Tag Archive: Segmentation Society


peta

“Worse than being misquoted is not being quoted at all,” – Former White House communications director, political pundit, and 1992 GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie saved a group of young school children visiting his Trenton office last week from a creepy, crawly spider.

He smacked it good, scraped up its remains and tucked the corpse in his suit pocket.

It didn’t take long for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to publicly scold the governor for his insensitivity to one of the smallest of all of Darwin’s creatures.

“He probably did it without thinking,” PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk said.  “Some people put the spider outside, but spiders are often scary to people, and that can prevent them from pondering their worth.”

Soon after late-night-television comedian Jimmy Kimmel had a field day at the expense of the collective worth of both Christie and PETA.

PETA was thrilled. One would suspect that Christie and his gubernatorial handlers were not so thrilled.

To PETA, “All Press is Good Press”…even negative coverage.

Just get the name spelled right.

What does animal rights group PETA and “Worse-than-being-misquoted” Pat Buchanan have in common?

Not much.

Having acknowledged the obvious, both historically have demonstrated the ability to draw gobs of media interest, and both harbor the concept that attention…any attention…is far better than being ignored.

And when it comes to employing attractive female public nudity to draw photographers and videographers, it is no contest between PETA and Pat. Sorry Pat. Keep your shirt on.

PETA’s naked philosophy is simple: Exposure = Discussion = Awareness.

And you just thought Pam Anderson was wearing that lettuce bikini because she likes…lettuce bikinis. There is a method to her undress.

Marci Hansen, who spent five years as a guerilla marketer for PETA, assessed the NGO (non-governmental organization) that has at times been accused of crossing the line between being infamous and being notorious. PETA does not seem to mind being compared to the antics of Greenpeace as long as it succeeds in stimulating a conversation on protecting animal rights.

The goal of social marketers…not to be confused with social media…is to participate and even to lead a conversation online or through conventional media. The PETA strategy is to be at least a part of the conversation, if not the conversation itself, with the goal of safeguarding animals. Does every tactic work? No. Does PETA learn from its tactics? That seems to be modus operandi behind the equation: Success + Failures = Refinement.

Hansen extolled that just having the facts are not enough to win the argument. PETA needs to be good at playing the game…and prolific at drawing attention. Pam Anderson works. Pink works. Sir Paul McCartney works. Good Charlotte works…even labeling Burger King as Murder King works.

Has all of this helped or hindered Marci’s career? It seems the answer is yes and no.

Should aspiring public relations pros work for a notorious NGO even though this kind of association may spell curtains for those seeking employment for firms with a fiduciary eye on expanding the top line and maintaining a solid bottom line? In our segmentation society, where everybody and everything is sliced and diced, labeled and categorized, does the PETA imprimatur potentially spell doom for one’s chances in conventional public relations?

In answering this question, consider that  Marci is the co-founder for SheerID, a Eugene, Oregon-based software technology startup instantaneously verifying student or military status for those offering online discounts to these large…there’s that word again…segments of society.

Marci was gracious enough to lecture a small gathering of students, and reflected that she experienced some difficulty as a result of her PETA past, but also said that many are looking for someone who understands guerilla marketing and other means to draw media attention.

In a world in which the flack-to-media ratio is 3.6-to-1.0, securing attention from the dwindling number of reporters, editors, analysts etc. is getting ever tougher.

The answer to all of these questions boils down to talent and perseverance. Marci has a combination of both in spades. Does this mean that someone should rush off to tell the PETA, Greenpeace, Amnesty International stories and not have a second thought about it, even though she or he may be a true believer?

As the Wizard of Westwood John Wooden once said: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

One thing is certain, working for an infamous, bordering on notorious, NGO is far better than shilling for the absolute nadir of public relations advocacy, Big Tobacco.

Ain’t that right Nick Naylor?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/05/07/jimmy-kimmel-on-chris-christies-spider-squashing-skills-video/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

http://www.peta.org/

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/06/watch-n-j-governor-saved-school-children-from-spider-peta-isnt-impressed/#ixzz2T1jBKVSj

http://www.sheerid.com/our-team/

Some of us celebrate our diversity.

For decades we have used the metaphor “melting pot” to describe America.

California Governor Jerry Brown in his first go-around as the state’s chief executive even labeled the Golden State as a “mosaic” to describe the various ethnicities, creeds and orientations that populate the left coast state.

mosaic

And yet a mosaic is a series of pieces, separated by channels of grout. Each one is separate and distinct from the other. We may talk about diversity and mosaics, but in reality aren’t we really just part of the segments that comprise The Segmentation Society?

Can this realization be the root of our inability to come together for a common cause? And when we do (e.g., immediate aftermath of September 11), this camaraderie does not last long.

And if anything aren’t we championing the brilliance of those who make the most hay out of segments…err…demographics? Are you listening David Alexrod?

Barack Obama won a second term putting together a blue-state coalition that included so many  black, yellow, brown, young, secular, single-female mosaic pieces. The other chips of broken china need not apply.

Eight years earlier, George W. Bush won his own second term through the assembly of a red-state coalition that included so many white, brown, older, religious, married-female mosaic pieces. The other pieces were not necessary to complete the Electoral-College puzzle. Are you listening Karl Rove?

For the shrinking-in-influence news media, particularly those on cable television, the lucrative answer to The Segmentation Society has been to turn to the polemics.

The Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2013 report pointed to growing trend toward editorial rather than reportorial content. MSNBC on the left “leads” the way with 85 percent of its 2007-2012 content being opinion or commentary with only 15 percent being straight news. Fox News on the right devotes 55 percent of its airtime on opinion and commentary with 45 percent for hard news. CNN wins or loses (e.g. low Nielsen ratings) this contest with 46 percent opinion and commentary and 54 for news gathering.

oreilly

Amplifying the point, Pew reported that MSNBC owned by Comcast directed only $240 million for news gathering, while Fox News run by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation devotes the cable industry leading $820 million for reporting.

Fox News president Roger Ailes made the correct business decision that conservatives were an underserved segment and wanted a network that met their needs. Enter Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and on occasion, Bill O’Reilly.

MSNBC saw itself as the liberal counterweight to Fox News and bludgeons conservatives by means of the tender mercies of Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews and at one time, the fair and “balanced” Keith Olbermann.

Rachel%20Maddow%2008_grid-4x2

Elections are won picking up segments (demographics) and tossing them into the electoral shopping cart.

Networks reel in the dough as if it was manna from heaven by throwing editorial and commentary red meat to the true believers whether they be aligned with the left or the right. It really doesn’t matter as long as confiscatory advertising rates can be charged

To the public relations community, which according to Pew now has a 3.6 to 1.0 ratio “advantage” over the remaining journalists, the goal is to use conventional and digital means to reach the stakeholders…the targeted segments.

In choreographing a public relations campaign is the goal to identify the segment or to craft the message that appeals to the segment…or both?

Social media outlets with their trusty algorithms allow us to segment ourselves through our key strokes and send related ads to the right side of our Facebook page. Whether we like it or not (most would say “not”), we just pigeonholed ourselves.

And each time we pigeonhole ourselves, we place ourselves into an ever narrower portion of the pie or bar chart. We are individuals after all with our own particular DNA and cell structures.

This is all brings us back to the original point. Should we be celebrating diversity? Should we hold out that we can all come together for common good? Or should we realize that majority rule means using digital tools…the ones and zeroes of binary code…to reach those demographics, mosaic pieces, segments…that are most likely to buy the product or pull the lever?

It seems that train has already left that station, if you don’t mind one more metaphor.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2013/03/18/pew-study-finds-msnbc-the-most-opinionated-cable-news-channel-by-far/

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/overview-5/

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