Friday, April 24, 2009

Palin for President?

I know this old news, but I just can't help having one more stab at Sarah Palin. Today on The Australian's website Tim Reid reported on the Larry King Live interview with Levi Johnston, the now infamous (ex) boyfriend of failed US Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin's teenage daughter Bristol, with whom he had a baby last year. 

And now, like all incredulous sagas, it gets worse. And like every train wreck hurtling out of control people are transfixed.

Levi appeared on LKL most probably for the princely sum he would have received and stated that he was willing to sue the Palin' s for access to his son. To add to the drama, his mother, who is due in court next month on felony drug charges, appeared with him.

All in the Palin camp isn't rosie either. The half-sister of Palin's husband was recently charged with burglary, theft and trespass for three alleged break-ins, escapades on which she also allegedly took her four-year-old daughter. 

One has to wonder how the gun toting, woman in the middle of it all (from the middle of nowhere) who believes in creationism and the death penalty and who is firmly anti-abortion and gay rights ever soared to the pre-election position she found herself in. Did the Republicans really have no one else?

Throughout it all Palin’s ardent supporters insist she will run again, for President this time, in 2012. God help us all.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter with @KineticsPR

With acting MD @EmVicW in charge @KdeR decided it was time for some Easter fun and frivolity to help welcome the extra long weekend!

Over night the team had a visit from the Easter Bunny and this morning arrived to an email alerting them to the fact...

@EmVicW discovered some among her cereal....

Whilst @brides007 boasted on twitter about her success...

And the entire team enjoyed Hot X Buns for breakfast - except @pollyemj who has a strong dislike for sultanas.

The team @KineticsPR would like to wish you all a very happy Easter. We hope you all get spoilt rotten by My Bunny - just like we have!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Telstra the Biggest Loser in NBN?

Despite the bad news for Telstra yesterday its share price jumped 4%. Premature move by investors? Or mature long term outlook decision? Is Telstra really the biggest loser in the Rudd Governments announcement yesterday to build their own National Broadband Network?

The reaction to the announcement and subsequent change in share price was based on the premature notion that none of Telstra’s competitors were going to individually or jointly own the new network, and further the announcement also reopened the door for Telstra to invest and participate anyway, despite being initially booted out of the running. But does it end there?

The first kick to the groin was the exciting development upgrade of fibre to the premise (over the original plan of fibre to the node), which now allows the new NBN to totally bypass Telstra's existing copper network – concurrently rendering it redundant. My guess is that this move would have left many folk over in TV land quaking in their boots as well. They now have 8 years (max) to reposition themselves before D-Day of instant movie streaming becomes available to 90% of the Australian population. Telstra gets a double hit here actually as it owns half of Foxtel *ouch*.

To add insult to NBN injury, the other slap in the face Telstra probably wasn't expecting yesterday was the governments indication that they are taking serious steps towards separating Telstra's retail and wholesale arms and the divestiture of its HFC network, in a move to try and curb its monopoly. Whilst the ACCC and angry consumers everywhere jumped for joy there would one group who would not have been so happy.

 Poor Telstra share holders have had a pretty rough deal in the past few years. The Howard government privatised Telstra, pocketing the profits of the T3 shares, which promptly plummeted just as quickly as phone bills rose. Now the new government is punishing them further.

 So far, so bad. The flip side? As IDC's David Cannon pointed out in this ZDNet story "Telstra is arguably the most advanced player in the country in terms of over-the-top services, and will see the NBN as the reason to keep driving its services play... It will use its large cash reserves to secure exclusive content and to enhance its hosted unified communications offerings for both business and consumer markets." 

 And Cannon is right. In the rapidly maturing age of virtualisation and Unified Computing technologies; the market transition which aids the movement of data towards cloud computing environments, will be big business for players who take advantage of the service models they create. The new system would open the doors for Telstra to become a services model for all sorts of applications in all sorts of industries, possibly expanding its reach around the nation... Telstra may yet have the upper hand. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Foolish fools?

In my whole PR career, working for big and small clients, I have never taken part in an April Fools PR hoax for any of them. This has not been a deliberate strategy, its just never been something that fell in line with the PR objectives of my clients. So this morning, looking over the many April Fools played out yesterday, I got to wondering what PR benefit these companies will have derived from their efforts.

So first up, a selection of the jovality from yesterday:
- Google launched the gball... a football with GPS and other such tracking systems. Talent scouts can track great players online
- The Guardian (UK) announced that it is moving to a completely Twitter-based format
- Consumer forum Whirlpool told us that Stephen Conroy has been fired by the government (touche!)
- Farkin, the mountain bike company pretended it had been caught up in the government's net filtering plans and was being shut down
- GetUp! used the day to tell us that K.Rudd was offering free child care at your local MPs office (a dig at the disappearance of maternity pay from the political agenda in the wake of the GFC)
- The Herald Sun was trying to have us all believe that a Chinese consortium was attempting to have the MCG renamed
- Microsoft announced the launch of Alpine Legend - a yoddling version of Guitar Hero for the XBox 360
- Mumbrella panicked a few people with the news that the government was working on a secret plan to tax Australians per twitter update
- New Zealand's Herald told us that Microsoft had acquired Apple
I am sure there were many more...

So what did these companies get for their efforts?

Well Google always wins with its April Fools hoaxes - it has done them since 2000 and has built an expectation. I even saw online conversations on the 31st March indicating that people were excitedly awaiting this year's. The hoax concept fits very nicely with Google's brand identity as a fun company that doesn't take itself too seriously, and over the years this type of irreverence has probably been partly responsible for the company's continued maverick brand status despite its increasingly grown up behaviour.

The publication driven stories (Guardian, MCG renaming and MS acquiring Apple) have a different objective to those started by vendors. These are intended to sell papers and entertain. The Guardian one I retweeted, which may have gone some way to drive their twitter following, which may have been their plan.

Alpine Yodel I like a lot. It shows that even serious Microsoft can laugh at itself. Farkin got some nice newspaper coverage - well done there, and GetUp used the day to take a clever angle on one of their key political campaigns.

The key hurdle any company has to overcome with an April Fools PR idea is that many others are competing for the same article. Any publication will run one, maybe two hoax stories, but no more. Yours has to be pretty good to compete - especially against those who have established a certain ownership of the day (a la Google).

This year saw a lot of the hoaxes disseminated through social media - Twitter in particular. Perhaps as more companies get to grips with these media we will see more stories, both real and fake, distributed through these channels.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Immediate feedback

Watching Twitter this afternoon it has been hammered home for me just what a useful tool it can be for a PR person.

My TweetDeck is a window onto the conversations, opinions, schedules and preferences of a good proportion of the journalists, analysts and bloggers that my clients target.

They tell me when technology companies are holding events, and who is attending. They even ask each other to put questions to spokespeople if they are not at the event themselves.

Today a lot of the tweeple (twitter speak for people, I know, its naff but fun) are complaining about very dull slideware at an event hosted by a large technology company. I have watched the moans build up as spokesperson after spokesperson comes out and wades through powerpoint presentation after powerpoint presentation.

Someone is sitting too far from the screen to see the small writing. Someone else wonders whether this presentation is identical to the last. A third is mulling over whether the (very nice) lunch was worth such boredom. A forth merely tweeted; 'yawn'.

Today Twitter is a minefield of information for those who organised the event, teaching them what (I expect) many of the media will be too polite to say as they leave.

Only trouble is, one journalist has just pointed out that they don't know of anyone from either the vendor or the PR agency who is on Twitter to see this stuff.

Which is a real missed opportunity for improvement.