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Herman Cain’s viral ad? Irresponsible or Brilliant? October 31, 2011

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By now we’ve probably all seen the Herman Cain viral campaign ad. If not you can see it here.

The ad starts with Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff, discussing the importance of the campaign.  He give some standard political jargon citing how Cain will, “put the United back in United States” and “America has never seen a candidate like Herman Cain.” The ad then gets a little weird. Block takes a long drag of a cigarette while an “I AM AMERICA” chorus sings in the background. Then we see Cain’s creepy smile fade across the camera. The whole sequence is just bizarre.

One can’t quite be sure of the motives behind this ad for Cain or his campaign.  Is the cigarette drag supposed to be significant? Some people even questioned the realness of the advertisement. It feels like Block is showing total disregard for his audience by blowing smoke in their face.

The end shot of the awkwardly beaming Cain makes he seem somewhat fake.

Professional take-aways differ:

William Zeranski of American Thinker calls the ad “brilliant simply because it gets the cauldron of elitst feelings roiling.”

Todd Essig of Forbes calls Cain’s ad “irresponsible” and thinks it should, “help disqualify him for the office he seeks.”

Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post takes more of a middle ground calling Block’s cigarette drag “accidental brilliance.”

Cain is most likely trying to strike the heartstrings of Americans sick of big government and regulations. The drag of the cigarette timed with the “I am America” chorus speaks to Americans frustrated with government regulatory practices.

Smoking is seen as taboo in a majority of people under the age of 40 or 50, which is why seeing a Presidential political campaign is so odd for viewers. Cain has recently came out to say that the ad was not an endorsement of smoking, however doesn’t need to look past the upcoming crucial caucus test Cain faces in South Carolina, where tobacco is still a major industry. With that many companies that that many more smokers in the state, Cain should be looking towards a big donation pull in the state.

In my opinion, the importance of campaign advertisement is less in what it says and more in the fact that people are talking about it. I’m making a stretch to write about it in a PR class, bloggers are debating its implication, and voters are noticing. No matter what the commercial says about smoking or big government, it gets Cain (albeit eerie) face on camera.


Miller Lite Taste Points October 13, 2011

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Early this summer, this campaign caught my eye. It started as a joke between some friends. We thought with all the Miller Lite we purchase, there would be no way we wouldn’t win some prizes.

The campaign was called Miller Lite- Taste Points. Miller continued with their “man-up” theme from the summer of 2010. They were hoping to boost MillerCoors sales by encouraging consumers to make manly decisions—which means choosing a light beer that tastes great.

The strategy for the campaign was simple. MillerCoors wanted to develop a competition between consumers for who could earn the most Taste Points. MillerCoors drinkers could then interact with the brand via Facebook to use their points in an attempt to win prizes. The campaign was inherently social—consumers were interacting with other competitors as well as the brand. The campaign was developed by Olson PR.

The Taste Points campaign brought in more than 300,000 new Facebook fans for Miller Lite and TastePoints.com received 240,000 unique visitors. MillerCoors and Olsen PR are “extremely pleased with the results,” says Kirby Shiffler, AE at Olsen.

The campaign should be a home-run for someone like me, but I’m afraid it was a miss. I love Miller Lite and I’m constantly on Facebook, one would figure I’d be the target market. However, even though I clipped out dozens of bar codes from the inside of Miller Lite cases, I never got that involved.

Also, I’m not sure if the whole “Man-Up” campaign is a knock-out concept. The idea of “manning-up” to drink a light beer seems somewhat of an oxymoron.

Nevertheless, MillerCoors saw the PR campaign as successful. It did garner a lot of Facebook traffic, but one must question the actual engagement level of these users.




Steve Job: PR Innovator (1955-2011) October 6, 2011

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Steve Jobs co-founder and CEO of Apple passed away yesterday afternoon after a long battle with chronic illness.

The out powering of support for Job’s work and creations has been plentiful. A pioneer of the Silicon Valley tech movement, he should no doubt be included in the likes of Einstein, Carnegie, and Edison. Jobs not only built an extremely successful computer empire, but changed the way we interact with technology forever.

Jobs greatest successes came later in life, highlighted by successful products like the iPod, iPad, and iPhone. His innovations have proven countlessly useful and the world should be thankful. His business legacy will stand for a long time, but he also left a legacy central to how we will view public relations and marketing for a long time.

Jobs was a PR genius.

Everyone is aware of how carefully marketed Apple products are. From sleek designs to savvy advertising campaigns, Apple created an image and a brand more powerful and recognizable that few can top.

Jobs was a king of the product-launch. He urged super-secrecy within his company, which he felt led to intense public anticipation. Not just the technology community, but consumers as well frantically await Apple’s announcements. Apple never announces products at tech shows or conventions, but hosts their own conferences, packed withjournalists, bloggers and industry leaders, to release new products. Almost everyone can visualize the minimalist, black background with Jobs explaining the new Apple iPad. His legacy lives on as industry giants like Facebook and Amazon copy Job’s style with their own product announcements.

Here Jobs is announcing the release of the MacBook Air.

Jobs was a mastermind of image. His trademark black turtleneck, Levis and white tennis shoes are synonymous with the sleek, minimal, and cool. Job’s message never faltered.  He was able to own his message. Jobs was able to produce products that people never thought they needed, but after hearing Job’s pitch, people could not live without.

Sarah Skerik, VP of social media for PR Newswire, imagines what Jobs would have done as a PR professional:

  • He would have owned social channels for the brand he represented, and he would have used social media to build enthusiastic audiences for his brand.
  • He would have been excruciatingly deliberate in the communications he crafted.  His messaging would, I am sure, have been elegant, tightly-edited, and bang on message. And the message? It would have been exactly what his audience wanted to hear. Nothing that was less than perfect or less than compelling would have made it out the door.
  • He would have locked down all the details, and harnessed the real synergies that exist between PR, SEO, social media and marketing.

Job’s products were all about the consumers. They were user friendly, stylish, and efficient. That is the way PR communications should be. A persistent focus on the audience should never be compromised. PR professionals are supposed to make things easier. While it is important to spin and convey and consistent message, it is also essential to consider the audience. It is important to understand the demands of journalists and understand the needs of consumers and adapt to their environment.

Jobs as a PR professional would have been consistent, enthusiastic and efficient. That is the legacy he left for the business and technology industry. It is the same message the PR industry should take away.

Home stretch… April 11, 2010

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So my DC experience is winding down and I’m finding that I should really be keeping a journal.  I’ve been having the time of my life and this weekend solidified that notion.

With Congress in the middle of the Easter Recess, we’ve been going hard at 4 4th st.  And I’m not talking about hitting the books, nor am I talking about our internships.  So Wednesday it hit us that we needed to host a party this weekend. Made arrangements for a couple barrels of brew and extended quite a few invitations.  One of those invitations was received by some buddies back at MU.

The invitation was accepted in great fashion.  Driving 14 hours, through the middle of the night, 5 b’s from MU ended up on Capitol Hill at noon on Friday.  After a Capitol tour, quick sightseeing, and a bite to eat… we got down to business.  This apartment was a buzz.  After a blur of an evening, filled with a bunch of memorable (somewhat unspeakable) events, everyone woke up where the landed the night before.

I’ve had a lot of fun mornings laying around with buddies reminiscing about the night previous.  And I mean A Lot.  But I feel like Saturday morning topped them all.  Mostly because it hadn’t hit me that my buddies drove 14 hours just to party for one night.  I’m sure they were in more shock than I was.

The weekend continued w/ 3EB Saturday night at Georgetown.  Which is a great example of the epicness of the weekend.  If my favorite band of all time is a sub-plot to my weekend, it’s been a good time.

This week I gotta crack down on the HW a bit.  But with the warm weather calling and time running out at 4 4th St… we’ll just see how that goes.

Until next time.

B’s need to keep being b’s.


March 23, 2010

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Again… Who are you??

Still getting views despite never posting.

I really do feel bad about not keeping this up to date.  Especially because I actually have viewers, but also because so much is happening.

Sunday, the House passed Universal Health Care.  I was able to sit in the gallery and witness debate for about 2 hours.  Kinda scary what one can accomplish with an intern badge.  I was proud to support the bill and proud to be in DC during the historic event.

I cannot comprehend why Republicans, including my wack-job of a Congressman, Steve King, are trying to repeal the Healthcare bill.  The bill is now signed into law.  That means repealing the legislation would take rights away from American citizens.  Steve King, and many other Republicans want to allow insurance companies to deny children coverage because of pre-existing conditions, they want to allow people that are sick to lose the coverage.  They wish to take away the rights that we know have.


Most GOPers understand the importance of this legislation, and I like to believe they truly wanted to make it better.  Our class talked with Rep Jim Sensenbrenner last night.  He was super intelligent and overall an interesting legislator.  While I didn’t have the guts (or knowledge) to challenge him on much, some of his points rubbed me the wrong way.  When asked about short-term health coverage by a foreign student in our group, he gave some circular answer then ended with a story about a insurance company in Milwaukee that handles short-term plans that was probably going out of business because of the new bill.  I wanted to ask if he preferred that company going out of business or 32 Million americans going uninsured.  I’m sure he would have had an answer for me, but I know whose side I’d be on.

Let’s quit with the politics and lets talk about me.

Went to New York last weekend and had a ball.

New York was sick.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The definition of what a city is.  The highs, the lows and everything in between.  People on top of people on top of people.  Skyscrapers on every single block.  Just real life.

Had a great weekend too.  Marquette defeated Nova Thursday afternoon.  My buddies and I were taken out to dinner in Times Square with some VIP.  Explored the whole city in a short period of time.  I’ve never been someplace where you could buy beer at 4:30 in the morning… and I can’t say I’ve ever had the motivation or been in the circumstances to buy beer that late.  Loved it.

Marquette’s exit out of the NCAA was heartbreaking.  We are a better team than the one that showed up.  Nevertheless, everyone can easily chalk this season up as a blessing.  Picked to finish 12th or worse in the conference, a six seed is a more than welcome finish.  Feel for Lazar and the seniors.  Now it’s easy to hop on the bandwagon of Mary Forristal’s alumnus Northern Iowa.

I’m one of the most spoiled people on this planet.  I’m able to do amazing things that I don’t deserve.  It really hits me when I look at where I’m living right now.  I’ll probably never be fortunate enough to live in this neighborhood and sit on a patio with a view of the US capitol.  I gotta live it up while I’m here.

I’m sorry to anyone reading from back home.  Tried and just couldn’t make it home last weekend.

I promised to try to post more frequently.  Feel free to call me out if you think I’m slacking.


#32 March 4, 2010

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What the hell people?

I haven’t posted in over 2 weeks and I’m still getting plenty of views. WHO ARE YOU?

Anyways, I don’t have much time.  I’m staring down the barrel of Dr. Carter’s gun.  I have a paper due tomorrow along with a verbal tutorial in which i was supposed to read over 500 pages of art text.  Ya… no thanks.

I logged on to the blog solely so I wouldn’t log onto facebook. I’ve had something I wanted to post about for a while, but I don’t have much time.

Retire Lazar’s number.

I loved what Notre Dame did with Luke Harangody either this week, but I’ve had this idea for a while.  Lazar Hayward would have been a 2-3 year starter at any other major conference school in the country as a 2 guard. And as a phenomenal 2 guard.

I know this is short notice for a grass-roots movement, but Lazar’s number 32 should be retired when he’s honored at the BC this Saturday.

If I ever get through this week… I going to NYC next week for the Big East Tournament.

Gotta get through this week first.


February 19, 2010

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I haven’t posted in a while.  Been busy.

Tough loss for MU last night.

It’s cold here, but super hot in my apartment.

I don’t feel well.

I’m tired.

I’m broke.

But I’m still loving life, because there is no reason not to.  Too blessed to be stressed.  I got it damn good.

I’ll write something deeper this weekend.

Heard this song on Funny People, then again on Californication.

Intersections. February 15, 2010

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Conservative. Liberal. Moderate.  Who the hell knows.

The State. The Individual.  Who really matters?

This is how my Saturday night ended.  After a terrific evening, where Marquette handled USF, giving MU the inside track towards a NCAA bid and moving us closer to that all-important 4th seed, I ended up debating whether or not racial profiling should be used for the sake of national security.

While I believe national security should be a main, if not the top priority, I strongly disagree with racial profiling being used in any situation.  It’s a step backwards in the progress our country has made over the past two centuries.  Allowing and encouraging racial profile is heading down a slippery slope.  An extremely heated racial profiling debate led to discussion of immigration and national language, from there we went to taxes, middle eastern conflict, and inevitably abortion.  While the debate was intense, conservative and liberal ended up agreeing on quite a bit more than expected.  And when discussion simmered down, 4 people were left and it was 6 o’clock in the morning.

This morning I knew I had to write a blog, but I couldn’t think of one topic to touch on.

An underlying theme throughout debate was the importance of the individual vs. the importance of the society as a whole.  There is no doubt that in terms of our nation’s policy, we must consider the black woman in the inner city struggling to get by, as much as the middle-class suburban family, as much as a the farmer in Iowa or anyone else.  There is no doubt in an ideal world, everyone should get a say.  But that world is not just unlikely, but impossible, and that’s why we live in a democratic state.

It’s not just internal issues either.  One of the best points made last night was that we cannot pretend to understand how the Middle East sees things by reading literature on the issue or listening to individual scholars discuss how they see the many.  To understand anything we need to get down to the role of the common person.

That’s truly the challenge in democracy and in society in general really.  Where is the perfect intersection between the state and the citizen.  Where can we find policy that meets the needs of the individual and the needs of society.  Or as C. Wright Mills puts it, the relationship between history and biography.  Sure, it’s a little idealist, but what we need to strive for is the intersection between the individual and society as a whole.  Despite all our debates last night, and me waking up with no voice this morning, this point seems to be irrefutable.


Super Bowl Diary February 7, 2010

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6:20– Pizza Hut already wins for best placed ad.  Too bad every Pizza Hut in DC is closed due to weather.

6: 22– Changed my MVP to Reggie Bush (see comment below.)

6:28– Did Jerry Rice just throw up a gang sign??  Should I be offended??

6:34– Just bet a 12-pack on the Saints with the 6 point spread.  Don’t feel that confident, but I needed something to make this game mean something for me.

6: 44 — Tim Tebow was sure an ugly baby.  His sole weakness.

6: 46 — Colts just moved down the field methodically to kick a field goal to make it 3-0.  A terrible thought just when through my head.  I thought about the Colts and Saints fans out there.  I thought to myself, “wow, how cool would it be to have your team in the Super Bowl?” It then hit me… “how awesome would that be to be a fan of a team that can actually compete?” Any sport… I haven’t rooted for a professional winner since I’ve been born.  I’ve seen a few great Husker seasons, but I’ve never rooted for a professional team that’s even had a chance at a title.  It’s probably one of the most depressing revelation I’ve ever had.  More on this subject later.

6:50– Reggie just had 15 of his 48 recieveing yards and Colston tries to catch a pass with his face-mask.  Always innovative Colston… maybe not the best strategy.

7:00–  I’ve been struggling to justify why I was cheering for the Saints. and I just solved it.  Scott Fujita.

7:02– 10-0 Colts.   Shit.

7:03– Gar$on, Gar#on, Gar(on… if he can make up letters so can I.

7:09– The bachelor party ad for Bridgestone tires already wins best ad for me.  Anything that uses whales wins.  Every other cute animal finishes second by quite a bit.

7:15 Saints are finally moving the ball.  I’m sticking with them.

7: 16 Still not sure why I’m sticking with them. Colts have two Iowans, and the only cornhusker in this game.

7: 25 Field goals Saints.

7:35– Saints need a score before half.

7:37– Has any band in the history of music sold out more than Kiss?

7:37– Applaud the gutsiness by Sean Payton.  But in the first half?? only down by 7??? I just don’t know.  One thing I do know.  The only way the Saints stand a chance it they have to put points up on the board. They aren’t going to win this game by scoring in the 20s.  They need touchdowns. So I like the call.  Gary Brackett came up huge… give it up for the Colts coaching staff, they definitely saw something in that set and knew what to do.

7:49– Sick stop for N.O.  Hartley for MVP. Surprisingly low-scoring first half.  I’m still thinking the game is going to make it into the 30’s.

7:51– Apparently all the advertisers got together and decided men aren’t manly enough.

7:56– Despite hating all half-time commentators and analysts, it’s very refreshing that the Super Bowl is back on CBS.  The Boomer, Marino, Sharpe, and Cower crew isn’t laughing at everything.  They’re actually focusing on talking about important, football matters.  I agree… This game is Drew Brees’s game to win.  Sean Payton needs to put the ball in his hands, let him air it out.  Win or lose, let Brees go down swinging.

8:05– Ok, I’m actually a fan of The Who.  I was expected old… but not this old.  Teenage Wasteland sounds painful.  I’ve been giving the old timer half-time shows credit since Tom Petty rocked a few years ago, but The Who is really struggling. “They’re all Wasted.” might be a better analysis.

8:12– Super bowl half time performer 2011— Reba McIntire and Simon and Garfunkle.

8:23– What a call by Payton… You know that he delivered the most intense half-time speech of super bowl history.  What a way to get your team back into it.  The Saints have to be so fired up.  Expect 3 more scores from NO.

8:26– WHO DAT!! Take that Will Brady… 13-10 Saints.  They have to be so fired up right now, only problem is Payton Manning always has a cure for that.

8:35– 17-13 Colts.  You Can NOT give Manning that much time.  Addai is running like a man with a mission.  I’m gonna take a break. Be back for the 4th quarter.

9:06– The missed field goal was just the motivation the Saints needed for this epic drive their about to thrown down.  Shaping up to be one of the best games.  What’s really concerning is there is 10:36 left in the game and no sight of Kim Kardashian.  What’s the deal?? Are they still together? Is she in costume??? this is sooo intriguing!  Stay tuned.

9:16– Saints take the lead… right play call going for two. I’d take Drew Brees on a roll out any down.  However, I still haven’t forgiven Jeremy Shockey for the 2001 Rose Bowl.  That and when the Giants beat the Pats 2 years ago and Shockey was his sour-puss self on the sidelines.  What a chief.

9:19– SEAN PAYTON for MVP.  What a challenge. I’m gonna watch the game… Be back when the fat lady sings.

9:47– How great of scene was the players picking up Sean Payton.. I hate the “they deserve it” card.  But it’s hard not to.  Not because of the Katrina thing, but because they are a definition of a TEAM.  Everyone on that squad was around their coach.  And the shot of Bourbon St. can you say, Binge Drinking?  Who Dat?


Corona and Lime… February 6, 2010

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The Colts have been a football machine that cannot be stopped.  Year in and year out.  They’ve developed the formula and they’re sticking to it.  They just do everything right.  I should love them. I typically root for dynasties (ya I’ve been known to cheer for the Yankees.)  They have the best quarterback in his prime my generation has ever seen and possibly the best of all time.  They have a high class front office that makes the right moves and does things the right way.  They have key players from the state of Iowa.  I should love them…. but I don’t.

I don’t know why I don’t either.  Maybe it’s just that they came around at the wrong time in my life.  They started this little run with a playoff win in twenty ought 3 over my Chiefs.  But I don’t think that’s the reason.  The only possible explanation as to why I hate the Colts is Will Brady.

Will Brady and his very clever “Go Horse!” saying is the sole reason I’m rooting for the Saints.  But there are quite a few subplots that are going to make this a very interesting football game.

— Will the score be in the 50’s for each team?

— Will Dwight Freeny play?

— How many times will someone reference Hurricane Katrina?

— Who are the Manning’s going to root for?

— How many times will Kim Kardashian be shown?

— Will I get out of the house before the game?

Ok, seriously… I don’t know if you’ve been following the news but it is absolutely nuts in DC. 2 foot of snow so far and it’s not suppose to stop for a while.  People are treating it like the apocalypse.  The streets are barren, besides the hundred of “brave” souls walking around.  A few of us took a gander around the city this afternoon and it was crazyness.  People sledding down the steps of the Capitol, a snow ball fight on the National Mall, luting in the streets. Ok, no luting… yet. We were able to walk downtown in the middle of the street.

And of course, record snowfall calls for a beach party.  It had to be a funny sight to see a couple guy each carrying two cases of corona in the middle of the street through 2 foot of snow.  I’m already trying to get in the spirit by wearing shorts and flip-flops and putting together a playlist of Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley and other summer jams as I type this  Just get me a margarita.

One of my favorite parts of the Super bowl is all the pageantry that goes with it.  I’m taking the Saints.   Where I have a lot of fun in the prop bets.  What color of Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach? Who will the MVP thank first?  For a whole list check it—


Colts are favored by 6 and I’m gonna take the Saints by 4. 42-38.  Darren Sharper MVP.  (He’s going to run a TD back in the 3rd quarter.)

Stay Warm.