PR Fool’s Day

Haha, we’re a funny bunch out here on PR Island!

April Fool’s Day jokes went all around the Web a couple of weeks ago and an amazing number of them involved big brands: NASCAR, Google and more.

I like it when companies use April Fool’s Day to launch a joke product (that sometimes later becomes a real product)…or take a sly, sideways approach to strengthening a message…or just plain infuse some personality into their brands.

Here are three well-executed April Fool’s Day funnies you might not have seen:

A news release for Floccupy Wall Street

A video about an “e-lane” for sidewalks

A recruiting piece from Beloit College

Laugh and the world laughs with you.


Black & Blue & Pink All Over

College courses will teach it. Post-grad students will write dissertations about it. Still, I’ll never understand why the Susan G. Komen Foundation blew up its own brand a few days ago. And make no mistake, that is exactly what they did.

Yes, I understand politics. This blog is mostly about public relations, but my particular political belief system goes on display from time to time; it’s simply part of who I am.

This was never the case with the Komen message. The words “cancer” and “cure” once belonged to that message and were so tightly interwoven in it that there was no room for other words. Such was the strength of that brand. Then—and have I mentioned that this is inexplicable to me?—the decision was made to swap in “abortion” for “cancer” and “politics” for “cure.”

So now we’re all learning yet another lesson in the power of Twitter. And the importance of brand consistency. And the necessity of a strategic and integrated crisis communications plan. But if we want to avoid becoming the next Komen Foundation, we should probably make a point of also relearning some Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.”

Little Touch, Big Brand


Say you’re a fan of Duke University’s legendary Blue Devils basketball program. (I know, Bucky, but say you are.) How happy will you be to come across this delightful little twist on two universal symbols? Tickled blue, right?

As always, it’s the little things that matter. And at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, even signage for the ladies’ room is an opportunity to reinforce brand perception.

I mention it because this is the work of ZEBRADOG, a nationally known branding and design firm based in Madison. Their work is more than just this small sign, of course; ZEBRADOG does big-idea projects all over the place. Including lots of work for your favorite team. And this particular Devil In A Blue Dress is an example of how ZEBRADOG never misses a chance to tell the story of a client’s brand in a new, creative and engaging way.

The same is true of other Cherry Street Agency clients, even when the story they’re telling is their own.

Cases in point: A fundraising pitch for the online Wisconsin Museum of Broadcasting is an actual commercial, right on the website, complete with the “We Interrupt This Program” announcement familiar to anyone who watched pre-cable television. And the Clean Lakes Alliance regularly sends Lake-O-Grams to supporters as a nod to the mail boats of a bygone era.

Convincing, creative and brand-consistent. The experts will tell you that attention to detail matters. That even one little thing can have a big impact on a consumer, a reader, a viewer, a fan. Someone should remind them of how this is especially true if that one little thing happens to be a teeny-tiny little blue pitchfork.

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