July 12, 2012
by Vianka McConville
In a rather peculiar public relations campaign, the Electricity Ministry in Baghdad lifted an online image of Katie Couric and created billboards advertising televised daily news bulletins about electricity. The article explains electricity is a luxury for most citizens due to constant outages. While officials work to remedy the problem, they also sought to present “a bright and optimistic face that inspires the people to imagine a better future for electricity.” Citizens seem to agree with their choice.
Through a western lens, the move is so out-of-place that Katie herself is not bothered by the ads and notes in the article she does not have intentions for legal action. The runner-up for the billboards was former news anchorwoman, Laurie Dhue—who is flattered by the consideration.
The idea was definitely a risk by the Electricity Ministry, but the cards seem to be falling in their favor due to unique circumstances.
July 12, 2012
by Roger Pynn
It almost seemed this story passed without notice yesterday, but then again perhaps that’s because anyone who had watched the Microsoft/NBCUniversal partnership knew that NBCU had the right to buy back Gates & Company’s remaining shares of MSNBC.com.
Frankly, I never quite got the connection between Microsoft and NBC’s news operations … other than the software giant’s ability to underwrite some of the costs associated with building a robust news website. If the folks from Redmond were driving the technology, it never seemed blatantly obvious … which would make me wonder if the marketing guys ever questioned the ROI of the investment.
Sponsorships are tricky enough. When they are tied to capital investment they become even more complex. If this was advertising, this comment from one person in response to CNET’s story raises the ROI question pretty clearly: “I never even knew Microsoft had a stake in the site/channel, I though it always meant Money Street for the ‘MS’ part.”
If you’re going to lend your brand to a global venture, you need to be sure what you lend speaks clearly.