Is Oscar Pistorius guilty? zcomm chief Risë Birnbaum says get the jail cell ready.


Every morning I click online to watch the latest from the Pistorius murder trial. If you’ve been in a closet, cave or North Korea for the last year, Oscar Pistorius is the double amputee sprinter on trial for the murder of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The guy quivers daily like a bowl of jello (who wouldn’t when facing 25 years in a cozy South African jail cell with 28 other cellmates and no legs?).

I wake up, have a cup of coffee and bagel and watch pit bull prosecutor Gerrie Nel tear off another limb. Nel is NOT a big believer of Oscar’s story and has called him an outright liar (My Lady judge had to actually tell Gerrie to tone it down). Oscar tends to get even more emotional right before answering a crucial question so good thing they brought him a bucket (heave ho).

In between sobbing and heaving and puking and blubbering, Oscar managed to haltingly get out his side of the story which involved hearing a noise in the bathroom (doubtful), grabbing his pistol (at the ready), getting out of bed, entering the bathroom and and blasting four holes through the toilet door…all while thinking Reeva is still on the other side of the bed counting sheep (hardly).

He’s up on charges on first degree murder and now it’s the defense attorney’s chance to make their case which is basically that Oscar, ever worried about home intruders, thought there was one and fired, accidentally killing Reeva.

Don’t know about you, but I’m havin’ a hard time believing Oscar’s love story. Wherever I go I do my own mini-poll to see who believes what and so far 9 out of 10 say it’s manslaughter (not first degree murder). I totally agree and think they were having a fight, she ran to the bathroom and the guy went nuts, grabbed his gun and fired. After all, he is a guy who’s at home on the range.

We’ll see what the defense can do to balance the scales right after Easter break, but it’s obvious Oscar is on the hot seat and, for the first time, running for his life.






In the world of PR, blogger outreach is one of the sharpest, new arrows in our quiver. Why? More laser-targeted impressions, which means the right reach. And it’s only natural that followers are more likely to trust a blogger’s word over a branded ad.

Our zcomm team taps into the blogger world, in addition to other digital marketing tactics, to target specific audiences in industries including health, beauty, food, consumer and non-profits.

One of our key partner bloggers is Kimberly Vetrano, the founder of “She Scribes.” Kimberly doubles as a mother, wife, photographer and freelance writer. She decided to become a blogger because she loves to write, and blogging was a way to write about her life.

Kimberly prides herself on blogging about a variety of topics for a diverse readership. Her tag line is “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.” In fact, her blog topics are heavily influenced by her readers. She makes sure to read her fans’ comments, and even does yearly “polling” to find the topics that her readers find most interesting. In addition to blogging about her life, she also tracks and writes about what’s trending — crafts, recipes and style posts are all hot topics now.

When asked how she keeps her blog so active, Kimberly says her blog is her business, and she treats it that way. Kimberly says, “I make it a priority to post at least once a day, 7 days a week. If I have something planned on the weekend, I’ll write a post ahead of time and schedule it on the weekend.”

Kimberly tries to engage her followers through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. “Social media influences my blog in a big way…there are plenty of readers who share the same interests and can engage with you about them on social media channels or via comments on the blog posts.”

Kimberly’s favorite social media outlet is Facebook. “I feel like I can connect with readers more on that platform. I can scroll down and read comments and reply to them when I have a chance. I feel like Facebook is more personal.”

When relevant brands come to zcomm for blogger outreach, we call Kimberly (and lots of other bloggers) with the kind of content that she loves. Because we know what she likes. So, when reaching out to bloggers, take time to read the blog on a regular basis BEFORE you contact them so you know exactly what they write about and the content that floats their boat. That’s the key to cracking the blogger code.

I Admit It – I Watch the Bachelor

And I’m really glad Juan Pablo is gone.

By Risë Birnbaum

This season was no bed of roses.   Juan Pablo Galavis, the latest bachelor, was the perfecto example of arrogant bastardo.  Every week I’d text a friend for two hours straight during the show and we’d talk about the fact the guy had absolutely zero to say except:  “you’re special.”  Unfortunately he called all the girls “special” at some point in the series.  Another running joke was senor peabrain would say “eeets OK” to just about any situation that came up.  I mean you could have fallen out of a palm tree and cracked your head open and El Bachelor would have said, “eeets OK.”

In short, the handsome jerk was rude, stubborn, dumb, macho and just plain mean.  The only things he had going for him were his stubble and smile.  I mean the guy’s not getting into MENSA anytime soon.

If you scan the news, you’ll see I’m not alone in my sketchy TV viewing habits.  Millions have tuned in to see this South American playboy, “Don Juan” Pablo, sweet talk his way with the women…all the way into bed with a few unlucky ones.

There were a few lucky ones who realized there really wasn’t much to him and left the show mid season.  Whew.  Close call.  But, poor Clare and Nikki, the two finalists!!

Here’s the deal on the last show and no need for spoiler alerts now.  Clare and JP went up for a copter ride when she told him she loved him.  That paved the way for the schmo of the show to say something crude and lewd back.  Clare was upset, but seemed to get over it on the night time date based on something really confusing JP said.  I mean, Chris Harrison didn’t even get where Juan Pablo was coming from, so how could we?

So, on to the proposal setting.  Lush St. Lucia.  Palms trees, flowers, waterfalls, and dumbass Juan Pablo.  First he gives Clare the brush off, but she gives as good as she gets.  And then it’s bended-knee time.  Nikki, the last blond standing, spends five minutes telling JP how much she loves him and he says what any brainless guy says, “I have the diamond ring in my pocket, but I’m not going to give it to you.”  Instead, he gives her…a rose and says he likes her…”a lot.”

My best guess is it’s a miracle if these two are really still together.  The best piece of advice I can give Nikki at this post-Bachelor moment in time is:  RUN!

Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Brand Tagging Feature


Recently, Facebook released a new feature that allows brands to do even more to take advantage of the 728+ billion daily active users by allowing companies to “flirt” with one another. This new feature will make company cross-promotion possible, drastically increasing audience awareness for brands. Followers of different products are tapped into the latest brand news via page tags. Brands’ reach, memorability, familiarity, cost, equity, and risk will be affected.

Facebook will now use an algorithm for brands that selects what to show on their Newsfeed based on mentions from other brands. Now, companies that share the same interests can overlap in a more efficient way, with the most popular content surfacing. For example, a clothing store or magazine could tag a featured designer like Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, or Michael Kors, increasing brand recognition, awareness, and ultimately providing publicity for all those involved.

Brand-to-brand communication can also benefit conglomerate businesses that have more than one corporation (or multiple Facebook accounts) under them, such as PepsiCo, the largest Food and Beverage Company in America. By tagging their foods on their beverages’ pages (and vice versa), users will be more inclined to buy PepsiCo products. For example, suggesting a Gatorade with some Fritos as an after-work snack.

On a grassroots level, local organizations can tag partners, clients, and associates who attend the same event to increase brand exposure. Higher-level social media account managers now have the ability to gain more access to community interactions.

Ultimately, this new tagging feature will garner increased exposure for complementary companies to billions of active users who are already passionate about the brands they follow. For more information about how your company can increase its social engagement visit

Cruise Control

When the Ship Hits the Fan

All rights reserved by ashbuckles

All rights reserved by ashbuckles

By Risë Birnbaum

Some of my best vacations have been on cruise ships with family and friends.  There’s something nice about hanging up my clothes just once in that small closet, never packing or unpacking again and then waking up to a new port every day (as well as the 27 lounges, piano players, bingo, art auctions, poker tourneys, free ice cream, the casino and dancing under the stars in a sleeveless cocktail dress on New Year’s Eve). Continue reading

Mrs. Bieber and Mrs.LaBeouf Please Take Your Children Home

xjustin-bieber-mug-shot.jpg.pagespeed.ic.BH9v6iQTe0Dumb and Dumber.  You look at these rich pishers and you want to shake them and ask, “Are you nuts?”  ‘Cause that’s definitely how they’re behaving…like spoiled, 6-year-olds who need a time out, or better yet, time in some kind of 162-step program. Continue reading

What are you thankful for?

Rise and Jeni at the VVMF Gala.

To celebrate this holiday season, some of the staff at zcomm wanted to share what they are thankful for. You can get to know the z staffers while enjoying an extra helping of turkey or stuffing!

zcomm believes in putting family first. The best of both worlds collide in this dynamic duo as the CEO and Founder, Risë, shares that she is thankful for 24 years in business and a terrific staff, including her daughter, Jeni (who calls her “Bossmother”). Jeni, the Promotions Specialist, said, “I’m thankful for a job that I love, and for having a fantastic boss… who happens to be my mother.”

To many of the zcomm staffers, family isn’t complete without some furry family members. Joan, Executive Vice President, and Linda, General Manager, are both thankful for their four legged family members and incredible families. Now if only we could have a “Take Your Doggie to Work Month,” right?


Joan with her husband in Barcelona, Spain.

Design Master Sarah said, “I am thankful for my colleagues who have become my friends and my evening breath of fresh air as I walk home from the metro each night.”

The metro seemed to be a theme among some of the zcomm staffers when Social Media 

Guru Andrea, remarked on how thankful she is when the metro is running on time and how much she enjoys working at zcomm.

The z team’s reflections kept coming back to one overall theme. All staffers mentioned how thankful they are for the support, encouragement and guidance of their colleagues. Our Number Crunching Ninja, Terez, remarked on how grateful she is for everyone always believing in her. Jill-of-all-trades, Megan, adds that she is thankful for the opportunity to dive in head first at work, and for everything she is learning.

Our Integrated Campaign Expert, Jen, hit the nail on the head when she said, “I am thankful for a great career, and the opportunity to use my skills to help clients promote their messages in a meaningful way.” We couldn’t agree more!

And finally, we are all thankful for our wonderful clients and the business they entrust to zcomm, as well as our business partners, vendors and industry colleagues that support us throughout the year.

Now it’s your turn! Tell us, what are you thankful for?