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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Sex, adolescents and advertising

Sex has been used in advertising since its advent, but it seems that recently some of these sexual images have become increasingly blatent and increasingly targeted at teenagers.

Abercrombie & Fitch's winter catalog received noteable attention nationwide from many parents because the clothing line was advertising clothes by showing models wearing nothing.

Abercrombie evetually pulled the catalog from their store shelves. So what's my point? I guess while these ads might sell clothes in the near term this strategy seems like bad PR in the long run. And although their stock has recovered some since pulling the catalog it had fallen almost two points.

Today's Star Tribune highlights several other items aimed at teenagers including French Connection United Kingdom for using the companies initials FCUK on apparell.

What do you think? Take this poll:

Monday, December 22, 2003

Gas Prices Rise for Holiday

As usual gas prices are on the rise for the holiday weekend. Minnesota is now selling gas for an average of $1.47 a gallon.

If you would like to find the cheapest pump in your area visit .

Friday, December 19, 2003

Attitudes on economy improve

Survey: Attitudes on economy improve
Americans as a whole are more optimistic than they were three and five years ago about growth of the U.S. economy, but nearly half remain pessimistic about the future for those born in 2004, according to results of a survey conducted by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Get the rest of this Business Journal story here.

Take Out Lunch

The Association of Women in Communications (AWC) presents Take Out – Trends and Tools to Take With You, a series of luncheon programs designed to provide insights into demographic trends, creative thinking and strategic planning. Read the details, or register now.

Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004 - Research To Go.
Who’s out there and what do all those numbers mean? Knowing your audience is key. The speaker is from ACNielsen, a leader in market research and marketing consulting. Come for insights on demographic trends, consumer attitudes and behaviors.

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2004 - Creative Tactics To Carry Out.
Take a walk after lunch to get your creative juices flowing. Rotate to different stations and hear professionals talk about what’s new in their area. Explore trends and innovations in different mediums: print, video and web. Just imagine the possibilities of using these creative tactics for your next PR campaign, marketing project or internal communications plan. Dessert and a Q&A period will wrap up the program.

Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2004 - Strategic Planning To Take-In.
How do you use those tools and trends? It’s time to bring the take-out to the table. Speakers are Tammy Gifft and Jennifer Kompelien from Open Dynamics, a consulting company that helps organizations maximize bottom line results through improved team communication and strategic innovation. They’ll draw from their experience in coaching, promotions, partnerships and corporate team building to share tips on how to impact plans, influence teams and keep your project moving.

For registration and location information click here.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

THE REPORTER: NOT A PUBLIC RELATIONS TOOL is one for the books. Are reporters at Minnesota State University in Mankato being trained to hate PR people or are there just some really over-zealous PR nuts on campus? Read this story from the the campus newspaper and see what you think.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Keeping productivity up during the holidays

The holiday season can have the same effect on productivity as the summertime blues. If you are struggling with how to keep your employees motivated you need to check this out for some simple but useful tips.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Lumin Collaborative Unveils SalesScape

Cutting-Edge Analysis Tool From Industry Collaborative
To Transform Customer-Based Research Perceptions

Richmond, Va., (December 15, 2003) – Lumin Collaborative LLC announced today the launch of SalesScape, a first-of-its-kind, proprietary service designed to help companies apply the relationship-building strengths of public relations in sales settings. Quick, in-depth and cost effective research and breakthrough consulting services designed to increase sales are the hallmarks of this unique first product created by Lumin, the public relations industry’s first “intellectual collaborative” dedicated to developing “what’s next” in communication consulting services.

SalesScape allows clients to leverage the latest combination of quantitative and qualitative research techniques to tap hundreds or thousands of their customers and truly understand their needs and perceptions in a fast and affordable manner. With this valuable information in hand, clients can take advantage of Lumin’s consulting expertise within the sales, branding, communications and strategic business and operational areas to discover new revenue opportunities.

“Companies in highly competitive markets with dedicated sales forces are realizing that pain-based selling and relationship management are critical to repeat business and recurring revenues,” said Mark Raper, chairman, Lumin Collaborative. “Relationship building is at the foundation of the public relations field, and the combination of our research and communications savvy can make a powerful impact on the sales engagement process.”

Uncovering ‘Gaps’, Leveraging Results
Phase I of SalesScape features broad-spectrum research aimed at identifying ‘gaps’ – disconnects between customer perceptions of the supplier and its competitors and their own decision-making criteria. The thorough audit provides clients with valuable insight into their organizational challenges and reveals hidden issues that directly impact performance and sales.

“You cannot fix today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions,” Raper said. “SalesScape will help clients impact sales based on a clear understanding of customer issues – not sales quotas.”

Armed with knowledge of these ‘gaps,’ Lumin enters Phase II of SalesScape – leveraging research findings to find new ways to increase sales and discover innovative revenue opportunities. Specific services provided by Lumin include Pain-based Selling workshops, positioning and branding initiatives, strategic public relations and marketing outreach and management/business consulting.

“Only when a company truly comprehends what their current and perspective customers think and feel, can they effectively change,” Raper went on to say. “A keen understanding of the business issues at the center of a communications challenge and the ability to confront that challenge with ‘next-generation’ ideas and solutions is what SalesScape – and Lumin – is all about.”

Monday, December 15, 2003

News Update

For your sake I truly hope your company wasn't working on launching a national or international PR campaign today, because there is no doubt that unless your campaign has something to do with capturing your message will get lost in the clutter.

In that spirit I thought a few tips on how to cut through the clutter might be appropriate.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Marketing Minnesota Sports

Interested in PR/Marketing? Interested in sports? Then you can't miss Marketing Minnesota's Top Sports Teams hosted by Minnesota PRSA and the .

The PR/marketing managers from Minnesota's four major professional sports teams -- Mike Harmon (Vikings), Ted Johnson (Timberwolves/Lynx), Pat Klinger (Twins) and Matt Majak (Wild) will discuss their marketing of each brand.

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Time: 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: Metropolitan Ballroom and Clubroom, ., Golden Valley
Cost: $30 members; $40 nonmembers; $25 students; $5 extra for registrations received after 12:00 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Lesson in Campaign Finance Reform

Today's lesson? Campaign Finance Reform. If you pay attention to national headlines Campaign Finance Reform has been .

Why is this such a big deal? Well, here is my theory. Campaign finance reform is like so many political issues--politicians preach one thing, but practice another. A politician then defends their actions by saying "I'm just working with in the system that we have, it isn't how I would have it but I can't seem to get my collogues to change it." Sounds good right?

And it has worked well, up until now. Let me give a quick history lesson. In 1971, the federal government passed the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), five years later the Supreme Court ruling in Buckley vs. Valeo undid a portion of these reforms. The most controversial aspect of the ruling was that spending limits (as opposed to contribution limits) for candidates for public office were a violation of free speech.

Since that ruling in 1976 there have been a series of half-hearted/politically-motivated attempts by congress to write campaign finance reform laws, each time these laws were over turned by the Supreme Court.

So that is why everyone is so upset. The status quo has been broken and their worlds are collapsing before their eyes.

Does this mean the money faucet has been shut off? Not a chance it will just take a longer route through a different river.

New Link

I have added a new link to the side bar because so many of you visiting my site are looking for internships in public relations.

If you are an employer and have a job opening that you would like posted on this site .

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Anti-Spam! Amen.

As you have no doubt already heard, Congress approved anti-spam legislation yesterday. While I am sure this legislation will be a blow to some companies, it is also looks like it could boost profits at some trusted companies like American Express, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue who have already built up a trusted e-mail list.

In this story from Opt-In News reporter Katherine Elek writes:

American Express has illustrated, once consumers aren't suffering a barrage of disruptive marketers, they're more amenable to working with marketing's "good guys" and like that their data is used to provide them with special benefits.

But will this legislative bill make a bit a difference in the amount of SPAM we all receive? According to the bill has holes.

eWeek reporter Cameron Sturdevant writes:
It will crimp the stupidest spammers, those too feebleminded to go offshore to send their phony baloney. It won't stop commercial e-mail from many mortgage, insurance and credit card companies. And it certainly won't stop big e-mail service providers such as America Online and Yahoo from sending bulk commercial messages to their subscribers.

For continuing news coverage on this topic .

Damage Control and PR

In tough economic times it can be easy for businesses to pull back spending on communications because basic human nature often tells us to avoid conflict or danger. The SWOT team at is singing a little different tune in today's article discussing PR in difficult times.

The SWOT team usually solicits advice from readers, so read the article and then comment on what you think. Can PR pave the way to recovery for a company coming out of financial difficulty?

Stay tuned for survey results.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Networking and the sea

Networking is essential for the succesful PR professional, but let's face it at times networking can be physically and emotionally draining.

If you are suffering from the networking blues, the Star Tribune offers some pointers in today's says you need to be more of Dolphin.

Get the story here.

Heart Warmer for a Monday

Not much going on in the PR world that is worth talking about or maybe I just don't feel like talking about 3M and Insignia Systems Inc. layoffs. That said, it is Monday and I am tired of bad news, so here is a heart warmer. I hope it brightens your day as much as it did mine.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Mutual Fund Scandal May Scare Off Investors

Depending on how you spin it there is more bad news for the mutual fund people like Putnam and Strong Financial Inc. A new Lumin Collaborative survey showed that recent news coverage citing trading improprieties at several mutual fund firms has prompted more than one-third (35 percent) of existing mutual fund investors to say they are unlikely to buy mutual funds in the near future and 77 percent to say they would pull their money from a mutual fund they believe acted improperly.

A Lumin news release said, "survey respondents specifically named Putnam (48 percent) and Strong (23 percent) most often as the mutual fund companies involved in recent news reports."

Lumin is an intellectual collaborative of like-minded, independent PR firms dedicated to developing and providing next-generation communications solutions for mid- to large-size companies around the world. Lumin's Minnesota branch is Padilla Spear Beardsley.

RSS Finally!

For those of you who have been wondering why I have been writing about RSS and hyping it up without offering it on this site...wonder no longer. The than by my choice, but no longer. Thanks to BlogMatrix, I now have an RSS feed.

If you still don't know what RSS is, here is a wonderful article on why you should care. If you are looking for a free aggregator to start receiving RSS feeds click here.

Already have an aggregator? Here is my feed address - .

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Fast Horse Hires New Assistant Account Executive

Fast Horse Inc. has hired Katie Reynolds as an Assistant Account Executive, expanding the consumer marketing public relations firm’s professional staff to seven. Reynolds specializes in marketing, writing and editing, media relations and consumer brand promotion.

Prior to joining Fast Horse, Reynolds was with Carlson Marketing Group, where she gained experience in media relations and assisted with internal communications strategies. A graduate of the University of St. Thomas School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Reynolds holds a B.A. in Journalism.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Cumulus Media Inc. Buys Rochester Radio Stations

The Business Journal reported this afternoon that Cumulus Media Inc. has purchased nine radio stations three in Rochester, MN and six in Souix Falls, SD. The stations purchased by Cumulus Media are KROC-AM, KROC-FM and KYBA-FM serving Rochester, and KYBB-FM, KIKN-FM, KKLS-FM, KMXC-FM, KSOO-AM and KXRB-AM serving Sioux Falls.

Read the Business Journal article here.


The Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick today announced the promotion of Leah Kondes from her position as the agency's Webmaster to marketing and new business development director for the Minneapolis office.

Kondes joined the agency in 1996 as an account executive and specialized in media relations for clients including Mall of America and the Hazelden Foundation. After four years of client work, Kondes took a corporate position for the agency as Webmaster, where she maintained Weber Shandwick’s Web site and intranet.

“We are delighted to have Leah on our new business development team," said Sara Gavin, president of Weber Shandwick’s Twin Cities office. "She has been with us for seven years and this is a great opportunity for her and Weber Shandwick."

As the marketing and new business development director, Kondes will be responsible for building the reputation of the Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick and helping the agency secure new business.

Prior to her tenure with Weber Shandwick, Kondes was a media consultant for Media Relations, Inc. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.

Monday, December 01, 2003

The Plain English Campaign Awards

And the winner of the 2003 Plain English Campaign Awards is ... Donald Rumsfeld!

In case you don't know the Plain English Campaign is an effort to recognize poor use of the English language. Mr Rumsfeld's award-winning quote was taken from a press briefing:
'Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know.'

This year marks the 24th anniversary of the awards, other winners include Richard Gere, Alicia Silverstone and Tracey Emin.

Get more Rummy quotes here.

Olson + Co.

Last month I wrote about Olson + Co. . This morning's Star Tribune has another nice feature on the company and what it is doing for Minnesota's small world of advertising.

Read the Star Trib article here.

Visit Olson + Co.'s Website here.
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