MNPR Blog

Friday, May 29, 2009

Job - Two PR Postions at Kohnstamm Communications

Two PR Postions at Kohnstamm Communications

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Salomon Selects Carmichael Lynch Spong

Salomon, the leading mountain sports company, recently selected Carmichael Lynch Spong to promote its breakthrough line of trail running shoes and apparel. The firm will provide consumer media outreach specifically around Salomon’s trail running segment.

Salomon was founded in 1947 by Francois Salomon, his wife Jeanne and son George, whose passion for skiing and design innovation led them to perfect many of the first modern ski bindings. During the next 60 years, the company’s commitment to innovative design and enthusiasm for mountain sports continued to grow, bringing original solutions to footwear, apparel and equipment for Alpine and cross-country skiing, backpacking, trail running and many other mountain sports pursuits. Today, Salomon products are sold in more than 160 countries and the brand is a global icon within the Mountain Sports community.

“Carmichael Lynch Spong is the best partner for Salomon on many levels,” says Jean-Yves Couput, marketing director for Salomon. “Not only do they have extensive experience within our industry, they also have great knowledge of the company and its people.”

“The Salomon brand has a rich history and a commitment to its industry that is unmatched by competitors,” says Douglas K. Spong, APR, president of Carmichael Lynch Spong. “It’s a great brand that is popular among many enthusiasts on staff. We look forward to growing the trail running sport and business.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

**Tomorrow** 1:1 Marketing Strategies: How They Help Transform Companies

May 22, 2009

In this crazy world of hype, it’s important to remember the fundamentals of marketing. Michael Baum, a 20-plus-year veteran with expertise in creating and managing loyalty and direct marketing programs, will discuss the basics of 1:1 Marketing during the Advertising Federation of Minnesota’s (Ad Fed) breakfast program, “1:1 Marketing Strategies: How They Help Transform Companies.” The event will take place Friday, May 22 at the Grand Hotel’s fifth floor ballroom in downtown Minneapolis.

Baum is managing principal at Brightstone, Inc., a customer relationship management consulting company in St. Louis Park, MN. Brightstone offers comprehensive services around three core disciplines: market assessment and financial performance, marketing solutions, and design and development.

Baum started his career in the loyalty marketing division of Carlson Marketing Group where he developed and managed the loyalty programs for Northwest Airlines and British Airways. His career includes building and managing a full service direct marketing agency for the McClatchy Company. Baum also created a direct marketing service offered through client financial institutions while working for Deluxe Financial Services. Most recently, Baum worked with clients including Best Buy, DSW, Eddie Bauer, Limited Brands and Toys “R” Us on the development and execution of loyalty strategies.

The Schedule:

8:00-8:30am: Registration and networking
8:30-9:30am: Breakfast (delicious and warm!), Baum's presentation, and question and answer session
9:30-10:00am: Networking
The Venue:

The Grand Hotel is located at 615 Second Ave. S. in downtown Minneapolis. Valet is $9 (discounted from $10) for Ad Fed guests, and nearby lot parking is about $10.
The Cost:

Ad Fed members: $20
Nonmembers: $25
Students: $20

Please register at the door.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009 Alphabet Bash Is Coming Thursday, August 20

Now in its fourth year, the Alphabet Bash is still the ultimate networking event for Minnesota’s marketing, advertising, communications and creative professionals. A joint venture between PRSA, IABC, AMA, Ad Fed, MWMC and AIGA Minnesota, this annual event serves as an outlet for the combined membership of more than 4,000 to support the Minnesota marketing, communications and creative community.
But I’ve never been to the Bash? What should I expect?
This isn’t your typical networking event. There is no formal agenda, speaker or seating arrangement. We provide the venue – Epic Nightclub in Minneapolis, the atmosphere, the drinks, the food and the fun—you set your own agenda. Come with friends and coworkers, or come by yourself and brave the crowd alone. For those that need a little push, a pre-networking event will be offered to warm you up. You will also have the opportunity to chat with vendors that serve the marketing, communication and creative community to help enhance your business even more.
Money is tight and I’m not sure I can afford a “party” right now?
We understand that when difficult economic times arise, the knee-jerk reaction of many individuals is to cut back where they can (e.g., eating out, shopping and even professional development). We encourage everyone—whether business is slow or booming, whether you just got laid off or just got a promotion—to make the time and the commitment to attend the Alphabet Bash this year to support the Minnesota marketing, communications and creative community.  You never know when you might need a net to fall back on.
How do I register?
Registration information will be available this summer. Watch your inboxes and mailboxes for more details!
How can I sponsor the Alphabet Bash?
Sponsorships are available from $50 to $5,000. Given the current economic environment, we realize that organizations are looking very carefully at their budgets. For this reason, we are offering all 2009 sponsors the same rates offered in 2008. We also added an additional organization to our roster-AIGA Minnesota-to increase the value of your sponsorship dollars. Remember, with this one event and one sponsorship, you are targeting six organizations for the price of one.
Contact Heather Schwartz at hschwartz@webershandwick.com for additional information.  

Job - Interactive Media Supervisor - Haworth Marketing +​ Media

Interactive Media Supervisor - Haworth Marketing +​ Media

Monday, May 18, 2009

CHINET® SERVES UP ACCOUNT TO OLSON

World’s top premium disposable tableware brand selects agency of record

Chinet® premium disposable tableware has chosen OLSON as its agency in a competitive national search, to handle holistic marketing efforts for the brand, including print, radio, TV, online and out-of-home advertising, strategy, public relations and media.

“Chinet stands for premium and we always have a seat at special occasions with friends and family,” says Paul Huckins, vice-president, Huhtamaki Retail Division, Chinet. “But Chinet is more than that. We’ve been implementing major product innovations to help make any occasion more special. And we’re convinced OLSON will help consumers and retailers think of Chinet in fresh, new relevant ways.”

“Chinet’s a great heritage brand, associated with many family memories. To be given the opportunity to leverage this strong brand in contemporary new ways is a wonderful gift,” says Kevin DiLorenzo, president, OLSON. “And because Chinet has an appetite for doing things differently, we’re looking at new ways it can both engage with current consumers and invite new ones to the table. OLSON’s inspired by Chinet’s far-reaching goals, and we’ve got the right team in place to help achieve those ambitions.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

JOHN DILLINGER PR/SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE FOR MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL COMPANIES

What’s the marketing and PR value of associating your Twin Cities corporation with one of the most notorious bankrobbers in American history?

Plenty . . . says Paul Maccabee, president of Maccabee Group Public Relations, who is seeking Twin Cities law firms, banks and other local companies interested in becoming co-sponsors of a 3-week series of Gangster History exhibits and events at Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul this July 2009. Planned to coincide with the Hollywood release of the movie “Public Enemies” starring Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, the Landmark Center exhibits will feature memorabilia from St. Paul’s 1930s gangster past (including ransom notes, .45 slugs and other artifacts from the Dillinger and Barker-Karpis gangs), a lecture series with Public Enemies author Bryan Burrough, and a live re-enactment of the 1934 trial of Dillinger’s girlfriend Billie Frechette.

Exhibits will be installed in Courtroom 317 of Landmark Center, the original courtroom where many of the 1930s gangsters were brought to justice. Sponsorships from $3,000 to $10,000 are available, with benefits including signage, event marketing, Web site visibility and more. For more information on corporate sponsorships, PR people should call Amy Mino, executive director of Landmark Center, at 651-292-3285, or via email at amino@landmarkcenter.org.

OLSON TO STRENGTHEN OVATIONS’ ONLINE OUTREACH TO SENIORS

UnitedHealth Group Business Selects Minneapolis Agency after Competitive Search

OLSON today announced it has been selected in a competitive review of digital media firms by Ovations, UnitedHealth Group’s health and well-being unit for seniors, to provide web-based creative, tools, and project management for consumer engagement efforts. Ovations named OLSON to support its expanding online presence and continuing effort to enhance customer experience.

“Because seniors and family caregivers are increasingly turning to the Internet to learn more about health care options, Ovations is tapping into OLSON’S vast experience with interactive media to provide Medicare beneficiaries with health and well-being information in an innovative and clear manner,” said Terry Clark, chief marketing officer, Ovations.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that the number of seniors age 70 to 75 using the Internet has nearly doubled since 2005. In a December survey, nearly 45 percent of respondents said they were active on the Internet, compared with 26 percent in 2005. The emergence of seniors on the Internet provides OLSON and Ovations with the opportunity to set the standard with senior-oriented digital tools.

“Our goal is to help Ovations use a personal, holistic approach to interactively engage and build new relationships with its customers,” said Kevin DiLorenzo, president, OLSON. “We offer unparalleled expertise and service in developing the digital tools to support this objective.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

President Obama had the Edge on Social Media

I do think that the election of President Barack Obama had help from his PR team using social media tactics. I am not sure how his team decided to go the route of social media, but it was amazing. Social media had been out in the public for years, but has never been used in a campaign as such advantage. Using this free media put our current president of the United States, Barack Obama, at such a financial and young fan-based gain.

The first YouTube video that contained a gorgeous woman who claimed she was in love with Barack Obama gained a lot of attention. Obama could always claim he had not made the video while his campaign managers helped design this strategy. Free press was all over the place for this video! Younger males wanted to know who the woman was and ladies wanted to find out what was so interesting about this candidate.

This was very smart of him. The campaign from celebrities and MTV during the past election ended up being a bust. This social media tactic was targeting more than just the teeny boppers who watch MTV. Then, once he got everyone’s attention, he told us what we wanted to hear. This got everyone out to vote and to vote for him!

Lindsey Schmelzer
University of Minnesota
3279
Blog Assignment

Obama Used Social Networking Sites in 2008 Election to Monumental Effect

Barack Obama received immense support from the youth demographic in the fall election. “In 1972, the first year that 18-year-olds could vote in a presidential election, some 22 million young Americans ages 18-29 voted nationwide. On Nov. 4 this year that mark was eclipsed with the highest youth turnout since 55.4 percent voting.”

But it wasn’t just the numbers that were groundbreaking; it was the way that Obama went about this historic effort. He was one of the first candidates to make social networking sites a major component of his campaign.

”The web site was a social networking zone, and its appeal to the young made this strategy viral.”

Obama has over 6 million friends on Facebook, and he is also the most followed person on Twitter with hundreds of thousands of followers.

There is no better example of how social networking is changing the world around us. I used Facebook everyday in my work as a communications intern with his campaign this fall. It’s an effective way of informing supporters of volunteer opportunities and events because it allowed them to check the information when they had time. It helps reduce the overbearing and intrusive connotation campaigns often develop over time with their supporters.

Carl Carpenter
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Barack and the Youth

Social media really helped Barack Obama in the presidential campaign. I personally feel that he reached out to the youth with the use of Facebook, YouTube and other networks to connect to people all around the US.

Reaching out on YouTube was essential to Obama’s victory. A lot of kids, age 18-24, spend their time on YouTube looking up videos or posting videos about something important or irrelevant. The video with the good looking girl I think caught on to males especially. Not saying that males are impressionable, but I think that they found his campaign a lot more interesting than McCain.

Barack also had substantial support from celebrities that came to campuses all around the US. I think that this really helped target new voters. Most people who are “older” already have decided who they will vote for, but college students who are new to the voting scene needed a reason to vote. I think bringing famous people to talk about their support for Obama and the changes he can make really helped.

Barack made a smart move by involving the social media and people that could make an impact to student’s lives.

Nikki Bhalla
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let’s Exercise Our Rights - To Obtain More Rights.

Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Wark of Wark Communications, a PR professional that specializes in the wine industry. Not only was I given great industry advice, but I was also made aware of his ongoing efforts to change state legislation across the nation.

Through lobbying and the use of other PR tactics, his goal is to change all state law to allow direct-shipment of wine from out-of-state retailers. This change would not only be vital for his clients - California wineries-- but also the people of the United States who deserve to have these types of rights and choices.

Tom is the executive director of Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) and works to build a national marketplace for retailer-to-consumer sales. More information can be found at www.winebusiness.com. His PR efforts have been continuous, stressful and successful, but the fight continues.

I think it is critical that we have people in the industry fighting for our clients, and most importantly advancing our rights as citizens. Every state should allow direct-shipment and give its residents the option to order wines they want from the wineries they choose – in state or out-of-state. Tom has struggled with this issue for many years and will continue to work on it in the future, but he has been successful at changing legislation and I think more people in the industry need to become aware of how this can be beneficial if changed, and detrimental if not.

Since November 2004, Tom has been an active blogger. His blog “…Fermentations (www.fermentations.typepad.com) focuses on wine public relations, the wine media and the nexus between culture and wine”(http://www.winebusiness.com/wbm/?go=getArticle&dataId=38858) . He also uses the blog as a gateway for reaching those who have any interest in the wine industry.

He also periodically posts his latest success stories or information regarding the SWRA and the struggle for legislative change. If more residents took an active approach towards their state legislatures and spoke out about the abuse of rights and privileges and the options that should be made available, then the fight would continue to be successful. But, there is a long road ahead.

Winebusiness.com also has ongoing information about the crusade for change. Click here for more details..

Amy Abt
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Monday, May 11, 2009

The 2010 Census and American Indian Communities

Public Relations campaigns target hard-to-reach demographics

In the spring of 2000 the U.S. Census Bureau was in the process of collecting census data. I was a freshman in high school, when people came to our campus to collect data. Many of my fellow classmates and I refused to partake in the collection process because our parents told us not to. Our refusal to participate stemmed from a long history of negative views towards government handling of native issues and government agenda. The 2010 census will likely face similar challenges without a successful public relations campaign.

In its effort to collect accurate information and data, the bureau has already started to implement communications, advertisements and PR campaigns that are specifically targeted towards hard-to-reach demographics. Included in this target market are hard-to-reach communities and minorities like American Indians. Public relations efforts will have to emphasize the importance of completing the survey and bring to light the positive that will come from participating. Sites have been set up to teach community leaders about the process of the census and why it is important to complete it.

Sarah White
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Tait joins OLSON as director and brand anthropologist

Erin Tait has joined OLSON as a director and brand anthropologist in the agency’s strategy group. For OLSON, Erin will oversee all strategic work for Imation, and its Memorex, TDK Life On Record and XtremeMac brands.

“Erin is a great OLSON addition, with kilometers of experience (she’s Canadian) and a track record of smart thinking on great brands,” says Mark Bubula, OLSON’s strategy group director. “She’s an important engine as our brand anthropology practice continues to gain altitude. And despite being Canadian, she can pronounce ‘house’ and ‘about’ properly.”

Erin was previously a group planning director at Fallon, where she worked on PBS, BMW, Dyson and Nikon.
 
Erin holds a BA in North American Studies from McGill University, Montréal, Can., and has worked as a planner for other agencies including McConaughy, Stein Schmidt and Brown, Chicago; BBDO Canada, Toronto; and McLaren Lintas, Toronto. She has won Emmys, Effies and Lions and lives in a house full of boys.

Friday, May 08, 2009

DENALI MARKETING APPOINTS MARGARET MURPHY PRESIDENT

Denali promoted Margaret Murphy, formerly chief client officer, to president. Murphy joined Denali in June 2007, months after founders Peter Brennan, Greg Heinemann and Mark Lacek launched the company. Murphy came to Denali with more than 16 years of marketing experience and had previously managed a portfolio of Carlson Marketing’s largest national and global accounts as senior vice president, client services.

“Margaret’s leadership in not only helping us grow the business but also in being a wonderful role model for all of our associates has been a key to our success to date,” said Heinemann. “She has an unbelievable commitment to our clients and her fellow co-workers and deserves to lead our agency into the future.”

Denali currently has more than 50 full-time staff and long-time business partners helping fulfill its vision of helping its clients grow their businesses and better connect brands with best customers.

“I look forward to continuing to work with Margaret and the talented people here at Denali in the months and years ahead,” said Brennan. “We have managed the company as a true team since its inception and we look forward to this next chapter with Margaret at the helm and all of us by her side."

“It is an honor to lead this group and help chart our course for the future,” said Murphy. “It has been an exciting time for me personally and the opportunity to help create something that truly helps our clients obtain their goals is very rewarding,” she said.

“I knew she was good when she joined us in 2007, but now realize she is not only good but great,” said Lacek. “She has the drive, passion and leadership that you dream of when putting a management team together and deserves this recognition.”

The Obama Campaign’s Use of Social Media

President Obama’s use of social media played an important role in helping him win the election. Like many people in their early twenties I am on Facebook, I communicate via email and text messages and a significant part of my day is spent on the Internet. I also do not spend that much time watching TV or reading the traditional newspaper. In past elections candidates have focused on traditional media coverage, something that doesn’t reach a lot of members of the younger generations. By utilizing social media Obama was better able to reach the younger crowd.

The morning after Obama won the presidential election I spent over an hour watching the “Yes We Can” music video on Youtube, which now has over 17 million views. That morning 3-4 comments were being posted every second. Almost every comment was someone both in the United States and abroad thanking us for electing Obama and commenting on how “yes we did”. Beyond the emails, the text messages, Facebook and Myspace social media has done something that TV, newspapers and radio can’t: it gave everyone a voice. For the first time we heard each other around the world.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY
 

Nicole Hudella
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Music as a Motivation in Communication

Music is a form of communication that reaches across cultures, languages and affects a great deal of people. Movies, for example, use music to set the scene; a sad film may have soft and emotional score whereas an action film may have upbeat confrontational music. In our own country, popular musicians have used music to reach people for causes such as political reform. “For What It’s Worth,” by Buffalo Springfield, asks people to stop and look around, take notice and then action, protest their government. Music can be used to communicate an endless range of emotions and continues to influence everyone.

Advertisers have also realized the advantage of music in commercials. Popular songs and jingles in advertisements allow viewers to recall what they heard. In the 1960’s all children knew what kind of hot dog they wanted for they had heard the Oscar Mayer’s jingle repeatedly telling them. “Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener…” After they had reached the children, Oscar Mayer’s knew that the parents would purchase their brand of hot dog. Music will forever be one of the most affective form of communication in advertising as well as a great influence.

Caitlin Sherman
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Public Relations Education Programs Are Receiving Failing Grades

Most public relations practitioners today have at least a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations. This degree, however, probably isn’t necessary.

Public relations classes offered at many universities tell students how to write press releases, pitch stories and maintain relationships with key constituencies. University programs tell students many things, but they do not actually teach students how to become strong public relations practitioners. I feel I have learned more from my internship experience with the Minneapolis Musical Theater than I have through my college-level classes.

Instructors, students and future employers agree that out-of-the-classroom experience is one of the best things a public relations student can do to prepare for a career. A public relations education should include an internship or similar experience. The Commission on Public Relations Education supports this idea in its annual report found online at www.commpred.org/report/pdf/executiveSummary.pdf.

It isn’t enough to tell students how, when and why to do things. They need to learn it on their own, and they need to learn it in a public setting that reflects an organization for which they could work in the future.

Jennifer Hendricks
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Risdall Marketing Group Adds Davanni’s and Advanced Carpet Restoration, Along with Four Other Clients, in April

Risdall Marketing Group (RMG) continues to receive a variety new business in 2009, adding seven new clients in April. Since January, RMG has added more than 37 new accounts. RMG’s new accounts and expanded engagements include:
“The variety of services and level of expertise RMG offers, contributes heavily to attracting new projects and clients,” said John Risdall, chairman and CEO of RMG. “RMG strives to provide top-notch service to help companies market through this recession and accomplish their business goals.”

SOCIAL INNOVATION FOR NATIVE AMERICANS FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

SOCIAL INNOVATION FOR NATIVE AMERICANS FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

MACCABEE GROUP PUBLIC RELATIONS ANNOUNCES “NODE,” NEW ONLINE REPUTATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTICE

Maccabee Group Public Relations today announced the formation of NODE, its new social media and online reputation management practice. Through Maccabee Group/NODE, the Minneapolis-based PR agency will help clients take advantage of new and emerging technologies, including platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Leading Maccabee Group/NODE will be Mike Weiner, who has been named the agency’s Director of Web & Interactive Strategies. Weiner, a 20-year veteran of public relations, left his own Web and multimedia development practice in 2007 to join Maccabee Group as account supervisor.

“Over the past two years, Mike has worked to ensure that every Maccabee Group staff member embraces leading-edge Web technology in every part of our business,” says Paul Maccabee, agency president. “As social media has exploded, our clients -- from Gold’n Plump to Hazeden -- are increasingly asking that our work incorporate these technologies via engaging Web-based content,” adds Maccabee. “NODE represents a disciplined approach to this online work, building upon our agency’s expertise in marketing communications and media relations. It’s not just our clients that are demanding help nurturing online relationships – it’s our clients’ clients!”

A hallmark of Maccabee Group/NODE will be the founding of alliances with online marketing partners hand-picked for their value to Maccabee clients. Maccabee Group announced the first of those partnerships this week – an alliance with Minneapolis-based search engine marketing agency Nina Hale Consulting. Nina Hale will assist Maccabee Group in optimizing its clients’ Web sites and content to drive positive search engine results.

Why Facebook is a PR Dream Come True

Anyone who’s anyone is on Facebook these days – at least if you want to stay connected to the rest of human kind. It almost makes phone calls and e-mails obsolete – and snail mail? Forget it. Facebook is the fastest and easiest way to communicate, especially to mass audiences, which is awesome for the PR industry.

Not only can a person create a profile for them self, but now companies can create a “page” in order to promote their business, product, service, cause, etc, etc. You can even create a page to support a person – which is exactly what both presidential candidates did during this past race. People can become fans of these pages and if you have Facebook, you know that once the fire is started, it spreads and it spreads fast. Obama’s page has almost 6,000,000 fans – and in just the 20 minutes I spent exploring his page, 20 more people became a fan.

With over 175 millions users, Facebook opens up opportunities that public relations practitioners have never had before. Whether it’s promoting your company or doing some personal branding, Facebook is a new PR phenomenon. And if you haven’t joined, it’s about time you do.

Adriane Marten
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sideline Tweeting

The Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) League is about to kick off its new and reinvented season next week with a unique twist: Fans will be able to follow two soccer players on the sideline using the social networking site Twitter. What exactly is the purpose of the “tweeting” players? Will this new feature be a hindrance rather than a benefit?

A similar concept has been used in the NBA and NFL with the use of microphones. But using a computer on the sidelines is a good way to distract players from what is important—the game. How is that going to look when a player sitting on the bench is holding a laptop typing away?

As a soccer player at the University of Minnesota I know that you need to be just as concentrated on the bench as on the field. I know the previous women’s soccer league (WUSA) didn’t last long a few years back, but I don’t think Twitter will be the answer to the league’s success.

If I’m going to take time out of my day to watch a WPS match on T.V. I won’t want to see any Twitter updates. I want to watch the game. I don’t see this feature lasting long. To know more about the details of sideline tweeting, visit Tripp Mickle’s article at www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/trippmickle.

Dana Tripp
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

Friday, May 01, 2009

Twibe, have you signed up yet?

For those that use twitter, there is a great tool for connecting to people who have similar interests called Twibe. A Twibe is a group of Twitter users interested in a common topic. To create a Twibe, just choose a name and Tweet it using the form above.  

For those of you that are already familiar with Twibe signup now to join the MNPR group: http://twibes.com/mnpr


Skittles

In the past few months we have seen the relationship between social media and communications professionals change dramatically. Perhaps the most provocative example of this is the Skittles Web site redesign.

Moving away from a controlled webpage that communicates from Skittles to consumers, the company has embraced a portal format that gets content from social media such as Twitter. Aggregating all mentions of Skittles on Twitter and presenting them, this new strategy creates a communications platform controlled not by professionals, but consumers.

While the Skittles site move is likely a double-edged sword, it takes the first bold steps towards where communications is going. While some would point out the massive risks of such a move, their communications staff probably wasn’t so short sighted to not see this coming. It is vital to remember that this is the same company who put out ads like this and this. They know what they were getting into, they know their target audience and have segmented pretty specifically to them. This move could play out well for the brand, but even if it doesn’t it’s still something that should be respected from a purely philosophic basis.

For a brand with international recognition, even if it is a candy company, to give control of its identity to consumers like this is a big deal. Even if it is a bit of a construction and not exactly a real handing over of control, steps like this are going to be the precursors of what is an inevitable, massive, paradigm shift in the concept of brand identity.

Ben Pfutzenreuter
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment

**Internship** - Northwest Suburban Integration School District

**Internship** - Northwest Suburban Integration School District

Is the Real World Really Here?

The final stretch of my college career is under way with one semester to go and quite frankly, the thought of graduating is both a relief and frightening. For the past 15 years, my schedule has revolved around exams, homework deadlines and summer break. Attending the University of Minnesota has helped me choose a career that I hope to be passionate about for many years. The public relations program within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) has provided me with a steady route to learning the skills of a professional in the field; however, nothing compares to real-world experience.

In my years at the university, I feel that time has eluded me. Some college students have a certain power that allows them to “do it all.” But working at two jobs and enrolling in 15 credits, like I do, takes time from other opportunities. Networking and meeting people in the business, building relationships and completing internships are a few opportunities that have slipped by me. Now the pressure is on.

Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a club offered at the U of M that I have been urged to join by my professors and advisors but haven’t found a way to fit in to my already hectic schedule. I think that the SJMC program for an education in PR does everything right to prepare students for careers in the real world; it’s the choices the student makes both during and after school that provides a story of success or failure.

University of Minnesota PRSSA Web site: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~mnprssa/

Gretchen VanDusartz
University of Minnesota
JOUR 3279
Blog Assignment