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Archive for February, 2015

Gated community.

Friday, February 27th, 2015

B:W grate in front doorway

Sculptural and functional; so profoundly captivating.

Shot on an iPhone by Jon Keeling. 

When PR Firms and Clients Don’t See Eye-to-Eye on Issues

Thursday, February 26th, 2015



The world’s largest public relations firm, Edelman, has ended its relationship with client the American Petroleum Institute. After a decade-long partnership, representing more than 10% of Edelman’s business revenue, the lobbying corporation and agency have decided to go their separate ways. Edelman was responsible for handling the public relations and lobbying efforts for API, focused on communicating that oil and gas are our only viable, plentiful, ‘American’ sources of energy, reports Ecowatch.

Last year, a number of major public relations firms announced they would no longer work with clients who denied the effects of climate change. Additionally, as reported by The Guardian, Edelman had come under public pressure – and a PR crisis of its own – for ties to fossil fuel companies and industry groups who had promoted misinformation regarding climate change.

In the wake of the criticisms and finger pointing from competitors, Edelman announced that their firm “recognizes the reality of climate change and accepts the science behind the claim. We do not accept clients that seek to deny climate change.” After making such an announcement, it was only a matter of time before Edelman would need to reconsider their partnership with ADI.

Public relations teams are responsible for educating specific publics, but also for keeping a pulse on the public’s perceptions. In the case of climate change, Edelman reported that some 40% of Americans believe that humans are not changing the climate, citing “a significant failure of communications regarding the environment.” PR plays a unique role in being a platform to craft and promote news messaging, while also being tied to the desires of clients. The industry often has to question whether or not they are representatives of their client practices or their own personal standards. In an ideal world, the messaging would be one in the same. But in reality, cases like Edelman and API aren’t that uncommon. Perhaps Edelman sacrificing revenue for corporate ethics with inspire others to follow suit.

Ann Keeling says:

Really good PR firms share the same values as their clients and don’t take clients on with values that are counter to their beliefs. Over the years I have said ‘no’ to clients who may represent big money but what they do is not something we believe in or support. Similar to the personal relationships we all have, you make choices to be in the company of people you like, respect and want to be a cheerleader for.

Oscar Worthy Commercials

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015


It was prom night in Hollywood over the weekend at the 87th Annual Academy Awards. Arguably just as exciting as the red carpet entrance and gold statues, were the commercials. It might be surprising to learn that the Oscars are the second highest rated telecast of the year (Nielsen). The Super Bowl saw :30 advertising spots at an average of $4.5 million with 114.4 million watching, whereas the Oscars averaged $1.95 million for :30 with an audience of 43 million viewers.

Even with a lower viewership than the Super Bowl, Oscar ad space continues to go for a premium, with consistent placement from J.C. Penney, Hyundai, Samsung, Coca-Cola and American Express. For advertisers looking to link their brands to luxury, fame and beauty, it’s difficult to tell how well Oscar campaigns are leading to buying behavior. Many wonder is if spending so much on ads is really worth it,

American Express promoted a popular ad “The Unlikely Leading Lady” that utilized The Mindy Project star, Mindy Kalig, going from the sitcom side-kick friend in The Office to the leading lady of her own TV show. The core message is around being a brand that’s there for you during the adventure, regardless of the destination. The ad saw a very positive response from a “new generation” of customers. It was a powerful reminder of acceptance or ‘being who you are’ in order to succeed. Most would agree $2 million for :30 seconds was money well spent to create a bond with new customers.

Another highly anticipated Oscar commercial was Cadillac’s “Dare Greatly” campaign. With the help of their new agency, Publicis, Cadillac reworked their approach to be more distinctive. Cadillac incorporated Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech as a voiceover from the perspective of a car’s view. The response for the ad was mixed. This was Cadillac’s first step towards luxury prominence, as a brand that is reinventing itself and targeting new segments of the market.

As the lines between television entertainment and commercial advertising blur, will consumers continue to connect to such ads? And will the high cost of advertising be worth the investment for brands?

Ann Keeling says:

Whether it’s the Super Bowl or The Academy Awards, marketers are advertising as an investment in their brand’s equity. While many ads are high on entertainment value, those that remember why they are there in the first place will win with consumers.


Light the way.

Friday, February 20th, 2015

ceiling light fixture

Tentacles and layers in mixed media delight the eyes beyond functionality.

Shot on an iPhone by Jon Keeling. 

Snapchat Discover: Will it be the source of news or more junk for Millennials?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Snapchat Discover

“Discover is looking to launch as your primary mobile news source.”

News content and how it’s delivered are what differentiate major players in the media sphere. Snapchat is getting in on the action with their launch of a new feature in their app. Snapchat began as a fun and easy way to send photos or videos to friends that would disappear after 10 seconds. In an effort to further advance the social media space, Snapchat has set out on new media distribution ambitions. Snapchat is rumored to be in talks of partnership with People, Cosmopolitan Yahoo, CNN, Comedy Central and Spotify, among others, who will provide entertainment content ongoing. Strategic partnerships with companies who provide compelling video and imagery will advance the upstart that was valued at a whopping $10 billion dollars last year.

Discover will be a new media consumption app within Snapchat. At the tip of your fingers you’ll have short and long form content from the likes of Times, Buzzfeed, and Vice. This new addition to the already popular app will allow Snapchat to utilize their young audience to connect with a growing media offering.

There’s also incentive to continuously check the app, as the content will have a short shelf life, refreshing every 24 hours in true Snapchat form. This short-term availability will prompt users to incessantly check the app – hooking a young audience that is accustomed to being heads-down on their mobile devices and isn’t necessarily connected to traditional media.

With Facebook as the current social media source for viral news stories, many are questioning whether Snapchat’s Discover will step in as the new source for news consumption. It’s questionable as to whether or not millennials will trust Snapchat to be their primary news source. However, with a reach of 100 million Millennials per month, it’s a good move to reach a wide segment of young readers. Will this move put Snapchat a step ahead of Facebook?

Ann Keeling says:

Certainly an interesting concept from Snapchat; but will Discover just continue to fill the heads of Millennials with more scuttlebutt and encourage rumor-mongering? Too bad Snapchat doesn’t incorporate some actual, real-world news in this – dare they actually educate this audience with something important?