Archive for category Public Relations

Proactive Direct Marketing from AARP

Posted by on Thursday, 28 March, 2013

AARP Scam WarningThis is the first of a couple of amazing public service announcement campaigns I’ve seen recently.

This was unaddressed mail, delivered via USPS. The kind of piece that I glance at and throw in the recycling. It’s a long time since I’ve seen good DM.

However, looking closer shows it’s an amazingly well executed PSA from AARP. It’s relevant information to help their audience and delivered so it will get in their hands. Before you say “but it’s a print piece!” think of THEIR audience: retirees.

Print has massive cut through for people home during the day. The same people who spent their lives able to believe all they are told, and only getting computers late in their careers. Gullible, but not intentionally so.

So this piece that looks like a scam, but educates on what a scam is becomes a brilliant piece of direct marketing. It gets a PSA to the right people at the right time. AND, these people will appreciate the information; building their trust in AARP.

One final criticism you may have. Why was it sent to an area that hits a 37 year old digital marketing manager? For where I live, 23.3% of the residents are 62 years or older.

Congratulations to the AARP team.

Super Bowl 2013: the good, the bad and the Oreo

Posted by on Wednesday, 6 February, 2013

My plan for this post was to look at the best and worst three ads from Super Bowl 2013. Then four minutes into the power outage, Oreo tweeted this:

Oreo Dunk in the Dark

Oreo Dunk in the Dark

At that point I, along with thousands of others, were distracted. In only four minutes the Oreo team had produced a classy, on-brand, topical piece. ONLY FOUR MINUTES. Naturally, it was retweeted instantly. Actually, more than 10,000 times in the first hour. The next morning I discovered that it was the work of agency, 360i. They had a team of 15 and the right people for approvals in the same room ready to act on any opportunity, and that they did.

So, that killed my post idea and proved that maybe a $3.5 million TVC spot isn’t always the best way to get people talking about you. Wired has a complete report of how they did it.

If you’re curious, I still haven’t watched all this year’s ads, but Bud Light’s Journey was the first to make me smile.

Cheer Up Mitt! – How far is too far in topical advertising?

Posted by on Monday, 3 December, 2012

If you were downtown Seattle in the weeks immediately after this year’s election, you may have seen this billboard.

Roku, online streaming television hardware, ticked all the boxes for great advertising: timely, topical, amusing, clever, relevant to the product/brand. I even heard people using the ad as a meme a block before reaching the sign.

But was it too topical? Chatting recently with a couple of community managers, whose facebook pages each have more than 1 million fans nationwide, I learned of a post without any direct political alliance being pulled because of fan backlash. Another mentioned refusing to post anything that could be possibly construed as political.

A quick Google search doesn’t show any backlash to Roku. However, all images are of this one billboard with mentions of the wider campaign. While Roku have said they printed both banners to cover any outcome, did they choose the sites accordingly?

Does anyone know?

Using your public relations skills for good … with Kiva.

Posted by on Saturday, 20 October, 2012



Let’s just accept that public relations gets a bad rap. Before you protest, in some cases it, and us as practitioners, deserve it.

But it’s up to us if we use our “powers” for good or evil.

One way is through volunteering. Learn skills, make friends, save the world. Simple.

I’m a volunteer editor with If you haven’t heard of them, you need to check them out. Kiva is a microfinancing organization facilitating small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries. These are shop keepers and farmers and tailors whose income capacity or location restricts them accessing loans from traditional banking systems.

This week Kiva is celebrating its seventh birthday. Since 2005, Kiva has loaned nearly $365 million in $25 increments with a 98.99% repayment rate. This is thanks to the partner organizations in 66 countries educating and supporting the entrepreneurs as they build their businesses.

So happy birthday to Kiva and thank you for all you do.

Use your skills for good and try out Kiva with a free trial loan. Money comes from a benefactor and repayments go to Kiva for their operating expenses.

What else are you doing to use your public relations skills for good? – Great Out-of-Door Advertising

Posted by on Wednesday, 1 August, 2012

With all the chatter about out-of-door advertising being intrusive, it’s great to see a company doing it well.

Head to Seattle’s waterfront this summer and check out the pedicabs. has sponsored a fleet and the only livery are large stickers saying “Need a ride?”. Brilliant.



Geekwire has more details of’s campaign. They said the pedicabs gave fans free rides from select Mariners games. However, I took this photo on the waterfront after the last game. So, if you see one and want a ride, just, it may be free.