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Showing posts from May, 2008

PR Idea of the Week

Customer service. What a concept. This week I saw the best and worst of both. And I'm not afraid to name names. First, let me take my hat off to all those who toil in consumer PR and work for B2C companies. Consumers are, for the most part, very dumb. Otherwise, why would companies need to protect us from ourselves. I once owned a sun shade for my car, the kind that covers the windshield, that said: Do not use while vehicle is in operation. OK. But back to my recent experiences. I use Verizon DSL for my Internet service. It's about the only thing we can get out here in the country. So a few weeks ago the DSL stops working consistently. The little light is blinking sporadically and a horrible fuzz takes over the phone line. So I called the 800 number. They made me check all my lines, download software, get a new modem, and on and on. Until I said the magic word: cancel. Then suddenly and mysteriously I was connected to a wonderful man named David who was actually named Davi

Takin' Care of Business

Next week I'm heading out west to a trade show. We're expecting 30,000 people from around the world to attend. In past years the organization I'm affiliated with has been recognized as bringing the leading product to this event--and put on the cover of our top trade magazine for our record-breaking revenues. Last summer our results from this show generated a front-page story in the local newspaper and a spot on the morning show of the local ABC affiliate. And how does an organization succeed at this huge show? Success comes from an excellent breeding program with attention to developing foundation females. huh Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the trade show we're heading to next week is for my husband's employer, our farm. We're going to the World Pork Expo in Des Moines , Iowa. I promise to share photos and updates from Iowa.

Confessions of a Former Lactator

What new mother doesn't want the VERY best for her child? And what parents in their right minds would choose an expensive, time-consuming, high-maintenance sub-par product to feed their newborn? And yet every day women make the personal choice not to breastfeed their babies. I'm no granola lady, but it just made sense that the high-quality, right-amount, right-temperature, low maintenance liquid I was carrying around in my chest for free was preferable to some expensive can in the grocery. I'm not going to say that my children never had a drop of formula. I had a great friend who could have nursed triplets who could get a full day supply of milk for her baby in one pumping session. But I did get to the point where the babies needed supplementing when I wasn't around. I'm going to get off the soap box now, because what I really want to share is the story of the police officer in China who was rescuing babies during the earthquake. A lactating mother herse

PR Idea of the Week

I'm a member of the local chapter of PRSA and I'm constantly amazed at the great people they bring into town to speak to us, nationally recognized people like Ann Wylie and, quite memorably, Peter Shankman . Ann Wylie is a post unto herself--and since I didn't do one last week, consider this my post: Don't call yourself a writer unless you've been to an Ann Wylie workshop. There . OK , back to Shankman . We have nothing in common. He is a cat-loving, single New Yorker who runs marathons and jumps out of airplanes for fun. I am a farmer's wife from Ohio who vacations at the State Fair and couldn't run the gravel lane from my farmhouse to the road. Also, I hate, HATE cats. But I find myself among his many followers. We both appreciate a targeted, cleverly worded media pitch. We both feel the thrill from connecting a client with a journalist and getting that perfect clip. We both love a good stunt. Granted, he has actually done the crazy things he thin

What Farm Kids Do for Fun

My children are part-time suburbanites. They get to ride their little bikes on the sidewalk and jump on the trampoline with neighborhood kids who stop by. Thanks to their Friendly Suburban-Dwelling Babysitter, they enjoy the best of life on the cul - de -sac, from the time they arrive at the bus stop, to the time I drag them out of the sandbox in the evening. But on weekends, and long summer evenings, they revert back to country kids. Where the most exciting thing happening is when our neighbor "Horn," as the kids have dubbed him, brings his tractor over to work in our field. Or maybe if they're real lucky a family with kids will be coming by to pick up some pigs, leaving them to stare in awkward silence while the men load pigs, becoming fast friends seconds before it is time to load back in the truck. So kids in the country learn to make their own fun. And mothers in the country buy those washers advertised to handle 16 pairs of jeans at once. Here, Morgan and Justi

Swine Lecture Series - Transportation

Our swine lecture series continues with a timely installment on porcine transportation. Class, today we'll see some photos of swine hauling devices and hear a case study on swine transportation gone wrong. We'll wrap up with a heart-warming story of agri-brotherliness. Back in the actual old days, or in the current days of farm cartoons and Charlotte's Web, hogs were transported in the bed of the farm pick-up truck, usually equipped with high wooden slats to keep the livestock from jumping out at 45 mph. One family we knew hauled their Poland China boar (translation: black and white colored male pig) on the back of their truck in a more modern aluminium carrier known as a "popper." They seemed to forget the that the popper, which doesn't have a floor, requires a strap to keep it connected to the truck. So they left the fair and headed down the highway when the wind caught the aluminum box just right and lifted it right off the back of the truck, leaving onl

Pork Industry Promotion

I'm sure my husband would donate a pig to ensure that this idea catches on. Yes, that's bacon. No, this is not me.

PR Idea of the Week

When PR people get a great "clip" we keep it in a folder, or maybe even frame it up and hang it on the wall. But now we can make our favorite cnn.com headlines into t-shirts ! Why anyone would want to walk around with a shirt that reads: 6ft. silvery slide boils, fries, bakes is beyond me. Why would you buy this one? Unless this is about your Grandma, but would you really celebrate that? I still think there could be an interesting market here for PR types. Could you imagine walking into your next PRSA meeting wearing a shirt that says [your CEO] Wows the Crowd at [your top trade show]. Or maybe for the passive-aggressive PR types, shirts that point out some of the not-so-good headlines earned by the competition: [competitive agency] Called out for Faking [big company name] Blog. Maybe this will take off, and we'll see people wearing shirts with Bill Gates' HedCut straight from the Wall Street Journal. I bet his PR people have already been there, done that, a

The Case of the Funky Chair

Earlier today we took delivery of a funky chair. Not a cool, I'm-too-hip-for-your-farmhouse conversation-starter chair. No, a I-lived-with-a-smoker-and-his-dog-and-I-stink kind of chair. We had no idea that the chair was going to be funky. It was coming from a good source--a family member who is VERY non-funky in her furniture selection. Apparently her olfactory senses are blinded by love, which lead her to think that we would want this stinker in our house to sit on while we watch TV. Let me just say that there is a great deal of Matlock and Murder She Wrote watched at this house. And I bet the vast majority of the Hallmark Channel viewing audience are watching on smoky, dog-infested furniture. However, it's not for us. The worst shame of the whole scenario is that is it a lovely chair--with matching ottoman. Purchased from the great people at Schenck Furniture, who I love more than ever after they hauled away my mother-in-law's funky fridge. The chair smel

An Open Letter to a New Mom

Dear M, The months of pregnancy are never enough time to prepare for a baby--especially your second--but I know that you are up to the challenge. I was determined that the birth of my second son would be no less of an event than the birth of my first, however, I quickly realized that this time everything would be different. From the moment the doctor came in and sat down after only a few hours of labor, to the day they wheeled me out the door with a baby, a used car seat, a single bag and one small bouquet of flowers. And he knew things were different too. Unlike his older brother who was very comfortable doing the first baby/first grandchild duties of being passed around without protest, my second one was clingy and needy. It didn't help that his naps were interrupted by a yelling preschooler or his private moments of nursing rudely un -suctioned so I could leap across the room to administer aid and discipline. I know that you are a good mother, a conscientious mother, wh