Mormon PR Guy Web-Savvy, On Message

Pity the poor polygamist. They have been collecting wives quietly hidden under the protective cover of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Mormon Churchthe Mormons way before wife collecting was popularized by Jacqueline Suzanne.  Now the Mormons are striking back with the power of PR.

Emboldened by a survey (the oldest trick in the PR arsenal, although quite effective here) showing that most Americans think wrongly that they are polygamists, the Mormons have embarked on a viral PR campaign to set the record straight.

“It’s about clarifying who we are,” said Michael Otterson, Director of Public Relations for the LDS (Mormon) Church. “We’re not denigrating any other group. We’re not criticizing any other faith. We are simply saying this is who we are.”

Michael Otterson, spokesperson Church of Jesus Christ of Latter ay Saints, MormonsOtterson (left) is a web-savvy spokesperson for the Mormon Church. He is the on-air “Anchor” of the first online news conference of the Mormon Church in October, 2007.  In this 35 minute video Otterson is summarizing an aggressive, consistent, comprehensive public relations program that has been on-message and remarkably effective.

First, Mitt Romney’s bid for the Presidency sent the Mormons into fourth gear PR mode. Then the raid of the polygamist cult had them scrambling. The best defense is an offense, in footbal and PR, and the Mormons are on the march.  Most impressive is the use of viral PR and the real-time and archived video outreach.

See NPR 6/30/08 Polygamist Raid is PR Nightmare for Mormons and 6/26/08 ABC4.com story from Salt Lake, Utah.

PR/Media Week in Review, 06-29-2008

Mark Rose, Editor, PRBlogNews

Free Darren Dopp.  We are still following the exploits of Darren Dopp, the beleagured ex-flack for the disgraced ex-governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. We first wrote about Dopp almost a year ago when Spitzer was still on his high horse in Albany stonewalling and attacking anyone who dared disagree with him. It was obvious then that Dopp was taking the fall for Spitzer in the “Troopergate” fiasco (using State troopers to keep tabs on the leader of the New York State assembly, a Spitzer rival). 

Dopp was a symbol of the expendability and lowly status of the PR guy who valiantly tries to protect the boss, and we are glad that Dopp is fighting on to clear his name despite the tremendous cost to him and his family. See 6/28 New York Times Spitzer Aide Refuses Ethics Panel’s Deal.

Journalists & J-students flocking to PR?  Increasingly, journalists and J-students are submitting apps for PR due to the downturn in print media and fewer journalism job opportunities, according to this article in Editor & Publisher.

Grand Vizier of PR represents Catholic church. According to Miles Kington, The Independent, UK: “Then they said it was not my job to rewrite Christian history in newspaper headline terms, and I said, ‘Listen, cardinals, sweeties, if you can find a PR firm willing to represent God, I’ll be the most surprised man in the UK! We have some dodgy clients, but if half of what the Bible says is true, God is not a person I would want to handle. Take your business elsewhere.’”

Litigious PR people? Headlined Workshop to lift writing standards among PR officers, the article in the Borneo Bulletin Online goes on to say: ”The guest of honour, in his speech, said, “Writing news and feature articles is a discipline of knowledge that demands a strong sense of sight, feeling, thought and determination as well as resourcefulness in suing mechanisms that are available.”

Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary looks up words to find their meanings and associations with Shel Israel Loren Feldman 1938 Mediaother words and concepts.  It produces diagrams reminiscent of a neural net so you learn how words associate. Fun, for anyone in PR who still writes.

The Shelling of Israel is over? Is there peace between Loren Feldman and Shel Israel? Not quite, although Loren seems to be giving Shel his namesake domain without drawing the battle out to a bloody, pathetic end. If it wasn’t all so funny, this would be a sad episode in “social media.” Alas, we are grateful that the Shel puppet will apparently live on.

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In the land of the free …

Coming up on July 4th weekend and those old Yankee Doodle Dandy impulses naturally emerge. For me, it’s Hillary Clinton and Barack Obamanot as simplistic as waving a flag or eating a hot dog but unearthing a deeper meaning to where we live and the time we inhabit. I am a late student of American history but in my lifetime we have lived through signature moments in our common development – civil rights, Vietnam, eco awareness, the rise of technology, the fall of Communism, global terrorism. There are iconic images along the way, such as man walking on the moon, and this one surely qualifies.

I am sure that the coming together in Unity, New Hampshire today was PR-engineered right down to Hillary’s blue outfit matching Barack’s blue tie. A lot is at stake, huge amounts of money will drive this campaign, and we are embarking on a journey down a road never traveled. That is the beauty of the self-generating, multi-generational American experiment in democracy – there is no predicting the next turn. Somehow, though, despite differences, we agree that the experiment should continue and the quest to find the common good, although imperfect, should endure. 

Meshugga spaceman invades NY Video 2.0

NY Video 2.0So who is the meshugga (left) spaceman who landed at the NY Hilton the eve of May 19?  He was there to bring Earthlings the message about NY Video 2.0′s move to embrace the theatricality of web-based video.

Compared to Webster Hall, the site of the last NY Video 2.0 meetup, the Hilton was decidedly “uptown” and sanitized, prepared for the next wave of midwest conventioneers, not the punk leftovers and preening auteurs who might skate through Webster Hall.

Personally, I prefer the grit and downtown vibe of Webster Hall – and that’s where the next NY Video 2.0 is headed on June 24.

The May 19 presentations were the most professional and interesting to date although it was clear that start-ups can really benefit from polished communication on their websites. All the presentations were good, some better than others, but I naturally follow-up for more info on a company’s website and the results are often disappointing

Yaron added an element of “American Idol” to the proceedings when he had three noted VC’s judge the presentations and give feedback. At the end we texted our preferences for an instant-on-site, on-screen vote. And the winner was .. BestTV (the choice of 2 NY Video 2.0 New York Cityout of 3 of VC’s) … or, possibly Magnify, the choice of one VC. Or was it the real NY Video 2.0 American Idol judged by the live SMS poll: Andrew Sternthal, co-founder, CEO, EkkoTV.

Best to describe best-of-breed BestTV in their own words: The world’s leading middleware solution for online video management and monetization.

Ugh. Is there a duller word than middleware? It’s even duller than backend. But that’s a good chunk of the NY Video 2.0 crowd – middleware and backend. With the BestTV V-ware™ UGC software application you can launch your own “YouTube” like portal. Maybe the VC’s are salivating over the “monetization” possibilities represented here.

Magnify.net – I should be Steve Rosenbaum’s target audience. I have a WordPress blog and I am hungry for a video plug-in that will deliver, well, video, and maybe generate some ad dollars. Scouring their website I couldn’t understand the value proposition, what Magnify.net offered, or how to embed it in my site. They need better communication and somebody sexier than the forthright but hopelessly geeky  Rosenbaum to educate us. I like the concept but what is it?

At EkkoTVevery voice has a face. Meaning you can instantly start a video chat with 2 of your friends. Again, good concept but what is it, what does it look like, what is the user experience? Hard to say – go to their website and right from the home page you are prompted to “Start Now” with no pretense of a demonstration. I am not likely to take the time to go through this unless I can see the benefit. It looked good at the demo at the Hilton but it’s missing on the web.

Adotube in their own words: Adotube is a publisher-centric video advertising platform that enables you to generate revenue by showing brand-names ads in your video content. In other words, these annoying animated cartoon characters pop up in your video and hold up ads. I would run from any video that even insinuated such an inappropriate intrusion. 

We were all really impressed with the incredible quality of the video presented by Vusion but the VC’s were unimpressed by the revenue potential. Where’s the monetization?

Back to Webster Hall and let’s see some kick-ass punk video presentations. Where are the artists who are supposed to be flocking to the new frontier of web-based video? 

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