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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Burger King and Jeep got screwed in social media... and how MTV took advantage.

It's been a rough week in social media for some major American corporations.

On Monday, hackers broke into Burger King's official Twitter account and proceeded to tweet out inappropriate messages to the company's thousands of followers. Among other things, "Burger King" claimed to have sold to McDonald's. Mass confusion, and hilarity, ensued.

Picture from CBC.ca.

The account was eventually suspended, and when it was restored a short time later, things were back to normal.

Not too long after, a similar situation befell the official Jeep Twitter account, saying they were "sold to Cadillac." Perhaps learning from the Burger King debacle, the account was restored relatively quickly.

Picture from venturebeat.files.wordpress.com.

And since these things tend to occur in threes, the official MTV account appeared to be hacked shortly thereafter. However, it was later revealved that the MTV hack was just a promotional tactic to advertise a new MTV program, titled, appropriately enough, "What the Hack." MTV used a potentially disastrous scenario to promote their programming, in a tongue-in-cheek method that's consistent with their tone and messaging. Well played, MTV.

Picture from globalpost.com

Some are saying the three hacks were connected from the start as part of an elaborate ruse to promote MTV. Judging by some of the racier tweets from Burger King, however, I wouldn't be so sure.

So, what do you think?

Do the advantages of social media outweigh the potential disasters? Did these hacks damage the Burger King and Jeep brands? And was the faux-MTV hack clever marketing, or a risky move with little pay-off?

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Super Bowl, Ugly Beyonce, and Propagandhi.

Well, it's that time of year.

The time of year when assignments pile up, deadlines approach menacingly, and students everywhere start losing their collective minds.

I, of course, am no exception to this rule. And while it's a shameful excuse for neglecting my blogly duties, I must say that maintaining a weekly blog has unfortunately fallen to the bottom of my priority list. For shame, Laina Hughes! For shame indeed.

And what has happened in the world of PR over the past few weeks? Enough to make any PR maven's head spin (get it? Spin? Har har).

Here's a small smattering of the excitement:

The Super Bowl was blacked out.

Beyonce was ugly.

Applebee's fired an employee because she (gasp!) went against policy, and the Internet got enraged.

And my boy Lance Armstrong continues to do what he do.

In personal news, I'm in the process of self-publishing my very first book, promoting it, and planning a launch party. Find out more about where most of my blood, sweat, and tears have been going these past few months at WolseleyStories.com and the event listing at McNally Robinson.

It's a tricky part of human nature that seems to make the brain (or at least my brain) shut down and lose motivation right when things get hectic and it's most needed. It doesn't help we're in the depths of winter here in Winnipeg and it's cold and gloomy outside. I've found one foolproof method of combating this, and while I've only used it a few times, it's always worked like a charm.

When in doubt, I listen to Propagandhi's Failed States and drink a pot of coffee. It's a definite departure from my usual mellow acoustic guitar jams and green tea, but it always equals instant energy and motivation.



It works for me, but what works for you? Tell me your secrets, readers! What do you do to stay motivated while stressed?