CES, the largest and most anticipated tech conference of the year, kicks off today in Las Vegas. It’s the marquee event in the technology world, and each and every turn of the calendar it gets the year started with some newsworthy highlights about forthcoming products and trends in the tech landscape.
So what will be unveiled today that will potentially be on your 2020 shopping list?
Forbes is out with its list of the 10 tech trends to watch at CES, and it runs the gamut from hyper-powered televisions to a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly products.
Impossible Foods, purveyors of plant-based meat products and a Silicon Valley unicorn in the food space, is set to unveil pork and sausage substitutes at CES, ahead of a possible 2020 IPO. They of course changed the fast food game in 2019 when they partnered with Burger King on the Impossible Whopper.
Tech privacy will also take center stage at this year’s CES. A rightfully hot button issue, many news stories from 2019 zeroed in on privacy lapses from social media outlets and online companies. CES will be livestreaming a panel discussion with some of the top tech execs on the importance of privacy and the changes in the pipeline for your apps and devices.
CES sets the tone for the year ahead in the technology space, so PR/PR will certainly be tuning in. What are you looking forward to most as CES gets rolling?
Wow. 2020. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at the helm of this blog for nearly nine years now. The time really has flown.
A decade comes to a close at the stroke of midnight, and we officially close the book on the 2010’s. We’ve made some wonderful memories over the last 10 years — there’s been PR/PR weddings and births, welcoming new interns into the fold and watching their careers begin to blossom, and working with some of the most talented speakers and clients in the business.
We’ve attended NSA conventions all over the map, from Anaheim to Denver, Dallas to D.C.. Many things have changed, but the constant throughout our company are the people that we get to meet each and every day. You are the reason that we enjoy doing what we do. The ability to play a part in your career success is our absolute joy and privilege, and learning from your expertise has helped shape the second decade of PR/PR.
So we raise a glass to you this evening. May 2020 greet with you with health and continued success, and we look forward to working on your behalf in the New Year.
It’s actually chilly in Orlando as we head into Christmas. Who knew it was possible? It’s definitely hard to feel 100% festive when you’re sweating through your ugly sweater, so I am thankful for this little sub-60 degree “cold snap.” There won’t be chestnuts roasting on any open fire, but this blog scribe won’t be roasting under an uncooperative December sun.
A Christmas miracle!
On a serious note: Russell and I want to extend the warmest wishes to our friends, partners, and clients this holiday season. We learn so much from all of you each year, and we’re blessed to have you in the PR/PR family. May you enjoy this wonderful time surrounded by your loved ones, and create the memories that make this season so special.
The Hallmark Channel waded into the deep end of a cultural and PR mess this week. Now I’m not going to use today’s post to ruminate on issues of morality or personal belief—but I do strongly feel that diversity and inclusion are certifiable strengths for any company. The topic at hand here is Hallmark Channel’s flip-flop on a hot button issue, and why it’s simply something that you cannot do.
Hallmark, a beloved brand and staple of the holiday season, received backlash for pulling a commercial depicting a same-sex couple kissing on their wedding day. The commercial was for Zola, an online wedding registry business. Think what you want about The Hallmark Channel’s initial decision to yank the ad, but where they really got it wrong was what they did yesterday by reinstating it.
That’s a blatant attempt to have it both ways, and one that has expectedly exploded right in The Hallmark Channel’s face.
If your company is going to succumb to the pressures of cultural outrage, it better be prepared to hold the line. By subsequently caving to the anger of their pulling of the commercial, Hallmark has shown that its network values are malleable simply based on profit.
Now, that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. Networks have been running ads for brands that don’t align with their values and identity for decades—it’s about ad sales and the bottom line. But once you cross the cultural Rubicon and decide that a particular advertisement should not be shown on your network’s air, you better dig in and be prepared to defend that decision. The Hallmark Channel has made its problem worse by putting the commercial back into its rotation.
The real winner here is obviously Zola, who could not have ever dreamed of the amount of free publicity that would emerge from the ad buy on The Hallmark Channel. Whatever monetary figure they doled out for the spot is now paying dividends.
Moral issues will always be present in pop culture. It seems that multiple times a year we read one of these stories. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but no one is entitled to play both sides of the field.
Some very sad news in today’s PR/PR weekly blog, as it was announced yesterday that Pete Frates, the Boston College athlete who helped make the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge a worldwide social media phenomenon, passed away from the disease at the age of 34. Frates was one of the primary drivers of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised more than $200 million for ALS research.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is credited as being one of the most successful social campaigns of all time.
Taking Facebook by storm in 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge encouraged participants to dump freezing cold water on their heads—and also extend a donation to the ALS Association to support research into the progressive and ultimately fatal neurological illness.
Pete Frates was 27 when he was diagnosed, and although this awful disease took him far too soon, his contributions to the area of ALS awareness are immeasurable. Per the ALS Association, since the inception of Ice Bucket Challenge and the boost in funding through social media promotion, five new genes related to the disease have been discovered and over 200 new research projects have begun.
That’s a way to leave a legacy—one that will have a marked impact on others who are dealing with the same debilitating illness.
Russell participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 (with a bucket assist by former Social Media Manager Lindsay Durfee) and gave to the ALS Association on behalf of PR/PR. It was a donation that all of us were thrilled to make and a viral cause that we were happy to take part in. There’s some understandable skepticism when it comes to social media trends, but this was one well worth the flooded timelines.
So rest in peace, Pete Frates. You’ve made an indelible mark on the field of ALS research and awareness, and while your valiant battle may have come to an end, your efforts have provided so much to others in that same fight.