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Author: Paul Grimsley

The Subject Of Water – Nestle, Water & Human Rights

Looking At Nestle’s Latest PR Issue You like a company’s products and you want to buy them – sometimes you want to buy them so much that the moral condition of the company doesn’t even bother you. You can excuse one mistake, a couple of errors, some faux pas; but when it seems like a company just doesn’t really care about people and is all about profit, supporting them with your money starts to get problematic. A lot of people like to be as ethical as they can in their shopping – even if they aren’t on a massive budget they like to do their part and buy from reputable companies. Being ethical is great for your PR and it is something you can definitely capitalize on with your advertising strategies. Nestle are not a company that is unfamiliar with controversy and bad PR – there was the baby formula boycott in 1977, the Ethiopian debt fiasco in 2002, a child labor issue in 2005, melamine in milk in 2008, and false advertising claims in 2008. The latest issue is Peter Brabeck weighing in on the subject of water and suggesting it isn’t a human right, then back-tracking on that, and claiming to be an advocate for water quality and equality worldwide. It’s old news, from a documentary made in 2005, but it keeps boomeranging back into public view...

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Politics And Lattes – Starbucks Race Together Campaign

 Talking Race In The Coffee Shop People go to their coffee shops to drink coffee and to hang out and talk. Sure, they probably talk about the coffee sometimes (#dunkindonuts and #starbucks), so directing what else they talk about might seem to be a no-brainer, and a way to effect some positive change in society. Starbucks are trying to say something about Race with their new Race Together campaign … they have even started a hashtag (#racetogether). It isn’t necessarily going down very well, as people question the thinking behind it, firstly for its naivete, and secondly for the idea that it seems to be trying to capitalize on what is a very fraught subject at the moment. Not that racial tensions aren’t always something of a powder keg, but if you turn on the news it is definitely more front and center than it has been in a while. Getting political as a company isn’t always the smartest move – it can be a little like when Bono or some other earnest rock star starts hob-nobbing with politicians and telling people about their latest hobby horse (the opinion could be totally valid, but a lot of people feel that it is over-stepping the mark, that it is not in the job description). Of course if you or your product is political in nature to begin with, then that...

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The Unmourned Death Of Internet Explorer

The Return Of Microsoft? How do you ditch a negative image? A tainted brand? How do you forge ahead? Give it a new name. I don’t think there are many people that are going to mourn the death of Internet Explorer. I moved away from it as soon as I found Firefox, 12 years ago, and as Firefox itself has become a little too buggy I have shifted a lot of what I do to Chrome. Internet Explorer became almost as irritating as Clippy the Paperclip, and the remaining people I knew that used it were always getting the kind of problems that I had thankfully waved goodbye to when I stopped it from being my default browser. Project Spartan is the current name Microsoft has for its new browser, and it looks kind of interesting – the proof will obviously be in the pudding, but it seems that the designers are looking at how people use their devices and what they are using them for, and they are responding with a product that ticks those boxes. You can annotate pages and easily share them around, and the reader function mimics the simplicity of an e-reader It makes sense to move away from a brand that has become associated with bad security and for not offering the kind of functionality that users want from their browser, but if the...

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Amazon And Netflix – A New Model For TV Content Providers

An Invitation To Binge-Watch Your New Favorite TV Shows Who watches TV on their TV anymore? A lot of people, because of convenience, slot their viewing habits in and around their busy schedule by watching their favorite show on their laptop, tablet, phone, etc. This way of viewing also makes it problematic to have to lug around DVDs or BlueRay discs, so people stream instead. It is kind of cool to be able to watch 7 series of a show and not have to take up all that space with box-sets galore. It was a natural evolution for Amazon and Netflix, and even Hulu, as repositories of all this entertainment media, to capitalize on their captive audiences and start producing content of their own. The interesting thing though, is how they choose to present it. Big budget TV stations can play the long game and use the slow build and their larger budget to create interest. Amazon and Netflix, relatively small concerns, at least in terms of broadcast media, don’t operate on quite the same model. Hence the birth of binge-watching, with both companies choosing to release a whole series on the same day. Netflix did it with House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, and the latest hit Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Amazon did it with Transparent, Mozart In The Jungle, and Bosch. Each of these shows...

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Yahoo At 20

The PR Value Of Being 20 For Yahoo Yahoo is 20 this week, and I just noticed that Thunderbird, my email management system is celebrating it’s 10th birthday. It is odd to consider that the internet is now so old that companies are reaching a level of maturity that seems somewhat at odds with the need to be as cutting edge as they are supposed to be. Then you look at Apple and you realize that it is 39 this year – next year marking its official entry into middle age, and it is still going strong. Do any of these companies really still innovate though, and should we expect them to? Is that a necessary part of surviving in today’s market? There seems to be a certain amount of treading water, with the actual cutting edge farmed out to new start-ups which swim on their own for a little while before being snapped up by the larger fish and given the funds they really need to develop. Yahoo hasn’t really felt like it has ever been out leading the pack though; at least not for a long time. The spin is that they are a survivor in a fast-paced, ever changing market, and they have won some victories lately – namely getting Firefox to switch their default search engine from Google to Yahoo, and there were rumors Apple...

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