Tag Archives: Kickstarter

Rob Ford Time Bomb Has Taken Months to Explode

22 Nov

It’s obvious what a public relations debacle Rob Ford’s situation is, and plenty has already been written on it. As one with an interest in PR, there’s a particular aspect I find very interesting.

It’s amazing to me that the situation taken this long to detonate. I remember reading in Gawker six months ago about this video of the Toronto mayor smoking crack. At that point it was just a bizarre, yet well-chronicled tale:

Gawker Original Coverage of Rob Ford Crack Video

Rob Ford, Toronto’s conservative mayor, is a wild lunatic given to making bizarre racist pronouncements and randomly slapping refrigerator magnets on cars. One reason for this is that he smokes crack cocaine. I know this because I watched him do it, on a videotape. He was f-ing hiiiiigh. It’s for sale if you’ve got six figures. Gawker, May ’13

The only thing that came of it other than an interesting story and an IndieGoGo campaign at the time was suspicion toward the mayor that only added more doubt to a shady tale. If the mayor and his team were at all serious about salvaging their professional futures, coming clean immediately back then and making reparations in some meaningful way would have been the best course of action and avoided a Saturday Night Live parody. But here we are. It will no doubt be interesting to see how this plays out as a great example of a PR “don’t” for decades to come.

As a side note, I have a Canadian colleague who notes that this whole thing will go away once the world sees the actual video, stating that as long as Ford was polite when smoking crack (“May I see that pipe, please? Thank you, kind sir.”), no big deal. If he was rude — well, then it’s all over.

What do you think? Have you been following the Rob Ford story? How do you see anyone in the Ford camp making it through all this? Let us hear from you in the comments.
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PR Through A Font? Believe It.

3 Apr

PR From a Font - not even close to technically accurate - for conceptual purposes onlyHere’s some good public relations for Chattanooga, Tennessee design firm Insigne Design, and for the importance of typography in branding.

Chatype for Chattanooga

A recent story from Marketplace sets the scene with a picture of the city’s renaissance, then gets right to the fontspeak, showing how some cities and their local businesses/governments are adopting unified custom fonts, seeing typography as a “sexy idea” with real potential.

Chattanooga Font

Click to read transcript &/or listen (10-second ad, then 4-minute audio):

Sexy Nerdspeak

Chattanooga Font

Image credit: Good.is

I like this story for so many reasons. It’s about typography and design; it’s about a clever concept for effective public relations from a branding perspective; and in the space of four minutes, reporter Blake Farmer brings all these concepts together in practical application. As I said earlier on Twitter, “From “nerdspeak” to “sexy idea” in four minutes? You guessed it; we’re talking about a font.” Gotta’ love that.

Jeremy Dooley, Jonathan Mansfield and D.J. Trishler, all featured in the story, saw through this brand of design work via Chatype and successfully raised funding to get the idea out there. Check out the full presentation on Kickstarter and enjoy D+J‘s video overview here of what goes into crafting an effective font.

Now What?

I have to wonder though, what comes next? Do the designers offer free installation on computers of local businesses? As a design studio promoting this font, living in the city it was designed for, do they now throw all other fonts out the window and use this one exclusively? Do they use this as a tool for new business by offering, say… 250 free business cards or free signs that use the font for local establishments, with an offer for reprints at a discount for incorporating the font into the branding? Imagine the PR a local business could stir up by saying, “Ladies & Gents, check out our new bathroom signs – more than meets the eye!”  How about some QR code magic? Here’s a sample I whipped up just now:

What the heck is a QR Code?

Maybe a bar or restaurant runs a contest for customers to “spot the font” somewhere on site. There are so many opportunities, and I hope exploring them brings good press, profits, and most of all — fun, for everyone involved.

What do you think? Do you get a sense of tone, feel or personality from a typeface? Or is this just about making something pretty for pretty’s sake? Do you see the return on investment in this from a public relations angle? Or does this type of coverage even amount to anything in the long run? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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