Posts Tagged jeans

Media relations is a wee portion of brand communications

I remember not too long ago that the “PR guy” was the guy who wrote press releases and called down a list of reporters to ask if they got the release or not.

I swear. Like acid wash jeans — this happened!

While I think it’s been fascinating to watch the art of story telling make its way into PR and communications work, I think it’s even more important to see how the convergence of traditional PR with areas that might have been called marketing in the past is changing the way we think of PR and how we organize the function — whether it is in-house or on the agency side. I’ve been interviewing and prospecting for clients over the last 5 months and I can usually tell by the line of questioning whether or not the opportunity is going to be a good fit or not.

When a prospective employer or client asks me about my media contacts the giant reg flag goes up and I start looking for the exit signs. But when the questions are about engaging the right audiences using a mix of tactics and levers I think: “Winner, winner chicken dinner!”

So many companies go to PR people to help fix the business or make management happy that they lose sight of why you would initiate a communications campaign and they go into the market shopping for tactics instead of results. Here are some questions I’d ask if my boss told me to go get some PR help:

  1. What are we solving for?
  2. What exactly do you expect to get with more ‘coverage’?
  3. How should we integrate it with social, marketing, employee communications and the brand?

The answers to 1 and 2 are often intertwined in some sloppy hot mess about driving sales or the stock price or the b-word that drives strategic communications people the battiest: buzz. Whoever sold and popularized that BS term “buzz marketing and PR” needs to be dunked in a vat of ice and forced to watch re-runs of the first season of Seinfeld. If you can nail down the business objectives and explain that coverage is no panacea then and only then do you move on to 3.

This is organizational design and the only way you get to keep your job a year from now when someone asks why what’s on Facebook isn’t aligned with what’s on the blog and in the press coverage.

The best PR functions I’ve seen of late are built like this:

At the heart is the brand — including the stories and messages that work to connect with people over the long term — supported by an integrated effort of all the areas a person could come into contact with it and your product. Amazon and Apple have raised the bar very high here . . . and have wired people to expect a similarly consistent and high-level experience with every other brand and story they come into contact with — including yours.

So, who is the PR person today?

A story teller who can organize campaigns at the brand level and across all these domains. Let me know if you are in the market for one, because I may know a really handsome, witty guy who will ask you incessantly: “So, what are we solving for?”

– Jose Mallabo 

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Monkey butt to keep shorts over sweats buried

Led Zeppelin released its first album forty years ago in January of 1969.

I’m not sure the 15 year old wearing the Zeppelin tee-shirt in the taco shop quite appreciates the possibility that he was conceived because of the track “Dazed and Confused.”

Probably not.

He probably just thought it was a cool retro shirt — which then forced him to download Led Zeppelin IV (home of “Stairway to Heaven”) to substantiate the $40 price tag for that shirt at Urban Outfitters.

I think it’s kind of cool, actually. Cool to see bands that comprised the soundtrack of my teenage years influencing today’s acne demographic. 15 years from now when that kid is my boss, I’ll be trying to convince him how In Through the Out Door was Zeppelin’s best all around album.

I was no boogie woogie bugle boy

I was no boogie woogie bugle boy

The parallel would have been me wearing an Andrews Sisters tee-shirt when I was 15 in 1984. Instead, I was wearing a Led Zeppelin tee-shirt in 1984 trying to look cool against all the Van Halen fans wearing 1984 tee-shirts.

A couple days after spotting the taco eating Robert Plant fan, I saw another kid walking down the street in what can only be described as what you’d get if you threw a teen aged Asian into a blender with Joey Ramone and Howard Jones. By Howard Jones I mean this Howard Jones:

Everyone is to blame for this look

Everyone is to blame for this look

Not the guy that kind of looks like Sting now and plays your local amphitheater in the summer.

Under the shaved side faux hawk / mullet were the Square Pegs spectacles, denim jacket with hoody under it — all on top of a nasty pair of skinny black jeans that the Ramones helped make cool because Judy was in fact a Punk.

As I drove through trendy Walnut Creek past the Apple store, past Tiffany’s then of course past Urban Outfitters, I couldn’t help wonder if there is anything from my youth that hasn’t or won’t come back into vogue?

Two days of contemplation later, I give you the gym shorts over the sweat pants ensemble. Heidi Klum can’t make this look cool without going NC-17. I scoured my memory for all the things I saw in the 70s and 80s that haven’t resurfaced as a cool or fashionable thing to do or wear.

  • Baggy jeans. Check and double check.
  • Skinny jeans. Check. See above.
  • 70s rock. My 15 year old niece likes AC/DC. Check.
  • Bobby Brady haircut. See any playground in America. Check.
  • My all time favorite tube sock has even made a renaissance. Thanks Nick Van Exel.
  • Acid wash denim is thriving in certain parts of Americana. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Check.

It seems like everything has come back — except the gym shorts over sweat pants look. One would argue that the shift towards the show me your curves while you exercise movement would be the biggest nail in the coffin for shorts over sweats. While Dwight Howard is yoked and looks bad ass in a tank and women’s volleyball is made all the more interesting because of the attire, I rest my argument on a more practical matter called Monkey Butt.

Better than the skinny jeans. And no Monkey Butt.

Better than the skinny jeans. And no Monkey Butt.

It’s an uncomfortable condition caused by the sublime combination of friction, heat and sweat during exercise that is exacerbated by wearing layers and layers of clothing over ones nether region. The shorts over sweats wrap is simply too much cloth because it doesn’t preclude having to wear some kind of underwear or jock strap. So, until the Anti Monkey Butt product becomes the iPod for your bum, I’m willing to bet that we never see this Rocky Balboa meets Urkel at a track meet look again.

– Jose Mallabo

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