Posts tagged ‘mission’

December 12, 2010

Lonny Magazine and Extracurricular Reading

Photo Credit: Lonny Magazine

I don’t read. I should, I could, but I really don’t. Well, let me rephrase that for all of my past and future employers who may be reading this— I can and do read when it is required or expected of me, meaning I don’t request my bosses draw me pictures of the day’s tasks, I just don’t read for leisure. While I’d like to blame graduate school for this sad-but-true fact, the truth remains—I was never much of an extracurricular reader, even as a kid.

As with any sweeping statement, there are definite exceptions. Lonny Magazine, for instance, has become a bimonthly read for me. According to their website:

Launched in October 2009, Lonny is a bimonthly online magazine that focuses on lifestyle and home decor. Founded by designer Michelle Adams and photographer Patrick Cline, Lonny highlights extraordinary interiors, innovative bloggers, and the latest market finds. Lonny has been featured in Vanity FairThe New York Times, and blogs worldwide, and has highlighted design luminaries ranging from Cath Kidston to Kelly Wearstler.

At Lonny, we believe in making design choices that lead to personal happiness. We value individual style and independent thinking, and are convinced that inspired design can be achieved anywhere—from the smallest studio apartment to the grandest estate.

OUR MISSION is to open the doors to accessible design and connect our readers to their favorite products and resources at the click of a mouse. Our freedom from page limits means that we can share more content in each issue, delivering an intimate look into the way people really live.

My love for Lonny Magazine is three-fold, since their blog and their website are just as delicious (read: creative, organized, inspiring, fresh) as the magazine itself.

My mom will be so proud I’m reading again, especially since she’s a very devoted subscriber of Brittany in Public Relations, but she’ll be even more interested in my reading recommendation.

Source: Lonny Magazine

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December 4, 2010

‘Digital Death’ Campaign Fails

On December 1, World AIDS Day,  Keep A Child Alive— a donor-driven organization committed to providing therapy for children and their families with HIV/AIDS in Africa and India— launched their “Digital Death” campaign. The world’s supposed most popular and followed celebrities sacrificed their digital lives, opting out of all social media activity, until the campaign’s $1,000,000 goal was reached.

Photo Credit: Access Hollywood

A seemingly-noble concept—yes, the mission is great— but as of this moment, three days later, the campaign has generated only $231,419. Participating celebrities are still largely silent, though some have begun posting messages reminding their followers that their favorite celebrity is still dead, asking for participation in the campaign. This is, in essence, the signal of a complete campaign failure.

Utilizing these celebrities as beacons for raising campaign awareness is one tactic— altogether removing their ability to communicate and generate action is another, and one that lacks strategy of any kind. As Tonya Garcia of PRNewser points out:

“By pulling the celebs off of social media, the campaign has done itself a disservice, gagging a major fundraising tool.”

Other critics of the campaign raise another valid point—just how easily these celebrities could donate or raise all on their own, though I certainly don’t think it’s the responsibility of participating celebrities to remedy the fundraising failure.

It appears the organization failed to adequately assess the value of a “celebrity death” on the campaign’s target public. Digitally killing off Kim Kardashian, an incessant-twitterer, and other celebrities alike may generate some level of awareness, but will followers and the general public pay to merely revive her twitter feed? Digital deaths, while novel, are cheap attempts to raise money, while in essence, the general public is simply paying for celebrities to perform a function they would otherwise already engage in, knowing full well that Kim Kardashian will continue to Twitter with or without this campaign.

It’ll be interesting to see how long the agonizing campaign death will drag on, and what the exit strategy will be in the event the organizations admits defeat. My advice? Celebrities are only able to fundraise when they have a pulse.

For those interested in supporting the cause, please visit: http://buylife.org/index.php

What Do You Think: Was this tactic effective, or does the campaign place too much importance on celebrity and not enough emphasis on the mission?

November 22, 2010

Marie Claire Magazine: Damage Control Mode

Photo Credit: Derek K. Miller, Flickr

Blogging allows organizations to engage in active, informal, two-way communication with key publics. Print media, especially, benefit from this communication channel, since their industry operates around deadlines that prevents them from producing content as rapidly as other media (like television and radio). An effective blog can further an organization’s mission and reach new publics, or, in the case of Marie Claire after a recent public relations faux pas, can put the organization in some deep water.

Maura Kelly, a Marie Claire blogger, recently revealed her personal feelings about the overweight and obese population, in response to a television show she recently viewed. In her article, “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?)” Kelly writes:

So anyway, yes, I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

She goes on to write:

But … I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.

(I’m happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it’s cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you’re getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there’s plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you’ll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can’t afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)

You’re waiting for the context for these comments, and unfortunately, I can’t offer much in the way of a defense. Obviously, this article offended Marie Claire readers. In fact, the article received 3,860 comments, varying in severity and disapproval (with some offering support).

As a result of the backlash, Kelly posted an “update” (my interpretation: presumably-forced apology) that reads:

I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I’ve said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn’t productive, either.

I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight — for medical and psychological reasons — and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I’m truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.

I would like to reiterate that I think it’s great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows — and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100 percent more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it’s worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations.

To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that’s an accurate insight.

People have accused me of being a bully in my post. I never intended to be that — it’s actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset.

Now, do I understand freedom of expression? Sure I do. Could these remarks made by Kelly simply be a sincere example of wrong word choice? It’s possible, though appears not to be the case. Regardless of the motive or intent behind the article, the damage has been done, I’m afraid. Kelly’s comments failed to align with the the Marie Claire mission, which is:

Marie Claire is more than a pretty face. It is the fashion magazine with character, substance, and depth, for women with a point of view, an opinion, and a sense of humor.

The Marie Claire reader is interested in seeking out fashion, beauty, and shopping ideas from a magazine that brings her both inspiration and access—a magazine that challenges her mind as well as her sense of style. Each issue is edited for a sexy, stylish, confident woman who is never afraid to make intelligence a part of her wardrobe.

Marie Claire is a culturally relevant experience that touches women beyond the newsstand. We understand that our readers are more than any label or stereotype could place on them, and we celebrate that every reader is more than a pretty face.

Hmm. Well, these words are certainly hard to misinterpret. It appears to me, and more importantly to the readers of the magazine, that Kelly’s opinion undercuts every letter of the organization’s mission. And while I have no personal investment in the matter (I openly admit the only time I’ve read Marie Claire was in the check-out line at the grocery store), I can see how this flub would jeopardize relationships with readers.

What Do You Think: How should readers of Marie Claire feel about the situation? How would you respond? And what, if anything, should be done to remedy and repair the relationship with key publics who were offended by Kelly’s piece?