How Ambien Avoided a PR Nightmare

By Alex Altman Roseanne Barr was in hot water. She had just fired off a regrettable tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a former advisor to President Barack Obama. Her show had been cancelled. She was being vilified as a racist. And she needed someone to blame. Enter Ambien. “It was 2 in the morning, and I was ambien tweeting,” read her since deleted tweet. Ambien may have seemed like a natural scapegoat. But the maker of the drug, Sanofi, wasn’t going to let Barr get off easy. A day after its signature sleeping pill was cited, the pharmaceutical company issued a […]

12 Months Later: Starbucks Learns from United Airlines’ Woes

By Alex Altman Caught in the eye of a PR firestorm, former Starbucks CEO (and still face-of-company) Howard Schultz took a page from the Oscar Munoz book on corporate leadership. And then he did the exact opposite. When cellphone footage last April showed a passenger being violently dragged off a United Airlines flight, Munoz delayed, deflected and even blamed the “disruptive and belligerent” victim for his failure to heed the orders of a flight crew. His regrettable handling of the situation inflamed an already outraged public, provided fresh fodder for the national media and caused irreparable harm to United Airlines’ […]

Travis Kalanick’s Uber PR Problem

By Alex Altman It’s been a bumpy ride for Uber so far in 2017. In January, the company was excoriated for not disavowing President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order — a decision that spurred 200,000 customers to delete the app. But in some ways, what happened a month later was even more damaging to Uber’s reputation. On February 27, dash cam footage showed CEO arguing with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel over prices. In the video, Kamel complains that the company’s oft-changing policies had caused him to go bankrupt. “I lost $97,000 because of you,” he told Kalanick. “I’m bankrupt because […]

War of Words: Trump’s Feud with Press Reaches Boil

By Alex Altman Mere hours after the inauguration, Time reporter Zeke Miller unwittingly gave President Donald Trump the ultimate gift. Standing in the Oval Office, surrounded by fellow members of the press corps, Miller made what he thought was a stunning observation: the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was missing. On January 20, Miller shared the scoop with his 150,000 Twitter followers without first verifying with the White House that the bust was no longer there. Not surprisingly, the missive uncorked a tidal wave of anger about the apparent omission. The reaction was none of Miller’s concern. It’s […]

Word Play: Don’t Screw It Up (FAIL: “Black Olives Matter”)

By Brian Murnahan In the world of Public Relations, we often use word play to get peoples attention, draw out a news tie-in or otherwise spice up our writing. If done well, word play can be very advantageous for our clients. On the other had, it is not hard to really screw up either. Over the past year or so, the “Black Lives Matter” campaign has brought a great deal of attention to the treatment of African American’s by law enforcement. In return, in a play on words, campaigns for “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” along with others […]


By Melissa Smuzynski He is controversial, polarizing and prides himself on being politically incorrect, yet he has risen to a level of political accomplishment that few actual politicians have achieved. Of course, I am talking about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, his social media strategy is just as polarizing as his personality. While Donald Trump has been able to remain powerful and popular among his supporters, as a public relations consultant I beg him to seek out a social media strategist. He has personally tweeted things that quite frankly any business or brand, […]


BY MELISSA SMUZYNSKI I think most businesses will agree that social media is an important part of marketing, promotion and brand awareness. But many companies, businesses and even public relations firms have a difficult time putting a dollar amount to its worth. There is no denying the power and impact of social media in today’s digital world. It’s vital, and how you manage it can make or break your business. Attention: As with any media exposure, social media offers your business an opportunity to grab the attention of potential customers. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram can bring new […]

Blue Bell Creamery Survives Crisis: Make Sure You Can Too

By Melissa Newton-Smuzynski In April 2015, Texas-based Blue Bell Creamery pulls all of its ice cream from shelves nationwide. The drastic move came after a listeria outbreak that resulted in the deaths of three people. The company was in crisis! People were dead. Hundreds more were laid off or furloughed. And every major news outlet across the nation was covering the story. That type of negative publicity and loss in revenue would typically destroy a company, but today, one year later you can still get your favorite flavors in the frozen food aisle. In fact, when Blue Bell rolled it’s […]

Why the NFL’s PR Nightmare is Worse Than it Seems

By Alex Altman Next week, Roger Goodell will take the podium at the 2016 NFL Draft to the delight of thousands of bloodthirsty fans. With cameras rolling and millions watching, it’s the most high-profile chance they’ll get all year to express their contempt for the man running America’s most popular sports league. The boos that rain upon Goodell on draft night have become as traditional as his handshake with rookies on stage. It’s hardly a surprise when you consider Goodell’s approval rating, a meager 28 percent, is on par with the least popular presidents in history. Public opinion of Goodell can be […]