For Immediate Release Fridays

November 10, 2007

The bad news this Friday night is mainly busts, from our scan of the wires. The big toy recall already hit earlier this week when it was reported that Aqua Dots contain GHB, the date rape drug. Burson Marsteller is handling the crisis for the ironically named distributor Spin Master Toys. If you haven’t seen this toy, it’s an irresistibly geeky little machine that fuses tiny, colorful, and very candy-like balls into different designs.

Here are the others for this Friday:

  • Rudy’s PR problem: Bernie Kerik charged by U.S. in Conspiracy, Tax, and False Statements Case
  • Four members of the Berenguer family in Miami, all owners of healthcare companies, busted on Medicare fraud
  • Merck settles Vioxx case for $4.85 billion
  • Unlicensed kennel in Washington County PA charged for abuse

Bid on Wilson, the life-size kinetic penguin auctioned to benefit Antarctic research:



Crap! You’ve been working a client for some time, everything has been going great, but now it’s time to deal with some “crisis pr,” the part of the business we all dread. Already annoyed by the fact that your cell number has been splattered across PRNewswire for the last year, you frantically try and find a way to deal with the world of pain headed your way.

Looking for a way to soften the blow, you find a way to announce the news on the “Friday black hole.” The one time of the week, Friday afternoon, where the least amount of people are paying attention.

Portolio‘s Business Spin blog wonders if this was the motivation behind crib maker Simplicity’s choice to issue news of a massive recall this past Friday. (If it was, it didn’t work) Jack Flack writes, “After all, it’s one thing to game the timing of your announcement when you’re closing a plant or firing your CFO for stealing. But it’s another when you know you’ve got a potentially dangerous product in the marketplace.”

What tactics have you used to “hide” news?


“Don’t Tase me bro” is another great example of a newscycle that’s so fast that very little can be done by a PR pro to soften it except wait until the blaze goes out. Unlike the problem with Crocs, it’s an expected problem for TASER Inc. The product is supposed to be dangerous. Social media blogger Angelo Fernando notes TASER’s change of positioning from protection to saving lives.

Saving lives is the stuff of half of their press releases, based on newspaper stories of thwarted suicide and robbery attempts. Aren’t you supposed to write the release first, then get it in the paper?

Everything you ever wanted to know about Taser Bro Andrew Meyer can be found on Mahalo’s dedicated page (thank you Jason Calacanis, via Facebook).

Without further adieu, here is the statement from TASER’s VP of Communications.

Read the rest of this entry »

Depending on your boss, this may be NSFW. This nearly naked PETA PSA will do more for Alicia Silverstone’s career than her Playboy spread in ‘05. This is a great example of symbiotic publicity. Enjoy.


We can only imagine the phones are on fire in the CBS communications department right now.  The news is out that Dan Rather is suing his former boss, saying they:

violated his contract by giving him insufficient airtime on “60 Minutes” after forcing him to step down as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” in March 2005. He also contends that the network committed fraud by commissioning a “biased” and incomplete investigation of the flawed Guard broadcast and, in the process, “seriously damaged his reputation.”

Yikes! With both the Early Show and Evening News in last place among the networks, this is the last thing CBS needs. There’s sure to be a lot of PR spin to come out of this – stay tuned and email your tips to prnewser at


(image via

So, the story goes something like this. Twenty-three year old college student and Hooters employee Kyla Ebbert is told her outfit is too “skimpy” and is hassled to cover up by Southwest employees on her flight to Tuscon, AZ. Southwest at first refuses to give in and issue a public apology. Then, facing mounting pressure – and a college girl eager to get her 15 minutes by taking the story to Dr. Phil and the Today Show – the company issues an apology, but also includes a mocking press release promoting “mini-skirt” reduced fairs and other jabs.

Meanwhile, Kyla claims Southwest is “exploiting” her but also has no problem showing up to said press appearances in the same revealing outfit.

PRNewser’s unsolicited view: Maybe we’re taking this all a little too seriously, but Southwest’s public ridicule of Kyla (especially since it came directly from the CEO) makes them look like they don’t care about the issue – or worse, they’re trying to profit off of it – when they had a chance to “take the high road.” Also, the release said nothing about correcting the situation so customers wouldn’t be humiliated like this again and did not mention whether or not the responsible employee had been disciplined. Ok, so it’s obvious the woman is looking to get paid and milk this for all it’s worth. Why fuel her fire? Never mind the fact that no one’s mentioning – the flight took place two months ago! What do you think? Speak your mind in the comments or prnewser at

American Home Fires PR Firm

September 17, 2007


Bankrupt mortgage lender American Home Mortgage recently fired Manhattan-based Kekst and Co., whom the company had hired for crisis communications. Kekst was paid a $50k retainer just a day before American Home filed for bankruptcy on August 6th. With the retainer running out they were planning to bill American Home $200-$875 an hour plus expenses, an arrangement which has infuriated creditors trying to salvage anything they can from the dying company.

Attorney Mark Indelicato told Newsday, “What we’re trying to do is preserve assets to pay back creditors as much as we can, and the debtor is hiring a PR firm where people are getting paid an excess of $800 an hour, and for what purpose? The company has no reputation to protect.”

To top it all off, Joseph Kuo, a Kekst partner on the American Home account issued what pretty much amounted to a “no comment” when questioned for the Newsday article. We understand it’s a sticky situation, but that was not exactly a smart move for someone who’s being paid a hefty sum to communicate for the company.