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Archive for Publicity – Page 2

Facebook to rebrand WhatsApp & Instagram

When your social media platform has been the subject of investigations, congressional hearings, front page stories, and forced to pay fines for privacy lapses, well, sometimes a slight rebrand is in order. That’s what Facebook is doing with two of its biggest social assets, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook has been under fire for quite some time, and in a move apparently designed to provide more clarity to app users, the company will be rebranding both Instagram and WhatsApp as “Instagram by Facebook” and “WhatsApp by Facebook”. Each app will look the same on your phone screen, but its new name will be reflected in the Google Play and App Store.

It’s a very minor change, but any time you tinker with naming and branding it’s a pretty big deal—especially when you’re discussing one of the titans in the social space. Privacy and data rights have been driven to the fore in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and so far, Facebook has attempted to be transparent with their changes to address concerns.

That is seemingly one of the drivers behind this rebrand, which will officially consolidate the three platforms under the Facebook umbrella. One of the interface changes that will accompany the move will be cross-platform communication—the ability to send a message to a buddy on Facebook from your WhatsApp or Instagram app, instead of having to utilize each platform’s individual messaging tools.

A minor performance tweak, but one that will promote seamless communication across Facebook’s apps.

Things never stay the same for long in Internetland, and Facebook’s rebrand of its two biggest social platforms is yet another example. We’ll see when the change is ultimately made and reflected in the App Store.  

Our Hearts with El Paso & Dayton

El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, were rocked by mass shootings over the weekend. 22 people were murdered by a gunman on Saturday in El Paso, and less than 24 hours later nine people would be shot and killed outside of a bar in Dayton. There have been 255 mass shootings so far this year—a year that’s only 218 days in.

These terrible occurrences seem to happen all too often, and seemingly fade from the headlines within a few days. The commonplace nature of these attacks have terrorized, horrified, and to some extent, anesthetized. These shootings happen with such alarming regularity that it’s locked the country into a sort of moral stalemate where the same similar arguments emerge to the fore and then fade—until the next El Paso or Dayton. This is not normal.

As an Orlandoan this is a deeply personal issue. We just commemorated the third anniversary of the Pulse massacre, one that ripped 49 fellow members of my community away. The scars from that June night are still extremely raw in this city, but so are the vivid memories of the actions of those who live here. The lines around the block to give blood, the candlelight vigils, the organized protests to protect the funerals from outside agitators who swept into Orlando to spread hatred.

We saw these helpers in El Paso and Dayton, as well. Communities united in their collective grief, mourning the loss of 31 of their own. It’s incredibly inspiring to see people come together in the aftermath of events like these, but they shouldn’t have to. People should not need to look for the exits when they walk into a Walmart or a bar or a nightclub or a bar—it is not normal, but it’s become normal.

We extend our deepest condolences to the residents of these two communities, and hope and pray that this time—finally—is the last time.   

Final Day of Influence ’19!

Attending NSA’s Influence ’19? Have you stopped by PR/PR’s booth yet? Well, if you’re in Denver, be sure to swing by our setup in the exhibit hall and say hello to our intrepid owner, Russell Trahan. He’s got PR tips and trends to toss at you, and he’s also got some candy, as well (mints, I believe).

It’s always bittersweet on the final day of convention. We love meeting new faces and picking the brains of some of the top speaking minds from around the globe, but it’s also a nice feeling to arrive back home and dive back into our daily work.

I have been holding down the fort here at PR/PR HQ while Russell enjoys Denver and the excitement from Influence ’19—the public relations train does not stop.

So while he’s representing the company at our booth, I’ll utilize this blogging vehicle to send some traffic his way. Russell will be present on the exhibit hall floor throughout the day with convention-only discounts on all of our services, and if you’re lucky, you may get a Dad joke or two.
And if neither of those move you, remember the candy—he’s got that, too.

Area 51 and the Weirdness of the Internet

Ever wanted to see, up close and personal, the deep secrets held at Area 51? Do you want to see extraterrestrial life and technology? Perhaps you just want to head to the military facility to check it out.

Well, thanks to one Facebook event, 1.7 million people have signed up to raid the ultra-secretive base to, “See them aliens.”

It’s turned into the meme du jour, with inside jokes about busting out imprisoned alien life, chugging Monster Energy Drinks, and Naruto runs. It’s very weird stuff, and it’s very internet. It’s 2019 in a nutshell.

Of course the individual who created the Facebook event clearly meant it as a joke, that hasn’t stopped the U.S. Military from commenting on protecting its assets. It also opens up the possibility that some who are all-in on the meme actually show up.

But it’s also opened up pretty unique publicity and marketing avenues for brands online. Bud Light has unveiled Area 51 cans, branded with “We come in peace” on the label, and promises to make them available should their tweet reach 51K retweets (it’s at 38.8K as of writing this.)

The beer giant has also promised to provide free beer to any aliens who are rescued from the installation.

A pretty fine example of latching onto online momentum, joining in the fun, and gaining some brand visibility in the process.

But an Oklahoma animal shelter is using the Area 51 joke to promote something very important: pet adoption. Adorning some of their available pups in tinfoil hats, they’re encouraging people to “Storm the pet shelter,” adding that their pets will “Protect you from Area 51 aliens.” It’s a brilliant stroke of marketing that’s obviously gone viral, and displays a textbook understanding of leveraging trends online.

So while the whole Area 51 raid is just a giant joke, the opportunities that its created cannot be ignored. The internet is a very weird place, but sometimes your best marketing campaigns begin by latching on to and embracing the weirdness.  

The Breaking Bad Bait & Switch

If you’ve followed PR/PR’s blog for any length in time, you’re well aware of my affinity for Breaking Bad. In my humble opinion it’s one of the greatest television shows ever created—a deep character study about what someone will do to provide for their family, and the personality changes that can take place once his motivations become skewed. It was a masterful work, so naturally fans have been clamoring for more since the credits rolled on the series finale six years ago.

So it made perfect sense that alarm bells would go off when Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul began tweeting identical photos with the cryptic caption, “Soon.” The first photo, a couple of mules in a desert setting on grayscale, immediately started the internet chatter that a movie or another spin-off a la Better Call Saul was in the works.

The second depicted Cranston and Paul crossing a creek, yet again with a desert backdrop.

If you’re unfamiliar with Breaking Bad, it follows Cranston and Paul (as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, respectively) as they rise through the seedy underworld of methamphetamine in New Mexico. So you have a photo of mules and the pair in an arid-looking landscape, posted simultaneously on both stars’ social media accounts.

You can see where the mental math came to the calculation that a new Breaking Bad project was in the works.

But then came the third photo, one showing each sipping a drink, complete with the caption, “A collaboration so smooth you can taste it,” and an emoji of a highball glass.

That’s when many fans realized they’d been duped. Instead of some new Breaking Bad content, they were getting an alcoholic beverage collaboration between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. Mezcal, to be exact.

The online outrage was swift, with a large contingent of people expressing their displeasure at seemingly falling for a bait-and-switch. The social media stunt had all the makings of a PR campaign, but with a television series as pivotal and important as Breaking Bad, many were content operating under willful ignorance that something bigger was in the works.

But their hearts were broken with the official announcement, and as it stands right now there’s no Walter White or Jesse Pinkman on the horizon. It will be interesting to see if their new Mezcal brand will succeed, considering a large chunk of their potential customers are now frustrated and angry fans.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul certainly created a buzz with their social media trolling—and generated awareness of their new brand in the process. We’ll see if they can convert angry fans into willing consumers.