Last night was my fifth (!) PRWeek Awards, and I have to say that it was definitely one of the best. It’s always good to spend some time with some of my favorite industry contacts, and last night was no exception. In addition to the host Ralph Harris, who actually managed to keep the attention of the crowd, the highlight of the evening was definitely Coyne PR’s win for Midsize Agency of the Year. Having the entire agency there brought an infectious level of enthusiasm to the festivities. It’s always exciting to see how important the PRWeek Awards are to the the industry. Especially given the tough times nearly everyone is facing right now, it was a good opportunity to concentrate on all that is good in the PR industry and celebrate the outstanding work being done. Congratulations to all the winners!
The latest viral video to make its way around the Web? This one featuring a group of celebrities, ranging from Jack Black and Margaret Cho to John C. Reilly and Neil Patrick Harris, breaking down the debate on Proposition 8– in full song and dance numbers, of course. While the video is humorous, it ultimately directs viewers to the Web site for JointheImpact, an LGBT organization whose mission is to “to encourage our community to engage our opposition in a conversation about full equality and to do this with respect, dignity, and an attitude of outreach and education.”
The digital side of the ‘Street’
Sesame Street, that staple of PBS television and children’s-and parents’- lives for nearly 40 years, is making its next step into the world of Web 2.0. On Monday, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces Sesame Street, announced that for the first time full episodes of the show would be available on Hulu, YouTube, and iTunes. This move coincides with the recent launch of a new Web site in August, just before the debut of the 40th season. It also falls in line with what Gary Knell, Sesame Workshop’s CEO, told me about the company’s digital plans when I interviewed him for the recent PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO Survey article.
L’Oreal gives back
Last night, I attended the L’Oreal Legends Gala, held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The event is a fundraiser for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund -last night’s event raised more than $4 million dollars alone. But it is also a celebration of L’Oreal’s commitment to the cause of ovarian cancer research, one that can often get lost in the “sea of pink” that is corporate support of breast cancer research. L’Oreal has supported OCRF for 11 years, through events and its Color of Hope makeup collection, raising $18 million in that time.
Not only was the event a great opportunity for some star gazing- Diane Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Pierce Brosnan, Milla Jovovich, and Kerry Washington were among the attendees- but it also was extremely comforting to see that even in a struggling economy, corporations and individuals are willing to give back to causes. It’s something that PRWeek discovered in its 2008 Cause Survey, so it was nice to see it affirmed with a real-life example.
Self does good
Last night, Jaimy Lee and I attended Self magazine’s first-annual Women Doing Good Awards ceremony, held at the fabulous Top of the Rock in New York City. Self is no stranger to supporting causes; it originated the now-ubiquitous pink ribbon that has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness in 1992 and has published the annual breast cancer handbook in its October issue since 1991. Last year, publisher Kimberly Kelleher worked with executive director of marketing Cynthia Walsh to develop a piece of research titled “Good: Cause Marketing from the Consumer’s Point of View”. As Self editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger noted last night, that research was ultimately the impetus for the Awards. Self readers were invited to submit stories of women in their lives and hometowns that were doing work on behalf of a good cause.
The 2008 winners were Ann Cooper, a chef who works with F3: Food-Family-Farming Foundation to provide school children with healthy lunches; Dian Ross, a woman working with First Book to donate books to children in rural, low-income areas; and Jennifer Goodman Linn, a cancer survivor who founded Spin4Survival to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Maybelline New York and Kashi served as partners for the event.
Leah McElrath Renna, managing partner at Renna Communications, posted an Op-Ed on the Huffington Post yesterday titled, “For God’s Sake , Get on Message! Ten Tips for the Obama Campaign.” She writes: “As a Democrat, I am nervous and on the verge of desperation. As a media relations professional - someone who does messaging and media training for a living -I am simply puzzled. This is not hard stuff.” She then proceeds to give the Obama campaign advice it needs to follow if it has any hope of defeating Sen. McCain. While Renna’s political leanings are clearly Democratic, the points she makes are useful for any political campaign, or for that matter any campaign at all. It’s a reminder that in politics, a little PR 101 can go a long way.
Jon Stewart, journalism professor?
In my column this week, I wrote about a recent article in the New York Times that discussed how The Daily’s Show with Jon Stewart has, over the past eight years, become an almost trusted source of news and desired pit stop for celebrities and politicians alike. Even so, it was a little bit surprising that Stewart’s criticism of the cable news media, including his spat with Fox News is something that is being reported as though it is coming from a legitimate media critic. Come on people! Stewart is lampooning the media in the same way that Saturday Night Live has satirized TV shows, newscasts, and movies for more than 30 years. The fact that the media has devoted so much space to his criticisms, and has taken it so seriously, just proves his point further. Thoughts?
The New York Times recently published a lengthy-and according to the most e-mailed list- very popular on The Daily Show and how it has transcended its original charter as a fake news show, to become a legitimate and respected news source. And it isn’t just the show’s target “stoner” audience that sees the value; The Daily Show has become a must-stop for authors and politicians, especially in this election year.
PRWeek is now accepting nominations for its second-annual “40 under 40” feature, to be published in the December 8 issue. This special feature will profile 40 agency, corporate, and nonprofit professionals, as well as educators, under the age of 40 that are doing outstanding work for their clients/companies and for the PR industry as a whole. Individuals featured on the list will demonstrate innovative thinking, strong determination, and results that indicate a long and successful career in the PR industry. Those individuals profiled on last year’s list are not eligible for inclusion in this year’s feature.
To nominate someone, please download the entry form here and e-mail to . Individuals nominated must be under the age of 40 as of 12/8/08. Entry forms must not exceed two pages. Please contact Erica Iacono at erica.iacono@prweek with any questions. All nominations must be received by 5pm EST on September 15.
So, do we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture or are celebrities obsessed with journalism? Next Thursday, Nightline will air a report from none other than Ben Affleck. The actor apparently approached the program with the idea of doing the report as a way to raise awareness about the violence, starvation, and disease that is so prevalent in the region. Affleck joins a long list of celebrities that have tried their hand at journalism, including U2 frontman Bono, who edited an issue of Vanity Fair last year and Sean Penn, who wrote a series of articles about Iraq for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Next Page »