Hyundai pulled this ad yesterday. Yeah, probably best.
April Fools’ allows advertising teams to flex their creative muscles without much fallout. The ads produced this time of year range from the completely ludicrous to the few that leave audiences guessing whether or not they’re jokes.
This morning I received an email that promised bologna on my next movie night. The subject line read: Lunch meat is now available at Redbox. It’s the kind of teaser that you have to click on just to see how well the joke is presented and Redbox did not disappoint.
When you click on the various meats, and who can resist clicking on ‘Mystery Meat’, you are brought to a page alerting you to the joke and then rewarding you with a coupon for your next rental.
And here’s a great one from Bonobos for a “new” line: The Girlfriend Jean. The video delivers one of the best lines as well: “It turns out that mens’ and womens’ bodies aren’t all that different.”
For even more April Fool’s fun you can visit Google Nose, Google Maps (Treasure Mode), Sony’s new pet products, an update regarding vowel usage from Twttr, Toshiba’s inflatable laptop, and bacon flavored mouthwash from P&G.
On this April Fools’ there is at least one company who may have wished their ad was fake. Unfortunately for Burger King, this ad is not only real but completely out of touch with the rising tensions surrounding North Korea. (Note: The Burger King is not new for April Fools’ however it is still being used by the company and has people scratching their heads today.)
After 47 years, the Boston Phoenix is publishing its final issue. WFNX.com will also cease to exist in its current form according to a statement from Phoenix publisher Stephen Mindich to staffers earlier today. It is currently unclear if the station will continue in a new form moving forward or cease existence much like its hard copy relative. Read my earlier post from June 2012 regarding WFNX’s recent transformations.
The following is the statement issued by Mindich:
I can state with certainty that this is the single most difficult communication I’ve ever had to deliver and there’s no other way to state it than straightforwardly –
As of now the Boston Phoenix has ceased publishing and wfnx.com will not continue as it is.
As everyone knows, between the economic crisis beginning in 2007 and the simultaneous radical changes in the media business, particularly as it has affected print media advertising, these have been extremely difficult times for our Company and despite the valiant effort by many, many past and current staff to attempt to stabilize and, in fact, reverse our significant financial losses, we have been unable to do so and they are no longer sustainable.
Because of their smaller scale of operations and because we believe that they remain meaningful publications to their communities, with some necessary changes to each, it is our intent to keep the Providence and Portland Phoenixes operating and to do so for as long as they remain financially viable. The same is true for Mass Web Printing Co.
I cannot find the words to express how sad a moment this is for me, and I know, for you as well, so I won’t try.
What I can and will say is I am extremely proud, as all of you should be, of the highest standards of journalism we have set and maintained throughout the decades in all of our areas of coverage and the important role we have played in driving political and socially progressive and responsible agendas; in covering the worlds of arts and entertainment, food and fashion – always with a critical view, while at the same time promoting their enormous importance in maintaining a healthy society; and in advocating for the recognition and acceptance of a wide range of lifestyles that are so valuable for a vibrant society.
And finally, at least for this moment, I want to thank all of you – and the literally thousands of women and men before you, for lending your talents to our mission over the past 47 years – as I have always said – our staff has been our soul.
And obviously as well, my sincere gratitude to our millions of readers and tens of thousands of advertisers without whom none of what we did accomplish could have been possible or meaningful.
So, that’s it. We have had an extraordinary run.
WARNING: ADULT CONTENT
UPDATE: @TheOnion has offically apologized with this Facebook post:
On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.
No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.
The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.
In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.
Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.
If you were on Twitter after the Oscars then you are aware of “The Tweet”. It was sent out at 8:42PST and taken down within an hour of being posted. It’s content divided Twitter users between defenders of satire and those standing up for a 9-year-old Oscar nominee.
@TheOnion, the satirical media outlet that drew criticism for false hostage claims on Twitter in 2011 and more recently gained positive reviews for its “coverage” of the Newtown shooting, posted the tweet about Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis:
Coming to the young actress’s defense was former star of The Wire, Wendell Pierce who posted several tweets in response including:
@theonion Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humor I call it horrendous.
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) February 25, 2013
As well as Oscar winner Marlee Matlin:
Not that they would care, but I have no plans of ever following @theonion for their HORRIFIC tweet about a nine year old Oscar nominee.
— Marlee Matlin (@MarleeMatlin) February 25, 2013
As the tweet generated discussion on Twitter it also grabbed headlines including this one from the Associated Press: Onion Criticized For Joke About Quvenzhane Wallis
The Internet never forgets so it will be interesting to see if and how @TheOnion will respond. Will they fire the tweet’s author? Will they stand by their post? Will this story continue to build? Will Twitter take any action against @TheOnion? Will this post test the free speech rights of Twitter users?
It’s a phrase recited by PR professionals worldwide: be careful what you put in writing. As a result we like to call people when we discuss initial ideas or make requests. If you see us on the phone we are probably asking for a favor, typing is for ultimatums.
That’s why I both understand and am perplexed by Beyonce’s publicist when she reached out to BuzzFeed yesterday afternoon. After the site published a collection of photos from the singer’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl they apparently received a call from Yvette Noel-Schure requesting that a few “unflattering” photos be replaced. Ms. Noel-Schure then followed up with an email citing the specific snapshots.
Look, we’ve all been there. The press publishes what it wants. If the words came out of your mouth or took place near a camera you can expect it to appear in print or online. However, part of our job is brand management and sometimes that means image control. The photos in question could be construed as “gurning” and it’s understandable that a simple request could be made to replace them. That doesn’t mean the media outlet has to do it, it’s just a request. It is your due diligence to make it even if you know it won’t work.
Unfortunately we do not know if the request was pleasant or not since we are only presented with an email. If this was a bit of revenge on behalf of the reporter then they should include the initial tone of the phone call, otherwise the email reads just fine.
Before you dismiss the image management of a celebrity like Beyonce, just consider what she has been up to lately. In just the past few weeks she “sang” at the Presidential Inauguration, hoarded headlines with her silence following that event, demonstrated the perfect response to smack talk at an NFL press conference, performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and announced her worldwide tour. It has been a carefully choreographed parade of events. Along the way I was awed by her ability to own the news when nothing that she was doing was necessarily newsworthy.
So as someone who spoke out against spotlighting Beyonce’s lip synching moment at the inauguration when real news was taking place around the world, why does this catch my attention? Because requests aren’t news. Why BuzzFeed chose to publish this story is understandable, after all it garnered over 6,000 likes. But it’s exactly this type of “reporting” that creates a divide between publicists and the media.
This is not news. This is a request that barely rises above junk food corn syrup; a sugary high for a reader that lasts just long enough until another tidbit of celebrity trivia reaches an inbox. Sometimes the allure of publishing some behind the scenes details for a quick hit is too much to resist. I get it, it’s BuzzFeed after all.
There is something wrong with this photo. It’s just two little letters. Can you spot them? I’ll give you a hint. They’re bold and big and out of place.
PR should never make headlines. If you’re in the PR industry you’ve taken a silent pledge to be the man behind the man (or woman behind the woman or man behind the…). You’ve decided that, for much of your early career, you will allow others to say your words, receive credit for your thoughts, and answer when asked a question.
It’s true that you may rise to the ranks of spokesperson and you will be quoted. There are times when you’ll step out of the shadows and stand at the center of the story. However, you’ll never let our methods be the source of speculation, dragging your audience away from your messages.
You may not have said a word, but you took the pledge.
This post first appeared on Medium.