Where Online REALLY Intersects With Offline – thanks @jasonfalls

I’ve had a pretty good “offline” week that is a direct result of a pretty good online week.

Last Saturday, I “celebrated” a birthday (anyone over 40 puts “celebrate” in somewhat sarcastic quotations), but I must have received more than 30 birthday wishes via Facebook and Twitter.  Although I don’t use it, I understand that Facebook has a little reminder when your friend’s birthday is near.  That’s all well and good, but you still have to take the “offline” initiative to say “Hey, Mark’s a decent guy, I’ll send him birthday greetings.”  And I appreciated every single one.  Online wishes made offline happiness.  And then there was today.

My pal and social media guru Jason Falls made the following post on Twitter:

Jason Falls\' Tweet

The man has a following, let me tell you, because I have picked up bunch of new friends/followers since Jason’s shout out.  I owe Jason a big thanks, but also to those of you who chose to follow me today.  Several have remarked that if Jason says I’m “freakin’ brilliant,” then the pressure is really on.

So rather than trying to be witty or snarky (read yesterday’s post: “Lou Capozzi to Me: You Are Like a Right Wing Talk Show Radio Host ), let me give some online thanks for some online love to those who chose to follow me today.  And I believe in what we refer to as “linkey love,” so I thought that if you were nice enough to take Jason’s advice and follow me today, I’d like to offer you some “linkey love” in return.  So, I have listed every person who began following me this morning and would like to say “thank you” to all of them.  I gave this some thought on the “is this creepy?” scale, and then remembered that anyone can see who anyone is following anyway.  So my thanks go to:

  1. Tiffany Winbush
  2. Matthew Chamberlain
  3. Kelli Nowinsky
  4. Marisa Alexis
  5. Charlene Blohm
  6. Dibegin
  7. Brandon Chesnutt
  8. RealPolitix
  9. Soc Media Headhunter
  10. Martin Kulakowski
  11. Caryn Stein
  12. Jennifer Ross
  13. Social Media Smarts
  14. Scott Iseman
  15. Brian Cross
  16. Richard Arblaster
  17. Jayadeep Rath
  18. Chais Meyer
  19. Kevin Urie
  20. Patti Fousek
  21. Anna Tarkov
  22. cbits
  23. roundpeg
  24. Amy Stark
  25. Beverly Macy
  26. Erik Florida
  27. drooling
  28. Walter Pike
  29. Yael Beeri
  30. A. Martin
  31. Paul May
  32. Beth Watkins
  33. Kim Dushinski
  34. Ernest Koe
  35. djsiry
  36. Lauren Ban
  37. Sylvia Martinez
  38. Maren Hogan
  39. Jay Ehret
  40. Wayne Armstrong
  41. Jason Mical
  42. Barbara Gibson
  43. Shonali Burke
  44. Media Mum
  45. Ari Adler
  46. Ken Burbary
  47. Chelsea Hamilton
  48. Sharnese LaNier
  49. Kate Buck
  50. rrcowden
  51. Dana Willhoit
  52. dlayphoto
  53. HumidCity
  54. Dan Thornton
  55. Erica Holt
  56. Susan Getgood

Thanks, guys,  I’ll try to be brilliant.


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Lou Capozzi

Lou Capozzi to Me: You Are Like a Right Wing Talk Show Radio Host

A few weeks ago, I wrote a fairly critical post entitled “Lou Capozzi: Why the World Thinks America Sucks.”
The post was based upon a podcast recorded with Mr. Capozzi, Chairman Emeritus of Publicis Public Relations and Corporate Communications Group, by Eric Schwartzman of “On the Record.”

I knew that I was stating some views that were likely to get people fired up, so I a) sent an email to the organization that Mr. Capozzi was representing in the podcast, Business for Diplomatic Action, as well as to a former colleague at Fleishman-Hillard who is on the board a well as to Eric Schwartzman.  My hope in doing so was to state that a) the post is there so you may as well read it, and b) provide contact information in case anyone took exception with it and wanted to respond.

On November 10, I got a brief email from Cari Guittard of Business for Diplomatic Action:

Thanks for sending, CEG

Cari E. Guittard
Executive Director
Business for Diplomatic Action
Sent by GoodLink (www.good.com)

And I thought it was done.

Not so fast.

Yesterday, I received a comment (posted here as well) from Mr. Capozzi, Chairman Emeritus of Publicis Public Relations and Corporate Communications Group, which I have posted in its entirety:

By now I guess it’s safe to say almost nobody saw this, since I have had no reaction from anyone other than the email you sent to BDA, but I don’t want your assessment to stand without comment.

Your post reminds me of the kind of comments you hear from right-wing talk show hosts talking about books they haven’t read, based on the title and the author!

It’s pretty clear you weren’t there to hear my talk, because if you had you would never have written this. And it sorrows me to see a fellow public relations professional so willing to shoot his mouth off without bothering to do the research first.

It’s also apparent you didn’t bother to visit the BDA website, http://www.businessfordiplomaticaction/com, because you would have found the large body of research behind the presentation.

Next time I give a talk why don’t you come to hear it before dumping on it!


Let me address your comments, Lou.

  1. Mr. Capozzi says: “By now I guess it’s safe to say almost nobody saw this, since I have had no reaction from anyone other than the email you sent to BDA.”My response: So the presumption is that since only one person sent it to you, no one else read it?  What about the comments from some of the most respected voices in the social media space, like Jason Falls, Geoff Livingston and even Eric Schwartzman himself?  And I assure you, Mr. Capozzi, that this was the highest ranked post I have ever done in terms of page views.  And that’s not counting others who commented about it in Twitter.  Stating that no one saw it because you got it from one source is, a best, not factual.  It is at worst, wishful thinking.
  2. Mr. Capozzi says: “Your post reminds me of the kind of comments you hear from right-wing talk show hosts talking about books they haven’t read, based on the title and the author!” My response: This is the one that really has me scratching my head.  Mr. Capozzi, if you had read my post carefully, you would have noted that I state, before almost anything else, the following:  “Eric interviewed Lou on about his luncheon keynote at the PRSA International Conference on restoring America’s connections with the world.  This took place in Detroit at the end of October.  So, caveat #1:  I was not there to hear the speech and #2) Mr. Capozzi was presumably limited in the amount of time that he had on Eric’s show.”  I lobbed criticism, and when you live in a glass house, you have to expect people to throw stones.  But at least have your facts straight.  When I state, even using the word “caveat” that I was not at the PRSA conference, but was writing about the podcast itself, it seems pretty clear, I would think, even to the uninterested observer THAT I WAS NOT AT THE CONFERENCE.  I based my comments on the interview itself (pretty clear) that was posted AFTER the conference.
  3. Mr. Capozzi says: “It’s pretty clear you weren’t there to hear my talk, because if you had you would never have written this.My response: The answer is pretty clear from my last response, but let me say this, Mr. Capozzi:  I listened to your interview with Eric three times while writing this post.  IF THERE IS ONE QUOTE, ONE SYLLABLE, THAT IS FACTUALLY INCORRECT, ONE WORD THAT YOU DID NOT SAY, contact me and I will take it down.  You can’t claim that you were misquoted in an autobiography.
  4. Mr. Capozzi says: It’s also apparent you didn’t bother to visit the BDA website, http://www.businessfordiplomaticaction/com, because you would have found the large body of research behind the presentation.”

    My response:
    I am getting carpal tunnel correcting what is a firm grasp of the obvious.  You’ll note that I link to the BDA Web site in the post, so clearly I have visited it.  I got Cari Guittard‘s contact information from the Web site, so of course I have visited it.  I saw that a former colleague on mine at Fleishman-Hillard was on the board and emailed him.  All of which give a pretty good indication that I have been on the site.And finally, if you are going to criticize me for not visiting the site, the least you could do it offer the proper URL.  It’s” http://www.businessfordiplomaticaction.com “not ” http://www.businessfordiplomaticaction/com

And since we are about correcting the record, did you or did you not say:

  • Customs officers are “very threatening…foreboding” and that is one of the reasons why people don’t like to come to America?
  • “Picture the guy in Bermuda shorts with a camera and his hat turned to the side walkin’ down the Champs Elysee. We just aren’t as sensitive as we need to be to the way that we conduct ourselves’?
  • “There is a broad perception out there that globalization has been fueled by America…Our reputation is really in trouble,” when you work for a global public relations and communications firm who has benefited from globalization?

The bottom line is this:  no one likes begin criticized.  I get it.  Troll this blog for people who think that I am full of it.  But I expected a little more from someone who is the Chairman Emeritus of Publicis Public Relations and Corporate Communications Group and has spent 40 years in the public relations industry than being called a “right wing radio talk show host” and for “shoot[ing] [my] mouth off without bothering to do the research first.”

I did the research, Lou.  It’s all above.

Maybe you should too — and might I suggest by going back and reading the original post.


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Motrin’s Response on the Mark – #motrinmoms

OK.  I have pretty much beaten this one into the ground, but Motrin yesterday responded on “Crunchy Domestic Goddess‘” blog (I could not make that name up) with a sound, well-conceived apology.

I have posted it verbatim below.  It is not only authentic and sincere, but by listing her contact information, Kathy also proves that her effort is sincere and transparent.  I have posted Kathy’s contact information since it is already out there, but if I had received such a polite apology, I am not sure that I would have posted her contact info.  I think that Kathy’s phone is most likely ringing off the hook today and her email box is jammed.


Dear Amy –

I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.

We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.


Kathy Widmer
VP of Marketing – Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty
McNeil Consumer Healthcare

P.S. – Additionally, the Motrin site is back up with an apology on the index page.

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Follow Up Headache on Motrin Moms – Fear the Wrath of the Mommy Blogger

I don’t usually blog about the same topic on two consecutive days, but there has been so much intelligent discussion out there, that I thought I would add this to the mix.

Peter Shankman, he of the “HARO” – Help a Reporter Out, blogged this morning with a different perspective, one of not blaming the ad itself, but stating, correctly, that they messed up with one of the most connected, viral and powerful online communities – mommy bloggers. And I would even broaden the term from “mommy bloggers” to “moms online,” because while many of them comment and connect, not all of them blog.  I love Peter’s take (as well as HARO):

Let’s be honest – when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia rocks the house, yet search.twitter.com pulls up #Motrinmoms as the lead story, somewhere, there’s a disconnect. But it’s a disconnect that, when you think about it, makes perfect sense.

I’m not siding with Motrin. They messed up, granted. I’m ok with that. Companies mess up all the time. They fix the problem, and it usually doesn’t make the radar screen. The problem is, Motrin happened to mess up at the expense, and in the face of, one of the most vocal, quickest-to-blog, “strongest-to-band-together-and-form-one-opinion-like-the-Borg” collectives out there – The Mommy-Blogging community.

Now I am NOT slagging on Mommy-Bloggers. Not in the slightest. Nor, am I saying they’re over-reacting to the commercial, which, by rights, was stupid and patronizing. What I AM saying though, is that Motrin will pay a MUCH bigger price, as opposed to if they’d messed up in front of say, “Construction-Worker-Bloggers.” Mommy-Bloggers are not a voice to be messed with, probably because they’re one of the most clearly identifiable voices on the web. You have a kid? You blog about said kid? You’re a Mommy-blogger. You don’t need an advanced degree in particle physics to see what these bloggers have in common.

Dear Ad Agency (I am not calling them out because so many others have and will):  if you are going to eff up with a group, make sure you have your act together.  Make sure that your targeted online community will will respond at least positively, and at worst, not organize a campaign AGAINST you.

P.S. – and in the “totally weak” category, www.motrin.com is DOWN (as of 7:45am EST).  I guess there were not enough people to simply restore the ad.  Weak, weak, weak, guys.   Where is the dark or backup site?  Is Tylenol a case study that does not still resonate?  You can do better, Motrin.

Jesus, I have a headache just reading this.


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Twitter Makes Motrin Feel the Pain – #motrinmoms

Happened to stumble across this today on Laura Fitton’s Pistachio Consulting Blog, but I have found another

reason to toss on the heaping pile of why companies should have robust reputation management programs that include Twitter feeds.  An ad on the Motrin site has a running monologue of a mother essentially complaining of back pain from carrying her baby.

I did not find the ad particularly offensive, but there are a whole lot of people who did.  When you read this, go to Twitter search and look for #motrinmoms.  These guys are getting barbecued like a rack of ribs on the 4th of July.  And guess what?

  • The ad is still up.
  • Now there is an “anti” video that sprung up in Internet time (below).  The ad shows negative Tweets AND HAPPY MOMS CARRYING THEIR BABIES. Oh – and it was not lost on me that the soundtrack of the “anti” clip was “Danny Boy.” Heh.

If this does not make the case for robust online issues management, I don’t know what does.  Remains to be seen what impact this can have on sales, but geez, a multimillion dollar company in a highly competitive space does not need to have this stuff hanging out there, even as a write this on a Sunday night.


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