MNPR Blog

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Free Tacos for Everyone in America

PRESS RELEASE:

Irvine, Calif. -- Which Boston Red Sox or St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball player will hit the home run that feeds America? That will be the question on everyone's mind tomorrow night during Game 3 of the 2004 World Series. Why? Because any home run that hits the Taco Bell target during the game will win everyone in the U.S. the opportunity to enjoy a free Crunchy Beef Taco, courtesy of Taco Bell®, the official quick serve restaurant of Major League Baseball.

The target, measuring at 12' x 12', features a giant bull's eye with the words "Free Taco Here." It is located approximately 410 feet from home plate in left-center field -- a prime home run-hitting area known as Homers Landing. During the 2004 season, 170 home runs were hit at Busch Stadium, with nearly a quarter landing in the vicinity of the target area.

"With strong home run hitters from both the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, nearly 300 million people just may have the opportunity to 'Think Outside the BunTM' and win a free taco," said Greg Creed, chief marketing officer, Taco Bell Corp. "What could be more fitting than doing such a historic giveaway during a truly classic World Series."

If a home run hits the target, every person in the U.S. will have an opportunity to obtain a free Crunchy Beef Taco at participating Taco Bell® restaurants in the United States. Redemption will take place on Tuesday, November 9 from 3-6 p.m. (local time). Additional information and offer details will be made available to consumers on the Taco Bell Web site, www.tacobell.com, and in media materials should the target get hit.

Through the first two rounds of the 2004 Major League Baseball postseason, the Red Sox and Cardinals have posted a combined 32 home runs.

In June, Major League Baseball Properties and Taco Bell announced a three-year sponsorship agreement making Taco Bell the "Official Quick Service Restaurant" of Major League Baseball. As part of the agreement, Taco Bell has exclusive category rights as well as on-site signage and advertising opportunities during MLB Jewel Events, including the All-Star Game and World Series. During the 2004 All-Star Game, Taco Bell launched its sponsorship by hosting a contest in which a fan could win up to one million dollars by throwing five balls through a 24-inch cutout in under 30 seconds. A fan accomplished this task and won the million-dollar prize.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Minneapolis/St. Paul a good place to live.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote an article in today's paper discussing a new poll taken by Gallop and release by Nicloson Kovac public releations that says the Twin Cities is a pretty good place to live.

From the Pioneer Press:
"On most of the key things that we ask about, we compare favorably with cities like San Diego and San Francisco and Chicago, in terms of how much our citizens like living here and how much their citizens like living there," said John Wood, managing partner at the Gallup Organization's office in Minneapolis.

Gallup interviewed 1,008 people in the Twin Cities from Aug. 24 to Sept. 13, including 154 from Minneapolis, 108 from St. Paul and the rest from the suburbs. Gallup has been doing such surveys for about five years, but this is the first in Minnesota.

More than four in 10 respondents said they were "extremely satisfied" with the Twin Cities as a place to live, compared with a 50-city national average of 30 percent. Minneapolis actually scored 44 percent; St. Paul topped the area with 46 percent.


Get the rest of the story here>

Get the WCCO story here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Presidential Poll

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Profits up but future is uncertain for Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has been charging ahead for three years as it saw profits sky-rocket during the refianancing boom of the last few years. But as interest rates rise the future of the mortage business as Wells is a bit uncertain, at least according today's Star Tribune.

From today's Strib:
Like many banks, Wells Fargo has felt the impact of what to date has been a relatively slight rise in interest rates and a concurrent slowdown in mortgage refinancing. But unlike most of its competitors, Wells Fargo has staked much of its profits on its home lending business. The San Francisco bank is the nation's largest home lender, originating 12.5 percent of the nation's mortgages in 2003, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

In the third quarter of 2003...income from mortgages accounted for 50 percent of Wells Fargo's profits. In the recent third quarter, the mortgage share fell to a mere 15 percent.


Despite the uncertainty of the future, Well Fargo CEO remains confident. “This was our twelfth consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings per share growth,” said Chairman and CEO Dick Kovacevich. “We continued to invest for the ‘Next Stage’ of our success at a rate unprecedented in our company’s history. Compared with third quarter last year, we have over three times as many bankers licensed to sell products such as mutual funds and annuities, 17 percent more team members selling and serving customers in our banking stores and 16 percent more at Wells Fargo Financial, our consumer finance company. We’ve announced a long-term goal of doubling the number of our commission-based home mortgage consultants, currently numbering 10,000. We’ve opened 72 new banking stores this year, an average of two per week, and we’re on track to add by year-end 100 new banking stores and 80 new consumer finance stores. By year-end, we’ll have remodeled 261 banking stores.

Much of our growth continued to come from earning more business from our current customers. The attitude and commitment of our team members is the single biggest factor influencing our customers to entrust us with more of their business. Every month this year, through needs-based selling, we’ve had more than one million retail banking product sales, a company record. Almost one of every three of our new checking account customers now has a Wells Fargo product pack, which is a checking account and at least three other products such as a debit card, credit card and online banking. With our recently announced alliance with Grupo Financiero Banorte, in addition to those with HSBC Mexico and BBVA Bancomer, we now have the largest network for remitting funds to Mexico of any U.S. financial services company. In Florida, where we employ more than 1,800 team members and have 140 mortgage and consumer finance stores, we’re proud to have supported disaster relief efforts.”

Get Wells Fargo's earning statement here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New knowledge portal for communications, PR and marketing

Communitelligence.com launched this week as the first global knowledge-sharing portal aimed at improving organizational and human communication. The site is being built and supported by global communication leaders, associations, schools and businesses linked to the common goals of elevating the profession and sharing best practices that can make all forms of communication more effective.

Communitelligence brings together the vast world of communications – associations, events, training, jobs, news, trends, knowledge, leaders, topic experts and businesses serving this market. Communitelligence centers around dozens of expert-led communities on communication topics ranging from skills such as writing, visual literacy and public speaking … to managing the communications function, conflict communications, knowledge management and intranets.

“There are no limits being placed on the number of communities, or topics addressed,” says John Gerstner, president of Communitelligence, Inc. “Our only requisite is that each community must be led by a knowledgeable and passionate topic expert committed to building comprehensive, ever-evolving wisdom-sharing communities.”

“To build a sustainable virtual ecosystem, we believe we must tap the one energy source that is absolutely and forever renewable – the creativity of the human mind,” adds Gerstner. “That’s why we’ve designed the site to maximize the opportunities and ease for leaders, members and even communications students to contribute content. Our first student intern is Christine Cifelli, a speech communications/PR senior at James Madison University, who is working on the internal communications community.

“We believe sustainable Web sites, like sustainable earthly communities, must have built in sensors and adaptive mechanisms that allow it to evolve with changing climate and environmental conditions. To grow and evolve, there must be processes for every site member to find and digest valuable nutrients (knowledge, solutions). But just as on Earth, all inhabitants must also understand they have a responsibility to contribute to the nutrient base of the site. Thus our site motto: ‘Because all of us are smarter than one of us.’”

“Because all of us communicate every day, the art and science of communication is below most of our radar screens,” says Robert Holland, of Holland Communication Solutions, and co-leader of the Communitelligence Internal Communications community. “But how well we communicate as individuals and organizations greatly impacts our success or failure – not only of our organizations but our families, and our most prized institutions.

“The sobering fact is that many of our human and institutional catastrophes could be squarely blamed on ‘communication breakdowns’,” says Holland. “Ineffective communication, in fact, could be blamed for NASA’s 2003 space shuttle disaster, the 1999 Columbine School shootings, and the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center. And on a more personal scale, think of all the misunderstandings in our daily work and personal lives that could be avoided if only we communicated better.”

Knowledge management has been a buzz-word around business and IT circles for a half-dozen years or so, and is finally being recognized as an organizational differentiator. Communitelligence takes global knowledge sharing to individuals whose livelihood depends on how well they communicate and manage that function in their organizations. That includes as many as two million workers in the U.S. alone, according to 2002 U.S. Census figures.

“Because the technology of communication has changed so dramatically within the last several years, it makes perfect sense for the profession most in touch with the New Media would be the pioneers of a new form of professional knowledge sharing,” says Carl Friedmann, leader of the Communitelligence Knowledge Sharing community and editor of the Knowledge Management Review, published in the U.K.

“The beauty is you don’t really have to be a communications professional to reap the benefit of this growing store of knowledge,” says Holly Schroeder, consultant and leader of the Communitelligence Web Marketing community. “What you have on the site is the best the industry has to offer, and the technology provides members with real-time knowledge and insight into the art and science of communications.”

You can visit the new site at www.Communitelligence.com. Memberships, which allow full access to the site, are currently free in this start-up phase. All members and communication organizations are invited to add their listing to the Communitelligence Marketplace Directory, and contribute to other sections including Calendar, News, Discussion, Wisdom, Document Exchange, Surveys, Jobs, Resource Links, and Diversions.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Minnesota PRSA Pledges Support for Minnesota Media Collaborative/Urban Journalism Workshop

The Minnesota chapter, Public Relations Society of America board of directors recently approved a two-year, $4,000 commitment to fund programming for the Minnesota Media Collaborative/Urban Journalism Workshop.

The University of St. Thomas and the Twin Cities Black Journalists sponsor the program, which works with professional journalists, college faculty and staff, and local high school teachers to attract students, particularly minority students, to journalism careers.

The program gives more than 400 students a year basic training in journalistic skills and a taste of the profession's adventure and challenges by offering half-day workshops, classroom presentations, a two-week summer camp, teacher training and special projects.

"Journalism programs are the proving grounds for both the journalists and the public relations professionals of tomorrow," said Kelly Groehler, APR, Minnesota PRSA president. "Our organizations agree that the public with whom we communicate is more representative than ever of diverse populations. Supporting the Urban Journalism Workshop is one way we can help encourage a broader view of the diverse makeup of our society and a more representative approach in how we communicate with it."

Although 32 percent of today's U.S. population represents minority groups -- and is expected to hit 40 percent by 2025 -- the face of American journalism remains overwhelmingly myopic. According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, only 12.9 percent of people employed in newspaper rooms represent minority groups.

"The opportunity that the Minnesota PRSA funding provides is great," said Lynda McDonnell, executive director, Minnesota Media Collaborative/Urban Journalism Workshop. "The support will encourage professional and community connections and divergent viewpoints that are often missing in today's newspapers and newscasts."

The Minnesota PRSA move supports the recent launch of the PRSA national diversity initiative, designed to promote multiculturalism in both the public relations industry and business community. In addition to giving financial support, Minnesota PRSA will partner with the Minnesota Media Collaborative/Urban Journalism Workshop to identify ways for both organizations to further advance the journalism and communications industries.

For more information, call Shireen Gandhi, APR, vice president of Minnesota PRSA, at (651) 641-1121 or go to mnprsa.com . For information about the PRSA national diversity initiative, go to diversity.prsa.org .

Friday, October 15, 2004

**URGENT MESSAGE** - For all you brown nosers

Tomorrow is National Boss Day, but since it is not a working day it should be celebrated today. Here is a little history from Calendar-Updates.com:


National Boss Day is October 16 each year. When the holiday falls on a weekend, it is generally celebrated on the working day closest to October 16.

National Boss Day offers employees an opportunity to recognize those in supervisory positions. Popular ways to say "thanks" include cards, a lunch in the boss's honor, flowers, or gift certificates.

National Boss Day was started in 1958 when Patricia Bays Haroski, then an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Ill., registered the holiday with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. She designated October 16 as the special day because it was her father's birthday. Ms. Haroski's purpose was to designate a day to show appreciation for her boss and other bosses. She also hoped to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors. She believed young employees often do not realize the challenges bosses face in running a business.

Bad news for ABC & "Desperate Housewives"

ABC lost advertisers Lowe's Home Improvement and Tyson Foods yesterday. Tyson's and Lowe's said they will no longer run advertising during ABC's hit series Desperate Housewives because of content concerns.

According to AdAge.com, both companies stated they felt the show was not consistent with the kind of programming they want their products associated with.

AgapePress said the decision was made after hearing from thousands of concerned consumers ... claiming the salacious prime-time soap opera sinks beneath their companies' strict, pro-family standards.

Despite its high ratings ABC's Desperate Housewives may be in for a rework, after all its all about the advertising dollars.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Dayton Closing Office Until After Election

Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton announced this week that he will close his office in Washington D.C. citing fear of terrorism as the reason.

On CBS News.com, Dayton is quoted as saying, I take this step out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, who might otherwise be visiting my Senate office in the next three weeks," he said on a call with reporters. "I feel compelled to do so because I will not be here in Washington to share what I consider to be an unacceptably greater risk to their safety.


Question: Is this sending a message to terrorist that we are letting the win by changing how we would otherwise opperate or is Dayton being responsible by protecting his staff?

Take Minnesota Public Relations Blog's poll here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Carmichael to rake in a boat load

Carmichael Lynch has won a $10 million dollar boating account working for the Grow Boating Marketing Task Force part of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Carmichael beat out three competitors DDB, The Richards Group, to win the account.

Get more info here.

Ad Fed Alive After Five

Thursday, October 14

Time: 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Location: Bar Abilene, Uptown
Address: 1300 Lagoon Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55408
Cost: $25 members; $35 nonmembers

Parking: Pay parking lot on Lagoon between Hennepin and Fremont.

Registration: Register online at Adfed.org or call the Ad Fed office at651-917-6251 by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12.

Time to fiesta? Fun and food included! Join Adfed for a tex-mex night of networking southwestern style. (Horse and lasso not required.) Enjoy tasty quesadillas, refreshing margaritas, and great conversation.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Minnesotan's Going Hollywood

Three Minnesota leading ladies are storming Hollywood. In June, I reported that Jamie Foss of Erskine, MN had won SuperStar USA. While the show itself was set up as a joke it has kick started Foss' career. According to today's Strib, Foss has interviews with NBC's Las Vegas, Disney's That's So Raven, an audition for an Evian commercial and more.
Two other Minnesotan's mentioned in the Strib article are Kelly Carlson, star of the televison series Nip/Tuck and Leslie Stefanson who has had roles in The Mirror Has Two Faces and As Good as It Gets, the title role in The General's Daughter.

Pictured Above: Kelly Carlson

Minnesota PRSA Launches New Website

The Minnesota Public Relations Society of America has launched a new web site. Check it out at www.mnprsa.com.

Call for Professionals - MN PRSA Pro-Am Day, Nov. 19, 2004

Pro-Am Day is almost here! The annual mentoring event sponsored by the Minnesota chapter, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), provides an opportunity for public relations professionals to share their knowledge and expertise with members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

WHO: Public relations professionals from the corporate, agency and nonprofit sectors are invited to share a typical workday with PRSSA juniors or seniors from six affiliated chapters of Minnesota PRSA.

WHAT: Pro-Am Day, short for Professional-Amateur Day, is a highlight in PRSSA member’s involvement and professional development. Professionals are matched with PRSSA members to gain a closer look at the public relations industry, the professional’s work environment and job expectations.

The event is followed by a reception and skills seminar to provide students with an opportunity to network with professionals and participate in resume critiques, mock interviews and portfolio/cover letter reviews.

WHEN/ Friday, Nov. 19, 2004
WHERE: Your workplace

Reception/Skills Seminar 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Padilla Speer Beardsley
River Parkway Place
1101 West River Parkway, Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55415

HOW: Register at http://mnprsa.com/index2.cfm?page=proAm_day.cfm&target=Events.

Student-professional match information will be mailed by Nov. 5, 2004. For further information, please contact Karen Greenwood at 612.877.1107 or Karen_jayne@hotmail.com.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Liberty Enterprises Job Opening

From Monster.com:

Liberty Enterprises partners with financial institutions by providing innovative payment systems, marketing services and technology solutions. We currently have an exciting opportunity for a dynamic PR leader to join a leader in its industry. Responsibilities include directing internal/external communication strategies, speech writing, and media relations as well as representing Liberty in industry events. The successful candidate will have a minimum of 8 years related experience as well as proven external media relationships within the financial services arena. Degree in journalism, or related required; MBA preferred.

Position Summary:

Directs and implements Liberty’s public relations strategies. Manages media relations, internal and external communications, editorial placement, publications, Web-site content and speaking opportunities for company leaders. Member of Liberty Marketing & Sales Leadership team that develops strategic branding, marketing and communications goals for company.

Get more info here.

Friday, October 01, 2004

General Mills Goes for the Grain



General Mills announced yesterday that 100 percent of their cereals will be made with whole grain by the beginning of 2005.

“Eating more whole grain could have a significant impact on the overall health of Americans,” said Dr. David Kessler, former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a General Mills press release. “The science shows a strong connection between whole grain and a reduced risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, which are the biggest preventable killers in the United States.”

“This improvement by General Mills will benefit Americans and could signal the most comprehensive improvement in the nation’s food supply since the government began mandatory fortification of grains in the 1940s,” Dr. Kessler said.

The entire General Mills portfolio of Big G breakfast cereals will now be either a “Good” or “Excellent” source of whole grain. Long-time whole grain cereals such as Cheerios, Wheaties, Total and Wheat Chex were already “Excellent” sources of whole grain and were not changed.

General Mills increased the whole grain content of many of its cereals while matching or improving taste across the board. This improvement includes such popular brands as Trix, Golden Grahams, Lucky Charms and Rice Chex.

General Mills conducted extensive taste tests across the country with more than 9,000 people. The new whole grain cereals were liked just as much or even better than the previous cereal recipes.

In a national survey, 91 percent of Americans say they want more whole grain foods in their diet, but as a nation Americans are not getting enough. The reality is that nine out of 10 people in the United States do NOT eat the minimum recommended daily amount of whole grain.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion as to which foods really deliver whole grain,” said Susan J. Crockett, Ph.D., R.D., who is the senior director of the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, the nutrition research arm of General Mills.

To help consumers easily identify which ready-to-eat cereals are made with whole grain, General Mills also unveiled new packaging with bold, attention-getting “Whole Grain” labeling to be on every cereal box. Americans can expect to begin seeing this new packaging starting within the next few weeks and continuing on into the New Year, depending on the brand.