Monday, September 24, 2012

Basket Case: Billie Joe Comes Unglued

Green Day’s Dookie was the first album I ever bought. Even 18 years later, I still remember walking out of Blockbuster Music in Atlanta with the CD in hand and immediately turning over the booklet to my Dad so he could read the lyrics and highlight the songs I couldn’t listen to (which was the majority of the record – I listened anyway.) Dad would’ve needed to break out the highlighter this weekend for vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong’s profanity-laden tirade at the iHeartRadio Music Festival (NSFW.)While the band had a valid gripe (their set was cut short by 20 minutes), Armstrong’s drunken outburst smacks of an orchestrated PR stunt – and considering it’s dominated the news cycle since, it appears to have worked.

The key with picking out publicity stunts is timing. On the surface, Billie Joe’s meltdown appeared sincere and borne of frustration with Clear Channel Communications’ mismanagement of the music festival. Add in free PBR and a microphone and you’ve got yourself a punk rock powder keg and front-page news. The undercurrent in this scenario is that Green Day released their new album ¡Uno! today, a mere 72 hours after they stormed offstage in Las Vegas. See the correlation here?

Unless someone spills the beans on whether or not the ordeal was legitimate, we are left only to speculate; but stunt or not, Billie Joe’s behavior is reverberating throughout the pop-culture arena, and I’m willing to bet they’ll see a bit of a spike in initial album sales as an outcome.

Coordinated publicity moves are viewed by many as tacky and a direct insult on intelligence, but it does not mean that they don’t yield results. Effective PR involves having your name on the tops of peoples’ minds; becoming a topic of conversation. While all publicity stunts don’t necessarily need to be as messy and profane, Green Day is Monday water cooler fodder because of the events at the iHeartRadio Music Festival. It always boils down to frequency and repetition: as your name circulates, the more your odds for success increase.

So, a smashed singer and a smashed Gibson guitar later, and the happenings over the weekend are now woven into the pop-culture tapestry forever. Whether an inebriated tantrum or stroke of genius, pundits, bloggers and radio hosts will continue to discuss Billie Joe’s actions, and when the numbers come back on album sales, he just may be whistling Basket Case all the way to the bank.
-Carter Breazeale
PR/PR Public Relations

Monday, September 17, 2012

Baseball Embracing Social Media

I may as well be mainlining black coffee at the office today, as my morning started at 5:00 am in Atlanta. A quick jaunt south, an orange juice and packet of Delta Biscoff ginger snaps later, and here I am, down but not out, ready to bring you your weekly dose of PR blogging. I was in Atlanta to catch the Braves’ weekend series against the Washington Nationals, and with the season coming to a close, Sunday’s game was picked up by ESPN and subsequently moved to 8:05 pm, leaving me to scramble to reschedule an early morning flight today.

The Braves swept the series which made it all worth it, but my public relations gears were still turning even surrounded by throngs of cheering fans; the Braves were actually promoting their players’ Twitter handles on the Jumbotron, something I have never seen at a sporting event. Players have previously been derided for their social media usage; teams have labeled the likes of Facebook and Twitter as distractions and set strenuous guidelines for their respective clubs when it comes to online activity. The promotion of their players’ Internet identities sparked the following question in my mind: are sports organizations now realizing the inherent benefit to an online presence, and if so: how does establishing a digital footprint positively impact the sports business?

A little over a year ago, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison made headlines for his demotion for supposed tweet-related activities. Now, a year later (and granted, a different team): athletes’ personal Twitter accounts are being displayed by their organizations alongside their stats and pictures. My initial thought is that major league baseball is finally recognizing the value of having their players interact with fans online. In a nation where the NFL is king, MLB has always struggled with attendance and national appreciation for their sport. Getting players involved online generates awareness and relevance, and reignites excitement for a game that has been on the decline since the mid-nineties.

In some ways, Twitter can double as an e-autograph for fans. Let’s face it: if you’re over the age of twelve, pining for a player’s signature is pretty cheesy. With Internet interaction, you can direct a sentiment in a perfectly acceptable manner, and if responded to, you can satiate your desire for some celebrity attention without sacrificing your self-respect. Mark that tweet response as a ‘favorite,’ and you now have an online-autograph that you can share proudly across your social media cache.

There is some speculation as to the legitimacy of celebrity and athlete Twitter accounts; even though many are verified, are they physically managed by the individual or outsourced via a third-party public relations firm? Regardless, their mere presence on social media continues to feed awareness to their cause, and in the case of the Atlanta Braves, they are wholeheartedly embracing this online avenue to promote their business effectively.
-Carter Breazeale
PR/PR Public Relations

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Game Time!

I’m acutely aware that I’m the minority when it comes to sports preference. I’ve heard many say that watching baseball on television is as exciting as watching Bob Ross watch paint dry, so the majority of my friends were beyond excited for the first football Sunday of the season, where we flood the local watering holes for ten hours of hot wings and yelling at televisions. The National Football League is an ever-evolving entity, always searching for new ways to present their product. Let’s take a look at some early stories and storylines for the 2012 season!

NBC Brings Social Media to the Sidelines

If you caught my post about The Newsroom (or even better, watch the show) you got a taste of how intricate and pressure-packed a television broadcast can be. Producers are under rigorous time constraints and have to adhere to strict formatting guidelines to allot enough time for the game, and ridiculously expensive advertising. As a result of these restrictions, commentators can only air brief segments with their sideline reporters; and these reporters often have the inside scoop on what’s occurring down on the field. To compensate for their lack of available time, NBC is utilizing Twitter and Instagram in-game. Filming spots from the sideline and also manually updating, reporter Michelle Tafoya is updating the handle @SNFonNBC with details that would otherwise never appear during the broadcast. This brings important information such as injury updates and player comments right to the user.

Fantasy Continues to Bring Ratings

Would you sit at a bar on a Sunday afternoon to watch a matchup of the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals if you weren’t a fan? I didn’t think so; I wouldn’t wish that kind of weekend on anyone. I’ve always compared fantasy football to a jock’s version of Dungeons and Dragons, but you cannot deny the impact that the online stat-game has on the NFL’s ratings. Instead of scoffing at yet another Carson Palmer interception and changing the channel, millions of football enthusiasts find themselves watching games that they would normally deem ‘The Stinkbowl’ just to ensure a weekly victory for their team. It really is a brilliant racket by the National Football League, and the popularity of fantasy football has brought a viewership to the game that otherwise would spend Sunday cleaning.

What Will Become of the Referees?

With the NFL referee lockout still ongoing, the league’s top brass were forced to enter the season with replacements. There has not been much in the way of negotiating progress as the group of officials is firm in their stance of better pay and not being required to quit second jobs. From all accounts, the replacements did a serviceable job in their first week, but that will not stop commentators from blaming officials if a call doesn’t go their way. What will the NFL do once the lockout is ended? Will some replacement refs be permanently added to the payroll? This will be an interesting story to follow as it continues to develop.

There you have it: just a few of the trending storylines surrounding the NFL’s 93rd season. So don your beverage helmet and team-gear and get ready for what will prove to be an eventful few months in the football world.
-Carter Breazeale
PR/PR Public Relations