Archive for August, 2013

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Everything you need to know about how to do big-time PR you can learn by studying Apple. Forget what you read in “best practices” uncovered in searches. They’re for drudges.

September 10 is the rumored date for unveiling the next iPhone.  But consider: Apple, for years, has pulled off what might be termed the 4X formula for media-blitz announcements.  Since the early ’80s Apple has earned at least quadruple the exposure that anybody else has. Far in advance of any pending announcement, then right before the announcement, then the announcement itself, and finally during the aftermath analysis and review of the announcement. It’s happening right now, with the latest “big announcement”.

Since the beginning, AAPL flouted every PR principle you read about in the marketing tomes and the bibles of firms like H&K, Burson-Marsteller, Edelman and all the rest. Apple makes nice with the media when it wants something from them. Then ices them when it senses a lack of fealty. And gets away with it. The media reaction? Kinda like the fraternity paddling scene in Animal House : “Thank-you, sir!  May I have another?”

When he’s not ranting on this site or directing global branding and communications for FilterMag,  Stan DeVaughn’s observations can be read on The Write Stuff along with those of his agency compatriot Peter Davé.

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Question: do you need a Michelin-star chef or will a cook do? 

It’s been a week since the mega deal was announced but the merger of Publicis with Omnicom will resonate for years. It’s a sign of the times in which we do business — and the times to come. Putting it mildly the ad biz model is in turmoil today, creative and media.  In Ken Auletta’s Googled, Viacom’s Mel Karmazin tells Sergey Brin that Google was “…fucking with the magic”.  Meaning that the company was taking creative out of advertising and replacing it with algorithms. A more efficient marketplace. Transparency. Auctions. Math.

Here’s the issue: In those corners of business where advertising is basically of the classified variety, straight information is adequate. In others, not so much. Or, as this week’s Economist puts it: “The talent for creating memorable and persuasive ad campaigns will always be in demand, and not all advertisers will be capable of doing it for themselves.” This is the point.

There are cooks and there are chefs. A cook may be adequate for dinner parties and even draw rave reviews.  But who do you want catering your daughter’s wedding?  When stakes are highest, opt for Mad Men over math men.

When he’s not ranting on this site or directing global branding and communications for FilterMag,  Stan DeVaughn’s observations can be read on The Write Stuff along with those of his agency compatriot Peter Davé.

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So if graduation is “commencement”, as in a beginning, here’s my “cessation of vacation” address for your kids returning to classes later this month. Or entering as frosh. Because I like multi-purpose remarks, these tips are useful for moms and dads as well:
1. Ambition and determination trump talent. This is not to say that talent is not important. Of course it’s important. The point is that there are a lot of talented people out there who are failures. Why? Mostly because they lacked the determination and ambition to reach their goals. Another way of saying this is that ambition and determination will take limited talent much further than a lot of talent can travel with limited ambition and determination.
2. Never lower your expectations. Aim high and don’t settle. Ignore the defeatism of people who want to drag you down to their own limits. Misery loves company and these people want to recruit you.
3. Learn to reinvent yourself as need be, when circumstances call for it. Changing with the times is never easy and never convenient. But superior people have always had a knack for it. Which leads to the fourth and final point:
4. Reserve the right to be smarter tomorrow than you are today. Don’t fall in love with your view of the world. Boardrooms and C-suites are full of people who haven’t had a new thought in 30 years. Stay agile enough to make course corrections on your path to your dreams and goals. The wider your scope, the better your decisions. Silicon Valley is littered with the remains of companies so enchanted by their strategy, products, and technology that they failed to notice the icebergs dead ahead. The ones that weren’t supposed to be there.

Be nice to others. And have fun.

When he’s not ranting on this site or directing global branding and communications for FilterMag,  Stan DeVaughn’s observations can be read on The Write Stuff along with those of agency compatriot Peter Davé.