce is ever ready with their giant spools of ribbon and oversize scissors, dying to sever your ribbon. Yes, they’ll troop out in a moment’s notice to cut a ribbon in front of a porta john if need be, anything, as long as you pay the dues.  And they’ll publish it in that chamber of ribbon-cutting horrors, the chamber newsletter.

So I say keep the bris, cut out the ribbon cuttings. They’re an embarrassment to business and especially to PR people with an ounce of imagination.  They just don’t cut it anymore.

Next week, I’ll tell you how I made a Kosher Deli in Queens NY world famous by staging a rally by grandmothers fighting for chicken soup.

 

About the Author: Thomas Madden is CEO of TransMedia Group, one of the largest independent PR firms in Florida, where it currently operates. The firm’s clients have included AT&T, American Red Cross, City of New York, GL Homes, Jordache Enterprises, McCormick and Schmick’s, Rexall Sundown, Stanley Steemer.

Want to read a short insightful, funny little book, only 100 pages?  Read my “Is there enough Brady in Trump to win the inSUPERable BOWL?” available on Amazon.

  




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El Chapo Calls on Publicity To Help Him

Ronn Torossian featuredBy Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5W PR

It seems not only politicians and entertainment figures recognize the importance of public relations these days. Even notorious criminals see ways of benefiting from what public relations has to offer. For instance, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a Mexican drug lord, recently requested that his colleagues and wife keep him in the news.

But… why?

But why the recent interest in remaining relevant in the news? El Chapo remains behind bars for the third time in his drug career and intends to get out… again. He let himself out in mid-July of last year when he escaped through a mile-long tunnel and made for freedom. Six months later, local law enforcement recaptured him and marched him back to prison.

As this was not the first time El Chapo escaped from prison, the authorities are no longer taking chances. With the stricter measures in place, his wife now claims he is wasting away in the prison due to slow torture, lack of privacy, high blood pressure, and the guard’s refusal to let him rest. She insists the local authorities simply want to make him pay for the embarrassment his escape caused them.

The Publicity Stunts

If the “innocent young wife” pleading for the release of her husband was not enough, El Chapo’s attorney also took a stand. Jose Luis Gonzalez Meza called a news conference outside the maximum-security prison holding El Chapo. During the news conference, Gonzalez Meza wore a shirt saying “Extradition Never!!!” and threatened to go on a hunger strike to support his client. He also called on other nationals to join him.

In addition, media reports recently involved a bounty allegedly placed on presidential candidate, Donald Trump, for the amount of $100 million. Though El Chapo’s legal team denied the claims, it still painted El Chapo as a savior to many Mexicans opposed to Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.

The Growth of PR

At the rate public relations continues to grow, it wouldn’t surprise many if the right to PR representation became prevalent for convicted criminals in a few years. Imagine that filtering its way into the Miranda rights. Wouldn’t that be something?

The importance placed on public relations by El Chapo and his team shows the importance of public relations in all facets of life and all fields of business – legal and illicit.

By allowing his young, beautiful and – some would say even – naïve wife to paint her own picture of him to the media, he transforms for some from the beast law enforcement paints him as to a knight in shining armor. In essence, not only does he do some much-needed damage control, but he also builds his “brand” as a loving husband and devoted father. Whether or not this helps him achieve his goals, however, remains to be seen.

About the Author:  5WPR Founder & CEO Ronn Torossian is an award-winning Public Relations executive.  Follow his firm on Facebook here

 




The Golin Unternship – The Farthest Thing From a Publicity Stunt

Ginger PorterBy Ginger Porter, Managing Director – Golin Dallas and Atlanta, and creator of the Golin Unternship

Last year on this website our CEO Fred Cook told you about the Golin Unternship. We explained the inspiration behind it, who we chose for this unlikely adventure and our hopes for what will become of Akinbola Richardson after a summer filled with unique experiences that would make him a more well-rounded employee and person.

GolinThis fall, our Chief People Officer Pamela Culpepper shared with you what the Unternship brought to Golin. She talked about how Akin is applying his experiences directly to client challenges and new business opportunities. I can tell you as a videographer here in our Dallas office, Akin’s rare and wondrous worldview has already fueled some awe inspiring creative.

And now we’re here to say we’re doing it again.

The Unternship wasn’t a publicity stunt. We didn’t do it for attention or earning media coverage. This wasn’t a one-year, flash in the pan PR move. We did it because we knew that redefining the internship would redefine our intern, and as a result, we found an employee who has changed the game for us.

At Golin, we’re big on flipping things upside-down. We disrupt, we challenge and we repeat. We’re rarely satisfied with the status quo, pushing ourselves to do old things in new ways. That might be scary, but we aren’t afraid of fear. We’re afraid of mediocrity.

And that’s the kind of person we are looking for. If you are a recent North American college grad or will graduate this spring – someone who can engineer their own Unternship that crosses cultures, border lines and comfort zones – we want to hear from you. Apply for the Golin Unternship here, and get ready to travel across the country, generating memories and life experiences that will serve you (and us) for years to come.

An unlikely internship program has yielded an unlikely employee. And we can’t wait to see what our next Untern will bring to Golin.




Starbucks Red Cup Controversy? A Publicity Score!

david johnsonBy David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

Starbucks Red Cups

(Photo source: Twitter)

Unless a person has been totally hidden from social media or traditional media, they know that Starbucks has unveiled its Christmas season cup.  The cup is plain red with the Starbucks logo emblazoned on it.  The company kept it simple with the traditional colors of the season in an effort to foster inclusiveness and diversity it claimed.  The reaction has been incredible.  Many claiming to be leading Christians blasted the company for omitting traditional holiday messages on the cup as in pervious years or missing the reason of the season.  In fact the Starbucks red cup has been one of the biggest stories on social media and in traditional media.  The Starbucks holiday cup has been of the most frequent searches on Google.  Starbucks has emerged as a branding winner in this story.

How were they able to make this controversy a winner for the brand?

First they were very measured in their response to critics.  Rather than ignore the controversy or go into full crisis mode, they were nuanced.  On their website they reiterated their main point of why they were doing the simple red cup.  For millions who buy into the Starbucks’ brand story that response just reinforced their belief in the brands.  For others, it was a non-story not pitting Starbucks against its critics.  And the media could not make a bigger story of the controversy from the company’s response so the story continued to be the new holiday cup and not Starbucks versus its critics.

With the increased noise over the Starbucks’ holiday cup, the Starbucks website saw increased traffic.  Starbucks with this increased traffic in mind put its holiday offerings – Christmas blend and other products front and center on the website.  What a great way to advertise!

Long-term as I mentioned it, reinforced the brand identity to its loyal customers.  Consumers expect their brands to tell a story and share their values.  Starbucks in this holiday cup saga reinforced the social values that so many of its loyal consumers have come to expect from the company.

Finally, Starbucks reaped millions in free publicity.  It was a major story in all of the media.  Social media is still several days later abuzz with the story.  People who know little about Starbucks and its various holiday offerings now do.  All achieved at very little cost to the company.

Starbucks has emerged as a major winner with its holiday cup saga.  Other brands can learn from it.


About the Author:  David E. Johnson is the CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, a public relations and branding agency that specializes in crisis communications, branding, and media relations.  Additional information on Johnson and Strategic Vision, LLC may be obtained at www.strategicvision.biz




6 Ways for Your Business to Reach More Customers

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Most businesses thrive off of having a lot of customers. After all, more customers generally mean that your business will be earning more money. Bringing in a lot of customers also means that your business has a bigger likelihood of gaining loyal customers, which could provide a steady income stream.

However, all of this can only take place once you have those customers. But that, unfortunately, can often be the hard part. Reaching a lot of customers can be hard to do if your business is still quite new, or if you have a small business. Luckily, we’re here to help. We’ll be sharing six ways that your business can reach more customers. If that sounds good to you, then keep reading. 

Use data

Businesses nowadays have a much bigger advantage than businesses a few years back had, because businesses have access to a lot of data, and they can use that to their benefit. 

Your business probably already uses data to monitor employees and manage finances, so why not use it to help you reach more customers? Software such as a territory map maker can help you understand more about your customers, which could, in turn, help you come up with better strategies to get more customers. For example, if you can see that your business doesn’t get a lot of customers from a certain area, you may need to market twice as hard in that area to make up the difference. 

Get on social media

Most people use at least one kind of social media, so by not using it to reach customers, you’re missing out. There are loads of social media platforms out there, each with its own audience. By utilizing these platforms, you can reach a large number of potential customers at once. 

While you can opt for paid advertisements on social media, you can also use it as an entirely free platform to promote your product and interact with clients. Instagram is currently one of the most popular social media platforms, so if you’re looking for tips on how to grow your Instagram audience, you can find some here.

BusinessUse the online sphere

We’ve already spoken about how successful social media can be when it comes to reaching customers, but social media isn’t the only online aspect that your business can use to reach people. For example, having a website can help people learn more about your business in one convenient space. You can also make use of email marketing or pay to have your business advertised on people’s blogs. The possibilities are nearly endless!

Go to markets or fairs

Many businesses are run entirely online. This has many benefits, especially when it comes to finances. However, it doesn’t give you the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with customers, and some people don’t like buying products online. Luckily, there is a way for you to sell your products directly to your customers without having the monthly expenses of a physical store.

By having a stall at markets or fairs, you get to reach more customers, especially those who might not use the internet very often. Since these are usually once a week, you won’t be paying as much as you would if you had to rent a shop or something similar. Just be sure to have an attractive market stall.

Collaborate with other businesses

Look, no matter how many of these methods you follow, it’s likely going to take you some time to reach as many customers as you’d like, especially if you’re a small business. However, there is a way for you to reach a lot of customers at once, and that is to collaborate with a bigger business than you.

Business collaborations are beneficial for both parties because they each get to reach an audience that they might not ordinarily have access to. If you can effectively form a business collaboration, you’re sure to gain more customers. 

Make use of a variety of marketing techniques

We know we’ve been talking about how much the internet can help you reach customers, and that is absolutely true. However, you shouldn’t solely rely on the internet when it comes to your business marketing.

Instead, use a combination of digital and old-school marketing techniques. Advertising on billboards, televisions, and the radio can help your business gain the publicity it needs, while at the same time reaching more customers. When it comes to reaching as many customers as possible, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one method; the more you do, the more customers you will reach. 




(Op-Ed) The Best in Bad Taste

Arthur Solomon

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written about the debauched antics of Donald John Trump, the twice-impeached president of the United States. But it was only a matter of time before his morally-deficient brain provided new material for discussion.

But before we discuss his most recent attempt to hit a new nadir, in order to put it into perspective, a quick look of  his past lows are called for.

There are many things that we know about Donald John Trump, the twice-impeached president of the United States. Don’t take my word for it. Check his history.

  • He’s a con man, as evidenced by his having to close down his Trump University because instead of it being a university it was exposed as a money-making con job for Trump.
  • His business is being investigated for alleged tax fraud.
  • He’s a bully, who attacks people who can’t fight back, like a reporter with a medial condition that Trump made fun of because he didn’t like a question, or Gold Star parents whose son was killed defending America.
  • He’s a philanderer.
  • He has a mouth like a toilet. 
  • He’s a sore loser.
  • He’s an instigator.
  • He’s a charity cheat.
  • He’s a draft cheat.
  • He’s also a coward, instigating the January 6 march that resulted in the Capitol insurrection, while he went in the opposite direction.

And those were only the ones I could think of without researching his sorry career of lies, insults, and breaking the law.

But as a PR practitioner who once help publicize the annual circuses at Madison Square Garden in New York City, I was aware that occasionally a clown would flabbergast the audience – although never in a way to frighten them.

Nevertheless, I was flabbergasted  when I learned that the former clownish twice-impeached president and his equally odious son, Junior, would provide commentary for a boxing match on of all days, September 11, while America was mourning the 2001 attacks on that day that killed more than 3000 Americans and destroyed the Twin Towers.

While nothing that the former twice-impeached president does should have shocked me, this did. Of all the days, having a former president, even a twice-impeached one, participate in an obvious publicity stunt in which two men attempt to beat each other up, demonstrated once again how low the two Donald’s can sink. 

When he ran for president, the twice-impeached former low-level real-estate developer, said he would clean up the swamp in Washington,  What he did, instead, was drain the swamp into the White House, judging by the number of his associates who have been convicted of crimes.

By deciding to doing boxing commentary on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, I wouldn’t be surprised if the swamp is now in his head.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and nonsports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net




Over-The-Top Music Marketing from Kanye West

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

After a number of different listening events spanning over several weeks and a significant delay, Kanye West finally released his latest studio album. The album was originally scheduled to be released in July, after three separate and elaborate listening events, but was postponed because it was allegedly unfinished. To complete the album, West decided to stay at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta before finally hosting the last listening event in Chicago with Marilyn Manson, DaBaby, and  Kim Kardashian West as participants. 

The album was originally promised to be released last year, but Kanye West faced multiple delays. He also filed papers to change his name to Ye while working on the album. During the last listening event before the album was released, Kanye West pulled a number of different publicity stunts in order to get even more attention around his latest work. 

The listening event was attended by Marilyn Manson, who is currently facing multiple allegations of sexual abuse. Earlier this year he was dropped by his record label after the actress Evan Rachel Wood publicly stated that she was abused by the musician. On the other hand, the other event participant, DaBaby, has been recently condemned over a number of homophobic remarks during a festival. 

The final participant of the listening event was West’s own ex-wife, Kim Kardashian West, who was seen wearing a wedding dress and accompanied by their four children. The listening event ended with Kanye West walking out of a burning replica of his childhood home, and joining up with his ex-wife. 

As marketer Rick De La Croix noted, “Once the album was released, it received mixed reviews, but it had plenty of music reviewer’s wondering whether West should have placed all 27 tracks on the album in the first place. Nevertheless, the entire marketing campaign and the publicity stunts that followed the release of the album made for plenty of media coverage around Kanye West’s fan base.” 

Additionally, when the album was made public across all streaming platforms, West released a statement saying that the album was released by his label, Universal Music Group, without his approval. He also claimed that the label ended up blocking one of the songs that featured the two controversial listening event participants, Marilyn Manson and DaBaby. However, Universal Music Group released a statement soon after, stating that the album had been approved by Kanye West and his team for release. 

These statements generated even more publicity around the album, helping him  chart higher and making fans talk  about it across social media platforms even more.


RONN TOROSSIAN - HOW MANY FOLLOWERS DO YOU NEED ON INSTAGRAM TO GET PAID?About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of PR agency 5WPR.




It’s Time For A “Sports History Hall Of Shame”

Baseball Hall of FameArthur Solomon

An abridged ceremony, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, was held in Cooperstown, N.Y. on September 8, when baseball players Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and players’ labor leader Marvin Miller were inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. 

As usual, the ceremony received major positive coverage, as do induction ceremonies for all sports Hall of Fames. In recent years, more than an athlete’s statistics have been considered for inclusion into the Halls. But that was not always so.

Sports Halls of Fame are filled with athletes whose status as heroes are, at best, dubious because of their off-the-field actions. 

Conduct that would affect the careers of nonathletes, like me and most of my former sports writing and sports marketing PR colleagues, are excused by the sports moguls as long as the athlete can help a team.

The distressing aspect about the Halls of Fame is that they would be meaningless structures without the cooperation of many sports journalists, who unlike the great majority of none sports businesses and political journalists act as cheer leaders for the multi-billion dollars sports business.

Halls of Fames are a growth business in the United States. If they were listed on the New York Stock Exchange they would get continuous “buy” recommendations from financial advisors because they are always getting new inventory popular with sports fanatics and massive free positive publicity from the media.

But unlike the Shakespeare’s quote that, “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,” the entrance to the Halls of Fames should be inscribed with, “The good stats that men do lives after them; the evil is oft interred with their bones.”  Of course in the case of sports Halls of Fame inductees, the deciders of “good” are individuals whose livelihoods are dependent on sports.  That often means the warts of inductees that would disqualify individuals from receiving honors in the civilian world are often overlooked in the sports universe.

There are numerous sports Halls of Fames. What’s messing is a “Sports History Hall of Shame.” Past and current happenings show that there are many candidates for inclusion, some now in the sanctioned official Halls. The inscription on the entrance to the  “Sports History Hall of Shame.” should be, with apologies to Cole Porter, “Most Anything Goes.”

The “Sports History Hall of Shame.”  would be divided into various corridors:

The Foul Play Corridor

This would feature the athletes from all sports who have been caught breaking the rules of their sport. A few examples, pitchers who have “doctored” baseballs; batters who have used illegal bats; football coaches who secretly taped other teams practices; quarterbacks who used under inflated footballs, and performers of all sports who have been caught using PEDs of various sorts (that are probably used by the great majority of athletes). Also included would be examples of “gamesmanship,” which Meriam-Webster defines as, “the art or practice of winning games by questionable expedients without actually violating the rules, or the use of ethically dubious methods to gain an objective.”

The Hypocrite Wing

Over the entrance to this chamber would be, in solid gold, an engraving saying, “We honor owners of National Football League, and Major League Baseball teams who have had run-ins with the law, along with other moguls of sports who allow health-adverse products on team telecasts that are welcomed by the television networks on whose broadcasts these harmful products are promoted regardless of the age of the viewing audience. 

Of course, the following corridor would be the largest of the “Sports History Hall of Shame” with five chambers.

1 – The Con Artist Hall

This would feature all the quotes from the owners of teams and league commissioners, who over the decades tried, and still try, to camouflage their businesses as just a sport; also all the athletes who act like they’re really knowledgeable about the products they endorse. And the hypocrisy of the international sports moguls who, with money provided by their  “proud sponsors” accomplices, promote Olympic and other sporting events to be played in any country that comes up with enough money, and even more shamefully awards them to totalitarian countries that are devoid of human rights. Prime Examples: Russia, China, Nazi Germany.

2 – The Extortion Corridor

You don’t have to be a fan of mob movies to witness shakedowns. Just read the sports pages, and based on history you’ll learn how the owners of major sport franchises use shakedowns that are within the law: (Gamesmanship at its zenith?) “Build us a new stadium or we’ll move; give us tax abatements or we’ll move; give us whatever we want or we’ll move.” Perhaps the most famous shakedown occurred in 1958, when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants dug up their roots and transplanted them in California. The impetus for the move was when New York parks commissioner Robert Moses refused Dodger owner Walter O’Malley’s “take it or we’ll leave” ultimatum to build a new stadium in downtown Brooklyn, which would have also cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Once the Dodgers decided to move, the Giants followed. (Personally, I think it was a conspiracy.) An analysis by Bloomberg, in 2012, revealed that 22 National Football League teams were playing in tax-exempt debt and 64 baseball, basketball and hockey teams played in arenas that were built using the bonds. The most recent research on the subject that I was able to find was that the Chicago Cubs, in 2013, threatened to move after being refused tax dollars for a ballpark renovation. Of course, there have been more recent relocations. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “extortion” as, “The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.” Hmm.

3 – The Totalitarian Hall

This sector would be devoted to members of the International Olympic Committee who continuously degrade the world’s most important sporting event by awarding the games to totalitarian countries devoid of human rights and other freedoms. Sharing a prominent place in this corridor would be FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, and other international sports federations, along with photos of dictators who use the games as a PR tool.

4 – The Cover-Up Sector

This corridor would include both on-the-field personnel and front office executives. A special “dishonorable actions” display would be devoted to the National Football League that for year’s tried to cover-up that the fact that the celebratory “hard hits” caused brain damage, death and other life-altering events to players, as well as trying to smear the reputation of prestigious scientists whose research confirmed the dangers of football. Adjacent to the NFL display, would be one regarding how for many years Major League Baseball officials tried to cover-up the use of PEDs and when it was exposed threw the players under the bus. 

5 – The Gambling Corridor

This would include four sections: One for athletes, like the Chicago White Sox players who were accused of purposely losing the 1919 World Series, and another for more modern day baseball, basketball and football players accused of betting. The NBA betting scandals of the 2000s would be featured along with numerous college basketball scandals. The third section would be devoted to the NFL commissioner and team owners who said for years that they wouldn’t permit a franchise in Las Vegas, until they got an offer they couldn’t refuse. Also, the leagues and team owners who have invested in TV sports gambling businesses. The most up-to-date display, in a sector with a Las Vegas-like theme with glitzy lighting, will be named the 

“How To Lose Your Money While At Home.” It is devoted to the latest gambling innovations, which will permit fans to wager on individual happenings – like whether a quarterback will pass or hand-off or if a batter will get a hit or strike out. The combinations of different happenings are countless, and TV viewers are able to bet in real time while guzzling alcoholic beverages that sponsor the teams. 

Of course, to be complete, any “Sports History Hall of Shame.” must contain a wing for the sports media, without  whose help sports could not continue to be the opioid of so many people. Thus…

The Press Box

This corridor is shared by four types of reporters: 1 – the ones that act as PR people for teams, especially during baseball’s spring training or football’s college draft by heralding unproven newcomers the next coming of Babe Ruth or Joe Montana and by reporting statements by players, managers, and team owners as if what they were saying was actually newsworthy.  2- Reporters who for generations covered up the transgressions of ball players. 3 – The relatively new practice of sports journalists acting as fans and openly rooting for teams they cover instead of providing objective reporting and 4 – Reporters who have, and still do, turn a blind eye to the evils of sports – like concussions of football, the abusive treatment of thoroughbred horses, the National Hockey League’s refusing to admit that playing the “game” is dangerous, to name a few.

Sports Marketing Brands and PR People

Adjacent to The Press Box corridor will be one detailing the many U.S. brands that have financed international sporting events in despotic countries; that have positioned athletes as hawkers of products despite the athletes lack of knowledge about them, along with league, team and sports marketing PR people, who like sheep follow the scripts handed to them by those who pay their salaries. 

The Blame Game

Too big to house all in one corridor, The Blame Game will be located in a stand-a-alone annex the size of the Library of Congress. It is devoted to all the team owners and their general managers who, because of their ineptness in securing winning talent, blame managers and coaches for losing seasons. (The idea for “The Blame Game” annex was suggested by a committee composed  of high-ranking none sports PR executives and account agency supervisors, who have for generations been blaming innocent low level employees for accounts going sour, when the fault lies with the lack of ability of their supervisors to provide the necessary help.)

But, perhaps, the most shameful of all the corridors in the “Sports History Hall of Shame” would be shared by league and team executives, advertising execs and the TV networks and local stations that permit TV commercials promoting gambling and drinking during telecasts of games during the hours when many are watched by impressionable youngsters. The entrance to this corridor would have a huge fluorescent sign reading “Bet and Drink Responsibly,” companioned by a smaller sign in agate size font saying “We Don’t Mean It.” (Listening to some baseball sports programming makes me wonder if betting odds have replaced batting averages and earned runs as the most important stats. But the soon to begin football, basketball and hockey seasons will offer wagering opportunities conducive to those sports.)

The Still To Come Corridor

For the time being, this corridor would remain empty while waiting the arrival of hypocritical and criminal actions by the sports community that are so disturbing that we can’t imagine what they will be until they occur.

Full Disclosure

As might be evident from this column, I’m a bit jaundiced about the actual Halls of Fames, which in reality are nothing more than publicity gimmicks for sports leagues, and more recently for individual teams that have created their own Halls of Fame. 

Sports writers, and others associated with the sports family, can nominate athletes to be enshrined even though they never saw them hit a curve ball or sink a last second three-pointer. Many vote from reading record books or hearing handed-down tales and fables, even though the games have dramatically changed over the years, as has the tools of the trade like fielder’s gloves, the distances to hit a home run, the length of the seasons, protective football and hockey equipment,  tennis rackets, the size of the athletes, and the nutrition and the scientific training that modern day athletes receive and that are still being improved upon as I write this.

Also, to say that only what happens on the playing fields should be considered during Hall of Fames voting permits athletes who have committed unsportsmanlike acts to be venerated as heroes. There are too many people in Halls that should not be considered for any museum that celebrates heroes.

As New York Mets announcers Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez said on an  August 29 telecast, it doesn’t hurt having friends on the committees that vote on players to be enshrined in MLB’s Hall.

In my opinion, a special section in all Halls of Fame should be reserved for individuals who made a substantial contribution to sports; everything else is just hype for the various sports. And in baseball’s case, the only individuals that I can think of that fit that description are Babe Ruth, whose feats made fans put the Chicago White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series  on the back burners and who contributed mightily to the popularity of baseball, former center fielder Curt Flood, whose refusal to be traded was instrumental in changing baseball’s free agency practice, Marvin Miller, the labor leader, under whose leadership the way teams negotiated with players in all professional sports was changed, and Jackie Robinson, who made what is the greatest contribution, opening the sport to ballplayer’s of all colors and nationalities. 

To believe that the Hall voters should only choose on the athlete’s athletic accomplishments and not on their character is similar to someone saying, “Winning triumphs everything.”

Presidents of the United States don’t get a pass for their misbehaver; neither do CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies (or Jeopardy game show hosts) or Jane and Joe Worker. But if you can pass that football, sink a three pointer, hit a moon shot home run, athletes’ transgressions receives many passes. It’s as if they’re in a protective bubble that in my opinion should have been burst decades ago.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and nonsports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net

 




Willard Scott Helped Make My Jewish Penicillin Story Front Page News

Willard Scott Helped Make My Jewish Penicillin Story Front Page News

 

Tom Madden,  Founder & CEO, TransMedia Group

Everybody in PR this century has I’m sure a Willard Scott story.  Mine, if you’ll pardon the expression, is a doozy, which I’m remembering on the eve of the  Jewish high holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur amid the gloomy weather report that the jovial rotund, retired NBC forecaster has died at 87, no not degrees, age! 

The longtime comic weatherman on the “Today” show put entertainment and clownish laughter and his own brand of shtick into his forecasts and one of them resulted in one of the biggest PR coups I ever had in my career as a grand slam publicist. 

The client back in 1986 was chicken soup, actually Ben’s Best Kosher Deli in Queens.

The Public Relations Journal called it a farcical mini-epic that pitted a small delicatessen, 100 grandmothers and Henny Youngman against the portly, bigger than life Willard Scott representing the makers of one of the country’s best-selling cold remedies-Contact.  

The way the Journal depicted it, the play went like this: 

MADDEN’S CRISIS MANAGEMENT FOR CHICKEN SOUP (ALIAS JEWISH PENICILLIN) STARRING WEATHERMAN WILLARD SCOTT, COMEDIAN HENNY YOUNGMAN AND A POSSE OF JEWISH GRANDMOTHERS DIRECTED BY SPIN MADDEN.

(A Three-Act PR Play)

The first alternative medicine I ever promoted was chicken soup.  Our PR campaign in 1986 was such a hit with New York media that the Public Relations Journal gave it a rave review.

According to my profession’s esteemed trade journal, I had put together a PR program that came off like a well-crafted three-act play for which I wrote the script, pulled together an incredible cast and taken my seat in the director’s chair.

I did this for Ben’s Best Kosher Deli in Queens, New York, one of the clients of my PR firm, TransMedia Group.  Ben’s served the pastrami, corned beef, brisket and tongue that if you’re from New York and you moved to Florida you dream about.

I had to hand it to my troupe.  Everyone played their part superbly.  Staging couldn’t have been better at Ben’s.  It blew the lid off the soup pot.  And Willard stole the show charming all the Jewish grandmoms.

The play went something like this:

(AT RISE, The PR playwright (me) is at home watching television. On the screen, the comedian Steve Landsberg is comparing chicken soup to Contact cold capsules.  Landsberg claims Contact is more effective than chicken soup for combating colds. Commercial ends.)

(Darkness.)

ACT 1, SCENE 1

(Ben’s Best Kosher Deli on Queens Blvd. in Queens, NY. Yours truly and the owner, Jay Parker, are sitting at a table, bowls of our beloved but defamed chicken soup in front of us.)

ME: Listen I’ve got a terrific idea. It won’t cost much and you’ll get a million bucks worth of publicity out of it.

PARKER: (his feelings truly hurt): They really said that?  How could they say that? How can a simple pill compete against a good bowl of chicken soup? Don’t they know this is Jewish Penicillin?

(DARKNESS) 

ACT 1, SCENE 2

(The set of The Today Show at NBC where I was once Vice President, Assistant to the President, then Fred Silverman.  NBC weatherman Willard Scott, a national spokesman for Contact, is battling the flu. Scott sneezes and coughs as he tries to report the weather.

I had my wife and business partner Angela rush over to him a bowl of Ben’s Best chicken soup.  All over America, millions of TV viewers that morning watched Scott, the national spokesman for Contact, gratefully sip from the cup of soup containing Ben’s Best logo clearly visible on camera.  Hit #1.

(Darkness)

 ACT 2—THE PROTEST

(Ben’s Best Kosher Deli. Present are myself, one of my PR account executives who used to do PR for Ringling Bros. Circus and Parker.

Also present, invited by us, was Congressman Gary Ackerman, comedian Henny Youngman, a number of local grandmothers carrying placards protesting “Contact Unfair to Chicken Soup.”

(Journalists scribble notes frantically, flashbulbs pop.)

REP. ACKERMAN: (reading from a proclamation): Let it be known to all assembled that Ben’s Best Kosher Deli . . . has courageously upheld the dignity, the honor and the medicinal value of chicken soup, in the face of unwarranted and slanderous attacks from the slick, the cynical and the manipulators of Madison Avenue.

 PARKER: Chicken soup is the drug of choice of all these grandmothers . . . After all, there’s no warning label, and we know what the side effects are over a 500-year period.

(Journalists scribble notes frantically, flashbulbs pop.)

ACT 3—THE RECONCILIATION

Ben’s Best Kosher Deli, Next Day: Present are me, the beaming congressman, cheering grandmothers and the same chorus of media.  Press coverage so far included the front page of The Wall Street Journal, plus prominent coverage in USA TodayThe New York Daily News, Newsday, just to name a few, the clippings all now adorning the walls of the world- famous deli.

Enter Willard Scott and representatives of SmithKline Beckman and BBD&O, the advertising firm that created the Landsberg commercial.  Members of the delegation carry signs that read: “Contact Loves Chicken Soup.” 

Willard kisses each grandmother and begins slurping soup.

A deliriously grateful Parker pulls me aside and says (I hoped kiddingly): 

“Tom, what’s TransMedia going to do for me next week.”

THE END




NFT Art Agency Announces Launch and Auction from Groundbreaking Contemporary Artists

CommPRO Editorial Staff

The NFT Art Agency announced the launch of their organization that was established to promote iconic artists in the burgeoning NFT market, and offer a complete representation package that includes animation, minting, publicity, sale, rights management, career coaching, and financial planning. The NFT Art Agency is kicking off the launch of their organization with the auction of NFT pieces from three groundbreaking contemporary artists that are pushing the boundaries of modern artwork, and providing a path for mindfulness, provoking passionate discourse, and combining medium and marketplace for discerning connoisseurs and investors.

The NFT auctions include work from:

  • José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros – Rodolfo will debut five NFTs on Binance’s marketplace including “Babi Threesome,” “Contemporary Family,” “Lie To Me (Pinocchio Graffiti),” “Mexican Mickey,” and “The Box.” Rodolfo is a visual artist born in Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico. Among his hundreds of thousands of fans are a cadre of celebrities and top-tier tastemakers who enjoy his edgy and unorthodox juxtapositions of beloved animated icons and the trappings of contemporary tabloid fame. His work has been shared across the internet by leading organizations, celebrities, and media.
  • INDECLINE – the group’s debut NFT drop will include the 3-D digital work “Emperor,” which is a looped motion graphic of the group’s infamous Naked Donald Trump sculptures that garnered national attention ahead of the 2016 election. The NFT Art Agency will represent their most important and infamous public artworks as well as a series of new projects created specifically for the NFT audience.

INDECLINE is an Activist Art Collective founded in 2001. It is comprised of graffiti writers, filmmakers, photographers and full-time rebels and activists. INDECLINE focuses on social, ecological and economical injustices carried out by American and International governments, corporations and law enforcement agencies. You can preview INDECLINE’s artwork here.

  • Ken Salter – Ken Salter will debut five NFTs on Binance’s NFT marketplace including “Bells,” “Look,” “Mary,” “So Tonight,” and “Umbilical.” Ken’s NFTs are hypnotic works that aid both meditation and mindfulness and combine almost every aspect of his chosen art practices, which epitomize the scientific principle of emergence.

Ken Salter has been at the frontier of entertainment technology and art for over 25 years. His company manufactures large sculptures using digital techniques, for some of the world’s most recognized artists, including the fabrication of Jeff Koons’ Balloon Rabbit. Ken was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008 at the age of 46, which awakened his artistic abilities, and in 2017 he built “Reflecting Pool,” a device that feeds video images captured on camera back into the screen being photographed, replicating into several windows as a mosaic on the screen.

“With over thirty years experience in the traditional art business, we’ve gathered a roster of some of the most important contemporary artists who have expanded the utility of the virtual space by producing artworks that transcend cultural boundaries,” said Matt Kennedy, CEO of The NFT Art Agency. “We’re beyond proud to represent these artists as they enter into the exciting next generation of digital art via their NFT auctions.”

Additional artists and NFT auctions forthcoming from The NFT Art Agency include works from: THE PANIK COLLECTIVE, an anonymous team of credentialed painters, sculptors, musicians, mathematicians & curators who frequently change their medium to best accommodate themes of sex, gender, politics, and chicanery; and Howard Hallis, who worked for and collaborated with Dr. Timothy Leary from 1992 until his death in 1996, and actually set up the camera which captured Leary’s death via livestream on the internet – one of the all-time most-important performance art pieces.

Source: Blockchain Wire




Using Local Online Media for PR  

Using Local Online Media for PR

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

Local online media for PR often delivers a better return on investment. Sometimes these avenues work better for businesses, especially locally-based businesses. Neighbors and customers together with prospects in the geographic area of a business go online as part of their everyday routines. They go through online newspapers and magazines, shop from online stores, and download music, software, and books. PR can play a very important role in ensuring that a business gets its share of attention from local customers. Given below are the different ways by which a  business can connect better with local customers. 

Post online PR about local activities – If a company sponsors local activities like workshops, educational seminars, and grand openings, online PR about such activities can help. Holding charity food drives or participating in community programs also need local press coverage. 

Cultivate a local audience – It has to be ensured that the content that is posted has a very local focus. Creating contests that encourage neighbors and local patrons to send photos of themselves, their pets, or their kids, can be extremely helpful. It is likely that when a photo is posted the local patrons will shoot off emails to a lot of their social media contacts and drive traffic to the site of the business. Target local newspapers, radio stations, magazines or websites that are well read or watched and fit the needs of an ideal client for the business. 

Mobile advertising- Mobile advertisement is growing in importance as an element of online PR. Many local businesses have transitioned away from asking customers for their email address to asking for their mobile phone numbers and permission to send event news, coupons, and updates via text messages. Making customers aware about a special deal, a newly available product or an online-only coupon can lead to sales that would otherwise be missed. 

Create PR opportunities – If it is the tenth anniversary of a business, or if it has won an award or a big contract, then the local media should be informed. Success stories are very appealing to readers and listeners. They rank higher than a sales pitch. Publicity can be maximized by tying up competitions with other events such as Valentine’s Day or the launch of new products. The advantage of local media is that there is more influence over how a story is presented compared to national press which may be looking for a more sensational angle. Yelp and Citysearch are sites that capitalize on the concept of ‘local’. Not only do these sites help others to find a business, they also encourage customers to rate their recent experience. If a business provides good service, it can expect most of its ratings to be positive.


About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of PR agency, 5WPR.




The Ball Field Was Corny

Arthur Solomon

Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner in the film Field of Dreams, said one of the most misquoted lines in movie history, when he said, “If you build it, he will come.” Ever since the line that was said in the sports fantasy movie has often been misquoted as “If you build it, they will come.”

And they certainly did, when the first Major League Baseball game in Iowa’s history was played at the Field of Dreams stadium in Dyersville on August 12 between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees.  

The PR stunt was supposed to celebrate the nostalgic rural nature of baseball’s beginning.  And many did come, filling the 8,000 seat stadium. But any resemblance between the high salaried players, those people who attended the game and Joe six-pack was missing, because even if all the “working stiffs” in the world assembled in Dyersville most certainly couldn’t afford the price of a ticket.  In effect, the Field of Dreams game was an elite TV stunt, thought up by elite high-salaried executives.

The average ticket price on the resale market was a record $3,500 on StubHub and $4,200 on SeatGeek, according to published reports. StubHub says the average for Thursday’s game on its site was $1,400; at SeatGeek, the average price of tickets sold on its site was $1,557. TickPick says the top ticket on its site went for a cool $4,000 and the average ticket price was $1,300 and change. CNBC said some premium seats sold for $10,000.

Tickets had a face value of either $375 or $425, and were sold to fans in Iowa and White Sox season ticket holders who won lotteries for the right to buy about 8,000 seats at the temporary stadium.

The tickets were the most expensive average price for a regular season baseball game, which has become too expensive for many would-be buyers to be considered for a family outing. TickPick reported Opening Day prices for the 2021 season increased 53% when compared with the first game of 2019. It said the average ticket price for 2021 openers was $162.21, up from $105.74 in 2019.

While the average cost of a regular season game ticket is among the lowest of any major sports at $53.00, baseball has been promoted as a family sport. But when you add in two hotdogs, a beer or two, soft drinks for kids, and perhaps an ice cream, the cost for two people attending a game is more than $100, excluding transpiration costs. Perhaps that’s why baseball stadiums are rarely sold out and Major League teams have no hesitancy to moving their franchise to another location.

In my opinion, as a PR person who feels that stunts must have an immediate positive response, the Field of Dreams game was a stunt whose objectives escape me.

Here are a few stunts that I created:

  • The stunt: For a Broadway show that featured a belly dance, I had the belly dancer give free lessons to any women who would register for lessons on a certain day. Reason why: To gain publicity for a show in order to increase ticket sales.
  • The stunt: To introduce a new line of tennis clothes I arranged for a tennis court to be set-up near New York’s Times Square area. Any passerby who could return the serve of a professional tennis player would win a prize. Reason why: To gain publicity for a new line of clothing that would receive more than just trade pubs publicity.
  • The stunt: For an unknown local political candidate, I arranged a subway “whistle stop” campaign with the candidate getting off the train at each stop in his district to introduce himself to potential voters. Reason why: To breakthrough the clutter of routine political announcements that were an everyday occurrence during an election season.
  • The stunt: To promote the use of fiberglass, I suggested setting up an indoor playground made entirely of the product and invited reporter’s to bring their youngsters to the playground. Reason Why: To show the various ways the product can be used.
  • The stunt: For a classroom instructional game called “Math Baseball,” I arranged for local Major League teams to participate in staging a game as a community relations promotion. Reason Why: To promote the educational products of a company. 

Each of these stunts had a direct purpose: To gain media coverage that would have an immediate positive affect that couldn’t be achieved another way. And they all achieved that goal. (Importantly, I told the clients that the stunts wouldn’t result in long time publicity and that they were an add-on to attract instant media attention as part of a strategic program.)

Did Major League Baseball think that dressing up players in old time uniforms and playing a game in a corn field would produce meaningful results? If a hotly contested pennant race doesn’t bring out the fans, a made for TV stunt certainly won’t.

The Field of Dreams game had two clear winners, in my opinion – Dyersville, Iowa, which will now be a destination for baseball junkies, and Fox, which televised the game.

“Fox will rake in more ad sales revenue from the Field of Dreams game this week than from any other regular-season game during the network’s 25-year relationship with the league. Not only that, but the ad sales revenue from Thursday’s game will more than double the revenue from the No. 2 regular-season game,” Sports BusinessJournal reported on August 9. But, as with any one-shot event, the long time results are fleeting. 

Whenever I orchestrated a stunt, it was to achieve an immediate positive effect and gain publicity for a client that otherwise would have been impossible to achieve. But Major League Baseball gets free publicity every day in newspapers, radio and TV sportscasts. During certain times of the year, the sports reports are saturated with baseball news. And while other events, like the Olympics, are adding events that are popular with younger people, baseball resorted to the nostalgia play.

Despite the one or three day hullabaloo, the Field of Dreams stunt will soon be a memory until next year. Good PR strategy should produce long time results. I don’t see how the Field of Dreams game will do that. It’s not like other promotional stunts, like the Academy Awards, the Tony Awards and so many others that result in immediate ticket sales.

An important taka-a-way for PR people is that any stunt must be strategic because publicity for publicities sake is meaningless. And the message points must be clear. I still don’t hear them from Major League Baseball.


The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and nonsports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net