Fenty Beauty Center Stage at the Super Bowl Halftime Show

The Super Bowl took us all by surprise this year when Rihanna made her appearance at the halftime show. There are a lot of people who had mixed feelings about the show itself, or just straight up didn’t like it. Despite whether you liked it or not, there is no denying that Rihanna was smart and took advantage of the opportunity that she was given. Not only did she choose that time to announce that she was pregnant, but she also chose to use that time to promote her company called Fenty Beauty.

Fenty Beauty is a make-up company that was founded by Rihanna. While Rihanna wasn’t offered cash for her performance, she certainly didn’t miss out on the chance to make some. During her performance, she took out her instant setting and blotting power to touch up her face. According to Nielson, there were over 113 million people watching the super bowl. Her strategy of promoting her product helped increase the net of Fenty Beauty to around 44 million dollars, according to tribedynamics. Rihanna knew the opportunity that she was given and she wasn’t afraid to use it to the best of her ability.

Lizzo Apology

For me, keeping up with celebrity and influencer news is everything. Not in the sense that I am completely involved in their lives like reality TV but in the sense that I am intrigued by what they’re doing and how their choices or actions change public perception of them. Lizzo (Melissa Jefferson) has been a champion for body positivity and has been a welcome face in the music industry. Ever since her first hit Truth Hurts, she has skyrocketed in her fame. Recently Jefferson has come under fire for a lawsuit that was served to her by former dancers who worked with the singer. The lawsuit covers allegations of sexual assault and harassment, religious harassment, the creation of a hostile work environment, body-shaming, and many other allegations that painted the singer in a very negative light. The internet, mainly TikTok from what I witnessed ran with the story with many people reading over and explaining the lawsuits, restating accounts of the dancers who served the lawsuit, and people generally shaming Jefferson for her hypocrisy.

After the news was released Aug 1, 2023 Jefferson released a statement to her official Instagram account on August 3, 2023. The statement is a gallery-style post with multiple slides with text on them. The statement attempts to do three things: Displace blame from Jefferson onto her former employees, blame her employees for their own ‘unprofessional’ behavior, and overshadow this controversy by trying to invoke her previous good work. Jefferson’s apology was only posted to Instagram and no official press release or statement was made by her PR team. The apology was not received particularly well by the jury of public opinion, nor was the apology well written by any means. There were strategic points to release a statement after the official lawsuit was released, but the apology did entirely fall flat because of the attempts to displace Jefferson’s blame onto the Plaintiffs. Overall, Jefferson’s response was in general ill taste, and she did not actually provide an apology for the allegations set before her.

My Experience as a Public Relations Intern and the Advice I’d Give

As a Communication major at Arcadia, we are required to complete at least one semester with an internship. I was lucky enough to secure a position with VMS Communications, a small public relations firm based in Houston. I was hired as an assistant and my general tasks were to work closely with the CEO and complete assignments that ranged from drafting press releases to creating excel contact sheets.

I had no previous experience in the field so having this job provided some much needed hands on learning. My goal of this post is to highlight the advice I wish someone had given to me before starting.

#3 Honing Organization Skills

(Example of where my Internship folder is located on my computer and how specific the subfolders are)

I’m not a particularly unorganized person, but as far as files and images go on my computer it can be a no man’s land. However, at any moment your boss can ask to reference a previous draft of an assignment you’ve worked on. It would be expected for you to have some record of it.

Learning how to save multiple copies of files and having a detailed organization system that is labeled and up to date on your devices is important. It is three years later, and I am still referencing the work I did when I was at my internship. This would not be as easily accessible if not for the system I created.

#2 Become Familiar with Excel (and other programs)

I rarely, if ever, have had to use Excel or Google Spreadsheet during my time as a student. So, when my first assignment was to create a celebrity contact list that had to be created in Excel, I was flustered.  I spent days on a task that shouldn’t have taken longer than a few hours.

My advice: Ask your superior before starting what programs are commonly used with the job and use the time before starting or in between projects to familiarize yourself with it. It will save you a lot of time.

#1 Don’t Be Afraid to Be Honest

With your first internship or job there is usually an immense pressure to be perfect. But the company you work for knows they hired an intern and that you do not know everything. In my experience, it is better to ask for help and be honest about not being sure how to complete a project than messing up and having to explain it afterwards. A good boss or superior will use it as a teaching lesson and it’ll improve your skillset.

Overall, my experience as an assistant was one that I can look back fondly on. However, like with any job there are always ups and downs. If I knew these few tips going into the position it would have certainly eased some of those anxieties.

How an NBA Superstar Cleared his Name

Standing at six foot three, Ja Morant has been an absolute game changer for the Memphis Grizzlies and this isn’t the first time he’s been the leader of his team. Morant has been seen leading not only his college team Murray state to wins, but also his high school team. Ja’s always been the star and every star is in the spotlight, thus mistakes are not only seen but magnified and analyzed. Of course, with this analysis and magnification comes criticism, not just any criticism but media criticism, the worst kind. Ja Morant is not exempt from this rule of fame and had to face the noise the rough way.

In March of 2023 pictures leaked of Ja Morant in a “gentleman’s club”, this was bad enough, however what followed was more pictures of Morant surrounded by money and one with him brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. The media went into a frenzy, the premiere young superstar for not only the Grizzlies but the entire NBA is now being seen as a “young indecisive mess” and with this came a huge headache for Morant’s PR team.

The first thing they had to do was contact the Grizzlies and let them know to put out on all social media platforms and send to news outlets that they were investigating exactly what was going on with the situation and for people not to assume anything about Morant or what he did or did not do. However, the damage had been done, Morant’s photos were being shown on ESPN and people were making jokes of him “trying to make it into the hood”, it was bad. Shannon Sharpe gave Morant a direct message to stop messing around with his career as not only weeks before Morant was also reported of assaulting a 17-year old boy. Morant’s PR team was in a frenzy and had to react quickly to salvage Morant’s image especially for the Grizzlies key stakeholders.

Clarification was the first thing Morant’s PR team focused on, issuing multiple statements after the police investigation that the firearm Morant was brandishing was a “prop”. This helped to sway some people’s beliefs but most still had a stain in their mind when it came to Morant, it’s a situation that’s hard to forget but a few more factors helped Morant out. One good move was the team promoting gun safety, along with Morant attending gun safety classes. The final thing Morant’s PR team did was push the attention away from Morant’s off the court antics to his on the court antics. Morant lead the Grizzlies to the #3 seed in the West and did so while averaging over 25 points a game and eight assists a game, Morant’s PR team posted a lot of things about the upcoming playoffs and how the Grizzlies are in a good position to win it all. One final factor in Morant’s comeback in the public eye is his teammate Dillon Brooks, who is widely disliked by the NBA community and is still stirring up trouble as of the writing of this piece.

All in all Morant’s situation was nothing to sneeze at, had he been convicted he most likely never would have stepped on an NBA court again regardless of his talent and limitless potential. However, not only was he not convicted Morant is seen in most eyes as a young star who has made his mistakes, however, as long as he turns over a new leaf there is no reason why he can’t be loved even more by the public in the future than he was before the crisis ever occurred. 

Life As A Criminal Justice Major in PR

Hey there! My name is Aida Gashi and I am a Criminal Justice major. This semester I found myself in a PR class for 1853. I did not know what to expect when starting this class. I remember the first day when I walked into the classroom and was surrounded by Marketing and PR students. I was worried I was not going to understand the terminology or the processes of creating materials for clients. I quickly learned
that it’s really everyday stuff and experience that counts and could be contributed in the class. I was still very nervous and all around terrified I would say something wrong or something that was totally out there. More and more I started to get more comfortable with the class and realized that no one is going to make fun of me for throwing out my ideas. Honestly, I have always been intimidated taking any class that was outside of my major because I did not want to feel less intelligent than the other students. I think that PR gave me the little push I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and try other things.

PR is really taking what you know about the world, your experiences, and other people’s experiences and making it come to life. It’s all about doing research and conducting surveys to see what people enjoy the most about a certain topic and using all of the information you have gathered to advertise an organization or a product. I think these skills not only help in the PR world, but in your career as well. Do the research about a job you want, inquire about the skills needed, ask people who are in that industry for advice and what they did, and then advertise yourself for the job you want. I guarantee you will be first on the employers mind. So you see, PR isn’t all about working to advertise a company or product, you can advertise yourself as well. And that is what I have learned being a Criminal Justice major in a PR class.

PR Through the Lens of a Bio Major

The world of communications and public relations was not something I had ever thought about branching into. As a biology major, joining 1853 Communications seemed like a decision that was completely out of left field. However, the more that I had sat with my choice to become a part of the agency, the more it made sense. I have always had a love for social media and connecting with people, so the ability to integrate these interests into a more professional setting was an experience that I did not want to miss out on. The only thing that I worried about was feeling completely out of my comfort zone as I deviated from my science background, but, as time went on, I learned I really had nothing to be afraid of.

Of course, the first few times meeting with the agency consisted of a lot of listening and learning. I made myself akin to a sponge as I absorbed as much information as possible. One of the main takeaways I have gathered is that it is all a learning experience. It is okay to not know and to have questions! There will always be peers and mentors who you can lean on.

My time here in the agency has been filled with acquiring new skills and garnering new experiences. As I have spent most of my academic career enveloped in test tubes, flasks, and various bunsen burners, I never had the opportunity to build and express my creative side. With the agency, I have learned ways to be creative even when in an academic atmosphere. Despite having no prior knowledge or ability, I was quick to gain an understanding of how to use the graphic design platform, Canva, for creating materials like newsletters and social media posts. I have also been given the opportunity to meet and interview individuals who I would have never crossed paths with otherwise.

I have come to learn that there are similarities between PR and the field of biology. Developing a pr plan using the RACE acronym is quite comparable to using the scientific method when designing an experiment. This synthesis allowed me to thoroughly understand the RACE model and helped me better contribute to the conversation when planning for our clientele.

Advertising, PR, and the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of the most highly anticipated annual sports events in the United States. From the best of the best halftime performers, to all the memorable commercials, to the game itself, almost everyone can find some reason to watch the big game. Before, during, and after the game there is a lot of talk about the famous commercials. For some, they may only be watching for those commercials. Super Bowl day is a huge thing for the public relations industry. The game is not only a platform for companies to show off their advertisements, but all of the public relations and marketing that surround the game. When marketing begins for the Super Bowl, the league does not know the two teams that will be dueling yet, so they must go at a different angle. Whether it is the performers they have confirmed, the location or even the parties associated with the game, the NFL has to find a way to make it bigger each year.

If there is one thing we learn about advertising during the Super Bowl, it is truly the perfect place to introduce viewers to new products and places through advertising. Public relations can have an impact beyond simple ads. The cost of these 30 second ads is up in the high millions. These companies have to make sure what they are putting out is worthwhile for them and the viewers.

Public relations is what keeps people talking about the ads and hopefully remember what they see. The Super Bowl gives public relations professionals a chance to find a way to reach their target audiences. Public relations professionals have realized that they have to appeal to all viewers, whether they are actual football fans or not.

In the National Football League, everything pretty much leads up to the Super Bowl. It is the highest-earning revenue event for the NFL from all of the merchandise, advertisements, and TV rights. Teams, coaches, employees and executives work the whole season for this big game. Public Relations professionals are working towards the same!

Global Communications

Have you ever wondered how advertising, public relations, communications, etc. are in other countries? I never really wondered too much about it until I visited Ireland in May 2022. 

While shopping, I noticed how differently they advertised their products. I could not really tell what most products were unless I got a good look at it, I am not sure if that was the goal to have more people pick up the product, but I was so used to automatically knowing what everything was in America based off of the huge colorful bold letters that pop out in your face. 

To advertise the country as a whole, there is a huge focus on the Cliffs of Moher. Mostly every post, newsletter, etc, that is advertising the country always mentions the cliffs. It is very different from America, considering how big it is no one would really be able to pick one tourist attraction to bring in more tourists. 

Where I was staying, a very small town in the county of Clare called Ballyvaughan, advertisements were basically nonexistent. In such a small town, the only thing I  really saw that was advertising anything was  a small board in the only  grocery shop in town, basically promoting farmers markets and charity events. 

It was amazing to see how other countries live not so engulfed by huge companies and advertisements taking over everywhere, the main thing they really cared about in Ballyvaughan was supporting each other and staying local. It was such a huge transition for me considering I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I would love to visit Ballyvaughan again some day, and even explore the rest of Ireland to see if different parts of the country are the same or different when it comes to advertising and all. Ireland is really a beautiful country with lots to do, they  even got me advertising the whole country for them!

The Hidden Industry

It is sitting quietly behind every business you know. It’s the hidden industry behind every industry. Public Relations, Branding, Marketing, and Advertising, jointly known as Communications create and execute the messaging behind every company. Although many remain unaware of the real job communications does, there’s a $500 billion industry behind every major company, and its obscurity is its strength.

            Every company has, or at least should have, a brand. The identity that the company operates under. Most executive decisions are made to maintain congruence in the brand. Decisions are made every day about messaging, copy, colors, representation, and other signals that can influence a brand’s customers. This is exactly why the industry is hidden. Those messages, those words, those brand ambassadors are all specifically chosen to appeal to very specific demographics. Those appeals tend to work best when done discreetly. After all, nobody likes to be told what to buy or what to do, but through the power of suggestion, people are much more amenable to making brand-conscious decisions.

            Although nearly every brand, certainly the big brands we all know, have their attention on marketing, many people are blissfully unaware of the painstaking intentions and perspiration behind each advertisement, each press release, and each marketing decision. The work is plenty and perpetual, with marketing work being a constant game of managing expectations, crisis prevention, and mediated messaging.

            Each word can have an impact, and investing in marketing can yield great results. Don’t be fooled though, it can be a long game. Cultivating a brand and matching that brand with your audience is something that people in the communications field work tirelessly at. Creating one ad, one social account, or distributing one press release is helpful for any company, but creating consistent success in marketing can’t be a one off. Once an audience starts to take notice of your brand, the work is not done. Building a strong brand and a consistent identity does more than increase sales. Studies have found it can increase employee recruitment within your company, it can tell a story to customers, and reinforce audience awareness of your values.

            The hidden industry of communications at its core is like a mentor or a guardian. Communications agencies do far more than just writing press releases and crafting ads; collaborating on a brand story and not just reaching but connecting with audiences all fall under the advisory purview of a quality agency. Communications agencies don’t tend to see the spotlight, but their work rather highlights the brand they have as a client, and the return on investment can begin when the client is shining.

            Working for a communications agency requires a strong work ethic, but can yield profoundly rewarding results. For both the client and the agency, working hard to ensure a brand’s identity is known does far more than just increase sales. Playing the long game is something that not all are willing to do, but ensuring success is never easy. Although success is never final, connecting with your audiences can help secure your success for the future.

New Netflix Docuseries Shows the Power of PR

The 1990’s was a radical time. Seinfeld was on TV; Titanic was the highest-grossing film, and the internet was still a baby. A big contention in the 90’s was the Cola wars between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. Much like Team Edward and Team Jacob during the popularity of the Twilight saga, there were passionate camps for the soda companies. Both companies used advertising to win the popularity of the people. Coca-Cola sought to advertise a certain “family-friendly” image and even a “new” formula to sway the public. However, Pepsi leaned deep into star studded sponsorship. The iconic Cindy Crawford commercial that made young boys lifelong Pepsi fans is one of the most memorable Pepsi campaigns. There was another Pepsi campaign that was memorable for other reasons.

Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? (2022), a 4-part docuseries on Netflix details college student John Leonard. In response to Pepsi’s “Drink Pepsi, Get Stuff” campaign, John sought to win a Harrier Jet. The Jet was priced at 7 million Pepsi points and John found a way to buy enough points to get the jet.The Pepsi and BBDO advertising campaign immediately came under fire and began a legal battle with John. The documentary is very tongue-in-cheek with its editing that includes reenactments, simulations, and cheeky text that echoes Pepsi’s later amendment on their Harrier Jet campaign that said, “just kidding”. For PR students, this is an interesting look at public relations and advertising. The Cola Wars was a big PR Campaign but as the legal battle with John went on, we can see PR as a way to control a certain narrative or to cover up company oversights.

(Mild Spoilers Ahead)

After going public about his feud with Pepsi, John’s reputation started to be under attack. The Pepsi CEO at the time went on news outlets to paint John as an opportunistic kid trying to get money from the company. In the beginning, the public was on John’s side until Pepsi decided to fight back. Later John, with the help of Michael Avenatti, started an ad campaign to help sway public opinion back to John’s side. One ad featured John with a black eye in the shape of the Pepsi logo. Another ad featured a blank page with small writing that pointed out that’s how advertisement features fine print for ads.

(Spoilers Ended)

The documentary goes on to show the many levels of marketing and how advertisement shapes public spending. This series is a good example of the challenges of PR and advertising. Every company dream of an impactful campaign but there are dangers (laws even) regarding what an advertisement can or cannot show. Leonard v. Pepsi Co became a landmark case in the reach of contract law that is studied in law schools today. This docuseries is like a nice cross section on how PR Firms for advertisements, law, or big companies work to tell a certain story to the public.

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