Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crimea river

Posted by Greg Matusky
running nonstop coverage of the ill-fated flight
I get it. I really do. CNN sees an advantage and they’re squeezing it for all its worth. Ratings are up now that the venerable all-news station has decided to change its format to the all Malaysian Air Disaster news channel. But their gain is our loss. The opportunity cost in opting for wall-to-wall coverage of a non-news event is a less-informed public. We all fall prey. I too check in now and again to hear another talking head speculate and commentate with meaningless insights such as, “We really don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see. That’s the real mystery here.” And I am growing tired of all of the rationalizations, for example:

Rationale 1: The Malaysian airline is a real mystery on par with the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. 
The reality: No it’s not. It’s unfortunate. It’s tragic. But in the end, it will come down to a mechanical failure or pilot suicide. Not much of a cliff hanger there.

Monday, April 7, 2014

How bad storytelling ruined online grocery shopping

Posted by Greg Matusky
This blog post was originally published in July of 2011. It's an evergreen topic that is more relevant than ever today, so we wanted to share again. Enjoy! 

... Or the 9 most common reasons why so much of corporate storytelling sucks. I stumbled upon an interesting article in "Technology Review" when I was traveling last week about a new shopping service in South Korea that transforms a subway station wall into a virtual grocery store. Using cell phones, commuters snap photos of the toilet paper or sushi they want to buy, and the items are automatically delivered to their homes before they return from work. Pretty cool.

It all reminded me of the salad days (literally and figuratively), when online grocery shopping was supposed to transform the way Americans buy groceries, and Gregory FCA was working with a now defunct online grocery concept in New England. The company was admittedly so far ahead of the curve that it eventually ran off the road and into a ditch.

The problems were legion. Slow Internet dial-up speeds back then bogged down shoppers as they waited for the site to load. Delivering groceries to suburban homes proved a logistical nightmare, requiring the company to install free refrigerators in customers' garages for deliveries while working families were not at home. Entrenched behavior prevented shoppers from ever believing they could order the perfect cantaloupe without thumping it for themselves.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The real disappointment in the DeSean Jackson mess is the Philadelphia sports media

Posted by Greg Matusky
Here on Gregarious, we tend not to write much about the Philadelphia media and public relations scene, considering our audience is national in scope. But last week’s news out of Philadelphia demands commentary. When reports broke on Friday that the Philadelphia Eagles had abruptly cut ties with the team’s most electrifying player, DeSean Jackson, it raised some disturbing questions about the state of sports reporting not only in Philadelphia, but in cities throughout the country.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Be forewarned: No matter how powerful the company, there’s no place to run, no place to hide in the new era of citizen journalism

Posted by Greg Matusky
Imagine being the master of your universe: the CEO of a big-swinging biotech company with a soon-to-be FDA-approved drug, some $100 million of cash on the balance sheet, investors that include JP Morgan and The Regents of the University of California. So fortunate are you and so lifesaving your drug, that the Federal Government extends to you $70 million in taxpayer grants. Life is good. The golf game is improving. Retirement? Maybe Boca. Aspen.Or Malibu.

So hey, there’s room for a little arrogance and disinterest when doctors at Saint Jude’s Hospital call about a 7-year old little boy who is dying of a viral infection and whose life just might be saved if only your company can spare a few doses of the wonder drug, which is now in stage-three clinical trials. You politely decline to help. It’s more bother than it’s worth, so you coyly hide behind FDA bureaucracy, cite the $50,000 price tag, and respectfully choose not to open a Pandora’s Box through which every other family's sick kid will climb. You write the family an email with a boilerplate condolence. But you have bigger fish to fry, what with all your responsibilities as CEO of publicly-traded Chimerix (Nasdaq: CMRX). You've gotta keep that stock price high so investors get full value when big pharma comes a-calling.

And then bam. Not everyone’s going to take no for an answer. Especially not this family. No, not this tightly knit clan of tough minded individuals, entrepreneurs now, who as kids bloodied each other’s noses playing varsity football and wrestling at Bellefonte High, in Central PA, a breeding ground for Penn State athletes. Even their name smacks of resolve. The Hardy family wasn’t about to roll over and neither were their friends, the media, and their Bellefonte brethren. They decided not to play along with Chimerix CEO Kenneth Moch’s game plan to drug discovery riches. Instead, they determined to launch an all-out assault to publicly embarrass Chimerix to force them to show human decency and compassion, and just maybe save Josh Hardy’s life.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The times, they ARE NOT a changin’ … at least not in IR

Posted by Joe Hassett
Those old Bob Dylan Lyrics, herein modified, got me to thinking about social media and the state of investor relations.

Facebook. Twitter. WhatsApp. LinkedIn. These companies, as well as their digital and social brethren, are driving the face of the investment community, garnering a lion's share of the financial and general media's interest, and offering fodder for the all too ubiquitous talking heads.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Truth behind Zack Galifianakis’ Obama Interview

Posted by Greg Matusky
Want to know the truth about Zack Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns” interview with President Obama? Here’s one PR guy’s take on why it was done and whether it makes sense.

Was it funny?
Yes. It was very funny. The humor comes from the President of the United States taking swipes at Zack Galifianakis’ performances in one of movie makings’ most guttural movie series. The racist depiction of Asians. The drug use. The strippers. The obscenity. The guns. It’s so out of place next to the President of United States that it’s counter contextual, funny, and made even funnier by Galifianakis seeming willingness to jab the world’s most powerful man, even as Galifianakis winds up the foil of the bit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

On propaganda, persuasion, and public relations

Posted by Greg Matusky
Often, the hardest lesson to learn for PR practitioners and patients alike is the need to balance an argument in order to insidiously strengthen your own case. I was reminded of that fact recently while watching RT, the English-language Russian state television network seen on American TV. It’s lively, tightly formatted news programming has learned much from American TV networks CNN and FOX News. Attractive news reporters anchor their stories with cutaways and conversations with remote, in-the-field reporters, all speaking in Ohio Valley, newsroom accents.
RT: The Russian network has taken a page from
the book of televised American News. 

Their stories, while recently focused on Ukraine, are sprinkled with a steady diet of American inconsistencies meant to embarrass -- a report about the lingering war in Afghanistan or reportage of gay rights intolerance here in the states. What’s remarkable, though, is how RT has learned to seemingly balance their coverage to disguise their bias, and in doing so leapfrogs much of American cable news.
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