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HBO Runs out of ‘Luck’

Last week, HBO came under heavy criticism by animal activist groups after three horses were euthanized during production of the drama Luck. The criticism lead to Luck being cancelled almost 24 hours after the third horse was put down. While this situation raises questions about the use of animals for entertainment’s sake, it also presents an example of how organizations like HBO can handle a PR crisis — diffusing the situation before it snowballs into a larger issue.

Let’s face it — there’s always a chance of backlash from animal activists groups when producing a show that involves animals. Groups like PETA are influential and their claims can rarely be ignored as they fight for the rights of animals across situations and industries. In this case, HBO read the writing on the wall. It realized that the show could potentially lose more horses during production, leading to louder and louder opposition by these groups. Cutting their losses now avoids potentially larger problems – and headaches – later.

In this instance, HBO did what was necessary – and right. They avoided a reputation-damaging situation, while managing to keep their brand reputation at the highest level possible. While your company may not face this exact same situation, here are a few questions to consider when facing a crisis:

Can we permanently correct the situation in a timely manner? If not, what can we tell the press we are doing to rectify the circumstances?

When (not if) we come under criticism from the public and press, how do we measure the severity (and possible outcomes) from their claims?

What is more important to our brand? Short-term revenue loss or long-term brand reputation?

Always have a plan in place…And, in crisis communications, always expect the unexpected.

CES 2012: A Move from Devices to Content

While CES 2012 has passed, the buzz still lingers. We bet there are a few of you still wondering how a consumer electronics show is significant to your business. Well, from everything we’re reading and hearing, CES’ content has evolved beyond the usual technology conference. Coverage and attendee insights suggest that CES has jumped on the content bandwagon with companies talking less about new devices and more about content consumption (something we can all benefit from knowing).

Today, Mindshare’s Antony Young has a piece in Advertising Age about why CES is a must-attend event for marketing execs. Young compares attending CES to that of attending a live football game—in both cases, the experience and perspective gained from being there are significantly better than from the couch or behind the computer, touching on the content, networking opportunities and inspiration to be found on site at CES.

DIGIDAY’s Brian Morrissey also attended the conference and provided daily reports on what most impressed media and marketing execs at CES. The day-by-day recap included thoughts about the role that mobile and other communications devices continue to play in connecting consumers to content. Executives from Organic, Mullen and Tremor Video were just a few of those who weighed in on CES action: Recap Day 1, Recap Day 2, Recap Day 3.

Even though new technology wasn’t king at this event, Shelly Palmer, host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer and other shows, offered highlights in the Huffington Post about technologies and the implications of “connected living.” Palmer flew high into the cloud, while homing in on the changing behaviors of today’s leading consumer electronics brands and efforts to create universal systems that work across devices.

Now the question remains, will you be there next year?

CES 2012 – Where’s the Beef?

by Shaun Quigley, mobile practice director, Brunner

A Year of “incremental improvement?”

LAS VEGAS — With Apple strikingly absent from this year’s CES, and with Steve Ballmer making Microsoft’s swan song at the world’s largest tradeshow, I had tempered expectations as I touched down in Vegas.  And the show is delivering on that expectation: small, incremental improvements to things like TV and tablets.

Nevertheless, every tradeshow has a few golden nuggets. Here’s what we uncovered opening day.

App of the Day: EBay’s AWESOME augmented reality fashion app helps shoppers try on the product before they hit the store. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmYZ1YImWIw

Content Consumption and Co-viewing.  People are watching more TV than ever before. That consumption is the result of co-viewing (or multi-screen viewing) on tablets, smartphones and an increasing number of “ultrabook” options.

CES 2012 LG Cinema 3D Smart TV

Smart TV. Executives from LG and Best Buy acknowledged that 40% of TVs being sold in stores today are connected, with projections of 90% by 2015.  The smarter the TV, the more social the viewing experience. The more social the viewing experience, the more integration points for brands.

Communications Planning. Demographics are out. Contextual relevance is in.  Also, media flowcharts are killing digital’s ability to make smarter, faster connections with consumers. (Why? Because it’s a line item that’s easy to cross off!).  Industry must find a better way to present media plans.

Mobile Strategy.  Business goals are different when your consumer is in the kitchen versus the store. Location awareness must factor into the strategy.

3D Everything. Last year there were just a handful of 3D enabled TVs on the showroom floor. Today there are hundreds.  Implication for brands:  how can your product experience reach out and touch someone?

Shaun Quigley is the mobile practice director for Brunner, and lead’s the agency’s innovation incubator, BHiveLab. Follow him @Squigster

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