Sunday, February 27, 2011

Taco Bell takes to the fans

In late January, a federal court within the Central District of California, filed a lawsuit against Taco bell for not having real "beef" in their beef tacos. This suit angered a lot of people, especially Taco bell. For some time now, Taco Bell has worked to fix their image. Instead of this becoming a public relations crisis, it actually has worked to their advantage. Taco Bell made an incredibly smart move and, while sending out press releases and counter-attack ads in newspapers, they used social media to reach their most loyal customers.
Taco Bell offered a free "beef" taco to anyone who liked their Facebook page. They reported having over 250,000 "likes" to their page in just one week.  Taco Bell is commited to giving away 10 million tacos but they have not released an actual figure of how many coupons have been given away. Even so, Facebook is helping them to see how people are reacting to the lawsuit.
This lawsuit could have turned out extremely bad for Taco Bell. These days, everyone is all about going "green" and buying only organic or grass-fed meats. To find out that the meat used in your favorite taco, isn't meat at all, could have been devastating. Luckily, Taco Bell is taking the correct steps to fixing the problem. In the PR world, responding fast is extremely important, but knowing who to reach out to first is even more important. 
Contacting their loyal customers, through social media, is one way to fix the problem. People in my classes said they would still eat their tacos, with our without real "beef", because they were so good. They are examples of loyal customers to Taco Bell. 
It will be interesting to see what happens with the countersuit that Taco Bell filed against the California group. It seems like the Taco Bell incident is slowly dying down. I thought this was a great example of how PR practitioners can find ways to fix crisis situations and one way they can do it, through social media. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Race, Gender and the Media 2/21

I came across an ad on that caused some controversy in downtown Soho, New York. PR Daily was was discussing how an anti-abortion ad went completely overboard. This is the ad below.

I was completely shocked! I'm not sure what the anti-abortion group, Life Always based here in Texas, was thinking. They completely missed their mark. Not only is this completely racist towards the African-American community, but completely stereotypical. First off, the African-American community shouldn't be targeted for abortions when white women obtain 60% of abortions each year. So why isn't a white child on this poster? Forget the white child, why is this poster even created?? This does not help create support for anti-abortion groups but only creates more anger, and that makes me even more upset.

I know this doesn't really hit on what we discussed this last week and I will discuss Killing Us Softly 4 in my next blog but this really got me upset. What is your take on it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Race, Gender and the Media 2/14

Since we've been talking about race in the media and this is black history month, I decided to share an empowering clip from 60 minutes. Morgan Freeman was being interviewed and was asked about Black History month. His response was priceless.

He doesn't want a black history month and I love when he says that "black history is American history." How do we end racism according to Morgan Freeman? To stop talking about it. If only the media and the maketing world would listen to him. I think that black history month is important only because it gives blacks the opportunity to have their history showcased but I don't really see a need for it. I feel like having a month dedicated to them supports racism because it's like telling them that you only get February to be recognized. Maybe that's just my opinion.

How do we end racism?? Hopefully everyone will take Morgan Freeman's advice and stop talking about it.

"Racism is man's gravest threat to man---the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason" -Abraham J. Heschel

The Need for Ethics

We recently discussed an ethical situation where a company was practicing egoism and asking an intern to "spin" the truth. We all came out with the same responses that she should quit and realize what this type of internship could possibly do to her future. The situation was pretty easy to figure out using the Potter's Box but after class I started to think about the situation more.
It's really easy to sit back and read about someone else's situations and know exactly what they need to do to fix them. It's not so easy when it is us, instead, going through the situation. The struggle is a lot more difficult when your apart of it then when you're looking in from the outside. I felt like this with our case study.
It was easy for me to say what the intern should have done but I know that, if I was truly in her situation, it wouldn't have been an easy decision. This is where the Potter Box comes in handy. When we are faced with situations that truly test our moral and ethical codes, this system has a way of making you see the bigger picture. I wouldn't necessarily use this formula on all my ethical situations because I know my values, loyalties and principles pretty well. When it comes to unfamiliar situations in business though, I can see a real need for this type of system.  Making us write down the situation and who might be affected allows us to see what the consequences of our actions might end up being.
Overall, I enjoyed the case study because it made me understand a little more why Journalism students need to take an ethics class. We can all say that we would never go against our own values and beliefs but sometimes circumstances arise that will challenge everything we believe in.   
"Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenseless if there isn't the will to do what is right" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Silence isn't always golden

I am a hardcore Chicago Bears fan but I do love some players from other teams. One of these is Mark Sanchez. Sanchez, in my opinion, is one of the sexiest quarterbacks in the NFL. He has been an outstanding quarterback for the New York Jets and some would say a great role model, until recently.
Not much has been heard about Sanchez having a “good time” with a 17-year-old and he can thank the protests in Egypt for that. Recently, the 17-year-old named Eliza, sold a story and pictures to a website called telling about her racy night she had with Sanchez. Although the state of New York does not find this “illegal”, Sanchez has yet to come out and apologize for the scandal to his fans.
As someone who is in the public eye and seen as a leader of an NFL team, it is his duty to apologize to his fans about his behavior. Not saying anything leads to more talk. We have been discussing in class how being silent can sometimes make the situation worse. Fraser Seitel, a crisis management expert, wrote an article of three simple things that Sanchez should say in order to end the whole mess. The suggestions were:
1.       I made a mistake, and I regret it
2.       I’ve learned from this that I’ve got to be more careful
3.       From now on, I will be
Again, Sanchez would me smart to take Seitel’s advice. Situations like these always find ways of reemerging if they aren’t settled. He should look at Ben Roethlisberger and Tiger Woods. They both came out and apologized. Some still talk about their incidents but the majority has moved on. Let’s just hope that Sanchez follows their lead. Then again, I do love seeing his face in the news!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Race, Gender and the Media class 2/7

Last Monday night we watched a video that really upset me. The video is about how the black community fights to find who they are and what they should be. It's sad to hear how much they feel they need to change in order to "fit in" to society.  In the video, a girl asks 21 different African-American kids, probably around the ages of 5-6, which doll they preferred. Their choices were between a white doll and a black doll. In the video, 15 out of the 21 chose that they would rather play with the white doll.

One little girl was asked which doll looked "bad" and she chose the black doll. Then she was asked which doll looked "nice" and she chose the white doll. When she was asked which doll looked more like her, you could tell she got extremely upset and pushed the black doll towards the interviewer.

This video broke my heart. Little kids, no matter what color they are, shouldn't feel bad about picking a doll like them or even looking like themselves. On top of that, listening to these girls talk about how black people feel they need to bleach their skin or straighten their hair to look "beautiful" is just as upsetting.

The sad part is, things always look greener on the other side. For white girls, the need to be tan and blonde is just as pushed onto our culture as being white with straight hair is pushed onto theirs. The question is, where does it stop? When do we start teaching our children and other people's children that they are beautiful the way they are?

Watch the video. Spread the video and really get an idea of how these girls and children feel. Maybe then, we can change the way media is done and what messages are really being sent out. No one should feel like they should change who they are for society.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Real Housewives of Miami

I've never been a big fan of Bravo's Real Housewives. I'm not into all the drama, fighting and gossip that the shows usually pertain. Rumor has it that the new "Real Housewives of Miami" will be hosting a lady who owns a very well-known PR company in Miami called The Patton Group.
The Patton Group, owned by the soon-to-be housewife Marysol Patton, does PR for some very famous people and companies like Robert Cavalli Vodka, Emilio Estefan, Renaissance Hotels, De Beers and Diane Von Furstenberg.
It was reported, in the Miami Herald, that Marysol will be involved in some romantic "entanglements" throughout the show. As someone who owns and represents some of the largest names in business, I don't think that this show will be good PR for Marysol herself. I'm still trying to figure out why she would sign herself up for the show knowing how the show is?
We've talked before that there is no such thing as bad publicity but that doesn't mean that you should expect the worst and still do it. I can't see any good publicity for Marysol coming out of this show. Almost all the Real Housewives are criticized more than they are admired. If I owned a PR company and if I was the image of that company, why would I risk my company, and the companies I represent, for one silly show?
Maybe I can't see the bigger picture of the whole situation but I won't be surprised if Marysol finds herself having to do a little PR on herself at the end of this year. What would you do? Would you sign up for a silly show that broadcasts your life and the way you live when you own a PR company for some of the largest names in fashion? It will definitely be interesting to see what happens.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Race, Gender and the Media Blog #2

So last monday we watched a video that talks about how specific cultures are seen in the media. Native Americans are always seen as living in teepees, blacks are seen eating chicken and watermelon, and asians are always doing kung fu.

It's sad to say that the only thing that shocked me was how they left out two white "cultures" that are always misrepresented. I guess, because they are white, it's okay. They didn't have Italians in the video. This is strange to me because Italians are always classified as being in the mob/mafia, wearing gold chains, having mistress and killing people. Isn't that miss representation and stereotyping? The Italians I know don't do any of those things.

Let's not forget hillbillies. My family comes from the mountains of Tennessee where the world "hillbilly" is actually a good word. Hillbillies were people that lived on the mountains and fought for the "billy yanks" of the north. Mountain people didn't need slaves in the old days and so they were against it. Now days, hillbilly means someone who sleeps with their sister, lives in a trailer, is lazy and doesn't have a steady job. It pretty much goes hand in hand with redneck (which has also turned into a bad thing when really it meant people who worked the fields and got sunburned) What I find interesting is that no one is complaining about those groups being misrepresented in the media. Don't they have feelings too?

I mean, my family doesn't get offended and instead, usually turns it into a joke. Why can't other cultures just see it as a joke? No one is doing it to offend people really because if that was the case, no one of that culture would be willing to act in those movies. The guy who played Mr. Myagi never said "I'm not doing Karate Kid  because I don't think they are representing asians properly."

Cultures are constantly making fun of themselves but that allows others to think its okay to do it too. The only way I think we can stop this type of stereotyping and misrepresentation is showing respect for our own culture first. Then, I think everyone will follow. Might sound rude but thats how I feel about it. All in all I think that if its such an issue, cultures would start saying no to roles and things in the media that make them look bad. The case is, they don't.

Jones World Fails....

So after many months of planning, Jerry Jones and the NFL still find a way to screw up. Tonight, 30-minutes before kick-off, about 1,200 people were denied their assigned seating. The fire marshal exclaimed that the temporary seats, placed inside to add more seating, were not safe enough for people to sit in and so a PR disaster was in the making.
Trying to figure out an alternative, the NFL tried to place people where they could and were offering 3x the face value of the tickets. The only problem is, the face value of almost all those tickets were way less than what people actually paid for them. An example is a gentleman from Dallas who paid $9,700 for two tickets and will only be getting back $1,800. I can only imagine how much people who came into town lost between tickets, hotels and transportation.
What would have made this a better solution? Spending less time and energy on providing entertainment and more time into preparing for hundreds of thousands of people. Who sends a fire marshal into a stadium the day of a football game to okay thousands of seats??? Sounds like poor planning.
The NFL came out saying that the safety of the fans were "paramount" to their decision making. I think their PR team needs to come out with a better statement than that. That statement doesn't explain why they forgot to get safety regulations checked BEFORE the day of the game. Also, they need to do more than just give 3x the face value of the seats back. Some tickets sold for $4,000, I'm pretty sure they made enough money tonight to refund the tickets entirely.
All I know is, thousands either left, missed some of the game, or got stuck in crappier seats than what they were going to be sitting in. Sounds like this "amazing" Superbowl in the "outstanding JerryWorld" crashed before it began.