PR Connections: Sea World Disaster

Dawn Brancheau, a whale trainer at SeaWorld Adventure Park, poses while performing. Brancheau was killed in an accident with a killer whale at the SeaWorld Shamu Stadium Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Julie Fletcher)

As most of you probably know last Wednesday Veteran Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed  by the killer whale Tilikum in front of a horrified audience.

Sea world continued shows the next day, but after making world news coverage because of the incident, the Orlando based attraction quicly saw themselves faced with a PR disaster.

SeaWorld has halted Shamu shows at the Orlando theme park and at sister parks in San Antonio and San Diego while it reviews the death.

In an article written by member of the Associated Press, steps are listed of possible actions Sea World can make in order to counteract this disater. Sea World officials stummbled in the first press conference after the incident saying that Brancheau had drowned and was not killed by one of the wales. They later spoke again, correcting themselves and saying how Brancheau had been drugged down into the water by her ponytail after Tilikum grabbed her.

One interesting point that was brought up in the article was that this incident may in fact help attendance, when it comes to the younger demographic.

Larry L. Smith, president of the Institute for Crisis Management, in Louisville, Ky. said that “It’s not going to draw families necessarily or older people who would typically visit there, but there is an age group that gets excited about the risks and the potential for drama and it may attract some of those folks.”

To read the entire AP story click here.

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T.O.W Week 5

Yahoo and Google dominate the online search engine market.

After reading Search Engine Visibility, an Edelman Insights paper by Steve Rubel and others at Edelman Digital, I found both some things that I knew prior to reading this and some things that I was not aware of or had never considered before when it comes to online search engines.

1. What did I learn- Before reading this paper, I previously knew a good amount about search engines, how they work, and that they are a big part of the online community. However, there were several things that broadened my knowledge of search engines after reading this paper. For example, I knew about the concepts behind paid searches, reputational searches, optimized searches and social searches, but I found it interesting the take that PR companies are taking to utilize new social networking technologies in order to fully optimize search engines. One line that I read that stands out is “While some may view this as “sour grapes,” it underscores the democratic opportunity: any content creator can see his/her page rank well on search engines, regardless of prestige. However, a site first has to earn Googleʼs trust.” This is referring to a New York TImes article in which searches for “gaza” when the conflicts there were big in news, were returned with outdated news articles about the happenings there. This statement reflects that with a medium so expansive as the Internet, that search engines are useful tools to get anyone’s voice heard, however there still are flaws with the system and it will take both the efforts of Google programmers, to make sure the most relevant and up-to-date information appears in a search, as well as it is the responsibility of searchers themselves, who have to take some initiative when searching and make sure that they review many of the results to get the most credible sources for what they are searching for.

2. What surprised me- I found the section “Reputational Search in Action” very interesting, because it went into detail on how social media can not only manipulate search results, but can also act as search engines themselves. PR professionals are beginning to utilize social networking sites like Twitter to generate exposure and in turn help them in the competition of getting noticed on search engines like Google and Yahoo.

3. What do I want to know more about- I feel that this paper takes a good and thorough approach to search engines, an furthermore, the effects of social networking on search engines and how PR companies are utilizing social networking technologies to influence search results. As social networking grows in popularity and more companies begin to utilize these marketing and promotional techniques, it will be interesting to see how this will effect online searches.

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T.O.W. week four

For this week’s assignment, we were to analyze a study that Adam Vincenzini conducted, where he asked users on Twitter for their definitions of social media in 140 words or less.

Here are a few that I found interesting and why:

@dbreakenridge Social media means listening carefully and learning to share valuable information that bonds people and builds strong relationships
(I found this interesting because it uses the word listening, where in social media, it is not so much about literally listening, but reading. However, this is equally important. Many people have the perception that social media is about letting your voice be heard, but it is also about hearing, or reading, what others have to say.)
@swonderlin Social media is a revolutionary tool – bringing thoughts & ideas together from every corner of the world and in all facets
(This is a fairly simple yet effective definition. I agree with this, because social media should be utilized in it’s full potential and should work as a learning environment for all involved.)
@ThatGirl_Chloe social media is a way to connect with people around the world & use these thoughts, experiences & conversations within real-life situations
(Finally, I chose this definition because it shows the “real-world” implementations of social media and its benefits to all who utilize it.)
For my own personal definition, I would define social media as this:
Social media provides an opportunity to connect, network, teach and learn in a digital environment to better all parties involved over a variety of technological platforms.

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PR Connections: Superbowl Ads Uneffective

The Superbowl ended Sunday night with the New Orleans Saints beating the Colts to win their first ever championship. While the game was highly competitive and compelling, the commercials seen this year during game breaks left something to be desired. Perennial favorites like Bud Light and Doritos had several spots where they tried to live up to previous commercials. Superbowl commercials are often times more highly anticipated than the game itself. While some companies aim for sheer humor in their spots, others aim for effectiveness.

This year however, there were very few ads that stood out. Outside of the normal favorites, the best spot from this year might have been an unexpected one. Hyundai enlisted quarterback Bret Farve to help promote their new vehicle, the 2010 Sonata.

Here is the ad:

In my opinion this was one of the best Superbowl commercials in a year of a fairly weak lineup. While ad fans look to the beer and chip companies to provide quality spots every year, it was a car company who stood out this time. This should create a lot of buzz about Hyundai and should provide a growth in their revenue.

We will have to wait and see if next year’s spots live back up to the annual high potential.

To learn more and to see the rest of this year’s commercials, click here.

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PR Connections: Social media beneficial in job searches

I was surfing the web the other day, and I came across an interesting article. As a college student who will be graduating in May, I am currently in the job hunting process. I usually skim over most job hunting tip stories when surfing the web, but an article I found on Yahoo, originally published in the USA Today, really caught my interest. The article suggests several tips on how to search for jobs, many of which involve new technologies and social media. The article suggests to utilize both Twitter and Facebook in helping to land a job.

Click here to read the article.

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Super Bowl Predictions

The Superbowl is today and everyone is throwing out there predictions on who they think will win the big game. So, with this said, I figured I might as well contribute my “expert opinion” to this pool of predictions. Both the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints have electrifying offenses that can put up a lot of points, I feel that defense, not offense, will be the difference this Sunday. So when it comes to defense, I like the Saints, because while they may not be the most feared defense in the league, they are very opportunistic and have utilized chances for big stops and turnovers all season long. I think that if the Saints defense can force a few turnovers and get a few stops, they will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night.

On offense, it’s going to come down to which team can capitalize on an opportunity when the other team cannot. Both the Saints and Colts have many weapons offensively and quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees will most likely put up a lot of passing yards in this game but I feel that it will be the running backs that will make the difference. In my opinion, the Saints have the upper hand here, with the tandem of Pierre ThomasMike Bell and Reggie Bush. The Colts Joseph Adai has been sub par at best this year, so if the game turns in to a battle of the running game, Indy might be in trouble.

When it comes to special teams, my pick is with the Saints once again. Although Bush doesn’t carry much of a threat through the tackles, he is very dangerous as a return man. Look for him to be a difference maker this Sunday and possibly take one back for six.

At the end of the day, I think that the Colts will be loading the plane tonight and asking “who dat just beat us?”

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PRCA 3030 TOW: Week 3

The topic of social media marketing has become a controversial one as of late. With the emergence of social media websites like Facebook and Myspace, that let users create an online profile for themselves that displays pictures, information and status updates about the individuals, employers have began to use this resource to find out more about just who they are interviewing and considering hiring for a position. This brings up the question of whether or not this process is ethical. Ethics is an interesting subject in itself. Ethics isn’t law, therefore, there is no law, at least not yet, that states it illegal to research potential employees by scanning their online profiles. It has been a longstanding tradition for jobseekers to research the companies that they are trying to work for, but nowadays, it is just as normal for employers to research you. There are many different stances on whether or not this practice is ethical or not, but as long as there is no formal provisions on doing this, employers are sure to keep utilizing this process to know more about potential employees. After all, employers do have the right to know more about who is applying to work for them. Some argue that it is unethical because employers do not have a right to dive into employees or potential employees personal lives, but this brings up the point of being responsible for what you post on the Internet. Although social media sites like Facebook started with the intention of supplying a platform for college students to connect with other college students and former high school friends, it is now open to everyone and can be seen by practically everyone if you do not put certain security restrictions on your accounts. The conclusion to this dilemma is a fairly simple one: do not post anything on your profile that you would not want someone, including potential employers, to see, and if you do, know how to put restrictions on who can view your profiles and exactly what information different people can view.

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