Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: The Lighter Side of PR

Friday Five LogoDecember, buttressed by the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year holidays, is often considered a “quiet” month for most public relations practitioners but it can also be an intense year-end crunch for others. If you’re not trying to use up your remaining vacation days, you’re likely developing your annual reports and plans for next year. Because of this duality, December can be a period of both high stress and low productivity. To help you power through the remaining weeks of the month, we’ll be taking a look at the lighter side of PR.

In this week’s Friday Five – PRSA’s analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we’ll have some fun while looking at ways to stay focused. We’ll run down this year’s top memes, take a look at a remix to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” that has a PR slant, watch the first of the inevitable videos from airlines giving free flights and learn how to avoid “fake work.” We also examine the unconventional marketing methods driving the Star Wars movie franchise.

16 memes that broke the Internet in 2014 (Mashable)

I’m calling it now, 2014 was the year of the meme. It seemed like each week, creative minds with adept Photoshop skills found new and innovative ways to make us chuckle. These masters of the LOLz, capitalized on recent news and events coupled with pop-culture to churn out mash-ups that were imaginative, instantly shareable social media fodder.

Mashable author, Annie Colbert, collected some of what she considered the top contenders for those that “broke the internet.” Among her 16 choices are some that you’ll instantly recognize and others that you’ll soon be adding to your bookmarks; including “Leo DiCaprio Runs Topless,” “Odell Beckham Jr.’s Epic Catch,” “Pharrell’s Hat” and obviously “Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine Cover.”

For the full list, visit the article and let us know what you think she missed in the comments below. Note: possibly NSFW, because of Kim Kardashian.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’: the PR Remix (PRNewser)

Like the majority of the world, you’ve probably been asking yourself recently “self, why has no one ever made a remix to that ‘12 Days of Christmas’ song with the PR pro in mind.” Well ask no longer, because Shawn Paul Wood over at PRNewser has been asking himself the same thing…and unlike the rest of us, he has finally done something about it.

Pulling from the more common topics faced by the beleaguered PR professional, Wood set the classic stanza to a list of 12 issues that you might be facing this month. His ‘12 Days of Christmas’ remix lists such items as developing buzzwords and “viral” videos along with editing proposals and dodging the inevitable last-minute due dates.

Read Wood’s full remix on the PRNewser site and then take to twitter to petition him to set the thing to music.

Air Canada buys everyone a round to remember (AdWeek)

The Christmas holiday period easily ranks among the worst travel periods of the year. While USA Today rates it as an overrated hassle saying “as with Thanksgiving, Christmas crowds and travel hassles are overrated, with fewer delays and crowds in the winter than you’d expect” they do cop to the fact that it’s still worse than any old Tuesday in May by including “still, snowstorms and extra-cold weather can cause major flight delays and increased headaches — especially when the whole family is in tow.” Even if Christmas travel is not as bad as most people think, perception is often akin to reality, so if there is anything that an airline can do to make that hassle any easier, it’s often considered a win.

You may remember last year when WestJet produced this holiday win by having gifts waiting for passengers when they arrived at their destination:

Christmas is coming (in my best Ned Stark voice)… and imitation is the best form of flattery so you can expect other airlines to try similar promotions this season. The first (that I’ve seen) to do so is Air Canada. The full article was written by David Griner for AdFreak. In the piece Griner explains “the stunt took place Nov. 27 and sparked some fantastic, emotional responses from the unsuspecting Canadians who’d gathered together that night. And while these holiday videos often feel staged, everything from the crappy hand-held camerawork to the off-key anthem singing make it clear that this one’s legit.”

Read the full piece and watch the video here.

Doing More With Less: Avoid Fake Work (Forbes)

If you used-up all of your vacation days early in the year going to friends’ weddings or taking long summer trips, you may be one of those poor saps left warming your chair while your coworkers try to cram in the last of their use-it-or-lose-it vacation days before the December 31 deadline. Or, you’re just the boss and you have to stick around while your staff takes all those days you’ve generously given them; either way, right now you’re probably trying to get at least some work done with less people to help you do it.

To help you get things done while staying focused, Forbes contributor Rodger Dean Duncan offered some tips on avoiding fake work which might help you through the month. Duncan describes “fake work” as “work that’s not explicitly aligned with the strategies and goals of the organization.” While some might consider this a big topic and Duncan’s tips are more directed at overarching strategies, as you wrap up the year and begin making plans for 2015, they are well-timed.

In his article, Duncan offers tips such as:

Beware the activity trap. Fake work prospers when people are uncertain about priorities. Don’t let busyness overwhelm emphasis. Again, focus on the work that matters most. For example, if a regularly-scheduled meeting fails to produce valuable results, remove it from the calendar.”

Do yourself a favor and read his full article to help to prepare for next year.

PR guru says cyberdrama amps ‘Star Wars’ buzz (Boston Herald)

Fan or not, according to the Time, the likelihood that you’ve seen the trailer for the latest Star Wars film is about 99.9% – “Basically Everyone Watched the New Star Wars Trailer.” If you haven’t been exposed to the trailer itself through social, mobile, iTunes or even old-school television, you’ve at least heard that there is one.

As stated by Nikki Chase in her article “with Twitter abuzz, news of the trailer gave shopping trends a run for their money with ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Star Wars’ as two of the top trending items on the site.” With saturation like that, it’s impossible to call the marketing strategy for a film that won’t be released for more than a year anything short of a success. Additionally she goes on to mention that due to fans thirst to view the trailer, it briefly crashed the iTunes site.

In her article, Chase interviews George Regan, president of Regan Communications and others to discuss the success of the trailer release and how it helps to build anticipation for the film.

Read thefull piece here.


Laurent Lawrence is the associate director of public relations for the Public Relations Society of America.

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