Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Petco's Year-End PR Disaster: Killing Their Cat And Dog Logo

If you're one of the largest pet supply retailers in the USA, how do you take off all your pet owner customers? Removing the beloved cat and dog characters from your stores logo is probably the best way. And that's exactly what they did.

PR Week reports that the pet store giant announced in early December its plan to remove the red and blue characters from the front of its stores nationwide, replacing it with simply the word "Petco" in black lettering.

The logo change is reportedly part of Petco’s rebrand to "Petco, The Health + Wellness Co" from "Petco Animal Supplies.

But many customers were having none of it.

The new, pet-free Petco corporate logo was an immediate PR disaster, trashed online and dubbed as "cold and lifeless." 

The pet store clarified that the animals - apparently named Ruff and Mews - are “here to stay.” But only in their advertising.

That didn't do much to mollify Twitter, which scathed the brick and mortar retailer.

"I don't CARE if they're still present in advertising I want them back to being present on the LOGO gosh darnit," said one Twitter user, @anoutlawed, in one of the more printable remarks.

Another wrote:

"Dear @Petco, Your new logo is cold and lifeless. Is the next step phasing out pets, until you're just "co" Cause at this point - might as well."

And another said, bluntly:  "New logo is complete garbage. Lol I dont think I've ever seen a worse downgrade. Fire whoever thought of this s****."

Cool Guy Mark wrote: "Why do you hate your customers? New logo is neutered 😞"

It's unclear what the company was thinking. and it's also unclear whether they did any research on how beloved these characters actually were before making the change public. 

The company's initial response was apparently silence, indicated by the PR Week article noting that a comment was not immediately forthcoming from the company PR department, which clearly was not the best move, especially when a magazine and online industry journal for the public relations industry calls for comment.

Chalk it up to the year 2020 taking two more victims. Unless the company backtracks in early 2021, which it surely should.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

#AbbottMediaGroup Does Social Media


One of the things AMG hears all the time is "Oh, our group can handle social media in-house." The first question we ask the one saying it is usually, "Oh, really? Then why is your last Facebook post and tweet from March, 2015?"

The sad fact is, in-house social media is often viewed as "extra," rather than an integral part of what you're group or company is doing, and it can easily drop from the radar. And many executives and business owners are too busy to do social media, or aren't skilled in crafting effective messages.

AMG not only keeps you up to date with quality social messaging, we can also provide guidance that will help you avoid costly online pitfalls and mistakes. Talk to us TODAY about letting #AbbottMediaGroup manage your online social media presence!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

That time when Shark Tank laughed a surgical mask designer off the stage [Abbott Media Group]

When you make a mistake, own it. That's a solid public relations principle far too few in business, politics, and entertainment follow, probably because it's difficult.

Shark Tank's Daymond John recently demonstrated just that principle, however, in a video and post on his Instagram feed.

Barbara Corcoran also says it was a missed opportunity

On September 6, 2009, Irinia Blok, a 32-year-old American immigrant from Russia, had appeared on the ABC show "Shark Tank," then in its first season.

She was pitching her unique business idea, "Face Blok," surgical masks that are whimsically decorated. She told the sharks that there was actually demand for them in hospitals, though she had only sold a few hundred.

She was met with uproarious laughter from all the Sharks almost immediately.

Her segment, when it aired, was clearly played for laughs, with "circus clown" music heard on the show when she spoke.

The Sharks were incredulous at the concept, some even refusing to try on the masks when Blok offered. Kevin O'Leary tried on a mask featuring a pig snout, doubting openly whether anyone would wear such a thing. Daymond John mockingly wore one on his head.

She said she received 700,000 hits on her website after media coverage. But O'Leary noted that the Swine Flu epidemic earlier that year was "an epidemic that came and went," and prophetically said, "You need a new epidemic to get that kind of hit profile again." Prophetic.

Jump ahead to Aug. 26, 2020, when that same Daymond John posted a video of the segment to his Instagram feed titled, "hindsight is 2020." He wrote:
"As we've come to see, many entrepreneurs have visions/ideas better way ahead of the times. Sure, the ideas may seem ridiculous or even comical, at the time, but as we're starting to learn, we shouldn't dismiss them altogether because one day, they may prove to be useful, such as these novelty masks. 
There didn't seem to be a purpose for them back then, but Irinia Blok was definitely on to something because look at us now... we're all wearing masks. The joke is on us now!"
Shark Tank’ star Barbara Corcoran similarly recalls her ‘worst missed investment’: ‘If only I knew then what I know now!’ she told Grow investment magazine in 2021. 

The bottom line is that it's important to admit and "own" your mistakes, hasty judgements, and oversights. Kudos to Daymond and Barbara for doing that so, publicly!

As for Irinia, she's doing just fine. Before her appearance on the show, in 2007, as a member of Google's graphic design staff, she had independently created the now-famous green robot logo later adopted by the company for its Android phone operating system. It became synonymous with the product in the 2010s.

She no longer sells the designer masks, but has a full-time job as design lead at Google Research/AI. Not a bad consolation prize!

Online: https://www.irinablok.com/

Friday, March 20, 2020

Political Campaigning In A Time Of Crisis [Abbott Media Group]

With fears of the Coronavirus sweeping the nation, there seems to be little time for political campaigning.

In fact, election dates are being pushed back by months in many local communities, and political candidates may find themselves way down on the media's list of priorities.

Candidates should definitely not continue with a "business as usual" approach. But this doesn't mean they can sit at home and wait until June (or in some cases, late Autumn) to start campaigning. Actually, this delay presents an excellent opportunity - especially for non-incumbent upstart candidates - to stay in touch with supporters and continue to introduce themselves to new voters.

Of course, the new realities of the outbreak make many traditional ways of campaigning impossible for the moment. These now-forbidden staples of campaigning include door-to-door canvassing, campaign rallies, attending party meetings, and any other kind of face-to-face meetings.

However, there are still a great number of ways to reach out and remain in contact with voters, and keep candidates' names in the public eye, including extensive (daily) use of social media, speaking frequently on major issues your voters care about in print (via news releases and press statements) and short videos with tightly worded messages that convey campaign themes.

That last point is vital. You MUST have a compelling, consistent campaign message, and repeat it often. When I start working with a candidate, we first create a strong stump speech composed of a consistent list of campaign issues their voters care about, written around a short biography that is compelling and interesting. That's the basis of all future messaging, including the stump speech. Voters crave consistency, especially in a crisis.

And speaking of the crisis, candidates must comfort voters, and speak out (in the appropriate way) about how incumbents are handling it, and should be clear about how THEY would handle it.

Let me end by saying that best way to accomplish all this is to HIRE A PROFESSIONAL! I can help candidates navigate the new realities online and off, and present a consistent, compelling message that will keep voters engaged in this time of crisis. If you are one, or know one who could benefit from my services, put them in touch with me.

Stephen Abbott