After careful study, number crunching and extrapolation, I’ve concluded that 2015 will bring us several “PR moments.”
As always, my predictions are for recreational purposes only.
PR Agency Resigns from CPAP Machine Consortium
The advocacy group behind CPAP machines, the AFCPAP (Americans for continuous positive airway pressure) hires a PR agency to raise the industry’s profile. A contentious debate immediately ensues when the PR agency explains that CPAP sounds too close to “crap” and suggests a campaign to replace the acronym with BEAT (Breath Easy Americans Today). After this idea gets shot down, the agency spends four weeks brainstorming alternative campaigns with zero progress. In a moment of unfiltered frustration, the account lead blurts, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing cool about wearing a plastic mask with nose plugs to bed every night.” They resign the account two hours later.
Note: As someone who suffers from sleep apnea and uses a CPAP machine, I figured it was OK for me to take this shot.
Social Media Tool Called #ComeBackHere Secures $82M in Venture Funding
Three math geeks from Cal Tech figure out the holy grail, a one-click solution to retrieve that tweet gone bad without leaving even a smidgen of trace. The venture capitalists love the concept. Most of the Fortune 500 and DiGiorno sign up for site licenses even before the beta program rolls out.
Elon Musk Extends Tesla Branding with Car Racing Circuit
Calling NASCAR a “stodgy institution,” Elon Musk creates NAECAR, the National Associations for Electronic Cars Racing. Kudos to the Tesla PR team who convince Musk that NATCAR (National Association for Tesla Car Racing) would limit participation and brand appeal … not to mention pronouncing it sounds like someone with a speech impediment saying NASCAR.
White House Licenses BuzzFeed Platform to Create GovvFeed
Embolden by cracking the Techememe Leaderboard, the White House cuts a deal to use the BuzzFeed content management system for launching GovvFeed. The official statement calls it “a natural extension of the administration’s blogs and social media.” The NY Times attacks the site asking the rhetorical questions, What’s next? A riff on Saturday Night Live? Government Night Live? White House comms czar Dan Pfeiffer fires back, “Sure GovvFeed will deliver the requisite listicles and a periodic cat video, but the site will also do some serious stuff.”
Uber Starts Scholarship Fund for Budding Journalists
After taking hits for being “journo unfriendly,” Uber goes on the offensive starting a scholarship fund to help high school seniors pursue their collegiate studies in journalism. The application consists of one essay question, “How Will Peer-to-peer Journalism Change Society?” Jeff Jarvis is not amused.
Bill Gates Under Siege for Underreporting Academic Credentials
So many executives have been exposed for inflating their academic achievements in college, but 2015 turns this one inside out. A vocal faction demands Bill Gates’ removal from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation because he failed to mention his honorary degree from Harvard (June 7, 2007) on his LinkedIn profile. Gates ignores the loonies and the hoopla eventually dissipates.
Sony Promotes “Return of the Interview”
Piggybacking on the success of “The Interview,” Sony bankrolls a movie in which James Franco and Seth Rogen again take their tabloid TV show on the road, this time with the CIA assignment to assassinate Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea. Nguema doesn’t take the bait. No hacking. No confrontation. The movie tanks at the box office.
Google’s April Fool’s Joke Morphs into PR Fiasco
Google pretends to leave a PowerPoint deck marked “top secret” in a bar on April 1. The deck outlines a plan to test its self-driving technologies in the buses that transport employees from San Francisco to the Mountain View campus. After The Guardian proudly breaks the story, social media works its magic. Before Google can claim April Fool’s, employees have mounted protests wearing shirts that read “I can’t see.” Google issues an apology making it clear that Corporate did not approve the t-shirts.
Wishing everyone has a healthy and prosperous 2015 (with a periodic twist).