Toyota thinks outside the box

There is a computer game out now that requires you click on a veiled object to move to the next level. That object turns out to be a Toyota Yaris. This is all a part of Toyota’s effort to reach the youth market. I learned this from a NPR story this morning. There are also a string of games out now that have billboards inserted at certain locations in the game. Nothing exciting about that except when you play online, these billboards check your IP address and where possible other sources and then load billboard ads that are more targeted. Imagine, it’s 8pm and you’re locked in battle with some alien on your computer. OK, I can’t quite imagine as I’m not a gamer but if I was then it would make sense that an ad on the building I’m approaching which houses the alien I’m trying to kill would be for the local pizza place. I mention all this for the simple reason that as traditional advertising dies along with traditional media, the creative minds being applied to interactive ads are coming up with some great thinking. Is the PR industry applying similar thought? I’ve seen glimpses of it but I worry that at a time when PR could be taking a bigger slice of the marketing pie we are not being creative enough.

Tim Dyson’s blog has moved

Tim Dyson’s blog is now at:

AOL – this call was monitored for quality assurance purposes

This is a great example of the power of blogs and one of those rare times when the call was monitored for QA purposes by… the customer. The story is simple: It seems a normal guy wants to do something normal – cancel his AOL account. When he tries, they do what all struggling businesses do, they try and stop him by asking him a million stupid questions. Only in this instance he recorded the conversation and put it on his blog. The story then ended up on CNBC. Seems the rep at AOL lost his job…

NYT publishers get desperate

The New York Times plans to begin running ads on the front page of its business section starting in July, according to a spokeswoman today. The news is yet another sign that traditional media is struggling and yet another sign that they don’t really know how to solve the problem. Fundamentally this is a sign that the NYT wants to generate more ad revenue from its print publication. This would make sense as a move if the circulations of media like the NYT were rising but it’s not. Surely therefore slapping ads on the front of the business section is like putting a Band-Aid on the Titanic. At what point do publishers realize that consumers want a different product? Don’t get me wrong – I believe they want the content; they just want it delivered in a different way.

WSJ shows the way (the wrong way)

PR people are meant to be nice to hugely important publications like the WSJ. Sadly I can’t resist taking a pop at the WSJ today. Why? Well today it proudly published its D supplement (they even have special stickers on those newspaper vending machines announcing its presence). In the supplement are a host of interviews with top execs including Bill Gates. There are articles on such racy topics as E-Commerce (does anyone use that term anymore?) and Laptop security. Think about that for a second (or two). There is no content here that is truly going to get the world excited. Certainly no content that is going to get people talking. I just can’t see people huddling round the cooler saying: “wow that piece in today’s journal was a real eye opener.” Let’s assume that the readership of the Journal is the investment community for now. If I were a fund manager, I’d hope I already knew the stuff in the Gates interview or the E-commerce article. Take the following question posed to Billg: “When are you going to ship the new Vista Operating System?” I don’t think I need to tell you that he said we’re on track to ship it in January. I have to say that it’s content like this that is getting traditional media into trouble.


This is hopefully not one of those posts that is designed to say “I read the Wall Street Journal today.” Instead it is designed to add to your vocabulary a great new word that Jared Sandberg introduced through his column ‘Cubicle Corner’ today. The word was actually used in a quote by Harvard Graduate School professor, David Perkins. He was endorsing the general view of the column which is that most brainstorming is ineffective and that if anything you need people to think alone and then bring their ideas to a group – otherwise you get ‘coblaberation.’ While he doesn’t specifically explain the word, it’s pretty clear that he means you get a lot of people talking and nothing much happening. Does that sound like a PR brainstorm you’ve been in lately? Anyway, read the piece, it has some good observations that may help your next visit to the collective white board.

Spin Bunny reborn?

A site with the same …. attitude as Spin Bunny has popped up. Called “the World’s Leading’ which is presumably a jab at the fact that just about every tech PR press release seems to open with company X being the world’s leading…

We’ll surely find out if this is Spin Bunny if it starts attacking Lewis Communications.