The Public Relations Papers

Because sometimes you just don't have a choice.

27 October, 2006


This post may seem like a ramble, so I'll spout off on E-Newsletters for a minute. Sadly, time constraints keep me from going too in depth this week.

E-Newsletters are everywhere. Literally. They flood inboxes across the world. Each one hoping to garner publicity and educate an audience. But how are they most affective? One word: Wait, Two: Persistence and HTML.

If an organization, company or group constantly sends its audience updated, useful information, that message and the company's message is pounded into its audience's heads. Weekly newsletters do this best, by keeping people informed, but at the same time not being too intrusive or annoying.

After viewing several E-Newsletters this week, I have come to the conclusion that HTML is really the only way to go. They look the most professional, and are the most appealing. For our assignment, we're working with text-only newsletters. They work out well for those who don't have access to HTML, but I believe that HTML should almost always be used otherwise. That's it for now, I'll try to add more later on.

18 October, 2006

Disney Dieting?

Effective immediately, Winnie the Pooh will no longer be allowed to have his paw buried in his bottomless pot of honey. Unless, of course, that honey is sweetened with Splenda, and its calories and saturated fat are limited.

In an effort to trim down its sugary image, Disney is no longer allowing its characters to promote unhealthy or fatty foods. This includes the food that Disney sells at its resorts and theme parks. An article from the Media Daily News describes how many media outlets are taking heat for letting children’s characters advertise unhealthy food. The article goes on to say that, "Disney will be providing healthier options for families that seek them, whether at our parks or through our broad array of licensed foods," said Disney President-CEO Robert Iger. "The Disney brand and characters are in a unique position to market food that kids will want, and parents will feel good about giving them."

So what effect will this ban have on Disney? My guess is not a whole lot. When I think of foods that Disney characters promote, nothing strikes me as being absurdly unhealthy or dangerous to public health. Honestly, I can’t even think of specific foods that Disney characters promote. If Disney turns a larger profit because of this move, it won’t be because they are putting their characters on heads of lettuce and carrot sticks. It will be because the public sees them as taking a proactive stance on fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, etc.

As for Disney theme park’s cutback on unhealthy foods: come on. People visit those parks to have a good time and enjoy food with their families. Not to labor through vigorous workouts while chugging protein shakes and eating stale granola bars. Is this a good idea? Of course, and it will probably turn out all right in the end. But sooner or later, people will start asking, “how far is too far?”

13 October, 2006

Celebrity Advertising

In a recent article in the International Herald Tribune, big-time celebrities are becoming more and more prominent in today’s advertising. Though this sounds like a quite obvious statement, it wasn’t always so. Celebrities seem to be emerging from their Hollywood estates more often to 30-second television advertisements as well as the multi-million dollar films.

According to the article, “About 20 percent of ads in the United States feature celebrities, up from closer to 10 percent only a decade ago, said Hamish Pringle, director general of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising in Great Britain.” When you think about it, that is quite a dramatic spike, and a trend that shows that advertising is leaning more and more to the celebrity endorsement.

But why exactly are these A-list celebrities doing the 30-second daytime spots? Of course it’s not for the money, but for personal image. Brad Pitt, for example, appeared in a commercial for Heineken during the 2005 Superbowl.

“‘Celebrities themselves are realizing their personal brand potential,’ said Doug Lloyd, president of Lloyd & Co., an ad agency in New York.”

Celebrities, just like most people, are seeing the power of branding and publicity. Celebrities are now individual brands that have cult-like followings. The very people who will only buy one specific brand of ketchup are the same people who will go see every movie that a specific actor makes, regardless of the quality of the film. Thus, it is important for the Hollywood mogul to keep having his or her name circulating through the public.

But the main outcome of celebrity advertising is usually reciprocally beneficial. But, by the same token, if one of the two brands is involved in scandal, corruption or otherwise negative situation, then the other brand will likely feel the ill effect of the other. The public will not try, care or want to differentiate the two.

Generally though, celebrity advertising is a good thing. It works. That’s why brands use it. But now, celebrities are realizing that the brand is advertising them as well.

04 October, 2006


As this seems to be a pretty slow week concerning PR-related current events, I will focus on résumés and cover letters; topics discussed at length by Karl Kandt, an assistant director from Career and Employment Services at Kansas State University

What really struck me about his presentation was about how as students in public relations, our résumés should have more punch and creativity than typical résumés. The design and layout of a résumé should serve as a platform from which to showcase your skills and attributes for potential employers.

Essentially, what a résumé boils down to is pure public relations. Showcasing oneself in the best possible light is something that public relations students should have down to a science. Using strategic word choice to highlight accomplishments and work history is something that a journalistic background will help with immensely. Knowing how to optimize interpersonal communication will be beneficial during a one-on-one interview.

As far as my own résumé goes, it needs some work to say the least. In the past, I have focused more on the content of my résumé than its appearance and functionality. Frankly, I didn’t really see the need to dress it up to much. I always felt that creativity should not be the first thing to be showcased in a business setting. Having learned the importance of a résumé’s aesthetic qualities, I think mine is definitely due for an overhaul. I may even crank up InDesign and get to that sometime this week.

As daunting and stressful a task as it may be to put together a résumé that works. I am guessing that the results of doing so are worth it. I’ll let you know in 10 years how it all worked out.