Big Gay Social — Media, That Is

This Scoop Shop’s Secret Sauce? Social Marketing.


Founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff outside of one of the locations of Big Gay Ice Cream, the quirky East Village ice cream shop. |Image:

Great story on Mashable – with video – about Big Gay Ice Cream, the Manhattan-based ice cream truck and bricks and mortar stores of the same name and how they’ve used social media to fuel their brand.

They have found that their quirky take on tweets and Facebook posts have won over fans.

Social media is a tool. Just one arrow in your marketing quiver. I can only say this a million times before someone is bound to key into it. These guys understand it’s about raising your profile, not necessarily equating numbers of tweets with numbers of widgets sold.

Next time you happen by, try a Salty Pimp. Or a Bea Arthur. You’ll be glad you did.


Paula Deen’s Outrageously Insane PR Apocalypse Explodes like the Death Star and Alderaan Combined – PRNewser

There is simply no other place to begin this post except in outer space, but the truth is Paula Deen’s decisions wouldn’t make any sense in any galaxy anywhere. This is interstellar bat crap crazy.

via Paula Deen’s Outrageously Insane PR Apocalypse Explodes like the Death Star and Alderaan Combined – PRNewser.

I can’t add a damn thing to this except to shake my head. The tweets it pulls in the jump just go to show that the art of PR and crisis management was completely and utterly lost on Team Butter Queen.


How To Prove You’re Not A Racist

How To Prove You’re Not A Racist : Code Switch : NPR

“I work with the wrongly accused,” he [Dan Hill, president of the D.C. communications firm Ervin/Hill Strategy] says, as well as “people who know they made a mistake and want to fix it, and others that see a mistake on the horizon that might become public and want to make sure they handle it the right way.”

But Hill says most clients who first come for his aid fall into one big category: the drowning victim, panicked and flailing for help. Often his first advice to them is to breathe, literally.

“We’ve all experienced the anxiety of making a mistake,” he says. “Few of us have felt having that mistake broadcast to hundreds of millions of people and how that makes you feel.”

Deen seemed to be drowning in her own tears by the end of her appearance on NBC’s Today show, her first public interview after controversy erupted over her using the N-word.

Hill says there’s no silver bullet to fix Deen’s situation.

“I think I’m one of the best in my field. I can’t help her get out of this in a week,” he says. “This is the kind of thing that will maybe take years — decades — for her to overcome.”

The timing for recovery from a race-related controversy is especially tricky, Hill says, because “it has to do with your character, your values, and your belief systems.”

Yes, but.

Paula Deen’s situation is a “yes, but” because it’s all taken completely out of context. You must read the deposition that all of this is coming from — the whole thing. Google it.

There’s no question that she did not handle this well. At all. But it’s low-hanging fruit for the 24/7/365 media machine, so why not? Why not talk about Paula Deen and butter and grits and saying the N-word instead of talking about substantive news? You know, like climate change or Syria or DOMA or how many Congressional representatives Monsanto has on its payroll.

Here’s my initial take on it, y’all.

And here’s the HILARIOUS Bill Burr on Conan. A great take on the whole business.

Fake Homespun at the Supermarket – The Latest Thing in Marketing

I was at the supermarket the other day and the display below caused me to stop dead in my tracks, so I decided to grab my trusty iPhone and snap this picture.

This is the latest thing in marketing — mass-produced foodstuff masquerading as something homemade or artisanal. Why? Because artisanal means high quality. Well. it doesn’t, of course, but that’s what the packaging gurus want you to think.

Vlasic has embraced homespun packaging for this new line of mass-produced pickles masquerading as small batch artisan snacks.

Vlasic has embraced homespun packaging for this new line of mass-produced pickles masquerading as small batch artisan snacks. You’ll notice no corporate logo nor their signature pickle-crunching stork found anywhere.

These Vlasic pickles — the “Farmer’s Garden” range — have a label that looks more handmade and are packed in a jar made to look very similar to old-fashioned Mason jars; down to the silver lid. Notice something else? The Vlasic logo is nowhere to be found.

Start looking around next time you’re in the shops. Duncan Hines has a range of muffin mixes packed in rough cardboard with very slick graphics masquerading as not slick at all. Several cake mixes and pancake mixes are doing this, too. Fascinating.

There’s an old exercise I used to use when teaching marketing called “Fresh Eggs and Flying Lessons” that encapsulates perfectly the basis of all branding theory. I didn’t develop it, but I used it a lot. A lot!

Suddenly corporate marketers are trying to turn everything on its head and make everything homespun/homemade/less corporate/”fresh eggs.”

Do not be fooled. This pickle example is the epitome of “flying lessons.”

“FRESH EGGS & FLYING LESSONS” – Download the PDF (link opens in new window)

Cupcakes Collide With Tuscaloosa Trademarks

Cupcakes Collide With Tuscaloosa Trademarks – Tweed – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Good grief.

Still, as someone who deals with copyright issues in every facet of my life, I can tell you five things:

1. We are a litigious society where everyone wants — or thinks they are owed — a piece of the pie.

2. Most people fundamentally don’t understand copyright law and trademark infringement.

3. Most of this frivolous nonsense, like this kerfuffle over Mary Cesar’s cookies,  is just that.

4. Copyright is an extraordinarily potent tool and one of the only ways that an artist, artisan or creator can protect his or her work.

5. Technology is so far outpacing the law in this area that we can’t catch up fast enough. ALL segments of copyright law and enforcement need to change.

PS — The Chronicle has a paywall, so you may not be able to access the entire post from their “Tweed” blog in the future. Just FYI.

Marketing Fail: Truth, Lies and Chicken Sandwiches

If you’ve been following social media for the last few days, I’m sure you’ve run across this Chick-fil-A mess. In case you are just coming out into the warm sunshine after a long hibernation, you should know that Chick-fil-A is a Georgia-based fast food chain that is known for its chicken sandwiches — and for the far right-leaning politics of its founder, S. Truett Cathy and current president Dan Cathy.

That’s the basic set-up.

Three things have happened recently that has brought Chick-fil-A to the top of certain news wires. First, Dan Cathy gave an interview to the Baptist Press where he noted that the company was supportive of traditional family values. Then, in the wake of reports about Chick-fil-A’s support of a number of anti-gay organizations, the Jim Henson Company announced that it would pull its affiliation with the firm. Photos then started appearing that seemed to imply that Chick-fil-A had removed the Henson toys from their stores because of a “possible safety issue.” Then, the company was accused of creating a fake Facebook account and using it to dispel rumors.

Think what you want about Chick-fil-A. Personally, I think they are repellent, but I want to put politics and beliefs aside here and focus on what this means for marketing, PR, and the implications thereof.

Casey Chan first reported the story on Gizmodo.

Here’s a clip from Chan’s report:

Yep, Chick-fil-A is still stuck in its own reality and is doubling down on its lie. Instead of owning up to the fact that The Jim Henson Company stopped doing business with them because they’re overrun with bigots, the chicken sandwich company appears to have made fake Facebook accounts to defend its honor on the social network. How do we know the accounts are fake? Just check out this back and forth on Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page between real, breathing people and “Abby Farle”, a Facebook account that was made 8 hours ago by a chicken PR flack with a stock image of a teenage girl as her profile picture:

I have several problems with Chan’s report, blatantly filled with editorializing and unsubstantiated allegations. This is not investigative journalism. It’s not even journalism. It’s a rant.

Cavan Sieczkowski’s report on Huffington Post  is better, but neither actually have any substantive proof that the Facebook postings came from anyone associated with Chick-fil-A. It’s all a lot of reporting on rumors. Chick-fil-A, by the way, denies any fakery came from them.

Given Chick-fil-A’s track record, I’m not so sure that I believe them, but I hope it’s the truth. Those of us engaged in the pursuit of advertising, marketing and public relations are all ill-served by a corporation that would stoop to chicanery such as this. When everything finally shakes out, a corporation that is found lying about itself, its products, services or business practices, makes it that much harder for the general public to believe those of us who go about our daily lives in this field telling the truth.

And, of course, telling the truth is at the heart of the matter. Advertisers, marketers and public relations folks who are doing their jobs, are doing them with integrity. That’s the only way you can be successful in the long-term. As the great David Ogilvy said nearly three decades ago in Ogilvy on Advertising (he also said something very similar in 1963’s Confessions of an Advertising Man), “The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.”

When you forget that — when you begin to think of “the consumer” as some nameless, faceless, idiot that you can control with your clever spin — please, for the good of mankind, get out of the business. When you think you can solve a problem with lies, stop it. You can’t. When you think you can fool people by pulling a stunt like creating a phony Facebook persona, you’re doing it wrong. You’re not a marketer. You’re a liar. And you’re corrupting my profession.

Sadly, I fear many have indeed forgotten, if they ever thought about it in the first place. Just a cursory read of the comments on Chan’s Gizmodo story is enough to turn my stomach. Where, oh where, has integrity gone?

And one last thing — and this goes to you photo editors out there — the Jim Henson Company does not own the Muppets. Disney does. So, all those stories about the Henson Company cutting its ties with Chick-fil-A that show a photo of Kermit the Frog or Miss Piggy? Well, you should probably change them to reflect a product actually owned by Henson. It’s called authenticity. And good journalism.

As for me, well, I’ll never spend a dime in a Chick-fil-A restaurant and I’ll ask my friends not to either. Dan Cathy won’t ever feel my refusal in his pocketbook, but it makes it a lot easier for me to get up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror.