Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Spin Cycle

A round-up of recent happenings in the world of PR, marketing, and other things I find interesting.

Pepsi Sees Dead Pop Stars: Pepsi's decision to launch a marketing campaign employing the image of the late Michael Jackson provoked a visceral reaction in critics, who observed that you can draw a line from Pepsi to Jackson's demise, given that his dependence on painkillers apparently started with the burns he received while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. I doubt many consumers will take the connection that far, but certainly the incident in which Jackson's hair caught on fire remains the strongest association between Pepsi and the King of Pop. To me, it's unseemly because Jackson, despite how much he profited from his talents, and his own responsibility for his behavior, was a man exploited from a young age by people who should have taken care of him, something that continued all his life -- and now unto death.

Apple Pays Less in Taxes than Warren Buffett's Secretary: Well, not really, but the House that Jobs Built has found legal ways to avoid paying ton billions in taxes, and the Flack thinks their response has been rather tone deaf. But unless they plan to change their behavior, or lobby for changes in the tax code -- which the Flack suggests might be in order -- how else are they supposed to respond? It may be time for people to finally come to terms with the fact that Apple, whatever its cultural cachet, is just like any other large corporation, doing what it can to maximize profit. We need to treat them no better, nor any worse, than any other corporation that does the same.

Coke and Pepsi Want to be Your Friend: The cola wars are moving to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, which to me raises a question: Do consumers really want to engage with every brand out there? I just want to drink soda. That's about where my desire for a relationship ends. I realize that if more and more live much of their lives on social media, a brand can't be invisible and survive for long. I find, however, that not long after I like a brand on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter, I end up regretting is soon after. Maybe it's just because no one has done it right yet.

The Purpose-Driven PR Agency: I'm wrapping up with this item about Edelman's new corporate responsibility practice as a follow-up to last week's item about Penn State hiring the PR giant to help it be more transparent in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. Maybe they hired the right guys after all. Time will tell.

Do you have an item for the Spin Cycle? Send me a reply or DM on Twitter to @jepotts.

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