Three Grand Seeks Qualified Texas PR Student

It’s just like dating. The Public Relations Foundation of Houston has a $3,000 scholarship to award to a deserving student.  The Foundation Board seeks a well-rounded public relations student.  The student or parents of the student are seeking unrestricted funds to be used for college expenses. “Deserving” translates to a student that is majoring in public relations or a related field (communications, etc.) at a Houston area university. They maintain at least a 3.25 GPA in the major and a 3.0 GPA overall.  They are a full-time student.  They have leadership skills like serving as an officer in PRSSA; or demonstrated community service. Match? Then apply for the PRFH Scholarship by this Friday, March 11.

Not convinced? $3,000 means new software.  A FlipCam for creating videos. A trip to the PRSSA National Conference. A rewarding and valuable internship instead of a minimum wage job.  So don’t hesitate – download the application now and apply today.  It could be the match that propels you from college to a career.

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Think Before You Tweet: Journalist Nir Rosen

Wednesday night I was watching Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN. He covered the stream of tweets of journalist Nir Rosen about the attack on CBS Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Lara Logan last Friday. Separated from her security detail and crew, she was violently attacked and sexually assaulted in Tahir Square in Cairo. Click here to see Cooper’s exchange with Nir Rosen.

I find Rosen’s “apology” disingenuous.  His callous statements about Logan outraged the Twitter community. The reaction lead to his resignation of his fellowship at New York University and non-stop back-pedalling.  You can delete incendiary posts on Twitter, but once posts get re-tweeted they have a life of their own.  Sexual assault is not funny – and I’m not buying that Rosen didn’t know about the assault since he linked to the official CBS post in his first tweet. This guy is not a jerk – he’s an ass.

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Branding in Massachusetts Senatorial Race

Massachusetts is sizzling.  Tonight we’ll learn if the citizens of Massachusetts elect a Republican Senator for the first time since 1972. Either Martha Coakley, the Democratic State Attorney General or Scott Brown, a Republican state Senator will fill the two-year term left by the untimely death of Edward M. Kennedy Jr. (Teddy).

What’s interesting to me from a marketing communications stand point is how well Scott Brown has branded himself as the “people’s candidate”  in an extremely short period of time. He has referred to the Senate seat as the “people’s seat” not Ted Kennedy’s seat; and his campaign is using social media tactics full-tilt: Google ads; Facebook and Twitter – the tactics and campaign strategy that propelled President Barack Obama into office. So why didn’t the Democratic election play book get handed down? Coakley’s campaign has a social media presence, but just that – a weak presence. It  appears that Coakley didn’t see Brown’s energized campaign hitting the streets as his ratings lit up the polls until this past weekend.  Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama made weekend visits to Massachusetts to encourage Independents and Democrats to get out the vote. Coakley did make several missteps including identifying beloved Boston Red Sox pitcher and blogger Curt Schilling as a “Yankee fan” (that’s nuclear); and not getting out to the people and campaigning in the trenches early and hard enough.  There are more registered Independents in Massachusetts than there are Democrats or Republicans.  There is nothing like good political theater especially in Massachusetts where politics is a spectator sport.   There’s major drama going on in Massachusetts today where the weather is clear; the people are angry and motivated; and the Democrats 60-vote majority in the Senate is at stake.  Bravo Massachusetts.  We’re all watching and waiting.

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Hardy Wallace wins Goode Job

I'd love to live in Sonoma Valley

I'd love to live in Sonoma Valley

Murphy Goode Winery announced yesterday (July 21) that Hardy Wallace of Atlanta was selected as the world’s first Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent.  What a great title.  He has secured a six month position with the winery to exclusively use social media to drive media and consumer attention to the winery. Learn more about Hardy through his site Goode to be first and Dirty South Wine, with the slogan “wine is meant to be crunk.” The women’s t-shirts he has on the site are pretty cute.

The big winner is Murphy-Goode winery.  They scored more than 300,000,000 impressions and more than $7-million dollars worth of publicity for the winery and Sonoma Valley.  That’s brilliant. Congratulations to Murphy-Goode and Mr. Wallace.

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Blending Social Media & Fine Wine – Murphy-Goode

Last week I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon in Healdsburg, CA.  We started our morning at the Ferrari-Carano winery enjoying their reserve varietals and signing up for their wine club.

Ferrari Carrano winery

Ferrari Carrano winery

 We meandered back down the valley stopping in the charming city of Healdsburg to enjoy lunch at Bistro Ralph.   After lunch, we wandered the city’s shops, finally stopping into the tasting room of Murphy-Goode winery.  As I wandered the tasting room – I was “wined” out at this point – I found myself intrigued by the candidate submissions for “a really goode job.”  I had read about this opportunity in the New York Times back in May about tweeting your way to an awesome job in the wine industry, but it’s cooler than that.  Basically, you become the social media guru for Murphy-Goode for 6 months – most likely alongside their stellar communications team.  You get to live in a deluxe private home and create your own wine with wine-maker David Ready, Jr. to celebrate your experience.

Glamour shot of Murphy Goode wines

Glamour shot of Murphy Goode wines

 And right now, they are down to the 10 final candidates.  You can view their videos and cv’s at a really goode job.  The “Top 10” is an interesting group of techies and foodies. The winning candidate will be announced on July 21st.  But the big winner is Murphy-Goode.  The MG public relations team mastered the intricacies of Web 2.0 early on and this campaign is a great case study.  The video for the campaign is a video travelogue for Sonoma County.    They have engaged thousands of applicants to apply for “a really gooode job” introducing them to their wines, and have scored copious amounts of quality media hits.  It’s brilliant and fun.  I’ll be checking in on July 21 to see who the winner is of  “a really good job” as I sip a glass of Liar’s Dice.  It’s brilliant all the way around.

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A Twitter in Tehran

A high tech game of subterfuge has unfolded in Tehran, as social media savvy Iranians work to keep one step ahead of their government.  Through social media and cell phones they are sharing at the scene experiences of the social unrest and protests in Tehran.  This explosion of street protests began after the contested results of the country’s June 12 election were announced in less than 2 hours with incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the victor over Mir Hossain Moussavi.  As of June 13 Iranian protesters have taken to the street to protest against alleged election fraud.  Social media sites Facebook and Twitter had added Farsi to their list of services, while YouTube is allowing the posting of graphic images taken from the streets of Tehran. The media age of Iran’s 70 million citizens is 24 years old – a group that is conversant in the use of social media. whereismyvotegroups

From sites including DigiActive, a guide to Twitter for Activism, Irainian ex-pats have learned different techniques to assist their fellow Iranians. Twitter uses are providing “cover'” by changing their time zone settings and locale information to appear as if they reside in Iran.  There have been conflicting reports of how effective this technique is inside Iran.  The June 17th on-line article in BusinessWeek noted that word of mouth, SMS text messages, and phone calls are galvanizing the suporters of Moussavi.  Social media has been dramatically effective in keeping the media’s attention focused on activities inside Iran.  On Friday, June 19, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced in a speech at Tehran University that street protests must stop and declared that incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the election fairly.  This speech has subdued some Iranians, but others took to the streets on Saturday with deadly results.

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Female protestors in Iran

Iranian women have been on the front lines of the protest movement.  Sadly, a young woman named Neda Agha-Soltan was killed during Saturday’s street protests.  Her death has become a rallying cry for Iran and has sparked protests against the Revolutionary Guard and Basij violence against the Iranian people around the globe.

google-iran3

Today, on June 22, the protests are continuing in the streets of Tehran and throughout Iran.  Current Iranian leadership is well aware of the power of public protest – they were part of the movement of 1979 that rose up against the Shah of Iran in a Revolution galvanized by Ayatollah Khoneini.  The people of Iran, coupled with the accesibility of social media, the mainstream news media, global support and their courage must continue their protests to realize true reform.  Sadly, there will be more lives lost in this struggle and the outcome is unclear.  But we must never lose hope for justice and freedom  for all of Iran’s citizens.

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