SXSW "homeless hotspot" idea goes tragically (and predictably) wrong

What was BBH Labs thinking? Michael Sebastien at PR Daily is on the money in saying that “it might go down as one of the biggest PR disasters of the year.”

New York-based marketing firm BBH Labs equipped homeless people on the streets of Austin with devices that made them wireless hot spots. Internet seekers then paid what they wanted—in cash or via PayPal—to access the Web. The homeless men and women kept all of the money.

The media wasn’t amused, and now BBH Labs is licking its wounds. Continue reading

"Apology" to Sandra Fluke shows libel threat and advertiser defections have Team Limbaugh running scared; what to do next

Rush Limbaugh has apologized to Sandra Fluke. Sort of – he uses the opportunity to reiterate everything except the actual insults. If he were concerned about sincerity, he wouldn’t have buried the apology on Saturday afternoon, he have delivered it in the same medium as he did the attack.

Here’s what the move by Limbaugh means:

  1. His lawyers told him that a libel suit had merit, and
  2. he was feeling the backlash against his advertisers.

Here’s what it doesn’t mean: Limbaugh’s opponents have won. Continue reading

Hey PR professionals – thinking of representing a distressed brand? Six important things to consider before signing that retainer

Part two of two…

On Tuesday, I offered some thoughts on the sociopathic nature of some public relations agencies. Once we learn that American firms are lipsticking brutal despots and states that support terrorism it’s legitimate to wonder if there is anyone on Earth that they wouldn’t represent. I just heard a story this morning about a flak who went so far as to take on the remnants of the Khmer Rouge. So if Syria, Libya, Bahrain and the most notorious purveyors of genocide since World War 2 aren’t out of bounds, you have to figure somebody in the industry would gladly sign up Kim Jong-Il, Hitler, Stalin and the Khan boys (Genghis and Agha) for the right amount of money. Continue reading

Nota Bene #114: Big Star

“The radio makes hideous sounds.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #105: The Illustrated Dick

“When all you are becomes defined as the amount of information traceable to you, what are we then? What have we become, in a world where there is no separation, no door, no filter beyond which we can say, ‘No. This is my personal space. Not yours. Here I am alone with my thoughts and free of any outside influence or control. This, you cannot have.’ I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #96: Saturn's Hexagon and the Bulava Spiral

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Continue reading

Michael Vick and the problem with forgiveness

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has conditionally reinstated former Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, who was convicted of running a dogfighting ring in 2007. Vick served 23 months in federal prison, followed by two months of house arrest.

Last Thursday the Philadelphia Eagles answered the question as to which team would sign a convicted dog-killer (there were 32 possible answers to the question, and “none of the above” wasn’t one of them), and in doing so touched off a long-awaited PR war for the souls of their stunned fans. Continue reading