#BanBossy

Sheryl Sandberg’s latest initiative, the #banbossy campaign, has certainly received a lot of attention recently. With FLOTUS, Beyonce, Jane Lynch, Jennifer Garner, etc. all jumping on board, not to mention the partnership with the Girl Scouts of America, it is no wonder that there has been such a widespread awareness of the platform. The core of Sandberg’s campaign, empowering girls to be leaders, is important as there is a rather large gender equality gap in this country – women still only make 81% of the median earnings of males according to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics.

Unfortunately for those close to the initiative, there is a fundamental flaw – the messaging, which is the core of any public awareness campaign. A few alternative hashtags come to mind that seem to accurately describe the #banbossy campaign - #mixedmessage #feminismfailure #emptyplatform #counterproductive.

Too harsh? Not exactly. Without thoughtful and meaningful messaging, efforts dedicated toward generating awareness for any campaign is inconsequential. That is, of course, if the purpose of this campaign is to actually effectuate change and empower girls to want to take on leadership roles.

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rarhofLast week, I attended the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The 5+ hour ceremony had some great moments (Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent & Lorde fronting Nirvana; a powerhouse performance from Bruce Springsteen; and a rare appearance by Cat Stevens), as well as some not-so-great moments (35 minutes of speeches from all 10 members of the E Street Band, which followed a 15-minute speech by Bruce himself).

Putting aside the debate over whether something as subjective as music should have a Hall of Fame, the event got me wondering about the future of awards themselves. Many clients – and many agencies – spend a lot of time going after them, yet often they’re as much a function of relationships and money as merit. Harvey Weinstein often gets accused of buying Oscars through advertising and marketing, but any PR person knows that industry awards are bought and sold all the time, and not just in Hollywood.

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Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The Heartbleed bug grabbed headlines and seemed to cause near panic among some Internet experts especially amid word on Friday that the NSA knew about the “hole” but kept mum to gather info; Changing passwords was in vogue late in the week.

Elsewhere:

  • Bill Gross of Pimco kept the El-Elrian departure story alive by saying on Bloomberg TV, “Come one, Mohamed, tell us why”; no direct answer why though;
  • Tech stocks tumbled pretty hard last week and brought down the overall market, with the Dow sliding 2.4 percent to end Friday at 16,026; bulls seem to be hiding;
  • The Feds raised the amount of money banks must hold in reserve against its assets at 5 percent from 3 percent, which means the biggies must keep as much as an additional $68 billion or perhaps cut back some risky activities;
  • Meanwhile, bank profits were mixed with Wells Fargo up 14 percent (consumer lending strength) while JP Morgan, the largest measured by assets, dropped 19 percent; and
  • Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central “Colbert Report” fame will host “Late Show” post David Letterman’s departure. End of Story
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verdict_actionFor nearly two decades, the Internet has been an extraordinarily unique (and largely unregulated) marketplace, considered to be the foundation of the digital age. However, three recent developments have put its quasi-essential element, net neutrality—the premise that all users receive equal access/delivery of data, services, or applications over the Internet—in jeopardy. Net neutrality has long been a heavily debated topic, and if the first quarter of 2014 is any indication, it’s just heating up. Has big business finally won out over the "owned by no one and everyone" spirit of the Internet? Below are three issues that have catapulted the Net Neutrality debate back into media headlines this year:

  1. On January 14th, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Verizon Communications Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission that the FCC has no authority to enforce Internet Service Providers to be neutral in their restrictions on bandwidth. Hailed as a victory for the cable broadband industry, the decision allows companies like Comcast and Verizon, to essentially pick winners and losers. Without restrictions, content providers could, in theory, be forced to pay telecom giants large sums for faster/more favorable service. Such a model would likely affect the everyday user, who could eventually end up paying more in the long run to offset the costs. There’s even concern that such free reign among cable/broadband providers could influence the content we actually see. Continue Reading »
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SAC_imgSAC Capital Advisors, Steven Cohen’s embattled hedge fund, changed its name to Point72 effective on Monday, just days before the firm’s plea of guilty to securities fraud charges is reviewed by a federal judge. This name change will accompany the firm’s transformation, pursuant to that plea agreement, from a manager of outside money to a family office, managing primarily Mr. Cohen’s substantial fortune. Sigma Capital, the firm’s equity long/short trading division will now do business as Point72 Asset Management and EverPoint Asset Management, while its multi-quant business, CR Intrinsic, will now operate as Cubist Systematic Strategies.

In the aftermath of one of the biggest insider trading investigations in Wall Street history, will the name change help the firm to move forward?

Our own Josh Clarkson and Melissa Barrero weigh in on the debate below.

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