Without Z There are No Zombies

Put a stake in it vampires, you’re done, ‘cause Zombies have taken center stage.  Wassup with our never-ending love of zombies?  I know its Halloween and all, but I can barely click 10 stations in any direction without stumbling across one of those lurching, rotting creatures just dying for a taste of (my) liver.  I mean this is no Food Network challenge.  This is a bunch of very hungry, post-apocalyptic dudes looking to tear you and me from limb to limb and eat us carpaccio.  They’re not big on roasting.

I admit I watch The Walking Dead.  I don’t exactly know why (but it might have something to do with the hunky sheriff Rick).  I like seeing the special effects and watching the gang of humans squash the zombies like bugs in all kinds of novel ways.  There are picks and machetes and bayonets (yup the b word again) and poles and arrows and axes…you name it and this gang uses it to put the zombies out of their ever lovin’ misery.

Zombies have been around for a while.  I know this for a fact.  There’s the Night of the Living Dead which forced me to use a nightlight well into my 20s, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later for starters.  And now with almost a full moon and Halloween, the streets will be teeming with them.

I’ve always found it interesting that these kidney-eating monsters don’t really move that fast.  I mean, a snail has a chance at a get-away if the zombie gets a taste for escargot.  So, all ya really need is to avoid their bite while you drill them with a nail gun.  If you’re bitten, you’re kinda screwed cause then you’ll turn into a zombie, too, and shamble around in very dirty clothes looking for your next al dente meal.

And if you see some tonight, or some other night, walking in slo-mo and dripping blood?  Got two words for you — RUN FAST.

Ruffled Feathers

Who wudda thunk it?  That Big Bird would become a political hot potato in the home stretch of presidential election season?  Only in America could that big, feathery, loveable symbol of childhood get caught in the crossfire.

There’s no debating it, ever since Big Bird was named as a target for cost-cutting by Romney last week, the yellow guy has never seen this much ink.

It all started when Mitt took the mitts off and ran over poor Jim Lehrer while he was asleep at the moderator chair.  Hard-hearted Mitt told the global audience that he would actually cut PBS, Big Bird and poor Jim if he’s elected the next prez.  (I got very nervous about my Masterpiece Mystery! addiction).  But, hey, folks, that’s at least one cut he’s telling us he’ll make.  When it comes right down to it, Mitt is showing us he can make the tough choices.

So, what did Big Bird do?  He goes on a media tour and appears on SNL with Seth Meyers.  Quite a coup for the bird on the street.

But, now the candidates are flippin’ the bird all over the place.  Obama is now using Big Bird in an Anti-Romney ad and in stump speeches, and Romney countered with none other than the Count to show that 2 can play the same game!!  It’s obvious these guys are playing hardball.

This might sound funny, but Sesame Street is NOT laughing.  They do not want to be seen as endorsing either party and want all Sesame-Street-related ads pulled. The Obama Campaign is thinkin’ about it.

Guess that means Big Bird is down for the Count.

Morning Joe

I admit it.  I’m an addict.  The minute I get up in the morning I click on Morning Joe on MSNBC and smile to see the familiar morning gang huddled round the table.  Joe and Mika, Willie and Barnicle are just some of the early risers, though Willie is off to co-helm the 9am hour on the Today Show.

Morning Joe is sophisticated and smart TV, from its scrappy discussions and up-to-the minute debates to its cool bumpers and promos with great music and très hip “brewed by Starbucks” graphics.  It is head and shoulders above the other morning shows even though it doesn’t always get the ratings it deserves.

Yup, Joe is out there in right field and Mika sometimes needs to do a better job of reeling him in or cutting him off at the pass when he starts to rant, but the guests are top notch and the news is as fresh as the coffee.

Whether tackling the recent Brown/Warren debate and the missteps by both candidates, analyzing the latest Euro soccer stats or making chit chat author Mark Halperin about Emmy pressure, these knights of the round table are cool, candid and comprehensive in their approach to latest inside- and outside-the-beltway buzz.

And who thought I’d ever wake up to Joplin, Santana and Coldplay – especially in the breaks of a morning news show?  I salute the dudes who came up with the music, graphics and look & feel of Morning Joe.  It’s my kind of show.

I love the show as much as I love my morning coffee.  Cause if its way too early in my place, it’s definitely Morning Joe.

Girls

I’ve been watching HBO’s show “Girls” recently and I really like it. However, it’s been receiving a lot of criticism lately, largely because of its lack of diversity. Honestly, this is not something I would have noticed had the media not drawn so much attention toward it. I enjoy the show because I relate to it and because it’s hilarious, and many of my peers would say the same. It reaches out to a specific demographic and does a great job of capturing its target audience. Is that not the intent of any brand or company? To reach out to a specific target audience and identify with them?

I understand why some people may criticize the show. In this day in age, it is important to incorporate diversity, but should it be required? The show provides “a comic look at the assorted humiliations and triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s.”Based on the show’s description alone, I’d guess the show’s target audience is in fact girls in their early 20s, specifically Caucasians. The show really does do a good of relating to its target audience, a feat that any brand, company or television show should strive to accomplish.

This is not the first franchise to focus on a specific race, nor should it be penalized for doing so. It was not done to be malicious; it was done to reach a specific target audience. If “Girls” strived for diversity, it would take away from the show and could be less effective in relating to all of us girls going through our awkward early 20s.

Please Don’t Go, Rege!

I was heartsick when Kathie Lee left Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee in 2000, and now I don’t know what I’m going to do without my Regis fix. Could there be any better chemistry than Regis and Kelly for the last decade? Did you see them blowing up a balloon with one nostril? Whoa me. Am I watching thought leaders in my free time, or what?

Seriously, fans, I’m really sad that Regis is stepping down from the show after a 28-year gig that made him famous and wealthy… and us happy to have his tush in that chair for so long. He was an irrefutable fact of TV; an immoveable object that will now leave a stool open for Kelly’s next co-host.

Is he going away for good? He said no and my guess is that’s the truth. He’s got too big of a brand to not use it, And except for his memory going a bit (he can’t get any name straight anymore!), he’s a top-notch host, straight man and funny guy. He can do anything he wants – host another game show, be a PR spokesman for senior citizen products like life insurance or banks (oh, he does that already) or produce a series of podcasts like Alec Baldwin.

Who does Regis admire? A TV Guide interview says he’s over the moon for perma-stars like Perry Como and Dean Martin. He added that the reality stars of today might be celebs for a few minutes, but they aren’t anything like Dino and Perry, who earned their stripes over the years.

So whose hot buns will be seated next to Kelly’s for the next five years? I don’t think they’re Seinfeld’s. Though he’s a comic genius, I think viewers will tire of his whining. Neil Patrick Harris is better – a great talent who can do just about anything. But, for my money, the best co-host Kelly could ask for would be Hugh Jackman of all trades. He just has to give up some of his Broadway, movie and award show hosting to make the time.

Cheers, Regis.  You sure deserve them!

EAT & GREET

For the past five years what
news angle have PR pros tapped into
the most?  Obesity.  Headline after headline about the “fat Americans.”  It’s made the papers, radio and TV.  It’s gotten such great press it’s even triggered
a whole reality TV craze with shows like “The Biggest Loser” and “Dance Your
Ass Off.”

The message has come across
loud and clear, Americans are fat and unhealthy which can cause Diabetes, heart
problems, etc.  So, with all the air time
why don’t these campaigns actually succeed in fixing the problem?  Why do most Americans still choose the donut
over raisin bran or Whoppers over grilled chicken? 

For me, it’s about one
word:  comfort. It’s all about the
comfort of a muffin and piece of crumb cake at a breakfast business meeting – the
comfort of a cocktail and plate of fried calamari on a date – of food for 100
at a Thanksgiving table that seats 12.   It tastes good and gives you something to
do…a filler, a prop.

Eating fries and Mac & Cheese
is more filling and less expensive than steak, spinach and a baked potato so in
these lean times the lean have turned soft. And, while schools have tried to make
school lunches healthier by banning soda machines in favor of milk, it’s not working
all that well. And college?  Forget
it.  The freshman 15 is now the freshman
25. 

So what’s the answer?  I think, given my PR background, it’s all
about measurable results.  First you have to understand you’re
overweight and then you need a goal and some action items.

If you want those extra
calories, balance them with the gym.  As
you start to get healthier, feel better and see results, you start eating less
on your plate. It’s win-win.  And weigh
yourself daily or weekly so you always know the score. 

And the Holidays?  Give yourself a pass for a few weeks and then
stick to your New Year’s Resolution.  Too
many folks give up by February.

Listen, I’m no
preacher.  I’m a NJ native in love with
huge, greasy slices of pizza from some hole in the wall with Tony Soprano
eating in the corner booth. But, along with my pizza comes an IOU for 45
minutes on the treadmill.  And I always
try to pay up. 

Happy Holidays Everyone!

How can I optimize my Satellite Media Tour?

"You’ve heard all the noise about the FCC crackdown on SMTs – and it’s true,” acknowledges JoAnn Mangione, vice president of zcomm, Bethesda-based broadcast PR firm.  “However, a little tweaking of our approach to SMT planning can still reap the big audience numbers.”

First, put your money where your mouth is – invest in a well-known spokesperson and stick with health, entertainment, topical issues and non-profits.  Topics related to special observances such as American Diabetes Month, are helpful as are charity tie-ins.  Full disclosure is very important; so build trust with producers by telling them up front who is sponsoring the SMT.

Use your studio time wisely, don’t forget to incorporate radio bookings between TV interviews to pump up audience numbers and think about extending the length of the tour to increase station participation.  Finally, repurpose the interviews by creating a series of videopodcasts and/or audio podcasts.  Consider streaming part or all of the interviews on your website, and on related or partner websites and make use of viral marketing.

“An SMT is still a smart media tactic,” say Mangione.  “Let stations know your awareness of the FCC’s regulations and give them what they need to be comfortable airing your client’s message.”