Friday, January 17, 2020

A Challenge 

Porsche's new electric vehicle, the Taycan, already has a PR and marketing headache, courtesy of the Environmental Protection Administration.  The EPA-rated mileage for the vehicle is half that of a Tesla.  Porsche has hired a "real-world" testing company to check the distance the two car models will actually go.  The company's conclusion is that the mileage is higher than the EPA estimate but still well below Tesla.  Porsche can trumpet Taycan's performance but it does little to solve a fundamental problem -- range anxiety.  Engineering at Weissach will have to go back to the lab to find a way to get longer-lasting batteries, and that will be a challenge.  Researchers the world over are focused on developing better batteries but the problem is hard to crack.  It has been that way since Thomas Edison spent years and millions trying to develop a replacement product for the lead-acid device.  Porsche devotees have faith in the company, but only time will tell if they are right.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Great PR, Cont. 

One may disagree with the fast-food chain, Chick-Fil-A, over its stance on moral issues, but when its employees go out of their way to help others, that's great PR.  It reveals an ethical core to the business that is missing in many others where a job is a job to earn money, and there is no impetus to go out of one's way.  What this employee did went viral because the thankful customer made sure to post her gratitude on Facebook.  This should be yet another warning to companies everywhere.  Customers have ways to make their pleasure or anger known widely, and they are using them.  Social media are an equalizer between the top and bottom of society.  And, that's a good thing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Great PR 

The NSA, National Security Agency, discovered a flaw in the code for Windows 10, the Microsoft operating system for PCs.  Rather than use it to hack foreign systems for intelligence, the NSA decided to alert Microsoft about it and to give the company time to issue a patch,  Security experts are praising the agency for its civic-mindedness, and it is an example of great public relations.  There is no telling what the agency could do by exploiting the mistake, but given that the NSA is a collection of world-class hackers and code jockeys, the software error would have reaped enormous amounts of data.  Why, then, did the agency choose to go public?  It is trying to repair its reputation from the loss of a powerful program to nefarious hackers who have used it to penetrate thousands of companies and individuals PCs.  The agency is becoming more open to the public without compromising secret work.  That's a good thing.  It is too large to be a Bletchley Park, and the enemies of the US already know it is working to break their codes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Branding A Nation 

Holland isn't Holland anymore.  Forget that.  It's the Netherlands, or so Dutch officials would have it.  They are doing it for tourism and international relations and to acknowledge that the name, "Holland", consists of only two of 12 provinces.  It will take years for the world to make the shift, so the Netherlands shouldn't be in a hurry.  Of course, one can change signs, logos, correspondence and run advertising, but that won't shift habits for a long while to come.  Essentially, the Dutch will lean on a new generation of citizens raised under the banner of the Netherlands to make the name change stick.  Then, it can work on the rest of the world.  Over time, they might succeed in getting everyone to say the Netherlands rather than Holland.  But, it will take time measured in decades. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Can't Win 

Burger King set off an unintentional spate of criticism for allowing the word "damn" into one of its ads for its "impossible burger."  "Damn" is as mild as one might get for an expression of emotion.  Burger King probably wasn't thinking twice by allowing it into ad copy.  Nor should it.  There are four-letter words that are beyond the pale.  "Damn" isn't one.  Still, it has to consider the criticism from the "Moms" group in the future.  The company can't afford to alienate any segment of the public.  The burger wars are too intense for that.  It's an interesting PR issue, especially because video drama uses all kinds of swear words, many of them highly offensive.  Consider "Breaking Bad."  There are scenes in it that will curl the hair of a conservative woman.  It would lead one to believe that  "One Million Moms" is seeking cheap publicity.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Piss Poor 

This is the worst kind of flackery, and it is good it was caught as quickly as it was.  One wonders what Facebook employees think about it and the ham-handed way it was handled.  There is little excuse for running paid editorial that looks like real copy.  There is far less excuse for the chief operating officer to spotlight the article and react as if it was actually an editorial product.  Clearly, Sheryl Sandberg knew, or, if she didn't, she should have known.  Facebook had the humiliation of admitting the copy was paid-for, then it took it down but not before social media mavens began to chatter.  How dumb can one be?  It's not PR and it's not even good publicity.  One hopes Facebook doesn't try something like this again.

Thursday, January 09, 2020


This article is hype.  The product is not out yet, and already it is being touted as revolutionary.  One wonders when Silicon Valley will get over such gratuitous publicity.  It isn't good for products that come with overly inflated expectations.  It is bad for investors who will run if the product doesn't rocket when it is finally introduced.  It is bad for the company's employees who have high expectations and dreams of rewards for riding a "sure-thing." Only a few brands can over-promote before introduction and get away with it.  That's because they are proven in other ways.  Think of Disney+.  It soared to 10 million subscribers instantly because it is making its content available online, and its content is choice.  One hopes a PR firm wasn't behind the flackery of this article, but chances are it was

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