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esPResso Your Shot of Industry Insight

Volume 6 Issue 2 Inside This Issue: Inside this issue:

December 12, 2014

Marist Madness cashes in as more than your average pep rally

By: Shileen Cruz Page 2 On Oct. 29, Meet the Regional Conference Committee! Page 3 PRSSA Chapter President McKensie Saldo addresses members Page 4-5 Senate changes after mid-term elections and #AlexfromTarget catches attention

Marist College debuted its take on the collegiate “Midnight Madness” tradition with the first “Marist Madness.” The event featured a shout out to all clubs on campus, a relay race, a dunk contest and the hottest topic of the night: the $10,000 half-court shot. This half-court shot was a major promotional move for the Marist Athletics

Page 6-7 Virgin Galactic crashes, FIFA and Target photoshop mistakes, oh my! Page 8-9 Lena Dunham’s words and Aéropostale’s teen ambassador backfire Page 10 Taylor Swift uses social media to self-promote

Image via Marist Athletics

Department and the first event to involve $10,000. Though many students entered themselves in the closing event, Matthew Kark was the lucky pick. Kark ended up Page 12 making the unbelievable shot. As the An update from Marist PRSSA and North crowd went wild emcee and student-body Road Communications President Christos Pietris made the announcement that Kark was now $10,000 richer. But after years of basketball seaRegional Conference sons without a Marist Madness, why start now? Quick Guide Vice President of Athletic Affairs and “Developing a Well-Rounded Professional” member of the Marist women’s basketball Feb. 27-28, 2015 team, Briana Holmes, thought it was time Marist College for a change. “Marist needs more school Website: spirit,” Holmes said when asked what the inspiration behind this event was. For too Email: long Marist Basketball games have lacked student faces in the bleachers and she Twitter: was determined to change that, sparking @MaristPRSSA the idea to organize Marist Madness. “I #MaristPRSSAConf knew that people would come. I wasn’t Instagram: worried,” she said confidently. @MaristPRSSA And they did. The entire student section #MaristPRSSAConf of the McCann Arena was filled with supFind conference information on portive yet skeptical students looking to Facebook through Marist PRSSA’s see the publicized half-court shot contest. Page 11 Top crises from 2014 receive awards


Holmes got the word out about the event by asking Marist Athletics to tweet daily countdowns on its account and by using a megaphone to make sure students in the dining hall the day were aware of the event. The combination of traditional and new media to promote Marist Madness worked out well. The entire women’s basketball team expects this to be the start of a new tradition at Marist. Team member Natalie Gomez added that, “Next year there are going to be even more students. People are going to remember that someone won $10,000 and will want to see what happens next.” We will have to wait until next year to experience whether or not Marist College Athletics will be able to outdo the $10,000 shot. What will not be outdone, however, is the trailblazing public relations move that brought forth a newfound school spirit within Marist athletics and the student body.

Image via Christos Pietris

December 2014

Volume 6 Issue 2

Regional Conference Update This coming spring Marist College PRSSA has the honor of hosting its first regional conference. The conference committee is working hard to create the best possible conference for all of the attendees. We are excited to be collaborating with the local community to include some off-campus events that supplement the sessions during the conference. The plan for speakers is to fill the sessions with Marist faculty through the diverse opportunities we have on campus including the Fashion department and the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. One of the sessions we are very excited to announce is a partnership with the Marist Center for Sports Communication. Attendees are invited to an interactive chat and live radio/TV broadcast of “The Classroom,” a weekly sports talk show which airs Saturdays on ESPN 1220 and Fox 1220 ESPN. Professor Keith Strudler, executive producer and cohost of “The Classroom,” will spend the first half-hour sharing tips and answering questions about sports PR. Then the tables turn and conference attendees will serve as the studio audience, getting a unique view of the inner workings of real sports broadcasting as it goes live at 10 a.m.

Keynote speakers are still being contacted and we are pulling from a great list of connections we have with Manhattan being nearby. Our goal is to have a prominent keynote speaker that will educate and excite attendees. Our panelists will primarily consist of Marist alumni that have worked or currently work in the public relations industry and will be able to answer questions about their experiences. The panel is about finding your niche in the PR industry. To close the weekend, we have planned a great social event at Bounce! Trampoline Sports where attendees can pay a small fee to jump and hang out with fellow conferenc attendees. We are looking forward to hosting the best possible conference and can’t wait to share the experience with everyone. Sincerely, Katelyn Pecorelli Regional Conference Coordinator

Meet the Regional Conference Committee Katelyn Pecorelli, Regional Conference Coordinator Twitter Handle: @katiepecorelli Majors/Minor: Major- Communication-Public Relations and Sports Communication; Minor- Psychology Hometown: Hazlet, N.J. Internships: 5W Public Relations, Marist Center for Sports Communication PR Practice Area Interests: Sports, Fashion, Consumer, Beauty Best advice you’ve received at marist: Enjoy it, it goes by much faster than you think it will and you will miss it when it’s gone. Favorite TV show: “Gilmore Girls” Celebrity Crush: Ryan Sheckler Rebecca Golub, Assistant to the Regional Conference Coordinator Major/Minors: Major- Communication-Public Relations; Minors- Global Studies and Fashion Merchandising Hometown: Rockville, Md. Internships: ARDT Creative Development-The Triple A Loft and Svelte LLC. Best advice you’ve received at Marist: Get involved in clubs! They all keep me busy when I have a lot of down time and help me to meet new people on campus. Favorite TV shows: “How I Met Your Mother” and “Law & Order: SVU” Celebrity Crush: Zac Efron Shileen Cruz, Director of Programming Twitter Handle: @ShileenCruz Major/Minor(s): Majors- Communication- Public Relations and Spanish; Minors-Latin American and Caribbean Studies Hometown: Bronx, N.Y. Internship: Communications Department of the United Technologies Research Center PR Practice Area Interests: Consumer, Entertainment Best advice you’ve received at Marist: “This is still not the real world” Celebrity Crush: Andy Samberg Allie Zoll, Director of Registration Twitter Handle: @Alliezoll Major/Minor: Major- Communication- Public Relations; Minor- Psychology Hometown: Ridgewood, N.J. Internships: Sherle Wagner International, Coldwell Banker AC Lawrence, StriVectin Operating, Inc., Marist College Career Services PR Practice Area Interests: Luxury Real Estate, Sports, Food & Beverage, Entertainment, Consumer Best advice you’ve received at Marist: It’s never too late to get involved at Marist. Favorite TV shows: “Law & Order: SVU,” “24,” “House of Cards,” “MasterChef”

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A Letter from the Chapter President As we approach the end of the semester, I am proud to say that our Chapter has hosted yet another semester full of events, workshops and panels designed to help our members become better professionals. Since our last issue of esPResso was published we have hosted two mentor programs, two guest speakers and participated in our semester community service project. As always, we’re striving to provide valuable programs to help members build skills and find their niche in the public relations industry. In addition to our regular semester events, preparations for our regional conference are well under way. The regional conference committee is hard at work securing facilities, speakers, sponsors, hotels and a variety of other exciting activities for our conference attendees. The conference this spring is sure to be our Chapter’s proudest achievement, full of learning, networking and professional development. With the holidays creeping in on us, it’s hard to imagine that this year will be my last holiday season filled with awe at the beautiful Marist Christmas tree every day. Like every end-of-semester, we’re bound to be

swamped with work and feel overwhelmingly ready to just get the semester over with. This semester, though, I urge you all to take a step back and appreciate the beauty of our campus and how great an opportunity it is to attend such an amazing institution. Time here at Marist really does fly, and I’ve found it very important not to take our experiences here for granted. Whether it is laughing with friends, growing as professionals or taking in the breathtaking views, Marist proves to be a place abundant with opportunities. Try not to forget how lucky you are while you’re buried in books for the last few weeks. Once again, I am proud to be leading our Chapter in what has already proven to be a monumental year for Marist PRSSA. I look forward to continuing our commitment to providing the best programming and experiences to help our members succeed as professionals this year. See you in the New Year! All the best, McKensie Saldo Chapter President

Contact Marist PRSSA Email: Blog: Facebook:

Twitter: @MaristPRSSA Instagram: @MaristPRSSA Pinterest: Marist PRSSA

Michelle Santos, Director of Promotions Twitter Handle: @amichellesantos Major/Minors: Communication- Public Relations; Minors- Business and Fashion Merchandising Hometown: Boise, Id. Internships: DeVries Global, British Polo Day, Bliss Events, Peyron Strategic Communications, Lynda Friesz Public Relations PR Practice Area Interests: Event Planning, Social Media Best advice you’ve received at Marist: Al Golin told us the importance of making mistakes, doing the unexpected and to always have a Plan B. Celebrity Crush: Chris Evans Alexa Dalbis, Director of Logistics Twitter Handle: @AlexaDalbis Majors/Minor: Communication– Public Relations and Graphic Design; Minor- Psychology Hometown: Yorktown Heights, N.Y. PR Practice Area Interests: Music PR, Event Planning Best advice you’ve received at Marist: The only person you can depend on is yourself, so never put your happiness or reputation in the hands of someone else. Favorite TV shows: “Orange is the New Black,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Bob’s Burgers” Celebrity Crush: Logan Lerman Molly Costello, Director of Sponsorship Twitter Handle: @Molly_Costello1 Major/Minor: Communication- Public Relations; Minor- Writing Hometown: Clifton Park, N.Y. PR Practice Area Interests: Entertainment, Corporate, Crisis Communication, Reputation Management Best advice you’ve received at Marist: “Don’t ever not do something because you’re afraid.” Favorite TV shows: “Friends,” “One Tree Hill,” “Modern Family” Celebrity Crush: Juanes Edith Morris, Director of Hospitality Twitter Handle: @EdithAMorris Major/Minor: Major-Communication- Public Relations; Minor-Fashion Merchandising Hometown: Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Internships: Williamson PR and Showroom, Lorraine Tyne Inc., Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Children’s Media Project and Diversity Works Magazine PR Practice Area of Interests: Media Relations, Reputation Management and Employee Communication Best advice you’ve received at Marist: To be proactive instead of reactive Favorite TV shows: “Scandal,” “Law & Order: SVU”

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Volume 6 Issue 2


The latest #PRFails in the media and how savvy PR skills were used to mend the issues (or not)

Apple Pay fights security breaches By: Lizzy Peper EsPResso Committee Chair

In the past year, security breaches at companies such as Target and Home Depot have forced companies to find alternative payment options that are more secure than credit cards. According to Apple’s website, Apple Pay is a new digImage via Flickr/Christopher Aloi ital payment method available on select Apple devices that will allow consumers to make purchases with increased protection of their personal information. Apple Pay aims to prevent future security problems by letting customers avoid giving each store their credit card information and identity. Several credit card companies and banks have already shown support for the system which include Visa, American Express, Chase and Bank of America. However, some companies are rejecting Apple Pay in favor of their own digital wallet services. According to Forbes, Rite Aid and CVS plan to start a similar digital payment program

called CurrentC next year. Foreseen benefits of Apple Pay’s competitor include consumer purchase tracking and the ability to easily use loyalty cards in conjunction with digital payment in stores. Apple Pay’s limited device capabilities are also posing challenges to retailers deciding whether or not to feature the new system. The service is only available on the iPhone 6, recent iPads and the forthcoming Apple Watch. Jim Maholic, author of “Business Cases that Mean Business” and vice president of Hitachi Consulting, sees this as a potential advantage to retailers that implement Apple Pay. “There’s a certain number of affluent customers who use the iPhone 6. If one store offers Apple Pay and the other doesn’t, those well-heeled customers are more likely to walk in the Apple Pay door,” Maholic told CIO. Retail companies will have to consider whether having Apple Pay or competitors such as CurrentC, will provide a benefit for its stores’ customers or drive them away.

Brittany Maynard dies with dignity

Mid-term elections shift senate power

Brittnay Maynard, 29, was diagnosed earlier this year with a fatal brain tumor and told that cancer was likely to kill her in six months. She decided that she didn’t want this disease to control how she lived or how she would die. Maynard decided to use physician-assisted suicide and in Image via Flickr/ Mariano Cuajao turn was an advocate for the nonprofit organization Die With Dignity. In order to do this she had to move to Oregon, where the choice for aid in dying is legal. Maynard was a strong advocate for this option, and felt that it was her choice to choose when she would die. Maynard selected Nov. 1 as the day she would accept death and then lived each remaining day of her life doing everything she wished. So far the media has covered the story from the viewpoints of Maynard’s family and friends. There is controversy over whether or not the choice to die with the assistance of a doctor is immoral or if it is appropriate for those who are terminally ill to choose their own futures. Some media outlets argue that individuals should not have the choice to die and stress how the choice of death is equivalent to committing suicide. Whether seen as positive or negative, Maynard was a strong voice for a cause that has helped many people end their suffering.

This November, the Republican Party’s takeover of the Senate had Twitter, Facebook and other social media buzzing. On Nov. 5, CNN tweeted the headline “GOP takes control of U.S. Senate, CNN projects” along with a link to statistics and an analysis of the Republican takeover. The next exImage via Flickr/ Ian Aberle pected majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said, “For too long, this administration has tried to tell the American people what is good for them and then blame somebody else when their policies didn’t work out.” This time around, more than half of the voting American public selected a Republican candidate to take a seat in the Senate. On Nov. 9, Fox News used Twitter to beg the question, “Is the Obama Democratic coalition crumbling?” The tweet included an attached video of the debate on whether or not the “coalition” is indeed “crumbling.” The conclusion that many Americans came to is yes and this was made evident as the majority of the votes were for Republican candidates. According to a recent article in The Week, many young adults tend not to vote, leaving most of the voting to the “millennials” who are attentive to the government’s progress and dissatisfied with the collaborated decisions made within the Senate during the past few years. Only time will tell if the Republican majority will be perceived by the American people as more successful in the future.

By: Sarah Gelbard

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By: Rebecca Golub

December 2014

How good is organic food?

Stores begin Christmas in October

By: Madison Gabor

By: Nikki Tackley

These days it seems as though many people want to eat better, get in shape and live healthier lives. More and more people are choosing the organic pathway to kickstart their new lifestyles. So what exactly does “organic” mean? Organic refers to the way food is grown, processed and distribImage via Flickr/Tim Psych uted. Organic foods claim to be completely natural without additional chemicals and are therefore better for your body. But have the people choosing these organic lifestyles done their research? According to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, “There is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.” Although this statement can be disputed, it makes one stop and think. The conflict with this issue largely focuses on the label. People buy foods in grocery stores labeled “organic” and feel good about it because they think these foods will aid them in leading healthier lifestyles. Consumers assume that foods labelled as “organic” are all natural. But how natural are these foods? Organic foods definitely have health benefits but perhaps not as many as one would think. According to the California Certified Organic Farmers, a non-profit organization, some organic foods could contain as little as 70 percent of organically sourced materials and include processing aids. Another issue regarding organic foods is price. Organic foods are known to be more expensive than non-organic, and consumers are willing to pay this price in order to be healthy. The USDA predicts that the organic industry will be valued at more than $35 billion by the end of 2014. Whether or not to buy organic is up to the consumer; however, next time you go to the store remember that the organic label may not be as healthy as the media portrays it to be. Consumers will have to consider if going organic is worth the extra money if the foods carrying the label do not provide all the assumed benefits.

If you walked into stores in October or November, did the overwhelming amount of Christmas décor down the aisles phase you? Increasingly, stores like Rite Aid and Target are beginning the holiday season before the last trick-or-treaters get home on HalImage via Flickr/Gexydaf loween night. In 2007, The New York Times writer Michael Barbaro discussed the early Christmas phenomenon. He claimed that companies were searching for ways to expand the holiday shopping season and increase sales across the board. Stores began offering free shipping as early as October and Toys R Us even advertised discounts on toys. This was done to tackle difficult holiday seasons and despite a growing economy, the trend still continues. Jason Linkins and Katla McGlynn from the Huffington Post warn readers of the “Christmas Creep,” a technique used by companies that diminishes the importance of Halloween and Thanksgiving with early Christmas hype. Stores have been decking the aisles with Christmas lights and decorations since October, slowly overtaking other holidays with its jingle-bell allure. Hallmark advertised new ornaments and K-Mart placed discounted Halloween products next to Christmas decorations in the beginning of October. Are these techniques implemented to help consumers and “plan ahead to spread the cost of Christmas,” as Nick Agarwal, a WalMart spokesperson, suggests, or are companies simply attempting to affect the bottom line and increase total sales by starting the season earlier? Furthermore, what will the long-term ramifications be of an earlier holiday season? Will Thanksgiving and Halloween be forgotten in the United States due to this popular marketing approach? Look around. It is already happening as people are leaving their families and Thanksgiving dinners starting at 6 p.m. to go Black Friday shopping for the holidays.

#AlexfromTarget rises to fame overnight By: Jacquelyn Desjardins

Anyone who visited a social media site in the the beginning of November has likely heard of Alex from Target. Alex, a teenage cashier at Target, became an Internet sensation overnight. Unknowingly captured in a candid moment, his photo Image via Flickr/Mike Mozart spread across the Internet Instantly. From appearing on Ellen to gaining hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, his face and his picture have received notable coverage. But what makes Alex from Target so special? He did nothing for his fame besides go to work and bag items as usual. So how did his attractive looks give him fame in such a short period of time? With social media it seems that there is no set standard of require-

ments for a person or campaign to go viral, but there are best practices. Anyone can post a picture with a hashtag, sit back and wait for it to catch on. In fact, many publicity stunts choose to take this approach nowadays, as social media has proven itself as an effective way to reach a large range of people in a short period of time. Because of this, fame is becoming a concept that can be grasped by anyone who can capture people’s attention for a few seconds. Now more than ever, according to ABC, “a whole new breed of celebrity [is developing], one that earns a massive social media following and then turns that into a real selling point.” #AlexfromTarget is just one among many viral campaigns that garnered a temporary but intense viral fame. Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black both gained huge celebrity through social media without regard to their actual talent. If there’s anything important to know about #AlexfromTarget, it’s that a picture taken in the right light combined with use of the specific hashtags on Twitter can be a quick path to incredible fame.

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Volume 6 Issue 2

December 2014

Crisis Hotline

UPS redeems itself after crisis last Christmas season By: Julianna Sheridan Director of Public Relations

Target repeats its embarassing Photoshop blunders By: Kelly Dynan

This past March, Target committed an embarrassing Photoshop faux-pas when the company published a poorly edited image on its website. In a photo featuring a girl wearing a swimsuit, a chunk of the model’s armpit was missing, there was a blank square where her thighs should have been and she had an unnaturally long arm. When called out, Target quickly replaced the image with the correct unedited version and issued a statement to The Huffington Post. “In response to your query about the swimsuit image on, this was an unfortunate error on our part and we apologize. We have removed the image from our Web site…It was the result of a photo editing error on our part.” In October, Target published yet another photo with editing that went horribly wrong. This time, the model had large chunks of her body completely erased. Target again pulled the image, saying that the wrong one had

mistakenly been published. Target did not do much to cover up this blunder, but that’s what made the whole thing blow over. Sure the internet had a field Image via wikimedia commons day over it, but it did not last long. Target accepted its mistakes, took the blame and fixed each problem within adequate time. However, let’s hope Target finally learns from its mistakes and is extra careful in the future when adding photos to its website.

FIFA map welcomes Crimea into Russia

By: Ashly Kim

FIFA’s ceremony to reveal the 2018 World Cup emblem experienced a hiccup that caused massive uproar in Ukraine. According to ESPNFC, FIFA released a video that captured the exciting launch of the logo projected onto Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre along with the map of the World Cup host nation, Russia. Many Ukrainians were angered by the inclusion of Ukraine’s region of Crimea on Russia’s map. According to The Moscow Times, the incident created further tension between Ukraine and Russia, especially since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March. FIFA issued an apology to Ukraine for its error, claiming that the company failed to catch the blunder in its review of the visuals created by a local company. “Once this unfortunate incident was brought to our attention we immediately removed the short sequence in question. We

Image via wikimedia commons

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Last Christmas the United Parcel Service found itself in crisis mode when it underestimated the volume of packages that would need to be delivered by Christmas Day. Because of this, thousands of presents were not delivered in time to be placed under trees. Forbes put it best; “An object lesson in the perils of overpromising and under delivering.” But it may not have all been the shipper’s fault. Because Thanksgiving fell later in 2013 than previous years, the holiday shopping season started six days later. In addition, a bout of winter storms and boom in online shopping caused the shipping Image via Wikimedia commons/Mobius DaXter companies to be left with a high volume of packages to ship out in a shorter period of time.

Nonetheless, UPS did not do a good job of communicating to customers that their packages would not arrive on time, some being notified late on Christmas Eve. The company, along with e-commerce site, offered shipping refunds and gift cards as reparations. However, this year UPS has learned its lesson and is gearing up for a massive holiday shopping season. According to the article from Forbes, the company has expanded buildings, added 11 new facilities, purchased new trucks and expects to hire more than 95,000 seasonal workers. UPS also surveyed retailers to estimate how many packages each will have coming in and balance that with its capacity so that there is not a repeat situation of last year. With e-commerce booming, UPS and other shipping companies are expecting higher than normal package deliveries, so each has come up with a strategic plan to combat all possible outcomes. UPS learned its lesson the hard way after massive public backlash last season, but the company is hoping that it can win its customers’ trust back this time around.

Virgin Galactic crash highlights chairman’s crisis management By: Allie Zoll

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regret any inconvenience caused by this unfortunate incident and will assure you to be more attentive to the material produced by the third parties in the future,”FIFA said. The short footage of Crimea might have been removed but the mishap already added fuel to the existing dispute between the two countries. FIFA now struggles to resolve Ukraine’s official appeal for sanctions against Russia for hijacking Crimean clubs.

Richard Branson, chairman of the Virgin Galactic Group, held a press conference on Oct. 31 to address its publics’ questions after the rocket plane, SpaceShipTwo, crashed over the Mojave Desert during its initiative to commercialize space travel. One pilot survived a parachute descent and sustained unspecified injuries and the other pilot, veteran of eight SpaceShipTwo test flights, was killed. According to CBS News, Branson vowed to lead a complete investigation before he makes further public statements. In the opinion of crisis management expert Jeff Eller, who worked in the Clinton administration during 1993 and 1994, Branson’s methods represent crisis management at its finest. Eller explains that Branson took appropriate action when he strategically tweeted in a timely manner that he would be arriving at the crash site shortly. Eller states, “He’s a strong communicator. He knew he had to carry the load and he did. He was clear, solid and credible.” Eller also compliments Branson for avoiding premature and absolute statements about the crash

and fully acknowledging his responsibility as the company’s chairman. Branson recognized the importance of transparent communication during a crisis. He did not set high expectations for the media to later evaluate him on so he could avoid damaging both Virgin Galactic’s reputation and his own.

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Volume 6 Issue 2

Celebrity Brew

Bill Cosby allegations suspend new comedy special By: Amanda Hickey

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Bill Cosby is generally remembered as the levelheaded, comedic and lovable patriarch character that he played from 1984 to 1992, Bill Huxtable. He taught his television children lessons of responsibility, maturity and appropriate behavior. Today, many find themselves wishing that Huxtable’s teachings transcended the actor’s personal life. The actor and comedian’s reputation is deteriorating as women continue to come forward to share disturbing sexual assault stories. Cosby, now 77, allegedly took advantage of various young girls in the early stages of their careers after

telling them that he could make them stars and bring them into the spotlight. Though Cosby has not been formally charged, Netflix has since decided to delay the streaming of Cosby’s new comedy special. NBC has definitively canceled its Cosby project, which was projected to be a “classic, big extended-family sitcom,” according to CNN. Furthermore, TV Land, the network that was airing reruns of “The Cosby Show,” has removed the sitcom from its programming and website. Cosby has also resigned from his position on Temple University’s board of trustees. Cosby has refused to give any comment on the recent slew of allegations. However, he took to the stage to a sold out crowd on Nov. 20 at the Atlantis Bahamas. According to Us Weekly, “He interacted a lot with the audience. He appeared not to be bothered by what’s going on with him in the media, although he did not attend the meet and greet post-show reception,” said an audience member who attended the show. Cosby’s lawyer, Marty Singer, says, “We’ve reached the point of absurdity. The stories are getting more ridiculous. People coming out of nowhere with this sort of inane yarn is what happens in a media-driven feeding frenzy.” Time will tell how things will play out for Bill Cosby’s reputation.

Aéropostale faces backlash after partnership with teen social media star By: Emma Christiantelli In late October, American teen retailer Aéropostale announced its new partnership with popular Vine stars Nash Grier, Hayes Grier, Cameron Dallas and Carter Reynolds. The four teenage social media celebrities are ambassadors for the Aéropostale brand and helped launch its newest, edgy collection, UNITED XXVI. Prior to the launch, the brand released a statement sharing its excitement for partnering with the youths, particularly Nash Grier. Recently, Vine star Nash Grier has faced severe backlash for numerous homophobic, sexist and racist remarks in his social media content, including Vines advising girls how to be more attractive, mocking Asian names and suggesting that only homosexuals are afflicted by HIV and AIDS. Additionally, Grier’s tweets frequently contain insulting, anti-gay language, as well as racial slurs and comments against gay rights. Sticking to the roots of his stardom, 16-year-old Grier took to Twitter to apologize repeatedly for his offensive content, claiming that he was “young, ignorant, and in a bad place.” The public, however, is not interested in accepting his apology. Outraged Aéropostale customers have also turned to Twitter to express their disappointment in the brand’s partnership. As a result, the already-struggling retailer has suffered a great deal of negative attention, including harsh comments against the new products and declarations of leaving the brand altogether. Aéropostale has yet to release a statement regarding Page 8

whether or not it considered Grier’s controversial past before beginning the partnership. The backlash against Aéropostale for hiring Grier exemplifies the challenge that brands continue to face Image via Mike Mozart while working with today’s newest breed of celebrity, the social media star. Nash Grier, Hayes Grier, Cameron Dallas and Carter Reynolds attract more than 20 million social media followers collectively. Thus, their high visibility and vast reach are tempting opportunities for Aéropostale, a brand that has been actively trying to increase its social media presence. The public’s backlash toward Aéropostale demonstrates to the retailer that research should be its highest priority before making a decision. Although Grier boasts millions of followers, the followers aren’t all fans. If Aéropostale had known, it may have avoided its 15 minutes of damaging fame. Unfortunately, it now must face the consequence of connecting its reputation with that of an outspoken, controversial teenager.

December 2014

Lena Dunham’s own words backfire

By: Katherine Burek Lena Dunham’s memoir, “Not That Kind of Girl,” is currently under scrutiny. In addition to being a recent author, Dunham is a director, Golden Globe winner and lead actress in the hit TV show “Girls.” One passage of her book speaks to her sexual curiosity as a seven year old and exploration of her one-year-old sister Grace. Dunham’s reference Image via to herself as a “sexual predator” in the book caused outrage among readers and critics. Backlash was immediate, putting Dunham on the defense. She canceled part of her book tour in Europe and made a statement to The New York Times writing, “first and foremost, I want to be very clear that I do not condone any kind of abuse under any circumstances.” Victims and survivors of sexual abuse took issue with the sensitive topic and the haphazard use of the term “sexual predator,” which made light of a very serious offense. Dunham recognized her wrongdoing and responded, “if the situations described in my book have been painful or triggering for people to read, I am sorry, as that was never my intention.” She further added, “I am also aware that the comic use of the term ‘sexual predator’ was insensitive, and I’m sorry for that as well.” Dunham’s lawyers are fighting online publications, asking them to remove claims that the actress “sexually abused” her sister. This request will likely fail as “sexual predator” is a quote lifted from excerpts of her book, thereby making it legal. Looking forward, it is probable the hit series “Girls” will still launch its fourth season in January. “Not That Kind of Girl” has brought about great backlash, but it has also made readers curious to read and understand the mind of Lena Dunham.

Are Amanda Bynes’ tweets a cry for help?

By: Ashley Usher After a long hiatus, Amanda Bynes is back on Twitter. While some users are looking forward to what she has to say next, some are hesitant to see her return because of her questionable behavior over the last few years. Bynes has been in the spotlight ever since she started her childhood career in 1996 on Nickelodeon’s “All That” as a regular cast member that played various memorable characters. In 1999, she went on to star on “The Amanda Show,” before acting in some box-office hits during the early 2000s. Later, Bynes stood out as the comedic “it girl” among other struggling child stars, until she retired from acting in 2010. Since then, it has been shocking to watch a celebrity that was so well-liked go down hill. In 2012 she was arrested for driving under the influence, and in 2013 she claimed that she had an eating disorder and shortly after she threw a glass bong out of her car window. Throughout all of this, Bynes actively tweeted negative comments about other celebrities including Zac Efron and Drake and remarked on her strained relationship with her parents. After a few months of this behavior, Bynes entered a psychiatric facility and it was announced that she was diagnosed as bipolar and manic depressive. Since leaving the facility, Bynes has returned to her Twitter page where she posts daily, telling her 3.6 million followers about her personal life and most notably commenting on her fiancé and father. Her tweets often worry fans about her well-being and have recently brought up concerns about how a celebrity’s problems are always humorous to the public until somebody gets hurt. Some see her return to Twitter as dangerous and believe that staying out of the public eye would allow her to handle her health privately. Hopefully, she can manage to get healthy and stay out Image via of trouble.

Kim attempts to #BreakTheInternet By: Caroline Ferrari Kim Kardashian showed off her infamous curves on Paper Magazine’s December cover. Over the course of three days she released three new images and revealed more of her body each time with her famous behind creating notable Internet buzz. Celebrities critiqued her choices to bare all, people created memes from the photographs and many accused her images of being Photoshopped. Even major news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post provided coverage of Kardashian’s pictures, proving that TMZ and E! were not the only media that found her cover story Image via Google Images newsworthy.

Kim referred to balancing a champagne glass on her bottom in one of the images as talent. This photograph also went against her statement in 2011 that claimed she would “never pose naked again.” However, even after all of the critiques, Kardashian failed to be the most talked about news on the Internet. Scientists who landed a spacecraft on a comet for the first time outperformed her behind by a margin of more than 2:1; The San Jose Mercury News reported that as of Nov. 13, there were more than 479,434 tweets sent that included the words “comet” or “comet landing,” while there were only 307,782 tweets that used “Kardashian” or #breaktheinternet.” While Kardashian received points for “shock value,” perhaps next time she will find a less revealing way to take over the online world. Page 9

Volume 6 Issue 2

December 2014

Celebrity Brew

Year in Review: 2014 The top PR crises in the world

Taylor Swift shakes off Spotify By: Briana Flynn Assistant Firm Director

Taylor Swift is known for a lot of things, but is her role as a public relations genius one of them? After releasing her first single in nearly two years this past August, Swift largely promoted her latest album herself. Whether she was tweeting teases of early-release songs on iTunes, posting new song lyrics on Instagram or hand-picking Tumblr fans to come to her house for secret listening sessions, Swift started the online conversation around her latest album. She then let her the fans spread it themselves. Her album, “1989,” ended up bringing in the best album sales since 2002. Swift’s use of social media makes her available to her audiences in a way that many other artists are not. She even recently started to send personalized gifts to people who have Twitter and Tumblr accounts that she finds humorous. All these moves seem to come from Swift’s own personal mission to connect with fans and drop the negative stigma she’s developed over the years for writing songs about her ex-boyfriends. But if there’s one thing Swift can’t seem to “shake off,” it’s her lack of a paycheck from Spotify. After writing an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on the topic this


Winner: Ray Rice and the NFL Ray Rice allegedly assaulted his fiancée in Feb. 2014, but the NFL decided to cover up the incident. When TMZ released footage of the event, the NFL’s PR strategy began to crumble. The firestorm of a PR crisis hit not only the football player but also the league. Still not fully resolved, it will be interesting to see its path.

past July, Swift pulled her music from the popular site in October. She stated that Spotify and other similar streaming vehicles are both hurting music sales and taking the value out of artists’ work. This decision has sparked a fairly equal amount of outrage and understanding with some seeing the move as pretentious and others agreeing that outlets like Spotify do not provide fair compensation. Whether this will prompt further discussion about streaming sites is unclear, but until then, people will definitely be finding other ways to listen to Swift’s “Blank Space.”

What the world tweeted in...

Runner Up: Amazon/Hatchett Disputes The mega e-commerce site was in a public dispute with Hatchette publishing for much of 2014. The battle was for the future of e-books and how publishers would be compensated. Amazon and Hatchette did not handle the situation well, gathering many critics along the way for antitrust reasons.

#December Dec. 3 NYPD Chief of Community Affairs attempts to address trending hashtags #ICantBreathe and #CrimingWhileWhite: @NYPDCommAffairs: The #NYPD is committed to rebuilding public trust. #Wehearyou

Nov. 11 Kim Kardashian defends her nude photographs for the cover of Paper Magazine: @KimKardashian: And they say I didn’t have a talent...try balancing a champagne glass on your ass LOL #BreakTheInternet #PaperMagazine

Dec. 5 Celebrities announce Grammy’nominees on Twitter for the first time, instead of on TV or the Grammy’s website: @troyesivan: Congrats to @theGRAMMYs Song Of The Year noms @Meghan_Trainor, @sia, @taylorswift13, @samsmithworld & @hozier! <3

Worst Social Media Crisis Winner: American Apparel Challenger Picture In an effort to be patriotic American Apparel posted a photo to its Tumblr of what they believed was a picture of smoke. But to the company’s dismay, a young international employee did not know that it was a photo of the space shuttle Challenger exploding. The company apologized for the tasteless mistake, but that does not make up for the oversight. Runner up: #MyNYPD This hashtag was trending for all the wrong reasons. #MyNYPD was started as a campaign to thank the police force for its help and achievements, but it soon turned into a forum for people to post photos of police brutality. What had good intentions quickly showed that not every organization should use social media for branding.

Winner: General Motors Recalls In February, General Motors began recalling more than 2.6 million cars after 13 deaths which were caused by a faulty ignition switch that went unrecalled for more than a decade. GM has been cited as being not empathetic about the situation and failing to respond properly to an issue that it has known about for years. . Runner Up: Target Photoshop Errors Not once but twice Target was caught Photoshopping its clothing models in the most unflattering way. With thighs being erased and entire parts of the body missing, Target may want to consider hiring a new photo editor or at least look before posting an image.

Most Comical Crisis

Image via Popeye191

Nov. 6 Edgars Rinkēvičs comes out as first openly gay cabinet member of Latvia after he is announced as the foriegn minister: @edgarsrinkevics: I proudly announce I’am gay... Good luck all of you...

Page 10

Most Avoidable Crisis

Most Poorly Handled Crisis

Most Global Crisis Winner: Ebola in the U.S. In September the first of 14 cases of Ebola in the U.S. was reported. The next month health screenings and questionnaires were administered at U.S. airports receiving planes from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Obama later appointed a Ebola response coordinator but many criticized that the appointee has no experience in the field of health or medical care. Runner Up: Malaysia Airlines After eyes were already on Malaysia Airlines because of a plane carrying passengers that went missing in early March, another of its planes was shot down over Ukraine in July. Both flights were fatal for all on board. The airline considered changing its name to avoid the negative connotation currently attached to Malaysia Airlines.

Winner: Dumb Starbucks In July, comedian Nathan Fielder created a parody coffee shop called “Dumb Starbucks” to use in his show Nathan for You. Starbucks took a laid back approach and representatives calmly stated that the trademarked name could not be used. The shop is now closed. Runner Up: Bending iPhone After the release of the iPhone 6 Plus in September, complaints that the larger phone was bending after customers kept it in their pockets for a prolonged period of time came to light. What became known as #Bendgate was trending on Twitter and numerous videos of the manufacturing malfunction were posted on YouTube.

Best-Handled Crisis Winner: Under Armour Olympic Uniforms When the U.S. speedskating team started the Winter 2014 Olympics with worse performances than expected, several athletes blamed the Under Armour uniforms they were wearing. The company responded by supporting its technology without turning blame on the athletes. Before the Olympics came to a close, Under Armour committed to sponsoring U.S. speedskating until 2022, solidifying its support of the sport. Runner Up: Virgin Galactic Crash Response The crash of a Virgin Galactic space plane being tested for potential tourism resulted in the death of one of its pilots. The company’s chairman took control of the situation and visited the site of the crash in addition to providing a statement of respect to the people affected during a press conference and on social media.

Page 11

Volume 6 Issue 2

Chapter Update

Peer advice on making the most of your internship

NRC Update The fall 2014 semester here at North Road Communications has proven to be quite the learning experience on all accounts. From adjusting to client needs to the changing of leadership within the firm, it is refreshing to actually endure some of the real struggles a PR firm has and is a great reminder of the real world experience the firm offers. We have four accounts this semester which are BeaconArts, Beacon Independent Film Festival, Family Services Inc, and the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference. Each of our clients is very much content with our work and we look forward to them returning to our roster next semester. We are also excited to announce that the application has been released for the new leadership next year, including the Assistant Firm Director position currently held by Briana Flynn, and my position, Firm Director. Expect more great things to come out of NRC in the spring and be sure to reach out to us at northroadcomm@gmail. com for any ideas or questions about our firm.

Speakers, fundraisers and socials round out the semester As the end of the semester approaches, it is a great time to look back on all of the great PRSSA events we held so far this school year. This semester, fundraising was a big priority since the Chapter is hosting a PRSSA Regional Conference in February. There were three successful bake sales in the Champagnat Breezeway and two dining to donate nights at Applebee’s and Hoopla!, respectively. Thank you to all of the members who either helped run or attended the fundraisers. Every cent earned this semester is going to be extremely beneficial for the spring. The members also participated in a community service event by helping the student-run firm, North Road Communications. Volunteers traveled down to Beacon, N.Y. to help out at the Beacon Arts Community Association’s (BACA) Second Saturday, where on the second Saturday of every month the community gathers to celebrate the arts. It was a fun night and members are looking forward to helping again next semester. There were two very influential guest speakers this semester. The first was Alexandra Greenberg, vice president of MSO PR. She Skyped in from Los Angeles and spoke to members about the entertainment industry. She had many interesting stories to share about her work in the industry. There was a great turnout and everyone really enjoyed the Skype session. The second speaker was Steven Andersen, vice president of Infinite Spada PR. He visited campus to discuss the difference between B2B and B2C public relationsand answered any and all questions the members had. He was a very informational guest speaker and really got members thinking about their futures in the industry. Guest speakers are always the highlight of the semester because they present such great opportunities for members. Last but certainly not least was the holiday social. The holiday social is always such a fun time to celebrate the end of the semester. There were decorations, food, games and music. The end of the year video summed up the year in PR. The holiday social was a great way to end the semester on a high note. Thank you to all of our members for making this an awesome semester. The Chapter has a ton of great events for the spring semester. It will definitely be a semester members will not want to miss out on! Best, Ashley Hellberg Director of Chapter Programming

@MaristPRSSA’s Instagram Feed

Best, Maria Gironas Firm Director

Secondy Saturday community service event

Guest Speaker Steven Andersen of Infinite Spada PR

Holiday Social event

esPResso Committee esPResso Committee Chair: Lizzy Peper Director of Public Relations: Julianna Sheridan Faculty Adviser: Jennie Donohue Page 12

Staff Writers: Katharine Burek, Emma Christiantelli, Shileen Cruz, Jacquelyn Desjardins, Kelly Dynan, Caroline Ferrari, Briana Flynn, Madison Gabor, Sarah Gelbard, Rebecca Golub, Amanda Hickey, Ashly Kim, Nikki Tackley, Ashley Usher, Allie Zoll Copy Editors: Haylee Caravalho, Emma Christiantelli, Christina Crasto, Jacquelyn Desjardins, Briana Flynn, Carly Gray, Ashly Kim, Allie Zoll

Questions, concerns or want to join the esPResso Committee? Email us!

esPResso Volume 6 Issue 2  

A healthy dose of PR insight brought to you by the Marist College PRSSA Chapter.

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