Friday, July 29, 2016
Rio de Janeiro fought for the Olympics to show the world that Brazil has arrived as a country. Now that the games are about to start, Rio is in a mess and the glory of the games has backfired on the country with filthy water, ill-constructed buildings and a threat of disease. That together with a government in chaos is a near certainty to reflect on the games themselves as they take place. The media of the world will amplify the problems. Every breakdown will become news, every ill athlete a nail into the reputation of the country. It didn't have to be this way, but Brazil is not ready yet for the world stage and it is demonstrating that in its failures. Already, teams have abandoned the Olympic village because of inadequate housing and one wonders what the country will do with those buildings once the games are done. Will they become instant slums or will Rio reconstruct them into something habitable? Chances are nothing will happen to them since there is a history of rot in facilities used for the games once athletes have gone home. Third world countries should think twice before competing for the Olympics. The risk is too great that their inadequate ability to hold them properly will show them as ill-prepared on the world stage.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
The Democratic National Committee has egg on its face and a damaged reputation. Hackers (from Russia?) exposed 20,000 of its emails just in time to show the Committee was not neutral in the Presidential primary campaign and was actively supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The stupidity of the incident is that the DNC knew its security systems were inadequate. They were told months before by consultants that they were vulnerable. The DNC did little about it. So, today it faces a make-over with its chairman having resigned and others with their jobs in jeopardy. How could they have thought they were safe when companies and governments around the world are infiltrated by hackers? It is the height of irresponsibility. Anyone with any prominence on the national scene should be concerned about maintaining security. The DNC is an object lesson for those who aren't worried.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Asking for a person's password is dumb. It is dumber to give it. This, however, is what a pop star is doing for publicity. If you send him your Twitter password, he will post a tweet as if it is coming from you. There is no guarantee he will protect your password once he uses it. One has to trust him. There is also no surety his collection of passwords won't be hacked. One can imagine his publicists coming up with the creative idea and selling it to him. "Hey, wouldn't it be neat if you posted on your fans' twitter accounts? Let's do it." Clearly, no one thought this through, including the legal implications of collecting passwords. Those who read another's tweets now can't be certain they are from the person. Who knows who is tweeting on another's account? There are many great ideas for self-publicity. This is not one of them.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
This is smart environmentalism and smart PR. Bees are under global stress as it is with the sudden colony collapse syndrome decimating hives. Building a natural path for them through a city in the form of flowers not only helps them migrate but is prettier. Humans benefit as much as bees. Even smarter is that the cost of the bee highway is modest. There are few construction costs and mostly the expense of flower seeds. One hopes that other cities around the world emulate the idea.
Monday, July 25, 2016
This Mars-based machine is a PR symbol for what man can do in science. It is extraordinary that the rover is still working and even more so that it is performing science on a daily basis. Everything about the robot is amazing. It can work in the frigid temperatures of Mars without stopping. It takes its own photographs, including selfies. It transmits its data millions of miles to Earth through an antenna that looks absurdly small. The machine is a work of genius that proves itself daily and is powerful PR for more such rovers to look at Mars and its once and perhaps present water.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
I will be away on Friday and will not post. I'll return Monday.
There was a time when Kellogg could market its Special K cereal as "nutritious", but that is not true any longer in the UK. Dietary guidelines have changed and so too the messages one can send to consumers. There was a time when one could say just about anything on a cereal box and get away with it. Now the labelling has to follow strict guidelines from both US and UK regulators. One might be tempted to say this is unwarranted government intrusion into the companies and food they produce, but there is no way for consumers to know what they are eating otherwise. One point is certain. PR practitioners and marketers no longer have the room to be creative with words like "nutritious" and "healthy".
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
One wonders where Melania Trump has been that she could think she would get away with lifting part of her convention speech from Michelle Obama. With the internet, it is harder than ever to get away with plagiarism. This is especially true when dealing with celebrities whose every action is scrutinized by the public. It wasn't long after Ms. Trump concluded her speech that a "gotcha" posting was made, and it blew up on the internet. Now it is fodder for the mainstream media as well. It is one more example of the real personalities coming through the veneer of the campaign, and in these small instances, the public will make up its mind whether it can support a candidate or not. The pity of it is that it did not have to happen. One speechwriter could have given her a powerful testimony to her husband without stealing words from another. It is a PR disaster and red meat for journalists who won't soon give up asking about it.