Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Sauce: Public Relations in the News

Beep, Beep, Who Knows the Veep?

Just a quick note that the Obama campaign is adding a nice twist to the quadrennial dance that every presidential nominee plays with the media. Though most conventional wisdom points to Biden, it could well be a head fake. But that's for another blog to discuss.

No matter who he chooses, it's a clever idea on Obama's part to use text messaging and email to make the announcement; thus reinforcing to what most polling indicates is his base: younger, tech savvy voters. Despite some hoaxes, it has also generated some nice PR for him outside the usual stuff we get every four years when it's veep announcement time. We should know sometime today or tomorrow. Have you signed up for the text message? Like Obama or not, it makes you part of history when that text message notice beeps, for whatever that's worth. Next week we'll look at what McCain is doing to build buzz for his Veep pick.

UPDATE: It's Biden.

No Sauce, Just News: A couple of notable bits from PRWeek:

MSNBC conducting media outreach for Digital Cafe

MSNBC's internal PR staff is conducting a media outreach and brand awareness campaign for the network's Rockefeller Center Digital Café.

The cable network, a partnership between NBC Universal and Microsoft, will target consumer tourism publications through the end of the year. The company, which has headquarters above the café, also reached out to advertising and marketing trade media.

MSNBC conducted two events, one for members of the media and another for New York concierges, who often direct tourists to landmarks, prior to the café's July 28 opening, said Gina Stikes, MSNBC director of marketing.

The effort also contained an employee-outreach component, as the network's communications staff, which is not working with an outside agency on behalf of MSNBC, used internal e-mail messages, newsletters, and merchandise to promote the coffee shop to colleagues, Stikes said.

Brands represented in the Digital Cafe, like Chock Full O'Nuts and Garrett Popcorn Shops, also conducted media relations for the effort in partnership with MSNBC PR team, she added.

Clark Nessrodt, VP at Bullfrog & Baum, which is AOR for New York and national press for Garrett, said it hopes to raise awareness for the Chicago-based brand in other markets.

Military to select firm for 'info ops' initiative in Iraq

The US military expects to hire a firm to provide “information operations” support in Iraq to counter insurgent misinformation tactics. The bids were due on Friday, August 22.

Army public affairs officer Paul Boyce said the reason for the RFP is primarily the military's need to counter misinformation spread by hostile parties. Stopping rumors is a particular need for the Army, but finding out about those rumors is difficult if the language and culture of the area of operations is not well understood.

“We've had an insurgent population that has sought to kill our soldiers,” Boyce said. “By communicating with people in Iraq in as many ways possible what we're trying to do to help them, and what we're trying to do to prevent people from using these ruthless roadside bombs that blow up people in streets, in schools and mosques, we find that a very important thing.”

Work for the account involves a wide range of communications activities, including monitoring and analyzing Arabic and Western media; spokesperson training; and development and dissemination of TV, radio, newsprint, and Internet “information” products, according to the RFP, originally issued by the Department of the Army's Joint Contracting Command in late July.

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