Tag Archives: Disney

“Aww, here it goes!”

by Bailey Carpenter

It was 11 p.m. on a weeknight, and having finally finished my homework, I settled in bed to watch TV. As I scrolled down the channel guide, I came to a sudden halt when I saw “Clarissa Explains It All” in one of the blue boxes, followed by “Kenan & Kel,” “All That” and “Doug.” I immediately slammed my thumb down on the “select” button.

What was this glorious gift from the TV gods? The first commercial break offered me an answer: “The 90s are All That” brought to you by the good people at TeenNick. It appeared someone had finally wised up at Nickelodeon studios and brought back TV favorites from the 90s, satisfying the cravings of 90s children nationwide.

Having previously planned to go to bed early, I ended up staying up into the early hours of the morning absorbing every second of shows that tickled my memory and made me miss my light-up Keds and neon windbreaker suit.

My excitement peaked, however, when another commercial break advertised the Twitter hashtag #90sAreAllThat and handle @90sareallthat_. I immediately pulled up the Twitter feed and found that I was not alone. Thousands of my peers were vigorously tweeting about the two-hour block:

audude08: “Its U Pick on @90sareallthat_ now watching #Doug. I love those 90s Nick shows… brings back the memories.”

AdamChaseFields: “@90sareallthat_ is the best thing that’s happened to television in SO long”

Kayla Aldridge: “@90sareallthat_ thanks for playing all these shows that i love.”

Bralein: “Made a Twitter account because I wanted to tell @90sareallthat_ that I want to see Aaahh!!! Real Monsters!”

Being the PR nerd that I am, I could not help but to reflect on the way Nickelodeon was not only bringing back its original audience from the 90s, but also incorporating the current lifestyle of that audience.

Nickelodeon is not the only network to take advantage of these connections: both Facebook and Twitter exploded with posts from my peers when Disney brought The Lion King back to theaters. According to a PR Newswire article, the film grossed $30 million in its opening weekend.

It seems now that my generation has some discretionary income, networks like Disney and Nickelodeon are using nostalgia to re-gain us as an audience and increase their profits.

In an Oct. 21 blog post, Kiren Pooni said, “The marketing and PR industries have successfully used nostalgia to play on the emotional connections consumers build with brands. When this is done well it is possible for former glories to be restored.”

It is safe to say that Nickelodeon and Disney have both “restored their former glory.” The 90s Are All That has expanded to include the TV show “Hey Dude” and brought back Stick Stickly to host an “interactive” portion of the two-hour block. Stickly’s show plays different 90s Nickelodeon favorites, as voted for on the 90s Are All That Facebook page.

Disney not only profited from the theatrical re-release, but is also experiencing high sales for The Lion King Blu-ray DVD released Oct. 4.

“Consumers are jumping at the chance to re-engage with their past and wrap themselves in the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from nostalgia,” Pooni said.

One major advantage of The Lion King’s return to the theater was that it not only brought in lines of now 20-somethings wanting to relive their childhoods, but also introduced the film to a whole new generation of children.

“What is clear is that in times of doom and gloom, there is comfort to be found in the ‘good old days’ and if you can capture that feeling in a brand, product or even a musical comeback, you could well be onto a winner,” Pooni said.

It looks like PR practitioners everywhere need to follow in the footsteps of Nickelodeon and Disney. Or, as Kel Mitchell says in “Kenan & Kel,” they should just say “aww, here it goes!” and incorporate nostalgia into campaigns aimed at sustaining audiences.


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Disney roars again

by Jaley Cranford, editor

As I walked into “The Lion King 3D” at 9:30 p.m., I assumed that anyone who wanted to see the animated flick was fast asleep in their Cinderella or Batman pajamas. I was wrong. A theater full of people in their twenties awaited me.

Disney has long been known as an innovator of entertainment and it appears that the animation giant has done it again. After the film generated more than $357.8 million in 1994, Disney decided to rerelease the classic cartoon hit.

Disney is marketing 3D in a brand new way. Not only are new movie-goers welcoming Simba into their homes, but nostalgia drags twenty-somethings into a theater for a cartoon lion and his singing friends. As the theater resonated with approximately 100 college students singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” I realized that Disney might be onto something.

Disney blogger John Frost said that Disney retried the 3D film world after it merged with Pixar in 2006. After getting off to a rocky start with the over-promotion of “Chicken Little” and “Bolt,” Disney began to market 3D flicks in the same ways as its 2D classics. Frost continues that Disney’s marketing of 3D films has been reduced since the huge push for “Chicken Little.”

Regardless of how much money is spent on the marketing or promotion for the film, “The Lion King 3D” and other rereleased classics are big money-makers for the Disney corporation. However, many people see this rerelease as a lazy and exploitive move by Disney.

In a UK film blog, Jeremy Kay attacks the choice as one that tries to make the most money with the least amount of effort.

While Disney is not reinventing the wheel by bringing “The Lion King” back to theaters, the corporation is generating serious revenue. CNN reported that the flick grossed more than $29.3 million in its opening weekend.

An Entertainment Weekly article brings up another important observation. According to the article, “The Hangover” sparked a run of 8 R-rated raunchy comedies. Maybe Disney rereleasing “The Lion King 3D” to such overwhelming success will spark a new film revolution.

With the film world going back to classics to generate revenue, maybe we will see more 3D remakes of movies. With flicks like “Footloose” bringing older movies to new generations, 3D adaptations of older movies may be an easy way for movie companies to make money without new content.

The only problem: how do you market a rerelease without critical questions about the integrity of the film industry being raised? I’m not so sure, but I do think Disney will figure it out and keep audiences of all ages in theaters.


Filed under The Industry, Trends

Lindsay Lohan’s Top 5 PR Lessons

by Amanda Coppock

As often as stars like Lindsay Lohan are in the public eye, you would expect them to understand how to use better public relations to their benefit. Lohan, for one, clearly has missed out on how to use PR to save her career. While we “normal people” cannot afford to use trial and error to determine what is best for our reputation, we can learn by observing what not to do. Lohan has clearly never had a lesson on good PR, but there are several lessons we can learn about what not to do by observing her. So, live from Lindsay Lohan’s ruined reputation, are the top 5 lessons we can learn from her about PR:

  • Number 5: It’s important to separate your private and professional life—As a celebrity, this is a lesson that Lohan has had a hard time learning, partly because being in the public eye makes keeping things private more difficult. However, many celebrities such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, have gone to extreme lengths to keep their private lives private. Lohan clearly hasn’t gone to such, or any, lengths to keep her private life private, and it has negatively impacted her career.

In the PR world, it is important to know what aspects of your life should not carry over to the workplace. On an eHow blog, journalist and communication specialist Bill Bucy provides several steps on how to achieve this separation. He recommends controlling the amount of private information you offer, not feeling obligated to share because others do, being careful about social relationships with coworkers and evaluating each situation individually. Maintaining this balance can keep you happier and ensures that your workplace interactions are appropriate.

  • Number 4: Don’t rely on past success to carry you —Let’s be honest. Aside from negative life choices, Lohan is best known for films of the past. The last film she starred in that became popular was released in 2004. For a young actress, that is quite some time to go without starring in a hit film.

In PR, it is critical to always improve upon your past successes. Think of it as a competition to one-up yourself. The PRSA Code of Ethics includes Expertise, part of which reads, “We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education.” It is critical for a PR professional to consistently improve and focus on self-education.

  • Number 3: Dress for successLohan’s wardrobe choices for court have been far less than professional. Between her tight, white minidress and her revealing tops, Lindsay has made a less-than-good impression while in court.

PR practitioners know that appearance affects how others perceive us. Showing up to an interview or a first day on the job in a revealing or offensive outfit would most likely lose us the job as well as respect. People make judgments about your abilities within your first few minutes of meeting and wearing a conservative suit will get you much farther than showing off your goods.

  • Number 2: Take responsibility for your mistakes —While in court, Lohan’s judge said, “I don’t care that you are Lindsay Lohan. This case does involve jail time, period. If you plead in front of me — if this case resolves in front of me — you are going to jail.” Lohan has clearly used her status as a starlet to try to avoid the consequences she deserves. Essentially, this judge told her that it would be better to admit fault than to keep using her name to try to get out of punishment.

In our field, it is important to realize what went wrong after we make a mistake. If you make a mistake, own up to it and do everything in your power to correct it.

  • Number 1: Not all publicity is good publicity —Even Lohan is beginning to realize this point. In an interview with Extra she said, “[I want to create] great movies, great films, [and tell] great stories. That’s what I’ve aspired to do my whole life and personal instances in my life got in the way. But, I don’t want that to be known for that anymore.” What Lindsay clearly hasn’t realized is that if you put yourself in situations that raise the public eyebrow, you will be in the news for the bad things.

As PR professionals, we should aim to achieve only good publicity for our clients. Having a client in the news is not worthwhile if it’s a story that could tarnish his reputation.

So before taking risks with your own reputation, consider how far this Disney star has fallen. The transition from “Parent Trap” to trapped behind bars may have been avoided had Lohan kept her own PR in mind.


Filed under Ethics

Stickies, Highlighters and a Monthly Planner

By Victoria Corley

What personality traits make a professional successful in the field of public relations? Generally, if you ask someone this question you will hear a very generic and somewhat delightful list of traits that could just as easily describe the main character of a Disney movie.

Before writing this blog, I composed a list of traits that make a successful PR practitioner. After doing highly qualified research, on Google of course, I found the following personality traits commonly used to describe PR professionals:

  • A professional demeanor
  • Accessibility, approachability
  • Confidence
  • Drive, motivation
  • Gregarious in nature
  • Highly developed communication skills
  • management skills
  • openness

The list sounds powerful and even a bit enchanting, but are these the only characteristics of an impressive PR pro?

The U.S. Department of Labor stated, “People who choose public relations as a career should have an outgoing personality, self-confidence, an understanding of human psychology and an enthusiasm for motivating people. They should be assertive but able to participate as part of a team and be open to new ideas.”

While these traits make a successful PR professional, it also takes some insanity to enjoy it.

Now before you disagree, understand that I’m not calling PR professionals crazy. Chances are, if you’re currently studying or practicing public relations you know exactly what I’m talking about.

After four semesters of PR coursework at The University of Alabama, it’s clear to me that many PR students have manic behaviors. Think about it: How often do these students have 15 different highlighters to use while taking notes, 12 different folders to keep papers organized or 500 “Stickies” open on the desktop of their Macs? I call PR students and professionals who exhibit these traits “PR people,” and yes, I’m a part of that group, too.

I think the obsessive-compulsive behavior we “PR people” have with organization and perfection is the reason we chose public relations. While these traits might not seem desirable at first, obsessive organization skills help make any PR job easier and more enjoyable. Public relations means staying composed even when things get out of control. Maybe this is why the field is so appealing and challenging to “PR people.” We cannot say that PR turned us into this monster, because truthfully we chose PR in order to capitalize on these “crazy” traits.

Do you agree with the description of “PR people”?
What do you think are necessary traits of a PR person?


Filed under The Industry

90% of You Won’t Read This Blog Post

We’ve all seen status updates on Facebook stating the corresponding user is associated with a certain cause/religious faith/political ideal and dares others to post the same status, claiming that anywhere from 93 percent to 97 percent “won’t re-post this.” Where do those statistics come from? Nowhere. They are assumed and fabricated.

There is something very comforting about a statistic. Numbers are clear and simple and seem to hold no bias. However, just as in the Facebook status example, stats can be just as easily manipulated as any other fact.

Oxford mathematician, Peter Donnelly, gave another, more serious example of wrong and careless use of statistics in a TEDOpen Translation Project speech back in 2005. He told the story of a British woman, Sally Clark, who gave birth to twins, both of whom died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The mother was tried and convicted of murder because a then-distinguished pediatrician said the chance of both babies, who were born to a professional, non-smoking family, dying fromSIDS was one in 73 million. Donnelly later went on to explain how this claim was not only bad math but also a blanket use of statistics. Thankfully, Sally Clark was later acquitted of the crime, and the doctor was faced with a disrepute charge before the Britain’s General Medical Council.

Statistics are dangerous things. They can be presented as truth with little to no support to back them up. They are used and abused and misinterpreted. Misrepresentation happens easily in everyday life, but, surprisingly, it also occurs in the professional realm as well.

How can we, as future or current PR professionals, use statistics responsibly and ethically?

Psychologist John Grohol’s blog “Bad Statistics: USA Today” on Psych Central outlined the important use of context in relation to statistics. Grohol cited a USA Today article that used the statistic, “Since 1970, the percentage of people ages 18 to 34 who live at home with their family increased 48%, from 12.5 million to 18.6 million.” He said the statistic sounds great . . . except for the fact that population growth within that 36-year period was not taken into account. Also, in 1970 many aged 18-34 were drafted for the Vietnam War — the 1970 number would naturally be lower.

We should always make sure to check the background of any statistics we use. Our goal is to help our client, but another one of our goals should be to provide factual, relevant information to our audiences. Check the context of all statistics and make sure the information is being presented in its correct light, and ensure you are not making wide-sweeping claims based on these statistics.

An example of a PR blunder related to blanket statements and statistics is the Baby Einstein case in 2009. The New York Times Article No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund explains how Disney, who bought the rights to Baby Einstein, had to offer a full refund to any parent who bought Baby Einstein for their children after studies were released that showed that “television exposure at ages 1 through 3 is associated with attention problems at age 7.”

Baby Einstein previously claimed to improve a baby’s cognitive development and prepare them for future education, according to the article. Baby Einstein also released a variety of baby-related statistics as good PR for the company, which, whether the statistics were true or not, helped create a false image of validity and reliability for the company.

Vicky Rideout, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, stated in the New York Times article that companies were more careful with blind claims after the Baby Einstein case, but misuse of statistics still occurs.

“When attention got focused on this issue a few years ago, a lot of companies became more cautious about what they claimed,” said Rideout in the article. “But even if the word ‘education’ isn’t there, there’s a clear implication of educational benefits in a lot of the marketing.”

Remember, just because it’s a number does not mean that you shouldn’t check and re-check the validity, just as you would with any other source. According to the PRSA Code of Ethics, PRSA recommends that all professionals “protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information.”

Statistics can be very useful and fun in highlighting trends to your audience, in creating a message and in tracking the success of a campaign. Just keep ethics in mind, and there shouldn’t be any problem!

By Karissa Bursch

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