Don Draper’s revelation

Posted by Brian Lee on May 18, 2015 in Marketing, Television

“A new day. New ideas. A new you.”

Those words were spoken to Don Draper as he began to meditate during the closing minutes of the series finale of “Mad Men.” From there, he had an a-ha moment–or as we like to say here, a “revelation”–and subsequently created the famous “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” commercial.

I know that feeling. Although I don’t meditate, I’ve come up with ideas (although none of that scale) while on the elliptical, while reading and while watching “Mad Men” (honest!).

You don’t need to be in an office brainstorming session to come up with the next big idea. In my experience, inspiration can come from anywhere and anytime. Just don’t forget to write it down!




Pay it forward

Posted by Brian Lee on May 12, 2015 in Personal Note

PRSA asked me to submit a blog post about how I have volunteered in the organization. I immediately thought of the mentoring I provide to students. Here’s my article titled, “Pay It Forward: Working With The Next Generation Of PR Practitioners.”



Slogans: Good, Bad and the Ugly

Posted by Taylor Thomas on May 7, 2015 in Marketing

Slogans can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. In this case, the latter: As part of Budweiser’s #UpforWhatever campaign, Bud Light recently released the following slogan on their bottle: “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”

It didn’t take long before others began pointing out how the slogan could lead to endorsing a rape culture.

Even though Anheuser-Busch apologized for the slogan, discontinued the bottle and stated it would never condone such behavior, it begs the question as to how the slogan even got approved in the first place.

Although the #UpforWhatever campaign is intended to encourage spontaneous fun, this isn’t the first time the #UpforWhatever campaign has come under fire. The company sent a controversial St. Patrick’s Day tweet that some felt played down sexual consent.

It doesn’t matter the size of your company–put serious thought into your slogan. Think outside the box and put yourself in the outsider’s point-of-view. How will your slogan come across?



Six mistakes bar managers make

Posted by Brian Lee on April 30, 2015 in Marketing

After several years of running a dining guide in Madison, Wis., and performing PR/marketing consulting for restaurants and bars, I’ve seen a common set of mistakes that bar managers make.

  1. Not having happy hour and/or drink specials. The increase in customers (who may actually order food, too) will easily make up for the minor discount you offer on drinks.
  2. Constantly changing drink specials. Stick with your specials! You are conditioning customers to expect a certain special–that’s one of the ways you build your base of regulars. One way to make it easier: instead of naming a price ($3.50 rails), just name a discount ($1 off rails). That way you don’t have to keep changing the specials when you inevitably raise your prices. (On another note, don’t call “everyday specials” as “specials,” because if a particular drink is that price every day, then that is the regular price!)
  3. Not accepting credit cards. People buy way more drinks when they start a tab. If you’re worried about people buying one drink with a credit card, set a minimum amount. (I also know some bar managers who prefer a cash-only system to avoid paying taxes. Have fun in jail.)
  4. Not having any web presence. Are you kidding? At least start a Facebook page!
  5. Allowing bartenders too much leeway (only serving regulars, drinking too much, etc.). This has many repercussions, including making the bar unwelcoming to new customers. In other words, this is very bad for business and gives your bar a poor reputation.
  6. Not being aware of area events. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a bar that was understaffed (meaning, unprepared) for people coming in from a nearby event. Similarly, I’ve been to bars that didn’t know a major sporting event was on TV, and again, was understaffed.


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Cabela’s Prepares for Grand Opening of Sun Prairie Store

Posted by Brian Lee on April 22, 2015 in Client news

Cabela’s Prepares for Grand Opening of Sun Prairie Store


SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (April 22, 2015) – Cabela’s will celebrate the grand opening of its new Sun Prairie, Wis., store Thursday, April 30, with a unique ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a weekend-long celebration.

Opening day will kick off with crowd entertainment at 8 a.m. and include giveaways, trivia games, a live performance by country-music artist Tom Jackson and more. An opening ceremony hosted by Cabela’s executives will begin at 9:45 a.m. and conclude with the grand-opening ribbon being cut by an arrow shot from a bow by a local Cabela’s employee.

“Outdoor enthusiasts in and around the greater Madison area have expressed a great deal of excitement about Cabela’s opening this store. Our staff has been working and training hard to ensure every outdoorsmen and women who enters our doors has a great experience,” said Randy Breslow, the store’s general manager. “Cabela’s has a loyal customer base in Wisconsin and we can’t wait for the opportunity to serve those customers and introduce others to the unique Cabela’s experience.”

Cabela’s grand-opening festivities will continue throughout the weekend with giveaways, special guests, family activities and more. On Thursday, the first 500 customers in line, 18 years or older, will a receive gift card valued up to $500. The first 50 customers through the door Friday will receive a Cabela’s utility bag. On Saturday, the first 50 customers will receive a Cabela’s commemorative grand opening cap. And on Sunday, the first 50 customers will receive a Cabela’s tripod stool.

Customers 18 years and older can also enter to win a $1,000 Cabela’s shopping spree sponsored by Pepsi or a new GoPro HERO4 Silver action camera. Special appearances between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 will include:

  • Benny Spies, Cabela’s Ambassador and Host of “Gun It” television series
  • Jeff Fuller, Cabela’s Pro Staff and Host of “SportingDog Adventures” television series
  • Tom Nelson, Cabela’s Ambassador and Outdoor Channel television host
  • Mark Millis, Cabela’s Ambassador and Outdoor Channel television host
  • Jim and Donna Teeny, Cabela’s Pro Staff and owners of Jim Teeny Inc.
  • Tim Andrus, Realtree Pro Staff and Host of “Rush Outdoors” television series
  • Babe Winkelman, Host of “Good Fishing” television series (Saturday only)

Additionally, Cabela’s will host a variety of activities for the entire family from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. Activities include:

  • Shoot Like A Girl – Shooting Sports for Women Interactive Trailer
  • Cabela’s – Youth BB-Gun Range
  • Parker Bows – Archery Challenge
  • Do-All Outdoors ¬¬– Pro Boat and Product Demos
  • UW-Madison Fishing Team – Casting Workshop
  • Beretta – Show Truck
  • And more

The 90,000-square-foot store is located at 1350 Cabela Drive in the Prairie Lakes Shopping Center off of Highway 151, Exit 100. It is designed to surround customers in a fun, outdoor-like experience with log construction, stonework, a large mountain replica, aquarium, indoor archery range and dozens of museum-quality wildlife displays. Additionally, it includes a deli, fudge shop, Gun Library and Bargain Cave.

To staff the new store, Cabela’s has employed more than 225 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees, most coming from Sun Prairie and the surrounding area.

Store hours for opening day are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 30. Regular store hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For additional information, call 608-478-4100 or visit www.cabelas.com/sunprairie.





Read the news

Posted by Brian Lee on April 15, 2015 in Public relations

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I read news from at least seven media outlets every day. I cannot tell you how many times it has helped me with clients and prospective clients to be up-to-speed on what’s going on in a cross-section of industries.

Still, I’m stunned how many PR practitioners don’t read the news. It doesn’t count to “read the news” based on what you see in your social media feed, as your connections may only be alerting you to trending topics, not necessarily important topics (push vs. pull).

Plus, anyone who practices media relations should get to know reporters’ names and beats, learn what direction the editorial board leans and get a sense of what types of stories the media outlet is willing to cover.

Don’t have time? That’s an excuse. You can always have the TV or radio on in the morning while you’re getting ready and/or during your commute, and it doesn’t take long to scan headlines while eating your breakfast.



Facebook adds scrapbook feature

Posted by Taylor Thomas on April 3, 2015 in Social media

Children under the age of 13 can now have a presence on Facebook, sort of. Facebook recently announced its latest feature, which allows parents to tag photos of their children (or pet) to create a scrapbook.

To start a scrapbook for your child, go to your profile, click on “About” and click on “Family and Relationships.” There, you’ll see an invitation to create a scrapbook; click “Get Started.” If you’ve already added a child to your profile, you can click “Add Scrapbook” next to his or her name.

Facebook is looking into a way to give parents the option to hand off their child’s account when they turn 13 and can legally have an account.

The company is planning to launch a way for friends and family to ‘subscribe’  to scrapbooks so you can be notified whenever a photo is added.

Scrapbook will first roll out in the United States on iOS, Android and desktop.




Aaron Rodgers vs. Dennis Dodd

Posted by Brian Lee on March 30, 2015 in Media

I’ve worked in sports PR for several years, and I’ve seen firsthand how petty, incompetent and lazy sports writers can be, not to mention their sense of entitlement and their ability to raid the media buffet as if they’ve never eaten in their lives.

That’s why I found it extra amusing that CBS’ Dennis Dodd got put in his place by Aaron Rodgers this past weekend. Dodd went on a Twitter rant about how Rodgers wouldn’t do interviews following the Badgers’ win over Arizona, plus Dodd was mad about Rodgers being on the court after the game.

Turns out Rodgers had a pass to be on the court. He declined doing the interviews because he didn’t want to take away from the Badgers’ victory.

The comments on the Bleacher Report story are nearly 100 percent against Dodd. My favorites:

  • Rodgers was a guest of UW BB. He had locker room access as well. This self absorbed reporter was angry because he didn’t have access to the court during net cutting and at Rodgers because he didn’t want to draw attention away from the players and what had just done. Sometimes the press needs to realize that it’s not at about them and their story.
  • This is so typical of the media. He didn’t have a problem with Rodgers being there until he refused his interview. Now he wants to act like a grade school kid.
  • Nice job, Dennis Dodd – in just one evening, aided by your two thumbs and a smart phone, you systematically unraveled your entire career and let the world know what a colossal crybaby you are. You might want to occasionally remind yourself that the industry you are in will sometimes result in a celebrity not wanting to talk to you – particularly during a sporting event that has absolutely nothing to do with him (it isn’t even the same sport for cryin’ out loud!). But because you are the poster child for the “Participation Trophy” generation, you couldn’t resist the temptation to “call him out” which – as evidenced by the 9 million comments on this issue – has severely backfired. I honestly won’t be surprised when I learn of your employment termination later this week.
  • Hey Dennis Dodd. Least you can do is get some world class Wisconsin cheddar cheese to go with that whine. Good Lord man, grow some and accept no for an answer occasionally.

Other media also made fun of Dodd. Here’s a tweet from Rich Eisen:


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Facebook May Host News Content

Posted by Gabrielle Moehrke on March 27, 2015 in Social media

This week, the New York Times released an article stating that Facebook has been in contact with half a dozen media companies to begin testing a new format to host news content inside Facebook rather than linking back to the publisher’s website. Facebook believes that the time it takes to open up the link on the website (typically 8 seconds) is too long, and this would be a way to make content appear more seamless and quickly.

This proposal would eliminate the ability of news organizations to collect consumer data, which may make them more cautious about entering the deal. However, Facebook discussed ways for publishers to make money off of advertising to make the proposal more appealing.

I think that the relationship with Facebook and the media is so important today, because people are resorting to different social media platforms to receive the news rather than to traditional news websites or newspapers. I often learn about stories on the news based on what is trending on Facebook. Thus, it seems like a good idea to embed the stories right into Facebook, especially when people are using their smartphones—it would eliminate the process of opening up a new browser and make news consumption more efficient.




Twitter and Rhapsody to work together

Posted by Taylor Thomas on March 20, 2015 in Marketing, Social media

Music legality and streaming have been hot topics, especially at the annual SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas. This week it was announced that Twitter and Rhapsody have joined forces so users can now stream full-length tracks on the app even if they don’t have a subscription.

This feature can be made possible due to Twitter’s audio card, which allows users to stream audio directly from their tweets.

Any Rhapsody user–the service has more than 2 million of them–can share any song from the site’s repertoire to Twitter. However, it only works through the app. If you’re opening the audio card from the web, it will only give a 10-second preview of the song.

This is a good marketing move by Rhapsody, as they’re looking to increase its membership. Currently, the music service has fewer paid users than its competitor Spotify. Rhapsody is also promoting itself on each card with a “learn more about Rhapsody” button.

We like to call this co-marketing, or an opportunity for two brands to work together on promotional efforts with a co-branded offer. Both companies promote content/product and share the results.


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