McFail or McGenius? Or McGrath? No, just kidding.


As public relations practitioners, we are in a creative and very network-oriented field; PR pros inform the media, brainstorm with the best of them and frequently dabble in the eloquent art of schmoozing. We must be confident in our capabilities, our relationships and our clients.

I’ve always been enthralled with public relations if just for the fact that we have no true control over our messages once they reach our audiences. We raise awareness, deliver larger-than-life campaigns and develop priceless relationships – but once our product, service or brand is recognizable, we have limited control over the opinions of others.

Rick Wion, social media director of McDonald’s, recently found himself in the middle of a consumer-generated PR debacle when he developed a social media strategy allowing fans to share positive experiences using the hashtag, #McDStories. As I stated earlier, however, PR practitioners have limited control over the opinions of consumers and unfortunately for Mr. Wion, #McDStories was met with quite a bit of the snarky wit for which Twitter has become infamous.

While McDonald’s diehard fans were sharing positive experiences, the brand’s critics delved into the hashtag too. Sharing stories of unknown ingredients, violent nausea and borderline unbelievable horrors, the campaign was instantly hijacked. The story went viral and after just one hour, Wion redirected his campaign.

As the dust was settling, Wion took to his personal handle to diffuse the situation and save face.

Negative feedback should be expected in every social media campaign. So I ask the following question: Is 2% of the total consumer response enough to consider the entire campaign a failure?

Egos and the Eagles


Football season is in full swing and I’m happier than a pig in…well, you get the point. At the office, I’m but a lone football enthusiast surrounded by 22 fanatical Phillies Phans (I shudder to think I just typed that) – to go from 24/7 football talk to 24/7 baseball talk is a hard, undesirable transition, but I digress.

With autumn, there are four things I always expect – the beautiful transitioning leaves, sweatshirt weather allowing me to show off my TU Pride (go Owls!), my birthday festivities and last, but certainly not least, the blatant disregard from NFL players for advice from PR camps and the never-ending “He Said, She Said” battle of wits – or lack thereof.

The most recent display of brilliance comes from the one for whom I have so much pent-up hatred and aggression. Michael Vick, in my personal and steadfast opinion, is a poor excuse for a human being who hasn’t changed but only became a better actor. After the Eagles 29-16 collapse on Sunday – GO GIANTS! – Vick took to the media in a fiery fit. Whining is certainly an understatement and it was obvious that his PR camp had no say in this post game interview. For a man who preaches responsibility, leadership and accountability, Vick threw caution to the wind and ragged on everyone from referees to the Giants’ D-line – the only person unaccountable for his poor play and countless injuries was himself. Vick had this to say while driving off in his overpriced Tonka truck:

Looking at the replays, I’m on the ground every time, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated. The refs have got to do their jobs. And I mentioned it to the refs in training camp when I talked to them. I’m on the ground constantly, all the time. Every time I throw the ball, I’m on the ground. And I don’t know why I don’t get the 15-yard flags like everybody else does.

Really, Mikey? Your version of a great play is scurrying into a wall of linemen three times your size because you genuinely want to play every position on the field.  As soon as you leave that pocket, you forfeit your quarterback rights in my personal opinion and begin playing a different position, altogether. I am honestly astonished that you weren’t more seriously injured. Could the reason that you are on the ground “every time” simply be because your offensive line is weak? No – couldn’t be.

I imagine sirens were blaring in Joe Banner’s bat cave because less than 24 hours later, Vick had a huge change of heart (almost as quickly as when he realized “dogfighting is a terrible thing” and that he “rejects it”).

The refs have to do their jobs, and they have tons of things to look over. I was kind of out of character and being too candid in that aspect. Ultimately, I have respect for the referees and their decision to make calls. You won’t hear me complaining about it no more.

Ah, yes. The ever celebrated Eagles PR team to the rescue once again. I wonder if it was known just how much of a time-sucking vortex would be created since PR is responsible for monitoring Vick and Jackson, along with the newest acquisition of Vince Young, who genuinely enjoys referring to himself in the third person and laughing at his own jokes. One bang-up dream team you got there, coach.

It is sad if only for the reason that a select few ruin it for the rest of the league. There are a ton of guys who participate community days, help Habitat for Humanity or visit disabled children, but all of that is lost with one or two exaggerated, annoying and uppity mumbles that completely consume media coverage.

Mom Knows Best – Son Knows More? Who is a Better Hire?


The status of our economy has certainly had its hits, both big and small. Even the tiniest hit hurts – it tightens wallets, wreaks havoc on budgets, but more often than not, obliterates pride. Accountants with 15 years of experience are taking ad spaces out in the classifieds – women with a bachelor or master are babysitting for spoiled brats whose parents have yet to feel the economic blow. The economic condition is affecting spending habits, but more importantly, is responsible for a waning sense of worth.

Professionals with 10 years of experience are competing with entry-levelers for positions – this should not be happening.  It is not fair to either party. Recent grads are bringing to the ring vast knowledge of emerging media, new tactics and fresh lessons; seasoned pros are representing traditional knowledge and present impressive track records. Both are capable, in their own sense, of completing the job adequately.

So what ends up happening? The seasoned pro gets the job over the fresh-faced graduate, but will quickly grow unhappy with the reduced pay and revoked responsibility.  For a person who has spent the past 10 years closing deals and launching campaigns, the thought of merely monitoring placements and analyzing coverage may induce a slight gag reflex.  A position like this could provide key training to an up-and-coming young professional; instead, it is being given to an overqualified individual who will undoubtedly leave the position after a whirlwind tenure.

I am not criticizing organizations for choosing the candidate with several more years of experience, but perhaps quizzing candidates on innovative trends may produce surprising results. In this new economy with fewer positions, I firmly believe that the hiring process should undergo a makeover.

Who Is Best?

A Slip Of The Tongue


As far as celebrity Twitters go, I embrace the idea of fans digitally “connecting” to a favorite singer or sports star. I even believe, in some situations, that a celebrity may have the emotional stability, poise and professionalism to manage their own brand. Some stars have been in the game long enough to realize what you type may be misread and what you mean may be misinterpreted. Social Media is tricky in its quickness; one slip of the tongue (or finger, in this case) may result in a media firestorm — a nightmare for agents, labels, publicists, and managers all over the world.

This is where we run into a problem.

The managers, publicists and agents are, more often than not, self-admittedly “too old” to know or care about Twitter accounts. They choose not to monitor tweets; some are still more concerned about what is being said above the fold on the front page of Sports or in a Gossip column on page D6. Wake up! Communication has changed…your clients have changed…times have changed…Public Relations has changed. The only thing left that needs to change is your attitude. If you refuse to monitor your clients’ social media empires, or at least prep accordingly, you are inevitably setting yourself, your firm, your label and your client up for an embarrassing and sloppy ordeal.

And with that, I transition into the Best and Worst Celebrity Tweeter for 2010. My opinions are based solely on the value of tweets, the ability to avoid conflict and the sincerity of the message.

WORST: Oh Chris, Chris, Chris (@ChrisBrown)…we can’t take you anywhere, can we? Why do you insist on being baited time and time again through Social Media altercations and “beefs?”  More importantly, why does your management insist on allowing you to maintain personal supervision of your social media domain? You’ve proven multiple times that you do not possess the maturity, let alone aptitude, to handle such a large brand image. As most of you probably know, Brown was baited yet again during a Twitter battle with former B2K singer, Raz B, last night. Raz B’s initial tweet said:

“Im just sittin here Thinking how can ni**as like @ebenet & @ChrisBrown disrespect women as Intelligent as @HalleBerry11@Rihanna

This simple tweet started a blaze of drama thanks to members of #TeamBreezy, who should’ve been reading books instead. Brown reacted the way any insulted, self-conscious, overweight girl would have:

“@razb2k ni**a you want attention! Grow up ni**a!!! D**k in da booty a** lil boy”

In all reality, Raz B’s approach was far from bad-mannered. There was no mention of domestic violence, no trace of a low blow. As I watched the argument continue, I was shocked when no one from management intervened in the immature battle of wits (or lack thereof). Brown continued to battle Raz B with homosexual slurs and obscenities. Backed against a wall, Raz B responded with several low blows, citing Brown as a #womenbeater (I think he meant #womAnbeater).  As of today, I was further taken aback when all Tweets remained posted (although the damage was already done).

Brown has confirmed, for what I think should be the final time, that he needs immediate supervision when dealing with internet affairs. He is the definition of Social Media Nightmare.

BEST: From rags to riches to prison to rags to riches, Michael Vick is, what some consider, the best comeback story in sports history. While you don’t have to agree with his past actions, as a PR professional, you cannot overlook his tweets. Best Tweeter for 2010 (surprisingly to people who know me, I’m sure) has to go to Eagles Quarterback, #7, (@MikeVick).

There is nothing more respectable than a notorious football player who has learned how to speak with media and represent himself professionally. Once a player who proudly displayed his middle fingers to Atlanta Falcons fans after a loss, Vick has (not so quickly) learned how to approach media and keep fans happy. Continually tweeting to a new band of followers, Vick genuinely enjoys connecting with his supporters while he and his team march forward toward playoff competition.  Certainly not a stranger to controversy, he has yet to engage in an internet scuffle with rabid reporters or non-supporters.

Even after a tough loss, Vick maintained his composure and tweeted:

“Understanding failure helps you appreciate success !”

Short, simple, sweet. No angry messages, no sore loser status. He didn’t bash teammates or coaches – in all, it is the perfect message to send followers after a loss that left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans.

While I certainly cannot condone the past four years, I have to respect the guy for realizing what separates boys from men, minor leagues from major leagues and any other overused phrase you can imagine.

Respectability and responsibility – that is all it takes.

“I’m Conceited…I Got a Reason To Be” – Kelis


As misleading as the title of this post is, I regret to inform you that this entry is not going to be about Kelis or her milkshake.

I wanted to touch on the hullabaloo surrounding King James (or the one formally known as LeBron). I am in no way, shape or form, a basketball fanatic. The closest I ever got to even considering myself a bandwagon fan occurred after my ex asked for Sixers tickets for our anniversary (romance isn’t his best attribute, but I digress).

When I first heard of “The Decision,” I thought I  missed the memo explaining that the Presidential election was being pushed up by two years. How dare anyone who isn’t running for President of the United States of America decide that a career jump needs a one-hour special. This “announcement” was complete blasphemy and a mockery of the American public.

Luckily for me, an online acquaintance, M. Drew Emmick (@mdemmick and http://mdemmick.tumblr.com) was able to fill me in on the PR faux pas of this situation.

I will first address the astoundingly immature letter overflowing with hurt feelings from Dan Gilbert (Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers) to “Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight.” Mr. Gilbert, I completely understand how betrayed you felt, after putting so much time, money and confidence into King LeBron James (isn’t that how we should address him?). I do believe, however, that accusing a formal player of some sort of witchcraft and black magic is a little overboard, no? Gilbert went so far as to say,

“The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

Those are some strong, slightly creepy, words. I know it is hard to be the “bigger man” when King James stands at a ridiculously tall 6′ 8″, but  Gilbert used the same defensive tactics of an elementary school girl who was called fat (I would know). Gilbert had everything working in his favor; Cavs fans were outraged and LeBron appeared to be the rudest man in America. This should have been a home run for Gilbert, but instead, he let emotions get in the way of the message he was trying to convey to the fans.

And now, on to King Lebron Raymone James. I have one message and one message alone. I respect the fact that Mr. James is arguably the best basketball player to ever play the game. I respect the fact that he has never known rejection, had had his journey to the NBA paved in gold fairy dust and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. I even respect the fact that, during his free agency, he turned down the highest paid offers. However, I cannot respect King James for the fact that he ultimately rubbed salt in the fresh wounds of the Cavs owners, players and fans. They helped him become what he is today and to turn on them in an instant creates ferocious backlash and paints the King in a dishonest light.

As M. Drew Emmick said,

“I have tried to look at what [LeBron] did objectionably, and I still come to the same opinion. I truly believe that James cared little, if at all, for Cleveland, the Cavs, his fans and the league. His decisions are solely based on what’s best for him or will feed his ego.”

When his shine wears off and his is incapable of performing suicides during practice, he will be remembered for being conniving, egotistical and, in layman’s terms, a tool. Need I mention T.O., who has a VH1 Reality Show, or Plaxico Burress, who was one of the best but is now considered a fool? These two men were at the top of the game until one bad decision, one accident, one “party foul” if you will, brought their professional world crashing down.

As your mother always said, “Play nice.” King LeBron is certainly not playing nice, and I foresee a VH1 dating show in his future. Perhaps, one day he can strive to be the Burger King?

The King is Here

Now as I mentioned before, these are the opinions of someone who self-admittedly knows nothing about basketball. Please feel free to add comments and teach me a thing or two.

Something Better is Coming? But This is the Best.


What are my “favorite” inspirational words that have verbally assaulted me nearly everyday since graduation?

“Don’t worry. If you don’t get this position, something better is coming.”

Now, I thoroughly appreciate these kind Hallmark-inspired words, but the definition of ‘better’ is different for everyone. What happens if the position that I am fighting for is, in my mind, the best? How can anything possibly one-up a…dream job?

Today, I had my second round of interviews for the internship with the Philadelphia Eagles. I had been obsessing over this position since my first round of interviews in April (as I have mentioned in prior posts). In the 24 hours leading up to my 11am interviews, I heard those twelve little words from acquaintances, friends, family, and supervisors. I cannot take it anymore; I love the support and confidence, but a few too many pats on the back makes me wonder if everyone is preparing me for the “Thanks but no thanks” phone call.

I am a very superstitious person, and hearing “…but something better is coming” fills my usually cheery mind with scariness, spiders and sadness. As Buddha once said, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” I see myself working in that office, loving my job and feeling blessed to have been given the opportunity to prove myself in the PR/Community Relations world of sports entertainment.

You know the saying, “Seeing is believing.” Well how about “Believing is becoming.”

I live by this phrase. Try and fill me with doubt, but I see myself getting this position and that is half of the battle.


On Cloud 9…For Now


I finally got a call back for the interview that took place at the end of April (trust me, waiting that long to hear back was torturous). I will be the first to say… I. AM. ECSTATIC.

Judging by my level of excitement, you’d probably think they offered me the position. However, you’d be wrong. I scheduled a second interview for two weeks from tomorrow (yes, more waiting).

But something is very different about this time. While waiting for other interviewers to return my phone calls and emails since graduation, I found myself thinking about this position. I would just say to myself, “I’m just greedy, I want it all.” But now, when I look back at the past six weeks of “unemployment” during my post-grad status, I noticed that this position has been in the back of my mind the entire time. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about this position and how it can AND will change my life. I have even written several blog posts about it!

I can envision myself working with this franchise, forming relationships and enjoying the countless hours at the office, on the field or commuting to and from work. From the beginning of this blog, I have preached about doing what you love, and this is my passion.

Keep your fingers crossed for both myself and my friend (who is fighting for a similar position) and I will let you know when we get the position. <=== I have to keep a good attitude. “The Secret” says so.

We Were Made For Each Other

This is Really What I’m Best At…


I want to take a break from talking about interviews…graduation…salary…and just enjoy this blog post. I want to explain what I am best at.

I love music (thus my internship at Jive LG) and entertainment (my internship at VH1). I love anything and everything to do with promotions of music, the artist, the show…everything. That is where I ultimately want to end up one day and I realize I have to work hard to get there. But as I see it, I have been working unbelievably hard for the past four years so what is another four? I’m ready to go the extra mile to get what I want.

Working on bios, press plans, pitches, media lists and red carpet events is where I excel. I need that fast-paced, always hectic, non-stop, 60+ hour work week. I need the pressure.

But aside from music and entertainment, my true passion is for events; ever since I was little, I planned my own birthdays, sleepovers and my own graduation party. I then upgraded to planning my fraternity’s social events and formals. Finally, when I studied abroad in London, I had the privilege of interning at Inn or Out Ltd (www.inn-or-out.com).  This was where I learned that my love was real; I didn’t mind going to work for a 16+ hour  work day while my friends were lounging at Hyde Park. I wanted to be there, to be involved and be considered part of the team. Lucky for me, I became part of the team instantly.

I am willing to start anywhere, but one day, I hope I am one of the lucky few to get into that extremely tight-knit field!