Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars and All-Stars: Twitter Takes Over

Between All-Star Weekend in our city of Orlando, Florida, and the 82nd Annual Academy Awards Sunday evening, it was a hectic 48 hours in the social media stratosphere. On-site updates were rolling in at breakneck speed; so much so that my thumb is sore from repeatedly tapping the ‘refresh’ button in a feeble attempt to keep up. In this week’s blog, we attempt to roundup the top Twitter trends and highlights from an electrifying weekend.

Jolie’s Leg Blows up the Internet

Award shows always dominate the Internet, and last night’s Oscars were no different. The main trend, however, was regarding the awkward pose Angelina Jolie struck while presenting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Showing off her right leg via the extremely high slit in her dress proved online-gold, as #angiesleg immediately topped the trends on Twitter, going as far as spawning the spoof-account @AngiesRightLeg (which garnered nearly 13,000 followers overnight.) Tweets about the starlet’s stance came in at the staggering speed of nearly 3,500 a minute.

All-Star Weekend Invades Orlando; Dunk Contest Social Media Savvy

Orlando was the focus of the sports nation over the weekend, playing host to the 2012 NBA All-Star Game. Reports of celebrities mingling with common folk and grabbing drinks at local watering holes were rampant; the town was truly abuzz with basketball fever and enjoying national exposure.

For the first time ever, the NBA dunk contest utilized Twitter to tally the votes for the evening’s winner. By tweeting ‘#SpriteSlam’ with the name of who they felt won, the fans decided the winner in the judgeless competition. Incorporating social media allowed for an unprecedented level of fan-interaction and boosted ratings for the annual contest.

Norm Macdonald’s Real-Time Twitter Commentary

Norm Macdonald has normally been regarded as the anti-Hollywood. His deadpan, oft confused and mumbling delivery are not always well received, but his snarky real-time narration and mockery of the Oscars was terrific. His Twitter handle, @NormMacdonald, provided up to the second one-liners regarding the awards show, gracing the Internet with gems like, “I think it would be cool if an actor changed his name to Oscar Buzzworthy,” and “I was hoping another movie I’ve never heard of would win.”

Twitter gives creative minds like Norm an outlet and arena to deliver an entertaining take on events such as the Oscars, often making the actual affair appear mundane in comparison.

It was a watershed weekend for Twitter interaction, from the Academy Awards to All-Stars, alley-oops to acceptance speeches. Social media made Angelina Jolie’s extremities famous, gave fans an online voice and made Norm Macdonald relevant. We are just beginning to see the benefits of using this medium, and every new national event is another possibility to break new ground.

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations

Monday, February 13, 2012

Always Expect The Unexpected

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Robert Burns’ famous words are a timeless testament to how even letter-perfect preparation can unravel at the drop of a hat. The world learned the tragic news of Whitney Houston’s death Saturday night, the eve of the Grammys, and the immediate effects of the loss rippled through the music and entertainment business. The Grammys featured tremendous and well-executed tributes to Ms. Houston, all of which were pieced together at zero-hour upon news of her passing; showing that anything can happen at any time, and expecting the unexpected is crucial in any trade or industry.

As an expert on your topic or in your field, it is imperative to monitor the news and current events for any applicable angles for your message. Be ready for anything. Here at PR/PR, much of our time is spent scouring mainstream media and contacting editors about stories that parallel our clients’ area of expertise, and pitching them as the go-to source of information on a story. This process involves PR/PR retaining a vast variety of knowledge about current happenings, even if on the surface they do not seem to directly apply to a client’s topic. There’s always an angle, and only you as the expert can provide your unique perspective which will get you in front of reporters and editors faster.

When breaking news hits the wire, it takes mere seconds for editors to begin thumbing through their established list of experts to give their take and insight on a story. Make yourself available for that phone call that leads to an interview. Life doesn’t stop on your lunch break, and a missed call may mean a missed opportunity. Your words and voice perpetuate your career, not your voicemail.

Flexibility is vital in any corporate domain, but especially so when you’re leveraging yourself as THE person to comment on a variety of subjects. Producers scrambled in the late hours Saturday evening to incorporate Whitney Houston into their Grammy programming; trimming segments and adding others (particularly Jennifer Hudson’s stirring rendition of, ‘I Will Always Love You'), and it appeared organic and seamless. Keep your ear to the ground, maintain a working bank of knowledge, and prepare for anything.

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations

Monday, February 6, 2012

How The Midwest Was Won: Indy's PR Prowess

Indianapolis has long been regarded as a lethargic, low-key Midwestern city with not much more to offer than ‘a 500-mile speedway race and 364 days of mini-golf,’ as Kurt Vonnegut famously penned. Indiana’s capital was staked with the dubious task of discarding its sleepy image and reputation and broadcasting a town worthy of hosting the largest sporting event in the United States. With a citywide makeover and social media-focused approach, they succeeded in spades, and proved that proper PR works for cities, too.

In preparation for 150,000 visitors descending upon Indianapolis to watch the Patriots and Giants compete in Super Bowl XLVI, the city undertook a massive rebranding and renovation effort, transforming the downtown area into a football fanatic’s Shangri-La. A three-block Olympian-style village was constructed on previously downtrodden streets, complete with interactive zones and zip-lines crisscrossing above Indy’s urban landscape.  

Where Indianapolis really nailed it was employing staffers with the sole purpose of monitoring social media outlets for Super Bowl related trends. Personnel observed the likes of Facebook and Twitter for any mishaps such as traffic-jams or ticket calamities and dispatched the appropriate authorities to immediately rectify any potential problems. The utilization of these online mediums provided for seamless customer care and a minimal-stress environment for the throngs of sports enthusiasts invading the city.

The revitalization of downtown Indy made for a fantastic Super Bowl setting, and will prove an excellent choice for this year’s annual NSA convention (which PR/PR will be attending.) It was a precarious decision by the NFL to bring the Super Bowl to such a small media-market, but the immediate benefit and positive impact on Indianapolis is proof that a well-planned public relations strategy can ensure success. This modest town was converted into football mecca, and PR/PR cannot wait to see the enhancements in person this summer. We’ll see you in Indianapolis!

-Carter Breazeale

PR/PR Public Relations