Category Archives: Political Campaigns

Inauguration Celebration

Wanted to post this video in the name of change.

“Bring out your dead!” But print’s not dead yet!

For all you “demise of print” soothesayers, I’ve got a little story for you. Last week, the election of Barack Obama as our nations 44th president brought HOPE to both our country and to the print industry. While watching the speech on November 4th, my roommate and I decided to do our best to get newspapers of the election results on November 5th This is an historically significant event. I wanted proof that I’d seen it. I was inspired by my AP US History teacher, Mr. Litchfield who displays the front page articles of various historical events in his classroom – the US moon landing, Roosevelts’ fourth term election…

Apparently people around the country were equally moved to buy a copy…

Line outside of the NYT Building

From the Gothamist: This is the line outside of the New York Times building in NYC. Once I got into the city on Wednesday morning, I checked the closest news stands, Starbucks, Borders, Walgreens – All had sold out of that day’s NYT.

So I did what anyone with a sister at the New York Times would do – I called my sister and had her save me a copy.

picture-6She, being the lovely sister that she is, obliged me right away and sent me a copy. She also, gave my name and search story to a reporter – one Richard Perez-Pena.

picture-8Got a call later that day from Richard asking about my quest for a paper, why it was important for me to have a copy and where I’d gone to get one — and YES. Lots of people go to Starbucks and Borders as a surefire place to get the “Times”. OK?

The next day, all of my coworkers were asking me how the hell I’d gotten to be in the New York Times because here is the article. And here’s my quote from the November 6th article:

picture-71

Feel free to laugh. I did.

Alright, alright – so the more important point is (as Perez-Pena points out at the bottom of the above screen shot) that this gave the print facet of the news industry a ray of Obama-branded HOPE.

Suddenly newsPAPERS were a commodity. Something tangible to represent participation in this event. I voted. I saw it happen.

The frenzy continued and madness ensued on Craigslist and Ebay…picture-3picture-41The people who run NYT Social Media activity (Is that you @Converseon?) brilliantly came up with a Facebook gift of the November 5th NYT front page. I got one from my friend, colleague and fellow LaunchSquadder, Miko Mercer.

picture-2The point is, as long as historical events keep happening, I think we’re going to see a continued demand for tangible evidence. The demand for this particular copy translates into a demand for physical engagement. People felt like they were a part of this election and this process by purchasing a copy. Or at least I did.

Just so you know – the paper was much easier to find on November 6th when I bought a hardcopy of my quote. For my mom.

Campaign banner ads: We belong to the Light (continued)

This ad is from Adotas.com. In my previous post I pointed out these ads for the debates and how they looked slightly amorous. Well this is just out of control.

Of course – it could just be a call for bipartisanship.

Mischief Managed: Recovering From PR Blunders

In my spare time, I’ve been reading Jane Eyre and at one point in the lengthy conversations between Mr. Rochester and Jane, I felt very convicted by something he said to her in an argument: “You are afraid – Your self-love dreads blunder.”

Here is something to which I can relate. I don’t know if it’s self-love that drives me or makes me hesitate, but I do think it is, to some extent, a fear of mistakes or messing up. I’m a cautious and slow mover. I fear that my chance and risk-taking won’t pan out to success. My question is, when you mess up, how do you recover? This isn’t crisis management but, to reference to Harry Potter, “mischief management”.

In a recent article by Keith Ferrazzi, Founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a strategic consulting and professional development firm, he gives advice on how to deal with both personal and professional mistakes and blunders.

1. Get some perspective: This makes sense to me. In the grand scheme of things, assess how much does this really matter?

2. Assess and forgive yourself: In the grand scheme of YOU (and/or your company), how much does this mistake represent?

3. Come clean: Trust comes from full disclosure and free-flowing information. This goes for all relationships, personal and professional. At least in my experience.

4. Get back on the polo horse: I don’t really get why he stipulated that it was a polo horse, but I’ll take it. Move on by moving on. Prove to everyone that this mistake doesn’t define you or your work.

This is very good advice and coupled with what I’m learning in college, it should help in at least assessing and projecting recovery tactics for PR blunders and mistakes. In my PR classes, my instructors have presented the “wrong” ways to do things and even given us some examples of easily avoidable blunders and then how they were mishandled. The media is full of such situations. I’ve even blogged about them (See “Let’s Rethink This”).

For example, let’s look at former aide to Barack Obama, Samantha Power and how her off-hand and insulting remarks toward Hilary Clinton cost her a comfortable advising position in Obama’s campaign when Hilary didn’t accept her apology. What’s worse is that she’s a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Pulitzer prize-winning author. Apprently, in an interview with The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper, she called Senator Clinton “a monster” in an off-the-record comment which the paper ended up publishing.

How was this mischief managed? She quit. She also went to the press.

According to the Irish television network RTE, Power told a reporter, when asked if she regretted her comments, “Of course I regret them, I can’t even believe they came out of my mouth.” She went on, [Sentator Clinton] is also incredibly warm, funny. I’ve spent time with her. I think that I just had a very weak moment in seeing some of the tactics, it seems, that were getting employed.”

This is all well and good, but let’s see how this fares in Keith Ferrazzi’s 4-step formula.

Did she:

1. Get some perspective? Yes – and she decided that this blunder would cost the Obama campaign more than her pride was worth. In the grand scheme of things, it mattered.
2. Assess and forgive herself? Sure. Or at least she’s getting there. Her press follow-up showed her remorse and regret over the situation and that she was looking to move forward.

3. Come clean? Well yes, the initial incriminating interview actually did that for her, and her above-mentioned press follow-up allowed her to own up to her mistake and apologize for it.

4. Get back on the polo horse? Well I don’t know. In an interview with the Boston Globe, she said that she resigned from her aide position to remove all of the distractions that her comments had brought on the campaign. That probably includes staying out of the public eye now that she’s had a chance to put an apology out through the press. I can’t find anything other than her RTE interview. If you can, please let me know via comment.

All things considered, I think Samantha Power handled it as well as anyone could. And now that I have some idea of how to handle mistakes, I hope to be inspired to drive my decision-making with my aspirations and goals rather than let it be bridled by my fears of screwing up. It seems to me that mistakes and the managing of them are essential experiences and that they can only benefit my understanding of PR and add to my ease as a future practitioner.

I can only hope Samantha Power eventually sees it that way if she doesn’t already.

*Image courtesy of PrAsanGaM via Flickr.

Let’s Rethink This

I am one of hundred of thousands of people who watched the popular YouTube video of Barack Obama dancing on the Ellen Degeneres Show. It’s a charming clip of him dancing to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love”. At the time he was barely on my radar. My sister was reading his book and my brother had his campaign signs up in his yard. It was this video that prompted my attention to him and his campaign.

This isn’t the first time YouTube stepped up Obama’s entertainment-driven campaign. After the New Hampshire primaries, as I blogged about earlier, Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas produced a music video “Yes We Can” based off of Obama’s speech there and since it was posted on Youtube 3 weeks ago, it’s had almost 5 million hits.

Last week, though, on an episode of HardBall, the host, Chris Matthews, was interviewing Texas State Senator Kirk Watson about his recent endorsement of Obama. The segment was a duel interview with a Clinton endorser also being questioned about several aspects of her candidate of choice. Matthews asked Senator Watson to list off the legislative accomplishments of Barack Obama and Watson said he could not name specific accomplishments. When asked if he could name any, he again was speechless and in this painful clip, he is seen grasping for straws.

Once again, I’m puzzled to see whether these endorsements can help or in this case harm a candidate and perhaps cost them a primary on March 4th.

*Photo courtesy of http://www.wealth-prosperity.info