Facebook Introduces Video Ads, Promises They Won’t Be Spammy

Ads that look and feel like TV commercials but are targeted like display ads: For Facebook, that’s long been the holy grail — the chief hurdle being how to introduce them without annoying the bejesus out of its users.

After many months of tinkering, Facebook executives finally think they’ve got it right. Today the company officially introduced what it calls Premium Video Ads.

Nothing much has changed from the version it’s beentesting in users’ feeds since December. The 15-second ads still start playing automatically, without sound, as soon as they come onscreen. Tapping on an ad expands it and makes it start over from the beginning, with audio.

Read more via Forbes.com. 

Welcome to the New PoweR Connection Column!

By Candice Nicole of Fox News and Candice Nicole PR

CandiceHeadShotWelcome to the PoweR Connection! Hello BPRSDC + Guests! My name is Candice (also known as Candice Nicole) and I hail from the DC Metropolitan area (MD to be exact). A brief despriction on me: I am the owner of Candice Nicole Public Relations and I started my boutique PR company in 2007.  By day, I work at WTTG Fox 5 News. 

It is with great excitement that the “PoweR Connection” column has a new home.

It was about 3 years ago, when I began something that I called the PoweR Connection conference call. It was a weekly call that joined leading Public Relations and communications professionals from around the globe. The call welcomed many amazing individuals, including the late great power publicist Dee Dee Cocheta.

With that platform, many individuals were connected throughout the world and all shared valuable information with a growing community of experienced professionals. Well, life happened and became extremely busy and I let the calls fall by the waist side. However, many kept asking me when was I going to bring back the conference call. I thought about it, thought about it and then thought about it again (SMILE). I said “You know, it would be great to bring the conference call back but so many are busy these days, why not revive it in a blog form?”. I reached out to some websites and they politely declined or wanted to change the format in which I wasn’t too keen on because I have a vision for PoweR Connection and I wanted to honor that vision. I was then invited by the Black Public Relations Society (BPRS) DC Chapter to host a workshop on branding yourself in the digital age.

pr connection logoWell, that changed my life as that was the first time hosting a workshop solo and that is when in talking I mentioned my idea and Faye Hyslop and Alana Hill said SURE! It was no selling, they simply heard what I had to say and said “Lets do it!” So here we are today (SMILE).

With the PoweR Connection column, we will highlight many publicist throughout the world as well as new industry trends and best practices for industry professionals. If there are any topics in particular that you would like me to cover, please feel free to email me directly at candice@candicenicolepr.com.

Again, I am so very excited to have this opportunity to blog on the BPRSDC site and to bring this vision of PoweR Connection back to the forefront! It is most important that we support one another because this can be a very unforgiving business at times. Hope you have a great reminder of the week and I look forward to sharing my first post!

PoweRfully Yours,

Candice Nicole

Crisis Communications Case Study: Atlanta Snow Storm Edition

View image on TwitterNews flash: crisis communications is one of the most important services provided by our government—be it local, state or federal.

MWW‘s Jarrod Bernstein knows: his past titles include Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Acting Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs for United States Department of Homeland Security (among many others).

We recently spoke to Bernstein to get his take on lessons learned from the most recent public crisis comms incident: the “storm” that brought Atlanta to a standstill as residents spent hours stuck in traffic on streets blocked by ice—all caused by less than three inches of snow.

The story included babies born on the highway, residents stranded in grocery stores and a significant hit to the reputation of not just the local government but the city itself.

How did the Atlanta disaster come about?

“It was a cascading series of events: the schools decided to close early, everybody had to get their kids, and they all ended up driving through Atlanta just as the city was trying to plow the very same roads.”

What role did communications play in the botched execution?

“The Atlanta school system is not run by the mayor, and it seems to me that there wasn’t enough conversation between the school system and the city government regarding the conditions of closing early.

If the kids had stayed in school for the full day (with only two inches of snow), you’d probably have the streets in better condition.”


Read more here.

January 2014 BPRSDC Event: New Year, New You! Personal Branding In the Digital Age”

 Join the Black Public Relations Society, DC Chapter as we host  “New Year, New You! Personal Branding In the Digital Age”

The event is free of charge however registration is required. Click here to register.

This event is designed to provide you with key information, tools and resources to help you:

  • Leverage individual strengths to create a unique personal brand;
  • Develop a personal narrative that utilizes digital media to reinforce individual’s personal brand;
  • Reinforce personal brand to strengthen personal reputation

The event will welcome Guest Speaker, CandiceNicole of CandiceNicole Public Relations. For more than a two decades, Candice Nicole Public Relations has served  local events as DMV Helps Haiti Benefit Concer, TheJasmineBrand.com and has worked with such entertainment clients as Marsha Ambrosius, Estelle, Yo Gotti, Wale, Jaguar Wright, & many more.

For questions, please contact Faye Hyslop, VP Programming at fayehyslop@yahoo.com. Don’t know if your membership is active? Contact BPRSDC at bprsdc@gmail.com.

To view highlights and additional photos from this and other events, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Justine Sacco, public relations executive, loses job after tweet on AIDS in Africa

ImageA public relations executive for the prominent New York-based Internet media company IAC lost her job on Saturday after she posted a message joking about AIDS in Africa and race on her Twitter account, sparking an online furor.

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” Justine Sacco, who was IAC’s corporate communications director, wrote in a message on Twitter on Friday, shortly before taking a flight.

The Twitter account has since been deleted, though not before the message was widely circulated online.

IAC, which had earlier condemned the message, said on Saturday that Sacco and the company have now “parted ways.”

Twitter users have posted thousands of comments about the message. Some called the message racist and insensitive. Others defended it as an unsuccessful yet forgivable attempt at humor.

Many users wondered – some angrily, others gleefully – whether Sacco would still have her job after her flight landed.

As it turned out, she didn’t.

IAC operates more than a dozen websites, including the news website the Daily Beast, CollegeHumor, and dating websites like Match.com and OKCupid.

The company distanced itself from the message.

“The offensive comment does not reflect the views and values of IAC,” the company said in a statement on Saturday. “We take this issue very seriously, and we have parted ways with the employee in question.”

“There is no excuse for the hateful statements that have been made and we condemn them unequivocally,” the statement continued. “We hope, however, that time and action, and the forgiving human spirit, will not result in the wholesale condemnation of an individual who we have otherwise known to be a decent person at core.”

7 Brutal Public Relations Disasters from 2013

Carnival Cruise Line’s Cruise from Hell
“I don’t want to hear the word ‘cruise’ ever again.” So said passenger Kendall Jenkins as she disembarked from the Carnival cruise ship Triumph on Feb. 14, after enduring five days adrift in the Gulf of Mexico with no electricity, no heat, no air conditioning … and raw sewage sloshing out of the toilets. The ocean liner had suffered a fire, which didn’t immediately threaten the wellbeing of the 4,200 passengers on board, but which knocked out all power and related systems.

Coverage of the disaster was extensive, with CNN alone putting multiple reporters on the scene: one in a boat, one in a helicopter and two onshore. The stock price for Carnival’s parent company plunged after the incident and has yet to fully recover. And it’s almost certain the lawsuit machine is in high gear. “It’s like being locked in a Porta Potty for days,” another Triumph passenger commented, which was probably not the customer experience Carnival was shooting for.

JPMorgan Chase’s Disastrous Twitter Q&A
“#Badidea! Back to the drawing board!” So tweeted someone at JPMorgan Chase after the superbank’s attempt at a career-related Q&A session went terribly wrong. The bank had hoped to reach out to students considering someday working at the bank, and put one of its top executives in the Twitter hot seat to answer related questions.

Twitter users bombarded the JPMorgan exec with questions like “what’s your favorite type of whale” and “what illegal deals did Jamie Dimon and the other big banks make with Obama at the closed-door meeting on Oct 2, 2013?” The most pointed question might have been: “Do you know what fiduciary duty is?” Needless to say, the bank quickly shut the Q&A down.

CEO Jamie Dimon couldn’t have been happy. With record payouts and fines for mortgage related abuses already marking 2013 as an annus horribilis for the bank, an ill-conceived social media experiment was probably the last thing JPMorgan needed. A #Badidea, indeed.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s “Cool Kids” Controversy
In 2006, when asked about the brazenly sexual nature of the company’s advertising, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries told Salon magazine: “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.” For whatever reason, the comments didn’t elicit much attention at the time, but turned up more recently in a book called The New Rules of Retail, at which point they decidedly did.

The media was all over A&F for the obnoxious comments. Celebrities also got in on the thrashing. Kirstie Alley swore her kids would never shop there. One protester took to giving A&F clothes to the homeless, and posted a video of his experience on YouTube. Jeffries response to the affair was half-hearted: “While I believe this seven year old, resurrected quote has been taken out of context, I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense.” 

For Jeffries, maybe the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. But in an era where there’s greater awareness than ever of the dangers of youth obsessing over body image, he’s probably lost his status as one of retail’s cool kids.

Paula Deen’s Fall into Culinary and Cultural Oblivion
In March 2012, a former employee at Paula Deen’s “The Lady & Sons” restaurant filed a lawsuit against her, alleging, among other things, racial harassment at work. In comments from the deposition for that lawsuit that surfaced in June, Deen admitted to using racial slurs, setting off a media firestorm that brought down her media empire.

In the space of weeks, Deen lost her Food Network show, multiple lucrative endorsement deals —including ones with Walmart, Target and pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk — as well as a five-book publishing deal with Random House. She posted several apologies to YouTube, and made another on NBC’s The Today Show, but Deen was done.

The IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups for Audits
In May, the Internal Revenue Service admitted it had targeted conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status for audits, watching for groups that used words and phrases such as “Tea Party” and “patriot” in their applications. On the conference call apologizing for the agency’s actions, senior IRS official Lois Lerner said that between 2010 and 2012 there was a “surge in applications for tax-exempt status” and that agency employees used these search terms as shortcuts.

A shakeup at the top of the IRS ensued, along with much political and media handwringing. When it was later revealed that the IRS had also targeted liberal groups using the terms “progress” or “progressive” and seeking the same kind of tax-exempt status, it didn’t make much of a dent in the revenue department’s battered reputation. On that same conference call with reporters Lerner responded to a journalist’s question about a statistic with: “I’m not good at math.” A senior revenue collection official stating she wasn’t good at math didn’t help the agency’s reputation very much either.

Tea Partiers Force a Federal Government Shutdown
On the same day HealthCare.gov was set to launch, parts of the federal government were forced to shut down for the first time in almost 20 years because of a congressional budget impasse and Republican opposition to Obamacare. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives wanted to strip funding for the health care law. The Democratically controlled Senate wouldn’t hear of it. Neither side blinked, and on Oct. 1 an unfunded federal government closed shop for all but the most essential functions.

Adding to the drama, the U.S. government was poised to default on its debt if Congress didn’t raise the limit on federal borrowing. The government remained closed until Oct. 17, long after many Republicans realized they were losing the public relations battle. To all but the most strident conservatives, the GOP came out of the whole affair as extreme, unreasonable and dangerously unbending, and its poll numbers plummeted – all at a time when the media would have otherwise been focused on the Obamacare rollout.

Obamacare’s Broken Website
We all know the way things were supposed to go … and the way they actually went. On Oct. 1, Americans nationwide were supposed to be able to quickly and easily shop for health care coverage at HealthCare.gov, the federal government’s official insurance marketplace. But from the start, the site’s plan selection and sign-up process were plagued by glitches and malfunctions of nightmarish proportions, bringing a storm of criticism down on the Obama administration from both the left and the right.

To make matters worse, President Obama’s repeated promise that everyone who liked their health care coverage would be able to keep it turned out to be untrue, with many receiving notices from their insurance companies that their existing policies would be cancelled. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will most likely be President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. It’s difficult to imagine how the rollout of one of its key components could have gone any worse.

- See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2013/12/24/Duck-Dynasty-and-Other-Brutal-Public-Relations-Disasters-2013#sthash.ddK6DRIM.dpuf

CNN’s Brianna Keilar to host 2014 Congressional Dinner


Brianna Keilar of CNN will be the master of ceremonies at the 70th Annual Congressional Dinner on Feb. 5, ITK has learned.

The award-winning journalist has covered both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue for CNN. She will share the podium with two congressional headliners, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), according to a Roll Call report.

The dinner is a major fundraising event that supports the work of the Washington Press Club Foundation. It will take place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Via The Hill

Instagram Introduces Private Messaging

The popular photo-sharing app Instagram introduced on Thursday a messaging service that would let users send private photos and videos to their friends directly.

Kevin Systrom, a founder and the chief executive of the company, introduced Instagram Direct at an event in Manhattan.

“For us, communication is very core,” he said. “It’s not about photography necessarily.”

Mr. Systrom said that the feature is meant to let people start a private conversation around a particular photograph or video. With the new service, users can share their images and videos with 15 or fewer friends at one time, instead of having to send the message to all their followers. The direct messages can be sent only to people who follow each other on the service.

“The whole idea of this feature is to take moments and send them,” said Mr. Systrom. He said he envisions the service as being particularly useful to families, or to teachers who want to share with all the students in a class. He also said that brands and advertisers would be able to interact with their followers using the new feature by inviting them to submit photos for a contest, for example.

“It’s not about spamming everyone you know,” he said. “It’s about sharing a moment with your friends.”

The introduction of Instagram Direct, available for iPhone and Android users, comes at a time when private messaging services like Snapchat and WhatsApp are rising in popularity among mobile users. Private messaging has become big business overseas, including services like Line and KakaoTalk. And this week, Twitter introduced a new feature that lets users send photos privately to their friends.

Read full story here via the New York Times.

Michelle Obama gets new press secretary

ImageMichelle Obama will have a new spokeswoman next year, the first lady’s office announced on Wednesday.

After almost two and a half years with the first lady, Hannah August is leaving her job in the East Wing at the end of the year. She’ll be replaced by Joanna Rosholm, who’s been a White House regional communications director and has worked in the West Wing since 2010.

Read the full article here, by Emily Goodin at The Hill.

BPRSDC kicks off holiday season with the Capital Press Club and WABJ

ImageJoin the Black Public Relations Society, Washington, DC; Capital Press Club and WABJ as we host the 2013 Holiday Social: “Rock the Bells”, Dec. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Public Bar located at 1214B 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Tickets are $20 in advance for members and $25 for non-members. Event tickets will include one drink ticket and access to buffet of hors d’oeuvres. Join today and gain free access to this event! Advanced RSVP closes on Tuesday, December 10, at noon. Register today here!

For questions about this event, please contact Faye Hyslop, VP Programming at fayehyslop@yahoo.com. Don’t know if your membership is active? Contact BPRSDC at bprsdc@gmail.com. To view highlights and additional photos from this and other events, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.