Case Studies

Relating to PR

Here we are, the last and final topic of the week for Case Studies and Issues in PR. I can’t believe how quickly five weeks has passed, and that I am heading into my final five weeks of school. Once done, I am ready and excited to embark on my new career in Public Relations. It only seems appropriate that the final Topic of the Week asks us to discuss what aspect of Public Relations interested me the most, and how I think my career will be informed by my new knowledge of Public Relations.

Communication Appreciation

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I would like to start out by saying that I LOVE PR! I have always fancied myself a communicator, but never fully thought that it was something I could do as a career. Throughout this year I have learned about so many aspects of PR, and more importantly, that PR is what I am meant to be doing. I would have to say that what interested me the most about PR is public speaking. I know what you’re thinking: “Public speaking?!?!? Are you nuts?!?”  Yes, loyal reader, I might just be….  All jokes aside, this year has given me many opportunities to try new things and focus on my strengths. I found that what I really thrived at was giving a presentation, or hosting an event. I loved going on TV and representing a cause, or having a mic in my hand feeling the pressure to perform. If I could I would bottle that feeling and sell it on the black market. It’s good sh*t.


Moving up and on

I think that this year has been a chance for me to put some tools in my hypothetical toolbox of life. I am not an expert in PR; however, I have a much better understanding of what I am heading into, and how to cope with my upcoming career change. One of the most important things I have learned is the need to research and have an overall understanding of what is going on with the people I am trying to communicate with. Although I am apt to focus on strategy and tactics, this year has taught me that all good strategies come from a solid foundation of research and understanding the audience I am trying to target.

And that, my friends, is pretty much it. I’d like to thank you for reading, and if you’re interested, invite you to read my upcoming blog called, “Like. Love. Marriage.” This blog will chronicle my journey through the wedding planning process and more importantly, my journey into “wife-dom.”

Until then, take care.



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A “Bliss-ful” moment for Hershey’s PR

This week in Case Studies and Issues in PR we have been asked to discuss our favourite case, why it interested us, and what I have learnt from the campaign. So, without further ado, I present to you a sweet campaign put together by Hershey’s….

Now here’s a party I can get behind…
hersheys_bliss_logo In April 2008, Hershey’s was preparing to launch their new Hershey’s Bliss chocolate. With not much new to say about chocolate, Hershey’s had to come up with a creative way to get people talking about their product. With targeting female chocolate lovers in mind, Hershey’s decided to host 10,000 chocolate parties for girlfriends nationwide. JSH&A communications company used word-of-mouth, mainstream and social media to get the word out about how all of us chocolate loving females can all share in the bliss of cellulite by hosting a chocolate party. If you were one of the lucky ladies to be chosen, Hershey’s would send you package of Hershey’s products, coupons and party ideas to share with your  closest 10 girlfriends. In the end, they were able to create 150,000 unpaid brand ambassadors who promoted the product with pleasure after their parties were held.

A Moment of Bliss

This campaign stuck out to me, as it was something that was speaking right to me. Not only do I enjoy a morsel of chocolate or two from time to time (more like shamefully eating a whole chocolate bar in my closet), but I also LOVE my girlfriends. Combine that with an opportunity to throw and party, and Hershey’s has hit the dimple on the butt cheek! Although I can imagine the coordination of 10,000 parties in one weekend might come with some challenges, I couldn’t be more impressed and inspired by their creativity.

If this campaign teaches me one thing, it is that word-of-mouth advertising still remains the most efficient way to get your message across. In a time where their customer base is so big, Hershey’s was able to break down the message in a way that spoke to the everyday person, and made them feel part of this blissful chocolate experience. I am once again reminded that I am much more likely to listen to a friend’s recommendation than an advertisement any day of the week. The Hershey’s Bliss campaign proved how important word-of-mouth advertising is as they generated more than 142.5 million impressions, 15,390 blog posts, as well as an additional 10 million impressions based on word-of-mouth advertising alone. Well done Hershey’s. My second chin thanks you.

How do you think Hershey’s did with their PR campaign?

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Occupy-ing the Silence: A PR perspective of Occupy Wall Street


Well, hello 99%. Welcome to a brief discussion on Occupy Wall Street. Today I will be sharing my thoughts on what could have been done from a PR perspective in order to keep the initial momentum of the movement going.

In case you are part of the apathetic portion of the 99%, Occupy Wall Street  is a leaderless movement that takes a stand against the “greed and corruption of the 1%”. Occupy Wall Street encourages the 99% to take a stand against this inequity by taking part in protests, standing up for our right to occupy spaces safely, and protect ourselves from the far-reaching power of major banks and multinational corporations.  Amazing, right?!?

As one of the 99% (we’re a big group!), I must admit that when the Occupy Movement occurred in September 2011, I got swept up in the excitement, as well as the ideology behind the cause. The general momentum of Occupy was helped along by Manhattan PR Firm Workhouse, who provided some much needed clarity and communications about what was going on.It was exciting to see a group of people trying to tackle the corruption that occurs within major banks and corporations. Combine that with the catchy messaging of “We are the 99%,” and I’m sold. The slogan does a great job at grabbing people’s attention and showing you that you are not alone. “We are the 99%” denotes that there is no segregation based on sex, race or age; instead, it gives people a platform to take a stand against financial inequities that exist in our “free market.” It turns out that this free market of ours comes at quite the cost….

So…Are we still Occupying?  12347490-confused-young-businesswoman-shrugs-her-shoulders-in-a-clueless-gesture

No one can argue that Occupy Wall Street generated a lot of noise and media attention. I still remember walking by the Legislative Building in Winnipeg and seeing people camping outside, rain or shine. The momentum was palpable and people were revved up for change; however, almost 2 years later the revolution seems to have lost it’s horsepower, and is in more of an idle position. Now, I would not classify myself as a political activist, nor have I rallied for large scale change. I have never slept outside as a form of solidarity for a cause, nor have I passionately picketed on the front lines. However, as one of the 99%, I was waiting for the actual movement or change that would result from all the ruckus and noise. It seemed as though the movement lacked a definitive direction, or strategy as to how this 99% of people were going to “overthrow” this 1%. As we saw with Kony 2012, momentum is only the first part of a good campaign. Once people lazily lift their head from their computers, they need a call to action strong and clear enough to make the change occur. Communication plays such an important role when trying to affect change that you literally need to spell it out for people. Furthermore, I’m not sure if the 99% can agree on how this change is going to occur. I have seen a group of 5 people melt down because they were unable to agree on things. Statistically, it doesn’t look good.

In the end, the real issue with the management of Occupy, is that there is no management at all. One of the fundamental ideologies of Occupy is that it is a “leaderless resistance movement.” To me, leaderless implies that there is no one taking control. In order to communicate to 99% of people effectively, the message has to be clear, concise, and consistent.

What would it take to convince you to take part in a movement?

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Comment #2

Another week, another comment. This week I decided to comment on an article from PR Daily titled, The two worst media disasters in June. In the article, Brad discussed both US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, as well as Chef Paula Dean. Here is my response to the article:

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Topic of the Week #1

Well, here we are, Case Studies and Issues in PR. This week I have been asked to answer three questions that discuss public opinion and persuasion, so without further ado, let’s get down to business.

1.What has made you change your opinion of a public figure, organization or brand. Please give one example.

The first person that comes to mind when I think of public opinion is Lance Armstrong. I have never seen someone fall from grace the way he has, and he is a wonderful example of what NOT to do in PR. Lance Armstrong, winner of 7 Tour de France titles, made a “shocking” confession in January 2013 on the Oprah Winfrey Show, that he was in fact doping during most of his professional career. I can’t think of a better way to give your image a shine then to go on the Oprah Winfrey show. However, what was meant to be a “tell all” turned out to be a “tell on,” as Lance didn’t really take responsibility the way I thought he should have after over a decade of bull-faced lies. Of course everyone makes mistakes. But, it was the way that Lance vehemently denied the allegations, and bullied people into a corner that I find most off putting about the whole thing. Lance Armstrong went from being someone that people looked up to and adored to being stripped of his Tour de France titles, and stepping down from his Live Strong Foundation. Lance Armstrong is learning the hard way a lesson that we as PR professionals know to be true: honesty is the best policy.

2. What factors have influenced your decision to do or not do something. Please give one example.

To do, or not to do: that is the question. In regards to persuasion and what works for me, I need a clear call to action and an easy way to take said action. When first reading this question I thought of a book I read many years ago called Alan Carr’s Easy Way to Quit Smoking. At the time I was a pack a day smoker, and looking to quit, but had no idea how. I had heard from a few friends (gotta love word of mouth advertising) of this book and thought I would give it a try. I figured I had nothing to lose. So, with cigarette in hand I started reading this book that actually recommended I smoked until I finished reading the book. The magical thing about this book is the constant messaging that continues over the 150 pages. Alan Carr takes every lie smokers tell to themselves (I need a smoke to relax, I love smoking after meals, I’ll quit next week) and breaks it down into small readable chapters with one consistent message, “There is nothing good about smoking.” At the end of the book the call to action is very clear — Have your last smoke and then never have one again. I know it seems pretty obvious that this is how to quit smoking, but the way he discusses the addiction of smoking and calls you to quit is powerful. I stopped smoking the day I finished the book, and haven’t picked up the nasty habit again (except for that year when I lived in Europe, but hey, everyone’s doing it….)

3. What has made you think differently about an issue. Please give one example.

The Dove Beauty Evolution Campaign was something of an “AHA” moment for me. I still remember the first time I watched the video of a model being retouched and photoshopped as she gets put on a billboard for all to see and admire. Although I knew that photoshopping happened, I didn’t realize to what magnitude. It brought tears to my eyes when I realized that I was comparing myself to a standard of beauty that wasn’t realistic. As someone who has been brought up in a world of celebrities, supermodels, and billboards, it took a long time to be more gentle on myself and re-evaluate what my own standard of beauty was. The Dove Beauty campaign struck a chord in me that still resonates to this day. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I couldn’t be more grateful that Dove started this very important conversation.


…and that, my friends, is the end of another exciting addition of “Topic of the Week.” Stay tuned next week where I will be discussing another topic in the fine art of PR. Until then, I will leave you with this thought:

“For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”
― Sam Levenson


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