If it’s Clean, it’s not Tide Pods

As you may have heard, there’s a new viral challenge spreading through social media. You may have heard of a few others that have come and gone, such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the Cinnamon Challenge, the Mannequin Challenge and many more. But none of these viral challenges have caused any PR crises until the Tide Pod Challenge came along.

In case you haven’t heard, the Tide Pod Challenge began with teenagers from across the country posting videos of themselves eating laundry detergent pods. Mostly Tide Pods were the ones being misused, but there are other brands that have made appearances in these videos. With that in mind, Tide drew the short stick when the challenge was named after their brand.

So, what’s the big deal?  Tide specifically instructs people not to eat the pods on their containers, so is it their fault if people do? I’ll tell you this, it doesn’t matter. When people start getting sick from this challenge, it reflects poorly on the Tide brand. Even though they’re not directly encouraging the challenge, consumers who see this happening will automatically have a negative perception of Tide Pods. What matters is that once something like this goes viral, there’s no stopping it until people lose interest in the challenge like all challenges before it.

When I first heard of this challenge, the first thought that crossed my mind wasn’t “how could someone be that stupid?” I thought to myself “man, I really wonder how Tide is going to fix this PR crisis.” I saw tweets from Tide that told people to seek medical attention if they or someone they know ate a Tide Pod. But I didn’t see any advertisements on television or other forms of media.

Then the Super Bowl came around. Other than the Eagles winning, the highlight of the event was seeing what crazy commercials they had in store for us. One that stood out among the rest was Tide’s multi-themed commercial starring David Harbour. The commercial is called “it’s a Tide ad.” The idea of this commercial is taking cliché ideas for advertisements from all the different industries and correcting the viewer by saying “nope, it’s a Tide ad.”

Let me tell you why I think this commercial was a good example of clever marketing. Tide turned a bunch of overused cliché themes and mashed them into one original idea montage. They cast the lovable David Harbour, famously known for his recent role on the Netflix series Stranger Things. If you watch the video, you’ll notice that there is no mention of Tide Pods, just regular Tide detergent. They want to move focus away from the pods and refocus the consumer’s attention on their original product to remind us of how we used to know Tide. The slogan they used in this ad was “if its clean, its Tide,” reminding us of the only purpose for using Tide laundry detergent.

Ultimately, what Tide really needed was for either the challenge to lose popularity, or something else to distract consumers from the wrongful consumption of pods. And this commercial does a good job of accomplishing just that. Now when I hear Tide I think of David Harbour saying “nope, it’s a Tide ad.” So remember if its clean, it’s Tide. And if it’s a Tide Pod, don’t eat it.

This blog post was written by Account Associate Eamonn Sullivan.

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Roses Are Red and Valentine’s Day Is Whatever You Want It to Be

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where you cannot walk into a convenience store without pink hearts and red roses slapping you in the face. The time of year where you cannot walk down the street without seeing restaurants advertising that special “dinner for two” reservation. That’s right, it’s Valentine’s Day! The best day of the year to celebrate with your significant other or to self loathe with a pint of ice cream and a whole pizza.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate, Valentine’s Day is similar to many other holidays in the way in which it’s capitalized by businesses and corporations to make money. The most popular (and old fashioned) way PR practitioners and marketers have used the holiday to their advantage is by using the typical scenario of a heterosexual couple celebrating their love in materialistic ways. Jewelers hold sales for the holiday in addition to producing a sappy commercial where a beautiful woman receives a beautiful diamond ring alongside a bouquet of flowers from her male partner.

This marketing and PR strategy has worked for businesses for years. In more recent times, businesses should be considering the consumers who do not fit into that traditional target audience. There are two very large groups historically excluded from this holiday: those within the LGBTQ community and those who are single. Within the next few years, PR professionals, marketers and advertisers should become more aware that this holiday does not fit just one target audience, but rather is a day to celebrate love with whoever, wherever.

One prime example of a company who has already started to realize that not all of their consumers are in a relationship is Aerie. Aerie has launched a campaign this Valentine’s Day called “U-Day”. This aims to advocate for the idea of self-love and gifting yourself with either something material or an inner appreciation for yourself. With campaigns like Aerie’s on the rise, we may be seeing future Valentine’s Day promotions heading towards a new direction. After all, love itself does not exclude any audience, so why should Valentine’s Day?

This blog post was written by Account Associate Jenna Garcia.

5 Simple, Yet Overlooked Ways to Stand Out on Social Media

Social media is the twenty-first century PR standard. It’s quite apparent that the most prevalent and accessible form of communications for organizations and individuals alike is that through mass-produced, connected content online. So, the question is, if this is the easiest platform to produce content to get the word out, why wouldn’t someone produce the highest quality possible?

“Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand” – Amy Jo Martin (Founder/CEO, Digital Royalty)

Content

Perhaps the most obvious, yet most important aspect of social media is the type of content being produced. It goes without saying that any type of consistent flow of information, whether it is being added, tweeted or posted should hold pattern pertaining to the organization. If a company or individual is trying to attract a specific audience, anything being said through social media should be somewhat relatable. Posting a release that holds a large split in opinion can result in a loss of following (or followers in this case) on a large scale. Not only is this a hit on a business, but it’s a result of something that probably had nothing to do with the organization in the first place. So, keep strong sided opinions for personal accounts unless it’s embedded in the organization’s culture!

Aesthetic

Be honest, who doesn’t love a good aesthetic? If it looks good, it attracts attention; if it attracts attention, it has been done correctly. Visuals are a huge part of social media communication today, so whether it’s an Instagram post conveying a certain message or a Twitter profile with a stylistic header and bio, small details can be important. Consistent profile aesthetics are a very real thing and are reinforced through all of the color and filter options available at the press of a button. It’s also useful to stick to a specific color scheme, so if an organization has patent colors, dowsing a profile with these may be your best option.

Knowledge

Being aware of updates and new features through digital communications is pivotal in standing out with an online audience. Features like Twitter extending their character limit, or Instagram’s latest add-on that allows individuals to ‘Highlight’ their stories on their profile are concepts worth utilizing. If one is ahead of the game with the latest technologies, they’re more likely to stand out. These add-ons, as well as being aware of recent digital culture trends, such as popular (often referred to as dank) memes or relevant types of posts can help gain the attention of your perspective audience.

Positivity

The most positively-spun negative message is still negative in the end. Just because “you didn’t mean it like that” or “it wasn’t meant to be negative” doesn’t change the negative interpretation of a mass-audience. A negative connotation on a post then reflects poorly on the profile, which in turn reflects on the organization as a whole. Try to avoid controversial issues in social media posts in order to keep a positive light in the space the organization is occupying. Positivity is contagious, and it will spread among the audience you’re reaching out to if one consistently let it.

Details

Small details have the biggest impacts. In every successful machine, there are smaller parts contributing. Believe it or not, social media is no different. Pay attention to accessible features that can help get an organization get recognized. This includes utilizing the ‘location’ on an Instagram post, or using hashtags through all media platforms. This allows outsiders who previously wouldn’t have paid attention to an organization or individual’s post to have full access. Also, it’s just as important to go through the settings of a particular profile. Is the account private or public? Is it recognized through the platform as a business? Small detail fixes lead to maximum exposure, which is the overall goal!

This blog post was written by Account Associate Paul Bilardo.

Benefits of Working in an Open Environment

We see it all the time, people sitting at their desk jobs trying to get all of their work done in a boring office where everyone is secluded doing their own thing. But, more and more companies have started adopting an open work space environment because of the benefits employees and, in turn, the company receive from it. Companies like Facebook, Google and even Saxbys right here in Philadelphia take advantage of this set up for several reasons. Think back to your freshman year of college. When you left your door open for people passing in the hallway to pop in and introduce themselves, you opened yourself up to endless opportunities. Think of an open work space in the same way. Having an open office promotes endless benefits that help you and the company you work for.

It gives you a sense of community

Working among everyone within the company allows you to make friends with coworkers outside of your department. You’ll get to know everyone in the office on a much more personal level than just saying “hi” in the elevator. In some offices, you could even be sitting next to people who you don’t directly work with, thus allowing you to have a great sense of community every time you come into work.

You can collaborate on your projects

Because of this type of structure, most offices have separate open spaces for teams to work on projects together. This allows you to spread out and really collaborate in a productive work space. With that, others are encouraged to come through and expand on ideas by offering an outside perspective. This collaboration aspect helps the company prosper and creates a great emotional environment for its employees!

It promotes better productivity

When you put together a group of people who get along well with each other and the opportunity to collaborate, you’re going to see some great results. This type of environment encourages people to be excited about their work and the projects they have going on. It allows employees to look at challenges in a positive way and tackle them accordingly with all the resources they have in the office.

The work culture that this structure represents is one that benefits everyone internally, externally and as a whole. Imagine having the type of job where you wake up every day, excited to go into the office because you know the people and environment are the perfect makings for a productive and enjoyable work day.

This blog post was written by Assistant Firm Director Emily McKain.

How VR is Reshaping Sports

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While the Olympics begin later this week, Pyeongchang will be more accessible than ever before. With virtual reality technology, fans can have an immersive experiential view of the games.

Intel plans to produce the largest live virtual reality event at the Winter Olympics where fans can choose from 30 events and six camera angles. In addition, audiences can view on-demand broadcasts of venue tours and scenic views of South Korea. The company uses a combination of volumetric video, virtual reality, computer vision and analytics to produce a VR broadcast.

The new technology changes the way viewers interact with the media and how fans consume sports. An immersive experience allows for fans to experience the games without actually attending. It completely alters the way fans “watch” games.

It allows fans to connect with new cultures and introduces environments they typically are unable to experience, such as watching the event from the athlete’s point of view. However, it also deducts from the social interactions of watching with other fans. VR reduces communication and makes sports a single-user past time.

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VR also communicates stories and builds relationships with audiences through emotional connection. Many advertisers are incorporating the technology into their consumer campaigns. This opens a new avenue for public relations practitioners and advertisers.

However, this life-like experience limits fans who are financially unable to afford virtual reality goggles, which can cost hundreds of dollars. While some would argue this allows fans a more cost-effective way to attend the Olympics, it dismisses a population of viewers who can only rely on traditional television broadcasts.

The future of VR is largely dependent on how fans decide they want to consume their sports and their adaptability to the new technology.

This blog post was written by Firm Director Clarissa Ford.

 

Philadelphia Pride: The Impact of The Eagles’ Success

E-A-G-L-E-S, six letters that have been shouted out of almost every proud Philadelphian’s mouth since the start of the football season. This Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in the most watched sporting event in the United States, the Super Bowl. Whether you are a football fan or not, there’s no denying that the city has been electric. Eagles fans have been rioting in the streets, filling bars up until capacity and selling out Lincoln Financial Field every home game. It is clear that this city loves their sports teams.

In the public, Philadelphia sports fans have had a bad reputation for being abrasive, rude and just flat out terrible. Other cities often call out for Philadelphia for being a terrible sports city due to the stereotypes surrounding the fan base. What I find the most interesting is that people in Philadelphia often thrive off of the bad publicity and criticism they receive from other cities. They cheer harder and show up in other cities wearing their gear as if they belong there. The city of Philadelphia has no shame in showing their pride and regardless of bad publicity, there is no sign of their pride subsiding.  

With the Super Bowl just days away, the anticipation and excitement in Philadelphia is evident. In Minnesota, where the Super Bowl is taking place on Sunday, restaurants are treating Philadelphia fans differently but in Philadelphia, restaurants are thriving. Minnesota may be bitter about Philadelphia but Philadelphia is benefiting from the Eagles’ success. From the start of the season until now, the fans have been emotionally invested in watching their team make it this far. The media should stop criticizing fans and praise them for their unwavering support and excitement. Regardless of a win or loss at the biggest game of the season, Philadelphia can and will be proud of their team.

This blog post was written by Account Associate Brianna Love.

Living, Learning, Exploring

Picture This: You’re walking out of your apartment, strolling down the street towards the subway station. Passing many shops and restaurants, you decide to stop and grab a quick coffee. After you finish your coffee, you continue on your way to the subway. As you wait for the subway, you think about all you have to do that day. This morning is your lazy morning, which means you can spend the day wandering through the city and taking in the sites. It’s not long until you step onto the subway and settle into a seat for your ride. A few minutes in, you get up to transfer to the other line and continue your journey. After about three more stops, you get off and head above ground. Walking out of the subway, you’re hit with a view you never expected to see. What is it you ask? Well, it’s the Colosseum! You thought I was talking about a typical day of traveling in Philadelphia right? Nope, I’m talking about the eternal city of Rome, Italy.

My first trip to see the Colosseum was an out of this world experience. I never expected to step out of a subway station and immediately see the Colosseum in plain view. It was an amazing site that I will remember for the rest of my life. All around Rome you can see sites as captivating as the Colosseum. Rome is a mix of ancient and modern, blended together in some of the strangest ways.

To start the fall semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in Rome. I first traveled to Europe in high school and it was then that I told myself I needed to find a way to come back. I also determined then that I would love to study abroad while in college. When it finally came down to it, making the decision to study abroad was a lot more complicated than I thought it would be. Lining up everything from financial responsibility to leaving friends and family behind for four months, it wasn’t an easy choice. In the end, I was able to make everything work, in part to all the amazing scholarships that are offered to Temple students who want to study abroad.

Studying abroad was one of the best choices of my college career. I encourage anyone who is even a little bit interested to seriously look into it. There are so many different perks that come with studying abroad. My absolute favorite perk was the ability to travel so much while in Europe. It’s so easy to hop on a plane or train and be transported to an entirely new place in a matter of hours. In fact, I took trains, buses, planes and boats to get all around Europe. I was even able to return to my favorite city in the world, Paris. Paris will never get old for me, I fall more in love with it every time I see it!

Now, not all of my time was spent traveling to wonderful places. I was still obligated to attend classes, which were more challenging than expected. Going into a study abroad program, it’s common for people to think that classes will be easy and you can pretty much blow them off. For Temple’s program, that is not the case as the professors make you work for your grade. The major benefit of taking these classes is that you get to learn more about the place you are studying in. I took three classes about Rome, which covered a variety of interesting topics such as fascism, ancient Roman history and global communications.

Between learning more about Italy, exploring Rome and traveling throughout Europe I experienced so much in a matter of four short months. While my time there was amazing, I’m glad to be home and back on campus to continue my college experience. These last four months of my junior year will be nowhere near as exciting as the first four but I will make the most of it as I plan to get back to all of the things I love most about living in Philadelphia. If you ever have any questions about studying abroad or want to talk about my experience, please feel free to reach out, I’d love to share!

This blog post was written by Account Associate Chelsea Seidel. 

5 Tips for Successful Content Marketing

Content is everywhere: on our phones, on advertisements, even in our heads. We are constantly consuming content, whether we like it or not, which is a great thing for marketers. Content marketing is becoming more and more popular among PR and marketing professionals, as audiences are growing tired of traditional tactics used to target them. It’s a way for brands to get in the spotlight without doing something newsworthy and builds a deeper relationship between the brand and the consumer. With that in mind, not all content is created equal. Each brand needs to produce content that is dynamic, compelling and valuable. To do this, there are five things content marketers should keep in mind.

1) Get in your audience’s heads

Who are you targeting? Why should they care? These questions are critical in tailoring content to each of your target audience’s personalities. The better you know your audience, the better you’ll be able to grab their attention.

2) Know the industry

Keeping up with industry trends and news is really important in delivering content that matters. How can you produce content that interests consumers if you are unaware of what’s going on in the industry? Doing your research will keep you up to date and might even give you some new ideas on what to write about. Stay curious and keep asking questions.

3) Determine your goals

In any content marketing campaign, you must establish goals. There’s a reason why you’re producing this content. What is your end goal? You can measure these goals with analytics to put a number value on how successful the campaign was. Without clearly established goals, it’s easy for content marketers to get lost in the content creation process and wander off their intended path. Stay on track with an outlined process and reachable goals.

4) Make your content shareable

The greatest thing about content is that it can be shared. With social media, people are constantly re-posting and spreading content all over the place. This gives your content more clicks and your brand the exposure it deserves. Post your content on multiple channels, and make sure it’s seen by as many eyes as possible.

5) Quality over quantity

Content overload is not always a good thing. The more content you produce, the more likely your audience will get lost. Don’t feel like you need to keep producing content constantly in order to keep audiences interested. Focus on the good ideas you have and turn them into strong pieces that can be shared. Be known for producing valuable content, not too much content.

This blog post was written by Director of Public Relations Alexa Vecchione.

Taking on the Media Relations World: An Alumni Spotlight on Amber Burns

When Amber Burns first stepped foot on Temple’s campus as a freshman in 2011, she immediately knew she wanted to get involved, but the real question was, “With what?” Little did she know all it would take was a student speaking about PRowl Public Relations at an open house to steer her in the right direction.

Burns is a 2015 graduate and PRowl alumni who attributes her growth as a PR professional to all PRowl offered her.

“PRowl gives you confidence that other students might not have. You learn how to conduct yourself in the business world and ultimately, it helps prepare you for life after graduation,” said Burns.

After joining in the spring of 2012, she immediately began to expand her skills in public relations and truly develop a passion for the industry. Burns wasted no time taking advantage of every possible learning opportunity that came her way through PRowl, from working on writing samples for her portfolio to learning how to write a strong resume and cover letter.

It was this exact eagerness and excitement that led her to hold various leadership roles in the firm. Burns first became Secretary, followed by Director of Public Relations her sophomore year, Assistant Firm Director her junior year and achieved the title of Firm Director her senior year. Through these leadership positions, she started to learn more than she could ever imagine.

“As a leader, you learn so much about yourself and your abilities. PRowl helped me understand how to delegate and manage projects, develop time management skills and prepare myself for the real world,” mentioned Burns.

Aside from being actively involved with both PRowl and Temple’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Burns also had multiple internships, one of them the Independence Seaport Museum where she worked as their public relations and marketing intern. She gained hands on experience helping grow the museum’s social media presence and promoting exhibits on display.

Burns also interned with the National Constitution Center in their public relations department, where she developed press releases, media alerts and social media posts. She coordinated an event welcoming local mommy bloggers with an exclusive museum experience.

Two years after graduation, Burns is the Media Relations Specialist at Visit Philadelphia, where she works with media ranging from Instagram influencers to local and national news on a regular basis. Also, Burns helps with their social media team to create and develop social media content.

Looking back on her experience in PRowl, one word came to mind – dedication. Burns believes the firm had a successful 10 years of service because of the dedication PRowl members have toward themselves, their accounts and the firm as a whole.

With all of this in mind, her advice to current PRowl members is simple, “Whatever you put into this experience is what you’ll get out of it. Put as much time and energy into it as you possibly can because I promise it will pay off in the end.”

This alumni spotlight was written by Director of Finance Lauren Marhefka.

A Lesson from PRowl’s Founder: Treat Yourself Like a Client

After Natalie Prazenica-Herr attended the 2007 Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference in Philadelphia, she came back to campus determined to begin a student-run public relations firm to help give Temple students a competitive edge other universities already had. She began drafting a business plan under the supervision of Professor Gregg Feistman as her faculty advisor to lay the foundation for the firm, which is now celebrating its 10th Anniversary.

While the firm started with only pro-bono work for on-campus student organizations, as PRowl began to grow clients on and off-campus became interested in their services through word-of-mouth and referrals. It was then when PRowl began charging clients and operating as a practical agency with a unique on-campus twist. Four years later, PRowl became nationally affiliated by PRSSA for its high level of professionalism and ethical standards.

Since graduating, Herr moved to Ohio and began her family. While her life took a more unique path, her advice for students is to treat one’s personal brand like a client.

Read the following Q&A from current Firm Director Clarissa Ford, to the original Firm Director to learn about how Herr envisioned the firm’s success and more about her professional advice to students.

unnamed-9.jpgWhere did you get the idea to start a student-run firm, and what was the process like?

The idea to start a student-run firm at Temple came as I was looking for internships and opportunities to gain experience in the PR field. Competition for internships was high. It seemed like we needed experience just to intern; and I wondered how we could get that experience on our own. I noticed that other local universities had their own student-run firms and thought Temple could benefit from having one, too.

What was the biggest challenge when creating the firm?

I am a visionary by nature and love starting new projects, so I’m sure that beginning part wasn’t too difficult for me. I think the biggest challenge was probably finding our first clients and learning how to work with them, while simultaneously working out the kinks of running the actual firm. I had lot of great colleagues on the team who helped to make it happen.

What year did you graduate? What did you do after graduation?

I graduated early (in three years) in 2008. After graduation, I got married and moved from Philly to Dayton, OH with my husband, Nick for his work with the Air Force. This was right in midst of the 2008 financial crisis, and companies were cutting lots of jobs. I applied for many positions, but was never hired in the PR field. I did get to do some PR work for a local non-profit while I worked several part-time retail jobs. I also spent time writing on a personal blog.

unnamed-7.jpgTell us a little about your life after Temple.

After coming up short in my job search, I found out I was expecting my first child. I decided to stay at home and find ways to use the skills I learned in college in different ways. I opened a bakery business out of my home and ran it while I was pregnant; spending my days coming up with fun flavor combinations and making deliveries. Since then, we’ve had three more children, made several moves with the military and I’ve started a new venture with every move. My most recent work has been starting and running a non-profit women’s ministry in my city called Dayton Women in the Word.

What advice would you give to students working in the firm today?

My life has certainly not turned out the way that I thought it might back when I was running the firm. I thought starting and leading PRowl PR would catapult me into a great job and a long career in PR. That particular dream didn’t happen for me, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t experienced success or used my skills! My advice to the students would be this: dream big, work hard and invest in your craft, but don’t put yourself in a box. There’s not one “perfect” outcome for all PR majors. The skills you’re learning right now are not just useful in the narrow field of PR: they are important in every field! Be encouraged that no matter where you find yourself after graduation, you’ll have a toolbox full of useful skills and an understanding of the world that few others will. Think of yourself as you’d think of a client: valuable, many-faceted, full of possibilities, and full of potential.

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