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Target’s Everyday Collection Campaign

It’s been awhile since I talked shop here (shop being PR and all things social media), but I couldn’t resist posting about Target’s Tweet to Runway campaign.

If have watched TV in real time recently, you may have seen those crazy runway-inspired commercials for Target, which I don’t entirely understand. I think it aims to make everyday activities…making dinner, cleaning your baby’s diaper “sexy,” but I really don’t know.

Well the bulls-eye company took it a step further with its Tweet-to-Runway Show. Here’s the deal: Target encouraged fans to visit the “Everyday Show” page via Twitter and post messages concerning some product sold in the “Everyday” line. Target describes Everyday as “the most intensely sensible grocery and essentials collection of the season”, which could apply to pretty much anything. Someone chose the “best” tweets, which were then read aloud by models as they paraded down the runway carrying the products in question.

Some were hilarious. Others reminded me that some people share too much on Twitter.

While I love everything about the models reading real people’s tweets (“dot, dot, dot”), I don’t understand why they are poking fun at their own campaign. This whole campaign centers around glamorizing everyday activities, and having models reading tweets while holding a jar of pickles…seems to I dunno go in the mocking direction.

See some of “runway show” here.

The Zombie Apocalypse and the CDC

I have an unhealthy interest in zombies. I think it started with watching the Walking Dead this past fall. I have had real discussions about my zombie attack plan of action. (It changes depending on where I am at the time and whether we are dealing with the kind that like water or don’t.)

But what does this have to do with the CDC? Well, a few weeks ago the CDC decided to take advantage of everyone’s love or irrational fear of zombies. They actually dedicated an entire page to preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Yes, that’s right. Real life zombies.

The posting has been so popular—more than 30,000 hit in three days—that it crashed the CDC’s servers. Dave Daigle, the Associate Director for Communications at the preparedness and response division explained that the strategy behind the page was to spark interest emergency preparedness.

What better way to connect with people and make emergency preparedness cool than by relating it to something like zombies?

I think this was a perfect example of an organization that could be seen as stale capitalizing off a meme that spans generations. They did it in a smart way, using Twitter and its blog to reach a new audience.

Of course, the hallmark of a good stunt is if there is measurable changes.

Ten days later (get it, like 28 days later?) the zombies were followed by hurricanes. Hopefully, the strategy paid off and people paid attention to the CDC’s recommendations.


The Pains of Having a Job?

Health.com reports on a new study showing that some jobs are so demoralizing that they are actually worse for mental health than NOT working at all.

Maybe it is the nature of being in the PR industry, but with so many friends bouncing from one job to the next these days this data doesn’t really surprise me. You may be out of work and the first opportunity that crosses your path seems like a godsend. You may even be in a place that you just need to get out of. In the end, you make a rash decision that leads you to be unhappy.

A lot of this plays into what I wrote about a few weeks back. Bad bosses will make anybody unhappy and stress can actually stem from bad managers.

Don’t get me wrong, your work has to be challenging (in a good way), but if anything this study shows that we really have to be careful about weighing our options before jumping in feet first.

The full Health.com article can be read here.

Learning to Delegate

Many new managers and supervisors find it a strange new experience. Instead of just being responsible for your work, now you are responsible for the work done by others.

There is a strong tendency to have little faith in other’s abilities and sometimes even less in your own ability to manage others and get things done. For some, the easiest thing to do is retreat back to the familiar and do everything ourselves. While this may work or appear to work in the short run, in the long term it is a sure path to disaster.

Being able to successfully delegate work and ensure that it is done with a minimum of fuss is crucial for any management role. Managers and supervisors are not measured based on their individual contributions but on the contributions of their team. So, even if you put in the longest hours, if your team is going nowhere you are in trouble!

So how do you learn to delegate successfully?

  • Take enough time in the initial conversation to ensure yourself and your team member that he or she can do the task
  • Agree on deadlines and details from the outset
  • Have regular meetings for progress reports, questions and support (TRY NOT TO HOVER)
  • Share information (this goes for both of you)

There are probably only another handful of management skills more critical to your personal and professional success than learning to delegate. There is much more to delegating than meets the eye. It does not mean to simply hand out assignments. It is a science and an exercise in understanding one’s self.

Leave your tips in the comments.

Relationships Keep ‘Em

The PR industry has two significant challenges—a high level of staff turnover and a strong demand for a multi-skilled staff.

Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found the number of people voluntarily quitting their jobs far exceeded those released by companies.  According to a December 2010 Right Management survey, 84% of respondents intend to actively seek a new position in 2011, and another 11% are networking or updating their resumes; with only a handful remaining at their current job.

So why do employees quit? Opportunities, salary, challenges and growth are all common reasons. Perhaps one of the main reasons though, is poor management. Because having a good manager can actually help minimize all those other reasons.

Studies have shown that talented employees will quit a job due to the relationship with their manager. Selecting the best people for key management roles, rewarding good management and constantly training managers, an organization can create a good work environment and ensure a low employee turnover.

There are things managers cannot change. They can’t grant career moves or more pay easily. But employees thinking about leaving can often be retained by other means. If they feel genuinely valued and appreciated by their manager they will feel a stronger sense of loyalty. By giving them more interesting work and learning opportunities, many employees who might leave will stay around, at least a while longer.

Maybe not this close, but you get the point

Deep communication is the real secret of employee retention. Career satisfaction is critically important to employees and they need someone who will listen supportively to their hopes and concerns. This needs to be the manager, not someone in HR, because the manager-employee relationship is critical to long term employee retention.

Sleeping Your Way to the Top

Have you ever had a long night at the office and then gone back to work the next morning hating life? What about even having a late night out with your friends and having to be on a client call at 9:00 a.m.?

The average person now spends 45 hours each week at work. And that number doesn’t take into account additional job-related work people do from home, thanks largely to technology.

Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from sleep problems and disorders that are compounded by, you guessed it, work. Longer work days that extend late into the night get in the way of a good night’s sleep.

Lack of sleep can actually impair your job satisfaction.

At TedWomen in December, Arianna Huffington talked about sleep’s role in your professional life and how it can unlock brilliant ideas.

“The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep,” she said. “We are literally going to sleep our way to the top — literally!”

Check out her video below.

Healthy Eating Varies by Generation

Just as each generation has its defining moment (e.g.; WWII, Woodstock, Facebook etc) they also apparently eat differently.

According to a report by the NPD Group, older generations eat more healthfully than the younger generations. The report, “Healthy Eating Strategies by Generation” identifies the gaps between actual consumption behaviors and intentions; finding those younger generations (Gen X, Y, and younger boomers, ages 21 to 54) have the least healthful diets.

It might just be because those 54 and up often have a greater need to eat healthy due to underlying medical conditions.

What the generations appear to have in common, the report found, is a shared understanding of what constitutes healthy eating. They are all able to define healthy eating and are aware of the top characteristics of a healthy lifestyle:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat well balanced meals
  • Eat all things in moderation
  • Limit/avoid foods with saturated fat/cholesterol/trans fats
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water/day

Maybe just educating consumers about proper health and nutrition should not be the main goal. Connecting the dots for consumers in terms of a product benefit to a fundamental characteristic of healthy eating may be the challenge.

While many aspects of their diets could use improvements, the largest deficiencies in adults’ diets are insufficient intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy predicts and over consumption of total fats.

Dori Hickey, NPD director of product development and study author, said “It comes down to adult consumers needing help to improve the healthfulness of their diets. Knowing which consumer groups need the most help and understanding how to address consumers’ current and future needs and desires for healthy food is the opportunity for food and beverage marketers.”

Blurry Lines

Apparently the line between advertising and public relations has always been blurry.  It’s not just this new fangled thing called social media.

Last night’s Mad Men showed that when Pete and Peggy pulled off their “PR stunt, that they couldn’t bill for.” While the stunt wasn’t exactly what PR events are made of these days, the idea was pretty dead on.

The elements of PR vs. advertising highlighted by the turkey escape were control and longevity.


Since advertising space is paid for companies are able to maintain control of an advertisement’s content and exactly when and where an ad will appear.

As seen with Peggy’s need for bail money…not so much with PR. With PR you can lead the journalist to the information but that doesn’t mean they are going to use it the way you want them to or even at all.


The fight over the turkey was what we call a “flash in the pan.” Peggy and her new friend Joey (adorable btw) had to turn it into ads that had a longer shelf life.

And while the title of this advertising-centric TV show was “Public Relations” and it showed the power a poorly executed interview can yield over a company…I kinda hope it just sticks to advertising. I don’t really like having to explain to my grandparents how my job isn’t in advertising.

Eating What You Watch

A study published this month in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, says if you follow a diet based on the food advertised on television you won’t get the proper nutrients.

Basically you will consume 25x the recommended amount of sugar, 20x the amount of fat and not nearly enough fruits or vegetables. (That’s less than half the recommendation)

Just one advertised food item by itself will provide, on average, 3x your daily recommended servings of sugar and 2.5x the fat

The study looked at 2004 primetime and Saturday-morning programming on all four major networks. Primetime because most of the nationwide advertising is done during this time; Saturday morning to see what the kiddies were watching.

And to no one’s surprise, it seems what you are watching is influencing what you are eating. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we consumed too much saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars, all of which were oversupplied in advertised foods. And the food that was undersupplied in the ads? Calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin E were not eaten enough.

Researchers also noted that not a single PSA addressed nutrition education (maybe it is time for a Kellogg or General Mills to get on that?).

And if education doesn’t work…maybe we go the route of NYC restaurants and include fat content and calories in the ads for specific foods. But then again…who is watching ads anyway?