Monday, November 5, 2007

Social Networking

I missed class today, so I did not know which topic I should discuss in my blog. I’m going back a couple weeks to the topic of companies and their involvement in Social Networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace. In my own internet lurking I come across pages dedicated to ads instead of personal profile very often, and honestly I pay more attention to these pages than pop-ups or spam. When a person has the choice of clicking instead of being bombarded, it encourages their participation. The article posted brought up different examples of company involvement in these sites, and I was particularly interested in Target. They worked it the right way. From a PR standpoint, it allowed for feedback, which is fundamental. From an advertising standpoint, it got students pumped about their products and made them feel involved. It’s all about the angle employed. Their page was about the customer and their experience instead of the product. I can see where Wal-Mart ran into trouble. People don’t shop at Wal-Mart for the look or experience; they shop for the prices. A company has to have an ethical background before they open up to public scrutiny. Their page brought out flaws and discouraged buyers instead of attracting them. I don’t see the problem with companies using these sites as long as they are prepared for the outcome. If they put themselves out there, they have to be honest and willing to change when things do not turn out their way.

Monday, October 29, 2007


The article linked about ethics and the American Diabetes Association brought up a lot of interesting points. In my opinion the issue this organization is facing brings up the glaring flaw in the PRSA Code of Ethics. If being an advocate for your organization is the primary goal of a PR Practitioner, then the ADA is acting ethically. Without sponsorship money, they cannot function. As long as they inform the public on healthy lifestyle choices, then they are being ethical. However letting food companies use the ADA logo on their packages is leading the public to believe that those foods are safe for a diabetic and healthy for consumers. In actuality the logo simply means they have donated money to the ADA’s cause. When the ADA does not allow them to use their logo, then that costs them sponsorship money, which in turn hurts them. So the question is, what hurts more? Food giants like Cadbury make both junk foods and healthy ones, so where does the ADA draw the line. My vote would be to not accept money from companies that do not on some level promote a healthy lifestyle. Denying the Burger King money is understandable and essential. Credibility is an important principle in PR and the ADA would be nothing without it. The logo should only be placed on recommended foods.

Monday, October 22, 2007


It’s funny how after talking last week about how poorly Southwest Airlines handled an apology, to see another small airline do such a bang up job. JetBlue had an incident where a winter storm resulted in over a thousand cancelled flights, and otherwise created chaos in the airport. Naturally, the reputation of the airline was tarnished with the incident. But instead of placing blame, making jokes, or letting it blow over, a very sincere video apology was issued by the company’s CEO David Neeleman. In a case like this it is incredibly important to assume the right tone. The affected customers must feel like the airline is sincere or their business could be lost forever. Potential customers need to feel like if this happened to them, they would be treated fairly. The message did just that. It was conversational, which made it seem more sincere. The CEO gave the message when a PR Rep could have easily done the job. Most importantly, it offered a solution. He promised that something on that level would never happen again. Southwest hardly offered this kind of response, and in fact it did happen again with them. Another customer was kicked off the plane for an offensive t-shirt. As if the first statement wasn’t bad enough, this just adds insult to injury.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Southwest Airlines appears to be going through some growing pains. They have made the switch from a smaller low-fare airline associated with the young cost conscious traveler to a major carrier. Apparently with their growing success, they haven’t maintained a handle on their public relations. Advertising has always been geared towards a younger audience, due to its humorous nature. This has given them the appearance of a laid back airline, so naturally the people were confused when the incident of dress code and traveler Kyla Ebbert losing her seat on the plane became public. There was no company policy regarding dress code on the plane, and even if there had been one in place, it would be a highly subjective issue. What is obscene or distracting to one person could be perfectly acceptable to the next. In my opinion if no body parts were exposed, then there it’s simply an issue of taste.

In this case a public relations department must make absolute sure that everyone employed by the company is aware of policy, and understands that rash decisions based on taste cannot be made. These instances are unavoidable at times, but when they do occur there must be a timely and sincere apology to the victim. The apology from Southwest was infuriating. It was insincere, late, and did not offer the any solution. They relied on the same humor present in their advertising to laugh off the incident, when in actuality a person was violated and embarrassed.

Monday, October 8, 2007

PRSA Code of Ethics

After reading the PRSA Code of Ethics, I found it coincided quite a bit with the ethics we discussed in class. The most important principle according to PRSA is truth, but no matter what having your organizations interest in mind. In this sense, it seems that the code takes on more of a utilitarian point of view. The code believes that the public's interests are important to an organization, but since the position of an advocate is taken by the practitioner not every person can benefit. The ultimate beneficiary always seems to be the organization with these values. If the organization is being truthful in their practices, however, this will result in a well served public.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Do unto others

Today in class we discussed the Dallas Morning News article by Nicholas Wade, "The Evolution of Morality." I found the article brought up a few very interesting points. Is the concept of "do unto others" written into our genes. It goes back to the basic belief behind cosmopolitanism. Though everyone may not have the same background, culture, and religious beliefs, there are basic moral principles that are true across national borders. Most cultures believe killing the innocent or helpless or wrong, they value authority, and they place an importance on chastity and history.

I also found it very interesting that religious behavior in its earliest forms, could have been tied to natural selection. Dr. Haidt believes that in order to survive humans found ways to bind them together in groups, and similar beliefs created that bond. It is true in every form of socialization I have learned since childhood, those who are part of a group have an easier go of things.

He did kind of lose me in the political alignment of values. I consider myself liberal, and when I took the quiz provided on, the results seemed odd to me. Maybe reading the article beforehand made the outcome somewhat skewed.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Case Study Assignment

The upcoming case study I will be writing will be an in depth media analysis of the recent Apple iPhone pricing disaster. I will discuss the hierarchy of values in a public relations strategy, if there was one, Apple's over-hyped product release, and the method with which they delt with public outcry after the price drop. I will determine whether or not they assumed a utilitarian or communitarian theory in dealing with the incident, and try to propose a resolution.