Friday, July 30, 2010

Terrell Owens: Risk vs. Reward

By Pete Deluca

News broke late Tuesday night that free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens reached an agreement to play for the Cincinnati Bengals this fall. Owens spent the offseason out of the NFL spotlight after a one-year stint with the Buffalo Bills, resulted in the worst statistical season of his 14-year career.

Even through all the struggles that the Bills’ faced last season Owens still managed to flash signs of being the T.O. we all remembered.

In his prime, he was arguably the most dominant receiver to take the field. If he never played another down, he would retire third all-time in both receiving touchdowns and receiving yards. He is one of only 6 players to have 1,000 career receptions and the high level of play he maintained throughout his career earned him five All-Pro selections, six trips to the Pro Bowl, and a starting spot on the NFL 2000’s All-Decade team.

Now… to the other side of the coin. The national attention he’s received off the field made “TO” a household name for all the wrong reasons. He had press conferences where he’s called out his quarterbacks for everything from their performance to their sexuality. Other bizarre incidents include a risqué Monday Night Football skit, a mysterious hydrocodone overdose, and a public meltdown during a postseason press conference. In 14 seasons, Owens racked up thousands of dollars in fines – which included a $35,000 punishment for spitting in the face of Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

Like Owens, the Cincinnati Bengals are no stranger to off-the-field controversy. In fact, since 2000 the Bengals lead all NFL teams with 31 arrests. Their current roster is littered with high risk players including Tank Johnson, Adam “Pacman” Jones, and Cedric Benson - who was arrested for assault one month ago after he punched a bartender in the face.

Owens had his share of controversy, but he does not have a criminal record. He claims to have never drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, or done drugs and, in spite of being one of the oldest receivers in the league, he still has the raw talent to take over a game. The Bengals, who were Super Bowl contenders headed into the season, may have just made the move that puts them over the top… or it may destroy their whole team.

Either way - get your popcorn ready!

Pete Deluca is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bruce Schindler Discusses Unveiling of New 2011 Ford Explorer

By Bruce Schindler; Video by John Maroon

You can see a photo of the new 2011 Ford Explorer at Bob Davidson Ford Lincoln Mercury's Facebook Page, or by clicking HERE.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Times of London Creating a Model that needs to be Followed

By John Maroon

A few weeks back one of Britain’s most popular and successful newspapers, The Times, began charging its readers for online content. reported the story on July 2.

The paper, as well as its sister publication, The Sunday Times, is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s New Corporation. The Wall Street Journal (also owned by Murdoch) and The Financial Times also charge for online content.

I believe this is a necessary and positive step by The Times. The old adage is “you get what you pay for.” It is the truth. Not long ago, and to a lesser extent today, we rely on the news media to be creditable, accurate and serve as a watchdog over our nation. The media is also known as The Fourth Estate for that reason.

As consumers we never expected newspapers to be free when they were still a popular means, so why do we expect information on the internet to be free? It’s simply because we have been conditioned to believe that.

The end result is that our best and brightest are no longer choosing journalism as an occupation. The news gathering agencies cannot pay as well and the quality of coverage continues to slip.

Will this be a challenge and interesting to watch? Absolutely! Is there an option…no. For any business to survive it needs to generate revenue and in order for them to grow they need to hire and retain talent.

For the greater good of our society I hope that all of the major papers in the United States follow the lead of The Times and that we, as a country, understand that there is a price for quality and paying for news means better, more accurate media with higher integrity… which will be great for all of us.

John Maroon is the President of Maroon PR. Contact him at

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Media's Effect in the Firing of Shirley Sherrod

By Carolyn Maroon

I’m sure just about everyone is familiar with the story about the firing of Shirley Sherrod from the United States Department of Agriculture as Director of Rural Development for Georgia. The firing was based on an edited tape of a speech that Sherrod gave in March to the NAACP, which has stirred up a lot of negative emotions and outrage. The story is largely about the danger of jumping to conclusions and media bias.

It all started with conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who posted an edited part of the speech without allegedly viewing the entire speech or doing any investigating or research beforehand. Breitbart has stated that his intent was to bring the speech to the public in an effort to expose the hypocrisy of the NAACP. Breitbart is just the latest example of “journalists” who are reckless, and the end result is a blow to the credibility of journalism - a bad thing for society as a whole.

More and more these days we see media outlets and reporters with agendas and strong political leanings. The media is very powerful and reporting the news in a slanted fashion can be dangerous if we blindly believe what we read or listen to without thinking for ourselves and asking questions.

You think this is an exaggeration? Let’s see… a woman was fired from her job after a media member posted an edited tape in which this woman appeared to be making racist comments. The woman’s employer didn’t do an internal investigation as to the origin or legitimacy of the story. The employer didn’t even give the employee an opportunity to tell her side of the story. Since the woman was employed by a government agency this story is national news, and today the USDA along with the Obama administration is taking a hit for not thinking for themselves and asking questions. They simply believed what the media reported.

The lesson I took away from all of this is that we need to continue to monitor the press and look at all stories with a more thoughtful eye before we jump to conclusions or trust the reports on both sides of the political aisle.

Carolyn Maroon is Maroon PR's Office Manager. Contact her at

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Old Spice's Successful Social Media Campaign

By Elizabeth Dow

I’ll never forget the first time I used my boyfriend’s bathroom. Among the messy clutter, I spotted the same red container of Old Spice that my grandfather had used.

Most women wouldn’t be too pleased if their men smelled like their grandfathers, so it seems impossible that Proctor & Gamble could rebrand their 71-year-old line of deodorants and antiperspirants into the hottest trend for college-aged men.

But P & G showed us that all you need to work some marketing magic is an attractive man in a towel and a little bit of social media.

Last week, the Old Spice brand launched an intensive two-day social media campaign. In nothing but a towel, former NFL star Isaiah Mustafa spent July 13 -14 in the bathroom, recording video responses to questions from fans.

During those two days, the Old Spice Man posted nearly 200 direct video responses to Facebook questions and tweets via the Old Spice YouTube channel. Even Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos took part in the fun, asking the Old Spice Man a political question, tweeting, “President’s lost some female support. How does WH get those women voters back?”

The videos, which have garnered Old Spice’s Youtube Channel more than 8 million views and over 130,000 subscribers, are entertaining, witty and just plain funny. His responses were personalized, yet appealing to all.

The viral effect of the videos is remarkable. The Old Spice Man has singlehandedly conquered both my Twitter and Facebook feed this week, as social media users buzzed about his cool charm.

This campaign further proves that social media has the power to re-brand and gain attention, even on the national level.

Elizabeth Dow is a Maroon PR intern. Contact her at

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Tim Richardson Discusses New Autograph Rules

By Tim Richardson; Video by Abby Draper

Tim Richardson is the Executive Vice President of Maroon PR. Contact him at

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mel Gibson – The End of a Hollywood Career?

By Andrea Kunicky

Mel Gibson is back in the news again...and again for the wrong reasons. Another profanity laced rant from the movie star has been leaked out.

The tapes, which has released four parts of thus far, feature an enraged Gibson bellowing at Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his 8-month-old daughter. Gibson relentlessly screamed C-words, F-bombs and - sadly and disturbingly - racial slurs which included the N-word.

Grigorieva did the right thing by remaining calm through most of the recordings, suggesting that Gibson get medication, and insisting she doesn't want his money. She needed to stay quiet and let him rant because she knew she would have the upper hand by the end of it. She sounded like she was maintaining her self-control to get the end result that was needed. She had every right to do what she needed to do to document his angry and abusive personality.

This situation again shows how people have to learn to watch what they say or write with communication devices, such as cell phones. Golf star Tiger Woods and ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick have both found themselves in trouble for things they’ve said on calls and text messages that ended up in the hands of the media.

Gibson's recent public rants could ultimately end his movie career. He survived his last public relations nightmare four years ago when he made terribly derogatory comments about Jewish people. Those comments combined with these recent rants show a horrible pattern, and this behavior won’t be tolerated even in Hollywood.

As audio recordings of these rants still continue to leak out, Gibson will have far bigger problems than his career… as these threats could lead to legal issues. Not speaking on his outbursts is certainly not the best PR strategy either.

It will be interesting to see what will ensue in these coming weeks with the outcome of the (former) Hollywood star.

Andrea Kunicky is an Associate Account Executive. Contact her at

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Robert Ehrlich Effectively using Social Media in Political Campaign

By Mitchell Schmale

Back on June 14, 2010, I blogged about the 2010 gubernatorial race in Maryland and how both candidates are planning to use social media platforms, such as FaceBook and Twitter, to share their political views and deliver their campaign messages directly to voters.

On July 1, the simmering social media campaign kicked into high-gear as Republican candidate Robert Ehrlich made the long awaited announcement of his running mate in former Maryland Secretary of State Mary Kane. Ehrlich’s choice for his Lieutenant Governor may not have surprised many political analysts, but the way he made the announcement certainly did.

Ehrlich did not make the announcement at a press conference outside the State House in Annapolis or standing in front of his campaign headquarters or some other traditional campaign spot we have all come to expect in political races. Instead, he made the announcement via a You Tube video posted on his FaceBook page at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30.

The timing and method of his announcement had political pundits buzzing and also re-examining the possibilities and strategies behind the use of social media in the campaign. By using FaceBook as his chosen outlet to share his news, Ehrlich made his supporters in his social media network feel connected and important to their candidate. They were getting the news first and saw a real benefit to being connected to Ehrlich via Facebook. It also provided Ehrlich an inexpensive forum to share his campaign announcement and receive initial grassroots feedback to plan for next steps.

The announcement helped pump up fans on Ehrlich’s Facebook early in the race and build a greater network for future announcements and campaigning. Since the June 30 announcement, Ehrlich has grown his fans on Facebook by roughly 6,000 people to nearly 33,000 compared to his rival Governor Martin O’Malley’s more than 12,000.

Finally, the timing at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night was carefully orchestrated to make the announcement breaking news for 11 p.m. TV news networks across the state that night, as well as the top story the next morning during drive time.

I am sure we will see more announcements, as well as direct responses to various future campaign ads on both sides shared via social media forums as the race plays out through the coming months. Additionally, supporters and undecided voters alike will also see the benefit of following one or both candidates online to receive unedited and unfiltered campaign messages as they make their choice in November. The race is on…

Mitchell Schmale is the Vice President of Maroon PR's Corporate Division. Contact him at

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

King of Public Relations

By Chris Daley

I just searched “LeBron James” on Google and the top hit under “News for LeBron James” is a headline from, "LeBron James – Public Relations Genius." There are 4,473 “related articles” to this one headline with thousands of other related articles to follow. In a sense, I would agree that King James is a public relations genius. For this week anyway.

Here are a few reasons why:

• Timing is everything: This could be considered one of the slowest weeks in sports on the calendar year. I can’t think of a better time of year for this type of announcement to take place.

• Controlling his message well: I’m surprised that his decision has not leaked out yet. The people surrounding him that may know his final decision are doing a great job of keeping this thing under wraps for the big unveiling. Although we still have a few hours before 9 p.m. EDT.

• Charitable Component: Adding a charitable component when you have this much influence over the public is always nice. Having all the proceeds from tonight’s program on ESPN donated to the Boys & Girls Club of America is a nice touch.

• Taking advantage of the situation: King James and his camp are doing a great job to launch other marketing tools around this announcement which include a revamped and creating the twitter handle @kingjames that has over 310,000 followers in two days. I’d be curious to know how many people signed-up for his newsletter the past few days and what that database would be worth to potential advertisers.

Although I’m not an NBA fan, I am a fan of public relations and I would agree that someone in his position is taking full advantage of his situation. LeBron deserves this type of attention. He’s worked very hard to get to this point.

That said, I’m now curious to see how he handles his next public relations situation which could be making an impact in a brand new city, and leaving one that will have a lot of people angry.

Chris Daley is an Account Executive. Contact him at

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Friday, July 2, 2010

In the news for the wrong reasons… AGAIN

By Matt Saler

Once again, NFL quarterback Michael Vick is in the news for all of the wrong reasons. On June 25, Vick was at his own birthday party in Virginia Beach, Va. At some point during the evening, shortly after Vick left the venue, a shooting took place at the restaurant. Vick is denying any part of it. To date, evidence has been shown that Vick was indeed not at the venue at the time of the incident. But that being said, why is Michael Vick in the news again? Why are we even discussing this? Why on earth is Michael Vick putting himself at a place where an incident of this magnitude would occur?

These are questions that the public wants answers to… particularly his employers, his fans and the general public. Vick is still deeply entrenched in the stage of repairing his image. Why is Vick surrounding himself with these individuals? Do we ever see Peyton Manning or Donovan McNabb in situations like these? One would think that spending a year under McNabb would help Vick make “common sense” decisions about staying away from these incidents.

I want to be clear… by no means am I accusing Vick of having something to do with this incident. I am not. All evidence shows the contrary. I am simply stating that Vick needs to use significantly better judgment in whom he surrounds himself with, particularly during this delicate time.

The other day, Vick released a statement to the media regarding the event:

"On June 25, 2010, I attended a birthday party held in my honor at The Guadalajara's Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Va.," the statement read. "After I left the event, I learned that a man was shot outside the restaurant.

"I want to assure everyone that I had nothing to do with that incident. I left the restaurant prior to it occurring and did not witness what happened. Following the incident, I reported it to the Philadelphia Eagles and to representatives of Commissioner Roger Goodell of the NFL. In addition, I cooperated with and answered any and all questions from law enforcement officials investigating this matter. My statements, from the beginning, explained that I was not there at the time of the shooting and had no knowledge of the events surrounding it. I have been completely truthful and fully cooperative from the very beginning and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and the NFL as this investigation continues."

The statement reads well and expressed his cooperation in all aspects of the investigation. But nowhere does it state that he will use better judgment in avoiding these situations in the future. One can only hope he will. His future depends on it.

Matt Saler is an Account Executive. Contact him at

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