Don’t Spoil my Winner

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the 2012 Summer Olympics and the spoilers.

It used to be easy to avoid hearing about the ending of your favorite TV show or the result of the game you recorded but haven’t yet gotten to watch.  Most of the spoilers came verbally and face-to-face. I’d prefer it to stay that way, because usually you can figure out what they’re about to say and stop them before they do. But now, information is being thrown about everywhere, and it’s essentially impossible to avoid.

The Olympics started a week and a half ago, and there has already been public criticism about the way event results are handled due to the time difference. Usually when something big happens, it’s publicized right away, not withheld until the majority of people are able to watch it.

However, with this year’s Olympics things are much different. Most of us don’t find out about the results until the taping of the event is aired during prime time television.  This is exactly how NBC wants it to be, yet they’re among the biggest culprits. Last Monday NBC aired a promo for the “Today” show about Missy Franklin and her first Olympic gold medal before they aired her medal-winning 100 meter backstroke. Their poor planning spoiled the race for viewers.

In addition to the accidental television spoilers, some are also worried about what they’ll see on social media. I’ve had issues in the past with people tweeting who did and did not get a rose on the Bachelor, so I know how annoying a spoiler can be. On the other hand, I think the case with the Olympics is a bit different. The outcomes of the events are genuinely newsworthy. We don’t keep the outcome of the Super Bowl a secret because the game often ends after a lot of people like to go to bed. Why should we do it with the Olympics?

If all of the events were shown live, those who truly care about them would probably work around their sleep schedule to see them. For example, just last year more than 22 million Americans tuned into the Royal Wedding coverage, which started around 4 a.m. EST. At the same time, if events were aired at all hours of the night, people would complain about knowing the results before they’ve been given a chance to watch them. I’m sure viewership would go down as well.

Truthfully, I don’t think there is a way to deal with the time difference that will make everyone happy. My advice? If you really want to avoid hearing about the outcome of an event before you’ve seen it, stay off social media. NBC promised they will not have any more spoiler slip-ups, but it’s not like they planned to ruin the outcome of Missy Franklin’s race, so cross your fingers while watching TV. For more advice on avoiding Olympic spoilers, check out CNN’s list of tips. Good luck!

The Heat Wave is Worth Talking About

It’s too damn hot.

I’ve lived in DC since 1984 so I’m used to swamp-like weather in the summer, but this has been one blistering month even by DC standards.  And it’s the warmest January-June stretch ever recorded.  Ouch!

So, naturally the storms, power outages and chill-seeking are all making headlines.  Add in some flash floods and chunky hailstones and it’s like the 10 plagues, except it’s all heat-related.  And it’s a great story for bloggers, Tweeters and reporters.  “RECORD HEAT BLASTS COUNTRY.”  The heat story rotates as lead between the political wars and the countdown to the Olympics.  Check it out on CNN, MSNBC, WebMD and probably even Pinterest.

At lunch today someone around our conference table actually said it felt much better out today…”it’s only 90.”  Who knew 90 degrees was cool?  Let me run and get a sweater.  Better yet, my arctic parka from college (the navy one with fake fur around the hood).

I was big-time lucky last week when my power stayed on after the storm of the century.  I looked out my terrace and it was like the aliens were invading.  The sky was strobing blue and white with thunder, lightning and pounding rain.

Post-storm fallout has not been pretty.  Just google weather on YouTube and check out the downed trees, power lines and raging rivers not to mention the fires out west.  It’s like the end of the world and it’s not even the Mayan calendar.

In a stab to beat the heat, I flew to long Island this past weekend.  I figured it’s always cooler at the beach.  Wrong.

So, what to do?  Besides the online tips to drink water and stay indoors I have one better.  Go to the movies!  See Magic Mike, Savages and Spiderman 12, a triple feature.  Sit in a cushy seat, eat some popcorn and get your fluids while you chill next to an a/c vent.

I know….not everyone can go to the movies when there’s a real disaster at the door.  But, when it’s just too damn hot out and the power is still on, just give me an ice cream and a DVD of White Christmas and I’m happy.

The Queen Bee & PR

It’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, a time of pomp and circumstance that only the Brits do so well.  Flags & fireworks.  Really big hats & low curtsies.  Uniforms & striped cravats.  It’s a big deal.  The British stock market is closed for four whole days.  (I’d go crazy without seeing my Facebook stock go face down).

The last time we heard “The British are Coming” to this degree was either the Revolutionary War or The Beatles.

So, it’s quite a spectacle for us on the other side of the pond and I have a few quick thoughts.

First, they didn’t need much PR because thanks to every news outlet in the world setting up camp in London, AND a trillion (might be slight overstatement) Tweets, blogs, Facebook mentions, viral videos and pics, this Jubilee is making quite an impression (or impressions in PR lingo).   Check out CNN’s site and the official Diamond Jubilee site to see all the action.

Trust me, there was a lot less social media for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977; Bill Gates; was just getting started and Mark (hoodie) Zuckerberg wasn’t even born yet.

Personally, I wonder how all these queen-o-philes can get so about pumped up about a woman who always looks as if she’s having a colonoscopy…without meds.

But, heck, London is flourishing, Kate and Will are cool and Harry is the Monarch’s true dude.  Lord is he a hottie.  Make that Prince Hottie.

So what if the weather sucks, the Royals are shivering and half the crowd is in arctic parkas?  This is a once-in-a-lifetime event with a family that rivals the TV show Dallas in the ratings (biting corgis, g&ts, nazi uniforms, polo ponies, Camilla).  I only wish Bravo’s Andy Cohen would step up to the plate with a “Royal Housewives” series.  The world would watch that, just as we’ve been glued to our smart phones and tellies for the real thing.  Mazels your Royal Highness.


CNN MONEY TODAY recently said that Europeans are more GREEN than Americans. That might be true, but it's sure hard to believe given the media frenzy around going green this past year on this side of the pond. From Al Gore's Emmy-winning documentary and Nobel Prize to The Today Show’s Green is Universal programming from the ends of the earth, green is the new black and it's not even St. Patty's Day.

zcomm recently worked on an eco-friendly national contest for our friends at Weber Shandwick for ‘all’® small & mighty® Detergent where elementary school kids were asked to write an eco-related essay and nominate their school for a "green grant." Getting kids involved now is a great way to ensure the future of our planet.

From socially responsible mutual funds to redoubled recycling efforts, going green rocks. Mutant frogs, hungry polar bears, melting glaciers – if what we do in our own laundry rooms and freeways has some positive impact on the environment then let's all ride bikes and switch from gas to electric.

And if Europe is one step ahead of us, trust me we'll catch up soon, because green is spreading all across the country…and the world.

And that’s a very good thing.