The Axis of a Shreddie

From AdNews:


Kraft Canada has begun a marketing campaign for its Shreddies brand of breakfast cereal. The campaign, called “Diamond Shreddies,” was developed by Ogilvy & Mather. The creative features images of the square pieces of cereal turned 45 degrees to form diamond shapes. The campaign purports to introduce a new diamond-shaped variety of the product. The intention of the campaign, which was tested in Alberta last year, is to reintroduce the brand and raise consumer awareness or it. The campaign consists of television and out-of-home advertising, along with a website at <; and a series of online videos. Public relations efforts include media relations, product placement and co-promotions. Redesigned packaging is accompanying the campaign, while an on-box contest offers consumers a chance to win one of ten diamonds.

The technical description of turning a Shreddie 45 degrees to form a diamond shape is deadpan gold. 18 Stractical points to O&M and Post for the great campaign and to whoever wrote this release.


Marketing and PR: Not ready to make nice?

After reading an insightful post on Gary Schlee’s blog about the increasingly cozy relationship between marketing and PR, I decided to post a comment. Read the post then come back and follow along below:

I believe the differences between PR and marketing are largely artificial. That is to say, PR is a specific aspect of marketing that deals with certain kinds of audiences and certain kinds of buyers.

Perhaps marketing departments offer less pretensions about their fiduciary relationship to the overall goals of the company. I think it obfuscates the issue to say that marketing is about selling and buyers while PR is about relationships and audiences. What kind of relationships are we building? Why are we trying to reach these audiences? We’re selling to media or the community or those audiences which evaluate the reputation of our organization before buying our product, engaging in our service or voting for our legislation. Yes, PR can be specialized in practice and it is certainly specialized in skill. But to proscribe the marketing function of PR and try to separate communications as being loftier in intention than marketing is an argument that will ultimately fail in the jostle for corporate dollars.

Instead, the increased integration of all aspects of the marketing mix should lead the public relations industry to study from other marketing streams. Can we measure results like marketing? Can we build a strong brand like advertising?

The maturation of public relations should not automatically assume that the practice will become more independent — it probably won’t. Our best bet is to continue to advocate the strengths of PR campaigns as cost-effective and credible ways to further the marketing and corporate goals of those we represent.

PodCamp Toronto: February 23-24

An event I just learned about, PodCamp Toronto is going to be some sort of meet up for podcasters with a strong PR angle. Not a whole lot of details on the site right now (the downside of wikis?) but I’ll be checking again to see who’s presenting.

Blogs you should know about: PR Watch

I’ve always argued on behalf of a free and competitive mass media environment; one that is inherently skeptical of corporate interests and makes the jobs of PR professionals tough. PR is effective because it engages audiences in a credible forum that can only when the media has editorial independence and a natural skepticism that equals or surpasses the skepticism of a saturated public.

It is with the same impetus that watchdog, consumer advocacy and bloggers have become the de facto critics of the public relations industry. PR Watch, run by the Center For Media and Democracy is a portal for PR criticism. The blog takes on the gamut of communications topics including the US election coverage, lobbying efforts, the tobacco industry, corporate front groups and video news releases. The site rose to fame with its extensive coverage of the Wal-Mart/Edelman incident where Wal-Mart was found to have sponsored a seemingly independent blogger who was documenting his cross-country Wal-Mart tour in an RV. While PR Watch and the CMD are highly anti-corporate and their political biases are worn proud, the blog discusses issues that have broad interest and appeal.

Every media relations professional should be reading PR Watch regularly if only to determine what types of campaigns are getting slammed and why. Sites like PR Watch create a bar to which communications activities have to rise to in order to compete with credibility.

Microsoft bids $44.6B for Yahoo — Mark Zuckerberg take note

Microsoft to buy Yahoo

AdAge (and the rest of the known universe) reports that the house that Bill built is ready to buy rival Yahoo in an attempt to stave off the complete and utter omnipotence of Google. Whether this is good or bad for shareholders, consumers, or my Yahoo mail client remains to be seen, but the communications play was helped immensely by readied endorsements from stakeholders:

Microsoft said already this morning it had gotten unsolicited feedback from publishers and advertisers that the move is the right step and will create a compelling marketplace.

Imran Kahn, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, released a note this morning predicting Yahoo’s board would approve the Microsoft deal.

“We think as search market becomes competitive, Yahoo is better off inside a larger company with strong balance sheet and technology expertise for further fuel its growth,” he wrote.

When big, industry-realigning announcements like this are made, it is vital to have the support of analysts, experts and other stakeholders of credibility. Those stakeholders are able to make claims and predictions about the business move without sounding inflated or self-serving. Think of it like a personal reference: If you’re trying to impress someone, telling them you’re a great person is far less effective than if a credible third party promotes your fabulousness on your behalf.