Super Bowl Sunday

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Top Story: Super Bowl XLIX

This week, it's all about Super Bowl XLIX. Let’s take a look at how the teams and the fans are getting ready for the big game:
Post by CNN.
Actors Chris Evans, who played Captain America, and Chris Pine, who played Star-Lord, place their bets:
bet
If you're wondering what was really behind Deflategate, wonder no more: [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feuNeJewzDo[/youtube]

Around the Hub: Super Bowl Sunday

o-SUPER-BOWL-PARTY-facebook Super Bowl XLIX pits our hometown heroes the New England Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks. Whether you’re headed out or hosting a party, Boston’s best dining and drinking establishments are fueling fandom with game day grub—and the requisite beers.  

BOKX 109 American Prime

Inside Hotel Indigo, 399 Grove St, Newton

Catch the game on multiple big screens. At the bar for $25 per person, nosh on a bountiful buffet-style spread of Wings in a variety of flavors like Asian, BBQ, Hot, Hotter, and BOKX Blaster; Baked Mac and Cheese; and Seven Layer Dip with house made chips. Pitchers of draught beer are an additional $10.

Chef Dante de Magistris’ Restaurants

Celebrate Football Americano the Italiano way with complimentary Pomodoro Bruschetta. Every time the Patriots score, enjoy arancini (porcini risotto, mozzarella, and spicy tomato sugo at il Casale and porcini risotto, mozzarella, and truffle honey at Restaurant dante).  

The Tap Trailhouse

19 Union St, Boston

Indulge in a taste of New England with the $15 Pats Pairing: the Noble Dog, a ½ lb brown sugar and Freedom Trail Ale poached hotdog topped with Boston baked beans, and a flight of craft beer. Arrive before the end of first quarter and stay until the end of the game to be automatically entered into a special gift card giveaway. Pats win, you win - a gift card in the dollar amount of the Pats’ final score for your table.  

Chopps American Bar and Grill

Inside the Boston Marriott Burlington, 1 Burlington Mall Road

In front of the bar's 12 big screens, enjoy the $50 Playoffs Package for two: a meaty Chopp-Lover’s Pizza with ground sirloin, pepperoni, applewood bacon and spicy sausage, two signature Dry Aged Burgers topped with cheddar, BBQ aioli and crispy onions and two draught beers. Want to keep the party at home? Worthy of the hungriest fans is the $70, 4-person Touchdown To Go package: Chopps Tots, Guacamame with fresh tortilla chips, Lobster BLT Sliders and Shrimp Cocktail. For takeout orders, call 781.221.6643 for pickup from 12 – 5 p.m at least 45 minutes in advance.

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5 Ad Themes for Super Bowl XLIX

superbowl-xlix_home_page The big game is this Sunday, and that means the most expensive ads on TV are also being released. Like always, we're seeing a lot of ads slated for the Super Bowl being revealed already. Let's take a look at this year's commercial trends through the ads we are already seeing.

The Celebrity

It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without celebrity appearances–many of them. So far, we know of numerous advertisements featuring the famous, including a hilarious take by Mindy Kaling for Nationwide, a very on-brand ad by Snickers featuring Danny Trejo, and a shameless, self-promoting Kim Kardashian for T-mobile’s PSA-style spot. Brands, and their ad agencies, will keep celebrities in their playbook year after year, Super Bowl or otherwise. The reason? It works. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTwzsV3I3OQ[/youtube]

The Over-the-Top

Super Bowl commercials have a long history of offending women with sexist themes and subliminal—or not so subliminal—messages. Unfortunately, the trend continues into 2015, with controversy surrounding Charlotte McKinney, featured model in Carl’s Jr, “Au Natural” Super Bowl spot. One person tweeted, “setting feminism back 4 decades,” but for Carl’s Jr., the more controversy the better. The fast-food brand is reaping the benefits as the most talked about ad thus far. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WTA_8waxTo[/youtube]

The Sentimental

Look out for the sentimental, because this year brands are really hoping to make that emotional connection. Perhaps the Super Bowl isn’t the appropriate context for such appeals, but some brands would disagree: Toyota will include Paralympic athlete Amy Purdy in an inspiring spot, Budweiser will tell an emotional story of a puppy who learns the true meaning of friendship, and Dove Men+Care will run an ad intended to defy male stereotypes. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoqWo3SJ73c[/youtube]

The Daddy Bowl

In addition to the Dove Men+Care example just noted, other brands are looking to connect with men this Super Bowl–and in ways that don’t include naked ladies! No, fatherhood is the trend this Super Bowl. Toyota’s “To Be A Dad” spot warms hearts with NFL players DeMarcus Ware, LaWar Arrington, Fred Jackson and Kurt Warner talking about their fathers and what it’s like to be a dad. Nissan’s #withdad advertisement takes a similar approach, featuring narratives of “life’s best moments #withdad.” [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ-Yiuc9sOQ[/youtube]

The #Hashtag

As in recent years, Advertisers are using hashtags to bring the conversation (and hype) online. According to Marketing Land, hashtags were used in 57 percent of nationally-run Super Bowl ads last year, up from 50% in 2013.Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 2.25.32 PMHere are just a few: What other themes are you seeing?   **Written by Marketing intern Victoria Taylo, Communication major at Boston University (Class of 2015).

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The Ball’s in Your Court: How To Handle a PR Crisis in a Social Media Crazed World

football_620x350 On Tuesday night, I attended the Publicity Club of New England’s first 2015 event—Calming a Crisis in a Sports-Crazed World. It was an engaging event with a lot of great takeaways. One of my favorite parts was hearing the insider stories from the panelists. The panel gave great insight on how to manage a crisis as a PR professional, especially in the fast-paced social media and 24/7 news cycle world we live in. In order to successfully handle a crisis, organizations have to be prepared in advance, with core values, procedures, and spokespeople established. Expectations are high for PR professionals and organizations during a crisis, so you have to execute flawlessly, while keeping up with the pace of the news and social media. The event was moderated by Alex Reimer (@AlexReimer1), sports columnist for Boston Herald and BostInno, and the panelists were two of Boston’s best sports PR and marketing pros.
  • Jim Delaney, president, Activate Sports & Entertainment, @Activate
  • Heather Walker, PR director, Boston Celtics, @Celtics
sports Both panelists discussed how they manage their organizations, players and social media accounts during a crisis, and Reimer was able to offer a journalist’s perspective. Hot topics of the night included the NFL’s domestic violence issues and the very recent Patriots #DeflateGate.
  • Balance of PR and Legal

    We all know that “no comment” doesn’t fly, but sometimes when it is a legal issue an organization has no choice. Delaney emphasized how important it is for PR and legal to work together for crisis communications in order to effectively handle the situation at hand.
  • Stick to the Organization’s Core Values

    During a crisis it is important to be true to your brand and stick to the organization’s core values. Walker discussed how the Celtics brand is very transparent and all about the truth. In a crisis they wait for the facts, rather than making a hasty statement just to get it out fast.
  • Don’t Let a Brush Fire Turn into a Wild Fire

    News gets out fast and you have to get in front of it and deal with it. The 1 a.m. #DeflateGate tweet is a perfect example of how social media takes news to the next level. The principles of crisis communications haven’t changed, but the speed of it has. You no longer have lag time—the media and public wants an immediate response.
  • Not a Matter of If, but When

    Crises will happen, so put a plan in place in advance that you can execute when it happens. Everyone internally should know their role. Outside relationships with the media can make all the difference—they should know who to call when something happens.
  • Be Proactive

    Walker pointed out the importance of being proactive by training and placing the spokespeople of your organization in places they can succeed. It can make all the difference knowing who’s better for what media outlet (i.e. TV, radio); and who can speak to what topic.
Overall it was a great event with key learnings and examples on how to handle a PR crisis. With all the recent media frenzy’s, it only makes me wonder what big crisis will break next?

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State of the Union, Exploding Kittens, Microsoft HoloLens and The Mayor’s Super Bowl Send Off Party

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Top Story: Obama's State of the Union Address

obama state of the union This past Tuesday night, President Barak Obama delivered his 2015 State of the Union address. In the chamber of the House of Representatives, the president described what had been accomplished in his presidency and confirmed his goals for the future. We’ve established three key takeaways from his speech here:

Aiding The Middle Class

One of the Presidents goals that he spoke avidly about was assisting the middle class in the US.  By imposing two new tax credits—a $500 credit for two-income families and a $3,000 child credit for children under 5 to help with childcare—the middle and lower classes could be helped tremendously.  He also talked of goals to establish sick leave laws in different states, and help raise the US minimum wage.

The Growing Economy

The president also cited several statistics pointing to the end of the economic recession and a growth of prosperity in the United States.  Our unemployment rates are lower than at the beginning of the crisis.  Our economy is expanding and creating jobs at a quicker rate than in has since 1999.  Our dependence on foreign oil is also at an all time low, with the currently US being the number 1 producer of oil and gas in the world.

Free Community College

Mr. Obama also unveiled a bold new initiative to make the first two years of community college schooling free for students.  Whether the students are older and looking to expand their skill set, or younger and cannot afford state or private schools, the president is aiming to make those first years of schooling free of cost.  In a nation with a massive amount of student debt, the impact of this proposal could be enormous. On a side note, a particularly interesting moment occurred during the speech when the President explained that he had “no more campaigns to run.”  When Republicans began to cheer at that fact, Mr. Obama simply responded, “I know because I won both of them.”  The funny retort prompted a storm on social media, with the hashtag #IWonBothofThem trending throughout the night. You can read the transcribed speech here. What did you think of the President’s address?  

Tool of the Week: Exploding Kittens

exploding kittens Matthew Inman, cartoonist and creator of the popular comic website The Oatmeal, launched a fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter Tuesday for a new card game that hoped to raise $10K in a month. What it got was more than $700K in a few hours and over $2 million in just over 24 hours. Exploding Kittens “is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.” The game rules are explained in an animated video on its Kickstarter page. Players take turns drawing from the deck until someone draws an exploding kitten card and loses the game. With each card drawn, the game becomes more intense, increasing the likelihood of drawing the exploding kitten card. The deck is equipped with various cards to help you avoid the kitten card and cards to defuse the kitten with laser points, kitten therapy, and catnip sandwiches. Note: The game creators did write on their fund-raising page that they do not wish to harm actual kittens. Back the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter to receive a playable game of your own!  

Under the Radar: Microsoft HoloLens

b Microsoft recently revealed its next invention the company is calling “the next PC”: Holographic glasses. Microsoft HoloLens is a headset that adds holograms to the world around you and lets you experience virtual environments. For instance, you can play Minecraft with real-life objects, make a support call via Skype, and walk on Mars. microsoft hololens Microsoft hasn’t disclosed how the new technology works; just that it is completely self-sufficient, meaning no wires and no need for a connection to a PC or phone. The possibilities are endless.  

Around the Hub: Mayor Walsh's Patriots Super Bowl Send-Off Party

patriots Mayor Walsh will host a Super Bowl send-off rally for the Patriots on Monday, January 26 at 11 a.m. in City Hall Plaza:
I am thrilled to host our conference champion New England Patriots at City Hall to rally before we send them off to another Super Bowl. This is an exciting time for Boston, and I remind all fans to celebrate responsibly and make our City proud.
The City Hall Plaza send-off will feature performances by the Patriots cheerleaders, as well as appearances by team mascot Pat Patriots and the Patriots End Zone Militia. Both Robert and Jonathan Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and captains Tom Brady, Dan Connolly, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater will be in attendance. The Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 1.  In Glendale, Arizona.

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No Blogger Left Behind: 10 Tips For Getting Noticed And Standing Out

left out Are you the blogger left behind? Is everyone else being offered opportunities with your favorite brand partners while you stand there with your jaw on the floor? Do you have a terrific flare for creative content but can’t get the “right” people to look at it? The following are 10 tips for getting noticed and standing out to prospective brand partners. Whether you are just starting a blog or you’ve been blogging for several years, it doesn’t hurt to keep a list like this handy. Don’t get left behind over a few tiny forgotten details!  

1. Own A Unique URL.

Keep this in mind: every brand representative, be it a marketer, publicist or social media manager, is held accountable by someone, so presentation counts. If it’s the difference between MyBlogname.blogspot.com or MyBlogName.com, they will gravitate towards the latter because it is less wordy and more aesthetically pleasing. Beyond looking better, a unique URL allows web-traffic analysis sites like Compete to track analytics and report on reader statistics, which is essential for reporting back to brand partners.  

2. Be Social.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram… Make sure you are present and active on the platforms relevant to your blog. Remember it’s not just a numbers game– brand reps are looking out for followers as well as engagement. It’s also a good strategy for all of your social handles to be identical as it makes you easier to find.  

3. Make Your Email Address Visible.

Why would you keep your contact information a closely guarded secret? Publicists wanting to work with you are out there, but their time is just as valuable as yours.  Don’t make them hunt for your information or you run the risk of having that potential partner move on to someone else.  

4. Look Pretty.

Don’t clutter your page with an unreasonable amount of advertisements, graphics, logos or text that isn’t content. Your post will most likely be screen-captured and you want to look good in the campaign report.  

5. Be Selective.

Do not say yes to everything. It will exhaust you and make it impossible to meet all of your deadlines. Pick partners that you are passionate about and that will be of special interest to your readers. Sure, a new line of home décor accessories is tempting, but you traditionally write about dining out and local events. At the end of the day, people read your blog because they like you so make sure you are being genuine in your writing. Believe it or not, your readers can tell when you’re writing about something simply because you were paid to.  

6. Over Communicate.

Reply to emails from brand representatives in a timely fashion and don’t be afraid of asking questions. As soon as the content is live, send all of your links (blog post, social shares) to the partner. If you enjoyed the interaction and experience, check back in with the partner a couple of months later to see if there are new opportunities to work together.  

7. Accept Invites.

As a blogger, you will be invited to events. Keep professionalism in mind! Dress the part, do not bring the whole family (unless the event specifically calls for it or you got permission), be on time, take notes, and post about it in a timely manner.  

8. Don’t Wait.

If you are the blogger wondering why so many brands reach out to your colleagues but not you, don’t wonder anymore. Be proactive and find contacts. Reach out and introduce yourself, your blog and why you feel that you’d be a perfect partner for them. If they aren’t able to work with you at that time, find out what you need to do in order for them to reconsider.  

9. Monetize.

A lot of bloggers charge for “sponsored posts” and rightfully so. If no product has changed hands for review, or a review of the product requires a substantial amount of time and effort, it is reasonable to request a fee. However, it is smart to find out what your peers are pricing themselves at and to be aware of trends in the marketplace. In some instances it is better to ask, “What is the budget for this?” rather than blindly sending a price back to a potential partner and risk pricing yourself out of the opportunity.  

10. Disclose.

The FTC has laid out very clear, very important rules for bloggers, social media influencers and digital advertisers. These rules are commonplace now and will not deter readers. No one wants to be the blogger who thinks they can get away without them and suddenly finds themselves fined by the FTC. Be smart!   What other tips would you add?

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