Rebecca Minkoff…the flash sale that wasn’t

My obsession with Rebecca Minkoff bags began a few years ago while strumming through the pages of a magazine.  They are the best: unique, cool, laid-back…awesome.  The only drawback: they usually cost at least $500, even on ebay.  A few weeks ago, Rebecca informed her Twitter followers that she would be having an Online Flash Sale.  A flier on her Facebook page promised never-before-seen deals.  I was pumped.  It also warned that since this would be the first time they would be using their new server, some delays could occur.

That was an understatement.

The sale was to begin at 8 a.m. Eastern time so I was wide awake and on the site at exactly 7 a.m. our time.  Nothing.  Nothing would come up.  I went back to sleep, assuming they were having problems.  When I checked back two hours later, the problems continued.

On her Twitter page, Rebecca apologized for the inconvenience and promised the site would be up in 30 minutes to an hour.  Hours went by with no word from her, and the Web site was still down.  She had hundreds of Twitter replies about the sale.  In the beginning, they were friendly.  Then people got impatient.  The Facebook page was blowing up with comments from fans.  No one knew anything, and people were angry.

Finally, at 5 p.m., eight hours after the sale was supposed to begin and 7 hours after Rebecca’s last communication with customers, this email was sent and posted on her Facebook page.

I will continue to be obsessed with Rebecca Minkoff bags, and I will still be a loyal customer. However, this event was a PR nightmare. Technical difficulties happen. We expected it. However, the fury of customers could have been prevented with more communication. An hourly update would have been ideal, but they did nothing.

Next time, be smarter.




New Krystal Commercial, Copyright Infringement?

While watching the game today, I saw a new Krystal commercial that caught my attention.  It was for the new Krystal with crunchy onions, and on the surface appeared like numerous other fast food commercials.  A girl stood behind the cash register, ready to help a line of waiting customers.  In the line stood Ronald McDonald.  At first, you get a glimpse of his hair, then his signature feet.  Ronald’s face is never actually shown, but everyone will immediately recognize who he is.  Is this copyright infringement?  Obviously, mentioning one’s competitor in an ad is perfectly fine, but showing their mascot?  The fact that Krystal didn’t show Ronald’s face leads me to believe that using Ronald would pose some sort of legal problem.  But we know who he is without his face?  Does that make a difference?

The Brand of Kanye West

If you happened to miss Kanye West’s outburst during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the VMA’s Sunday night, you have probably seen, or at least heard, about it by now.

Just as Taylor, visibly shocked by the win herself, began to thank her loyal fans, Kanye came out of no where, grabbed the mic, and shouted, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you.  I’ll let you finish, but Beyonce has one of the best videos of all time.  One of the best videos of all time!”

Seriously?!?  He then handed the mic back to Taylor, as if she was supposed to keep going as if nothing had happened.  My friends and I sat staring at each other as MTV awkwardly flashed to a promo clip of Tracy Morgan then commercial.

While some have questioned if the act was staged, I don’t think that was the case.  However, this got me to thinking about the brand of Kanye West.

This is not the first time his temper has raged in front of a live audience.  How does his PR team allow this to continue happening?  Is being a jerk all part of the Kanye West brand?

His apology to Taylor on his blog would support this conclusion.  Before being deleted, Kanye posted “I’m not crazy ya’ll.  I’m just real.  Sorry for that!!!!”

Today, that comment had been removed, and in its place he posted, “I feel like Ben Stiller in “Meet the Parents” when he messed up everything and Robert De Niro asked him to leave…That was Taylor’s moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her.  I am truly sorry.”

A little better than the first, but he still sounds like a jerk.

Then, on Monday night, he was set to perform with Jay Z and Rhianna on the premiere of Jay Leno’s new show.  Before the performance he came out to talk with Jay.  When Jay asked what Kanye thought his mother would think about the incident, the artist appeared overly emotional.  After apologizing some more, he left the stage to an applauding audience.

So what does all of this leave us with?  Both artists have obviously gained a huge amount of publicity from the stunt.  And all publicity is good publicity right?  Maybe that’s what Kanye’s publicist was thinking…


While brainstorming for topic for my final APR blog, I realized, why shouldn’t I just write about blogging??  Prior to this class, I attempted to write a few blogs, but I never really followed through with more than a few posts.  I enjoy journaling to clear my head, and I kind of feel like that’s what a blog is too.  But something kept me from writing my true thoughts and feelings…I wasn’t sure I wanted to share those things with the rest of the world.  What would people think of my writing?  How would the things I wrote change their perception of me?  I decided it would be much better to keep my journaling private, not open to all of the world.  In reality, it wasn’t the rest of the world  I was concerned about, more like my small little circle of friends in Tuscaloosa.  Even if I changed the names, my friends and everyone else who knew me, would easily be able to distinguish who I was referring to.  So, I settled back to journaling.  Then my computer crashed, and everything I have ever written disappeared with it.  I was devastated.  When my roommates and I moved into our house 2 years ago, I began documenting our stories.  They were funny, sad and entertaining.  I could seriously write a novel with all the things I had written, but more importantly, as silly as it seems, I wanted to be able to share those stories with our daughters when they get to college.  Now they’re all gone.  If I had been blogging all those stories instead, they would still be here.

Then I started this class, and I continued to be hesitant about sharing my thoughts with all of you.  It’s awkward at first!  But then I realized that it’s a forum for all of us to express our ideas and learn from each other.  These discussions will make all of us better PR people when we get into the work world.  And once you get settled, it really isn’t that scary.

So, am I ready to open up my journaling?  Not yet…but maybe soon.

Feedback on UA Student News

As a few of you may know, I am the editor of UA Student News.  You’re welcome…I know you couldn’t live without my weekly email.  I know it can sometimes be annoying, but it’s much better than all the University emails we received before.  And I try to include only the information that all students actually need or may be interested in.

Anyways, as the year comes to an end, we will soon be evaluating the layout, information included, time you receive it…basically everything.  So if any of you have any suggestions, please let me know!  We created UA Student News to improve communication between UA administration and students, and I honestly believe it has helped tremendously.  I also realize that I have a hard time seeing its faults from the inside, so don’t be afraid to voice your complaints!

I’ve also been thinking about expanding it.  What do you think about creating a Twitter account?  I could post the info as I receive it and post reminders for deadlines, events, etc.  Would anyone be interested in following it?  Or would it be annoying??  Let me know!

Air Force One creates chaos in NY

Yesterday, a presidential plane created fear and chaos in Manhattan when, followed by a smaller plane,  it circled the city, flying lower than some buildings for a photo shoot.  While low-flying planes may not create much of a disruption in most U.S. cities, you can only imagine the terror it caused residents of NY who are still scared by the events of 9/11.

Mayor Bloomberg immediately expressed outrage.  While the flight was approved and local police had been informed, the citizens had not.  In an interview on the Today Show, President Obama also claimed he found about the event when the rest of America did.

A simple PR campaign could have easily prevented this issue.  Who was the genius who thought one wasn’t needed???

Click here to read more about the event.

Ad of Front Page of LA Times

A few weeks ago, The Los Angeles Times printed an ad on the front page of its newspaper, a true sign of the economic situation our country is facing.  The ad, for NBC’s new show Southland, appeared in a blocked of section to the left of the page, and while it was printed in a different font, the average reader probably wouldn’t have distinguished it from other editorial content.  In every communications class I’ve taken over the past three years, we have discussed the ethics of a situation like this, and I was completely shocked when I heard the story.

Since the explosion of the internet, the newspaper industry has been suffering, and the current situation obviously isn’t helping matters.  But I thought it was highly unusual that The LA Times, rather than a smaller newspaper, would be the first to break this cardinal rule of journalism.  Then I thought about it again.  People in LA have undoubtedly adapted to the technological age faster than other areas of the country, leading them to prefer their news online.  In addition, they tend to be more concerned with the environment, therefore interested in not wasting paper.  So could The LA Times really hurting more than local newspapers?  I haven’t seen the statistics, but it’s definitely an issue to ponder.

Click here for another blog about the ad.