Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sauce Tasting: Stuff We Tasted Today

Check out this piece on Google's "PR Campaign," an attempt to blunt criticism of the internet behemoth.

Whither Twitter? As we prepare our own post (coming soon!) on the hip, happening new microblogging app, others are questioning its reach and longevity.

Bottom Line Communications takes the Kansas City Star to the woodshed over its new StarTV guide policy.

Anything saucy you'd care to share? The comments section is open.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Harlem Gospel Choir Coming to KC

Hey Kansas City-area readers: want to hear some great music and support a great organization? Well, you're in luck.

The world-renowned harmonies of the Harlem Gospel Choir will headline an evening of music, food and fun benefiting the Front Porch Alliance (FPA--an organization supported by your humble Bernays Sauce editor) May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the historic Gem Theater in Kansas City.

Besides the music of the Harlem Gospel Choir, there will be a live auction, food and fun activities. All proceeds benefit Front Porch's youth programs, which strengthen youths' academic achievement, provides entrepreneurial education, enhances leadership skills and helps secure a future full of hope and opportunity.

Sponsorship levels for every budget are available. For more information about the event, tickets and sponsorships, contact Patsy Shawver at 816-921-8812 or visit the FPA website.

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dominos Pizza Crisis: A Booger of a Problem

When a couple of dimwits working at Dominos Pizza with a video camera and a nasal fixation decided to share their stupidity with the world, a booger of a corporate PR crisis was born:

“We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea,” said a Domino’s spokesman, Tim McIntyre, who added that the company was preparing a civil lawsuit. “Even people who’ve been with us as loyal customers for 10, 15, 20 years, people are second-guessing their relationship with Domino’s, and that’s not fair.”

In just a few days, Domino’s reputation was damaged. The perception of its quality among consumers went from positive to negative since Monday, according to the research firm YouGov, which holds online surveys of about 1,000 consumers every day regarding hundreds of brands.

“It’s graphic enough in the video, and it’s created enough of a stir, that it gives people a little bit of pause,” said Ted Marzilli, global managing director for YouGov’s BrandIndex.

The Domino’s experience “is a nightmare,” said Paul Gallagher, managing director and a head of the United States crisis practice at the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller. “It’s the toughest situation for a company to face in terms of a digital crisis.”
In the most popular video, a woman who identifies herself as Kristy films a co-worker, Michael, preparing the unsanitary sandwiches.

“In about five minutes it’ll be sent out on delivery where somebody will be eating these, yes, eating them, and little did they know that cheese was in his nose and that there was some lethal gas that ended up on their salami,” Kristy said. “Now that’s how we roll at Domino’s.”
As the company learned about the video on Tuesday, Mr. McIntyre said, executives decided not to respond aggressively, hoping the controversy would quiet down. “What we missed was the perpetual mushroom effect of viral sensations,” he said.

In social media, “if you think it’s not going to spread, that’s when it gets bigger,” said Scott Hoffman, the chief marketing officer of the social-media marketing firm Lotame. “We realized that when many of the comments and questions in Twitter were, ‘What is Domino’s doing about it’ ” Mr. McIntyre said. “Well, we were doing and saying things, but they weren’t being covered in Twitter.”

The response from Dominos was slow at first, but they have become more aggressive. Patrick Doyle, President, Domino's U.S.A., responds (a tad stiltedly, but nonetheless):

Is it enough?

The (Pizza) Sauce

Your humble editor worked in fast food as a high school student (oh Chik-Fil-A, how I miss coming home from a shift smelling like a boneless breast of chicken!), and though jokes about such actions were common, I never saw it happen. If it did happen back in those simpler days, there was no internet in which to prove it. Idiots like the pair from Dominos would have had to videotape or photograph themselves doing the dirty deeds and pass it around to all their friends "manually"...obviously not even close to the power of the internet.

Time will tell if it significantly hurts sales or if it's a blip. One thing's for sure--ignoring this type of thing and hoping it will go away is no longer an option.

Dominos is trying to get ahead of the story, but is it enough--or too little too late?

The comments section is open for your remarks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Bad News for Newspapers?

As the former proprietor of a political news aggregator site and avid browser of aggregator sites like Huffington Post, I can attest to their popularity. Unfortunately, this trend in the next generation of news consumers may be another nail in the coffin of newspapers.


The bad news comes from a new study for the Newspaper Association of America by Northwestern University’s Media Management Center. It found that teens, who were raised on free internet content, can’t imagine a situation in which they’d have to pay for their news.

Even loyalty to a brand won’t sway this generation. Today’s teens value a news site’s usability and depth of content more than the brand name associated with it. What they want is convenience and compactness, thus the allure of aggregators.

Your comments welcome.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Sauce: Hoppy Easter and All That

In keeping with our culinary moniker, please enjoy this excellent recipe for Mediterranean-style lamb--just the thing for your holiday celebrations.

Source & Photo: Washington Post

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday Quickie: Is Your Company Drinking the Kool-Aid?

Thought-provoking stuff on marketing and brand management from BlueBird Public Relations in Dallas:
All the “branding” in the world can’t change those simple equations, which is why the concept of “brand marketing” is intellectually bankrupt."

This absolutely reminds me of the old maxim: "Great PR makes bad products fail fast."

An agency or internal public relations and marketing extraordinaires can create all the buzz, find the perfect product position in the market, launch relevant campaigns to build a brand and demand the attention from target markets, but (surprise!) this will not change a bad product or service.

You can't hide behind fabulous marketing, at least not for long.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

KC Event Planners Talk About the State of the Industry

Bernays Saunce mothership EventPros, Inc.'s owners are featured in an interview in Special Events Magazine, where they discuss the state of the Special Events industry and the birth of EventPros, Inc. They also touch on marketing and public relations firms doing special events:
In 2008, for instance, while other event business owners were wringing their hands about tightened budgets, canceled events and the prospect of more bad news to come, Svoboda and Short debuted a communications services department. As Short explains, the duo created the new department to compete directly with marketing and public relations firms that were cutting into EventPros' market share.

“These companies were handling events, but they didn't even like doing it — they were just doing it because their clients needed it,” Short says. “Because they weren't making any extra money on events, they weren't hiring us to do them. They were just doing the events themselves, and not doing a very good job.”

With its new division, EventPros is able not only to sell clients on the strength of its event-production capabilities but to add value by offering marketing and communication services such as Web development, scriptwriting and video production. Short adds, “It speaks to our fiscal responsibility that we were able to bring in-house a lot of services we were farming out.”

Read the rest here.