Spithill – PR smooth sailing or rough waters?

Luke Balvert | Account Manager America’s Cup

photo: Donan.raven

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill might be a masterful tactician on the water but he is proving just as adept on land carving out a skilful niche as the media stand-up antagonist.

The 35th edition of the America’s Cup is sailing ahead and Spithill is wasting no time in living up to his billing of using the skippers’ press conferences to be a constant barb in teams’ side – particularly us

Kiwis. Already he’s fired several shots at Team New Zealand during the first few press conferences, picking up where he left off in San Francisco four years ago. Though keep in mind that the America’s Cup has become known as much for the off-water antics as it has for the on-water action with guarded secrets, mind games and out-and- out feuds between sailors. Read More

After the final rose – finding fame and influencing people

Alison Brown | Group Account Director Social Media

Even if you’re not a fan of reality TV and orchestrated romance, it’s hard not to acknowledge the popularity of shows like The Bachelor.

Season three of the New Zealand franchise featured a bevy of Kiwi girls competing to win the heart of surf sports coordinator Zac Franich from Orewa. The finale revealed the last girl standing was Viarni Bright, an account manager from Mount Maunganui.

In the race to receive the final rose, the only thing that could keep up with the girls’ collective affection for him was his rise to fame on social media. A stranger to prime time TV before the show, Zac quickly amassed a following on Instagram of more than 21,000 people. Viarni’s Insta-footprint grew much like her love for Zac and by season’s end, her following had swollen to almost 30,000 people. Bachelorette runner-up and the main rival for Zac’s romantic attention, Lilly McManus, came a close second to Viarni in the social media stakes, clocking up a 29,000-strong following, reflecting her well-deserved status as a fan favourite. Read More

Media lessons flow from water exports

Scott Macleod | Account Manager Politics

Should businesses be allowed to export our water?

It’s a simple question that has seen eyes bulge and faces redden all over the country as normally-sane Kiwis grow increasingly apoplectic with rage.

Fists are regularly pounded on pub tables to emphasise the assertions that water is a precious natural resource that should remain in the country and that businesses are making too much money from selling it.

Now hang on a minute. Read More

Plain English or a socially savvy PM?

Luke Balvert | Account Manager Social Media

photo: New Zealand Tertiary Education Union

It is safe to say Prime Minister Bill English is more comfortable crunching numbers and plotting how to increase the country’s surplus than trying his hand at keeping up with the Millennials and social media.

Following his appointment as PM from John Key, and with the general election looming, it is evident someone has had a whisper in the new PM’s ear to get socially savvy and boost his profile.

Blossoming amongst the Facebook posts of politics, spin and pre-election promises is this English 2.0 version trying to show us the man stepping out from the shadows to appeal to voters.

He’s drawn criticism from US late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel for slapping pineapple and spaghetti on a pizza, coined the term ‘walk-runs’ while showing how he paces up the hills of the capital for a bit of exercise and asked the public to vote on which humble pie Finance Minister Steven Joyce should be presented with to celebrate a Budget Day tradition.

For the record, steak and cheese got devoured with a 51% vote. Read More

Is Donald Trump a fool or a genius?

Scott Macleod | Account Manager Donald Trump

Donald Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. photo: Gage Skidmore

Many of us are outraged at the man’s social media statements, which can be arrogant, aggressive, pompous and erratic. But he’s president of the United States for a reason. It’s no secret that Trump has embraced social media platforms as part of his communications strategy, but many people in the public relations sphere are still trying to figure out why it has gotten him where he is today. After all, Trump has regularly made statements that would normally spell political death for a leader, but which seem to resonate with his supporters. Read More