Subway SandwichI like sandwiches. A lot. That said, I’ve never liked Subway because the sandwiches are just bad. As a storyteller and marketer though, I’ve followed the brand and been intrigued by their full embrace of an average Joe (or Jared, as it were) who become the face, voice and arguably heart of the brand for nearly 15 years.

Aligning a brand with a single person is an incredibly risky move. Sure, if your audience loves that person, he or she can move the product – and this was certainly the case with Jared and Subway for many years. But what happens when a fallible individual (we’re all human) self-destructs?

Brands rely on their reputation and consumer trust to be successful. These are two things that are built over time and can take years to establish – but humans, as we know, can find themselves in hot water in a matter of seconds in the age of digital media and citizen journalism.

I work in the world of earned media, which means I tend to have less control over outcomes. So putting one’s brand reputation in the hands of a single person, whether celebrity or otherwise, just seems like too big a risk for my taste.

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The presidential campaign is in full swing with last count seeing some 16 contenders for the Republican race, least among them Donald Trump in full photo-op glory going to the US/Mexican border, the demarcation line for him with immigration now the focus of his stump speeches. Hillary has been caught sending US confidential emails from her personal account, despite her claims to the contrary, and The New York Times last week was forced to issue a sticky correction on an exclusive story about the Justice Department review into that email account.  More (much more) to come.

Elsewhere:

  • Japan’s Nikkei acquired the FT Group, which includes the Financial Times for $1.32 billion;
  • Anthem agreed to buy Cigna in a $48 billion deal;
  • Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, known most recently as the shamed sexter, joined PR firm MWW, with a PR drama itself of Weiner proportion with his new employers having to explain after the announcement that he will not be directly handling client matters;
  • Gawker declared it would be “20 percent nicer” following the decision to take down an article about a media exec’s possible gay-escort exploits, which prompted two editors to quit and lots of finger-pointing ink;
  • Other other-worldly news this week after Pluto discoveries last week with “Earth’s Cousin” seen through the Kepler Space Telescope, showing near-same properties of our home base some 1,400 light years away;
  • Amazon delivered (and not by drone) surprising profits for the most recent quarter, pushing its stock sharply higher and its market cap above Wal-Mart’s; and
  • A new Dr. Seuss book has been discovered and published, “What Pet Should I Get?” just in time for summer beach reads.

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Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .london-rain

London’s famous rainy weather has reared its head today, with more than one month’s worth of rain predicted to fall throughout the day. You’d think we Brits would be more prepared, but in the office we seem to only have one (now communal) umbrella.

John Bercow, the Speaker in the House of Commons (the presiding officer of the lower chamber of Parliament) has come under fire today for his outrageous travel and accommodation expense. The expenses which totalled over £31000 last year, included a claim of £983.40 for a chauffeured lift from Halifax to London – that’s just over $1500 for a journey that takes less than 3hours by train!

This week’s Greek debt crisis coverage appears to shed more positive light on the nation. The Greek government has taken crucial steps towards a bailout after its parliament passed a second set of reforms.

Obama’s remarks on Wednesday encouraging the UK to remain part of the European Union, has received hostile reactions and significant criticism from a variety of Eurosceptic groups. One Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) responded to Obama’s statement tweeting, “Tell you what, Barack Obama, if you’re so keen on the EU, why don’t *you* pay to bail out the wretched euro?”

As for the celeb gossip, it is being reported that Tom Cruise is ‘head-over-heels’ for his British assistant. They are already thought to be planning a life of matrimonial bliss with rumours circling in Hollywood that Cruise may have popped the question already during a recent trip to Morocco. End of Story

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

This continues to the summer of big, big news and last week did not disappoint, with world leaders reaching a historic agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear ability for more than a decade (and also lifting sanctions), and the prospect of Grexit forcing everyone back to the debt-bargaining table with analysts and markets alike seemingly following every move.

Elsewhere:

  • In other-wordly news and what seemed to be kind of under-reported, the world got a glimpse of Pluto (mountains and ice!) following NASA’s New Horizons mission, nearly a decade in the making;
  • Also kinda other wordly, Google share prices soared more than 16 percent or about $65 billiion in one day on strong earnings numbers;
  • The markets also popped last week with Nasdaq posting a record high amid Google strength and the Dow up 1.8 percent to close at 18,086; The Dow, however, is up only 1.5 percent for the year, reflecting most likely slower growth in the industrial market;
  • The teaser video for Showtime’s new series “Billions,” co-written by Andrew Ross Sorkin came out last week, prompting ink that suggested this will likely be a buzzy weekly show, at least at the start;
  • Lego is moving to eco-friendly materials for its petroleum based building blocks; and
  • Jade Helm 15 happened – or didn’t.

LATAM GAZE

  • Mexico this week offered up its first oil blocks to private investors this week but demand did not meet expectations;
  • The Speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, this week announced he is leaving the governing coalition; and
  • The judge investigating Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and her family over possible money laundering has been removed from the case. End of Story
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HartleyProducing video content, whether in movies, advertising or otherwise, can cost millions of dollars and take years of planning. The growing demand and viability for video, however, is accelerating the need for efficiencies in cost, time and project management as more groups seek to leverage video’s impactful storytelling capacity.

Created and produced for Hiscox Insurance, Courageous Leaders is a digital docuseries demonstrating a new model for video relevance. The format creates a complete package for online video – from production to distribution and promotion. To maximize efficiency, the process is helmed by one, multidimensional group that can coordinate with the client and other external groups to keep the development as consistent and clear. This closed-loop is a tighter pipeline for communication, which enhances the story and coordination by removing extra steps, costs and inefficiencies.

The following is a breakdown of how this model operates from concept to promotion.

Production:
For an agency to perform across disciplines, its people must be multidimensional. Prosek’s head of digital, Wilson Cleveland, coordinated the video production, secured and scheduled on-camera interviews with all six interviewees across specific vertical industries. Key partnerships are also essential and Prosek enlisted video production experts Iris Mediaworks to assist with all aspects of the production – from concept to edit. In the end, because Cleveland was able to communicate with clients directly, and be on set to execute the vision, production efficiencies were achieved. Hundreds of hours of shooting and a synchronized strategic media plan can be completed in 26 days.

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