Public Relations and The Performing Arts
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Public Relations and The Performing Arts
...blogging about (mostly) performing arts-related topics from a PR point-of-view.
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"Create a State Campaign" and the "Million Plates Drive"

"Create a State Campaign" and the "Million Plates Drive" | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

“Drive the arts. Buy the plate.”


The “Create a State Campaign” was designed by an LA-based advertisement agency called Industrial Creative. This marketing based campaign is aimed to fuel the Million Plates Drive, a massive statewide public and private fundraising effort attempting to raise $40 million per year for California Arts Council’s arts education and local arts programs through the sale of one million Arts Plates.


The “Create a State Campaign” links arts education to creativity, innovation and success in all fields. Billboards, the voucher card program, online initiatives, social networking campaigns and more all work together within the “Create a State Campaign” to promote the vitality and importance of the arts in California schools; as well as evaluate awareness of the Arts Plates and inspire California drivers to eventually aim to get one million California Arts Plates on the road!


One of the major tactics used by the “Create a State Campaign” is the celebrity endorsement type section featured on their website. Several famous names are listed here, as supporters of the campaign, giving Californians even more incentive to join the cause. In  sense, this also goes along with what is known as “jumping on the bandwagon”. The more California Arts Plates people see on the road, the more people will decide to support the cause and get Arts Plates of their own.

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Tic Tac Mints 2012 Campaign: "Shake It Up"

Tic Tac Mints 2012 Campaign: "Shake It Up" | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

“To engage with our consumers in a more meaningful way, we needed to not only go where they are interacting, but also speak with them with a more lively message that expresses a larger philosophy.” – Noah Szporn, category manager of Tic Tac Mints of Ferrero U.S.A., Inc


In January of 2012, Tic Tac Mints announced the launch of its first ever fully-integrated marketing campaign: “Shake It Up”. The main focus of this campaign was to help people break out of the mundane cyclical ways of life; and encourage them to find new, original ways of going about their routines.


The Tic Tac “Shake It Up” campaign utilizes print, television, outdoor, online, mobile and social media engagement to provide their consumers with facts regarding traditional human behavior, and then helpful hints on how they might “Shake It Up”.


The brand also teamed up with Gen Art and sponsored the Gen Art Lounge in Park City, Utah during Sundance Film Festival. During Sundance, Tic Tac Mints also collaborated with actor Jareb Dauplaise in a short film where he teaches viewers how to shake things up a little bit each and every day. Guests at Sundance Film Festival were also provided with means to create their own short “Shake It Up” films through the weekend.


Although Tic Tac’s  “Shake It Up” campaign focuses primarily on their relationship with their consumers, I’d like to point out the networking and business-to-business work done by Tic Tac. Chapter 9 of Guth and Marsh defines business-to-business relations as “the management of relationships with businesses that have resources that your business needs to achieve its goals”. In this particular scenario, both the Tic Tac mints brand and Gen Art benefited from the two companies’ collaboration – a great example of successful and productive business-to-business relations.

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Free Day of Dance

Free Day of Dance | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

Each year in San Diego, California the day after Christmas marks the community's "Free Day of Dance". This large community-wide event is put on by several dance companies, studios and schools in the San Diego-area. The purpose of "Free Day of Dance" is to give a gift to the public -- the gift of dance.


Hundreds of residents come out to local participating studios each year to participate and take full advantage of a day full of complimentary dance classes taught by some of the best in the business.


Speaking of best in the business - I learned about San Diego's "Day of Dance" through famous performer, choreographer (SIUE alumni!) and Associate Artistic Director of Malashock Dance, Mr. Michael Mizerany whom I recently had the privilege of interviewing for a class project.

Not only does Mr. Mizerany's position as Associate Artistic Director grant him the opportunity to choreograph for Malashock Dance Company, but he also does a great deal of the administrative work including PR-related tasks.


Mr. Mizerany explained "Free Day of Dance" to me as a way for the local dance establishments to "give back" to their surrounding communities and to also allow people to experience dance with nothing to lose! To me, this is an extremely clever public relations effort on the behalf of the studios, schools and other dance establishments involved. What better way to bring new people in then to allow them a free-of-charge, free-of-risk opportunity to try?


Guth and Marsh focus on Consumer Relations in chapter 8, stressing the importance of businesses/companies establishing and maintaining effective and loyal relationships with their consumers. "Free Day of Dance" is an example of the PR tactic known as "special events" which is defined as: attention-grabbing occurrences to not only gain the media's notice but also catch the attention of potential and/or participating consumers. By holding such an event, Malashock Dance is able to create a foundation for new networking opportunities as well.



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Nike Broadens Their Athletic Horizons

Nike Broadens Their Athletic Horizons | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

The Nike Studio Wrap || Photo credit: Nike


"A studio workout won't ever be the same" suggest officials at Nike. Just last month, they announced the creation of their "Studio Wrap", which is expected to release in Spring of 2013 at a suggested retail price of $110.


Not to say that Nike is entirely new to the world of dance. In the 2007 Russian "Just Do It" campaign, advertisements featured two female breakdancers mid-battle. Nike recognizes dance as many other large apparel companies do, which is as a billion dollar industry that only continues to grow. It seems appropriate these companies would latch on to the movement that is moving the most; and with dance oozing all over the media (movies, television, video games, viral videos, social media, pictures, etc) it would be foolish for companies not to hop on board where they see fit to make profit.


As it can be seen, "Nike is quickly expanding on its dominance and making a name for itself as a representative of amazing dancers". The Studio Wrap provides added hygiene, grip that socks lack and the ability/flexibility to be a wrap, ribbon or flat. Nike is targeting "women who spend their time in their bare feet doing yoga, Pilates and/or dancing".


I have a great number of opinions about this product but overall my biggest frustration is the way Nike is marketing the product, assuming it is only women who would desire to use a product such as this one. Dancing, yoga and Pilates have had an increased amount of male involvement over the past years, perhaps due to the increasing popularity in the media. Whether or not this holds true, Nike is missing out on a huge consumer base by strictly marketing Studio Wraps to females.


Foremost, Studio Wraps only come in the colors pink and black, featuring feminine-like ribbon options. As if this weren’t enough to drive any potential male consumers away, in doing further research on the Studio Wraps I eventually came to Nike’s website where it reads:


“There’s no sweaty or slippery feet, no bunched up socks, and even with a bad pedicure, people won’t be looking at your toes with this sexy silhouette.”


There are also several other excerpts in the brief introduction of the Nike Studio Wrap which clearly and blatantly reveal Nike’s strive to reach out to their women-based target audience. Chapter 8 labeled ‘Consumer Relations’ in our Guth & Marsh texts states that consumer publics are ever-changing and “as consumer publics change, no doubt marketing public relations tactics will change as well…new practitioners must be ready to meet evolution with innovation.”



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BAM to Expand Children's Programming

BAM to Expand Children's Programming | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

The Brooklyn Academy of Music, also known as BAM, is well-known worldwide for its creative and adventurous contributions across cultural disciplines. In its most recent campaign, BAM is more than doubling its programming for kids and families. The grand launch of this new campaign of expanded efforts will begin on January 9, 2013 with a kick-off style celebration featuring storytelling, poetry and even a puppetry workshop.


Also in the planning stages in a 3-year campaign to raise $15 million to finance programs targeted towards families and education. Additional ambitions of BAM include starting a film festival for teenagers, as well as hosting 5 international theater, dance and storytelling productions. Other contributions of the campaign incorporate several performances by international theater companies. BAM also plans to bring back to life BAMkids Film Festival which features over 75 international feature-length films and shorts as well as many other related events. Each year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music sends artists into public schools, offering after-school programs to about 28,000 students all over.


Many of the academy’s campaign events will be held at BAM’s newest theater, the Richard B. Fisher which was just unveiled in June of 2012. This new building is described by BAM as “a focal point that allows them to work more directly with families” in the diverse, robustly family-oriented streets of Brooklyn.


In chapter 7 of Adventures in Public Relations: Case Studies and Critical Thinking by Guth & Marsh, we read that to effectively engage a variety of stakeholders is very essential. BAM recognizes that “no individual or organization is entirely self-sufficient” so they strive to maintain consistent, productive outreach programs.


Not only does BAM focus on maintaining a relationship with the families in the surrounding neighborhoods of Brooklyn, they also strive to reach out to thousands of students each year all around in public schools through after school programs focusing on the arts.


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City of Chicago Arts Advocates take a Closer Look at the 2012 Cultural Plan

City of Chicago Arts Advocates take a Closer Look at the 2012 Cultural Plan | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

The draft version of the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 received “a ringing endorsement” in July from the National Endownment for the Arts chairman, Rocco Landseman, as well as several other individuals, as they met to discuss and give the draft a closer look. At this meeting, execution and implementation regarding the draft version were discussed more in depth.

Chairman Landseman spoke highly of the Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 saying, “It is an amazing document; a visionary plan at the Claudia Cassidy Theater of the Chicago Cultural Center in front of a large audience, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as many other civic and arts leaders.


This draft version of the Plan was a lengthy 64 pages; a 38-page supplemental document. This draft was months in the making, by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). DCASE held a number of town hall and neighborhood meetings to gather public information in order to better establish the draft version of the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan.

So what is this Plan all about? It focuses mainly on “the relationship of the arts and the real world” as well as the integration of the arts and the neighborhoods of Chicago and even its suburbs. The Chicago Cultural Plan strives to establish a collaboration among the various agencies that may, or even may not, have an effect on the arts in Chicago. Either way, the arts are becoming more well known, more discussed and therefore harder to ignore.


“The draft plan is really about art and the cultural institutions getting out of these cultural temples and into the neighborhoods of the consumers and engaging these people directly.” This quote is what tied the whole article together for me. DCASE and other arts activists are striving to make the arts more of a priority in their city again. In order to do so, they are getting the arts, any art, out there for people to see. Their thoughts are that the more people incorporate the arts into their everyday lives, the more they will appreciate and support these arts. The Chicago Cultural Plan of 2012 also explains ways that DCASE could possibly collaborate with other city departments and agencies to “leverage their budgets and manpower on behalf of the arts.”


Chapter 5 in our Guth & Marsh text explains the different types of investors companies could have: stockholders, institutional investors, mutual funds managers, securities analysts, financial news media, employees and official regulators. Any combination of these investors would help the arts in Chicago, which is what this Chicago Cultural Plan 2012 is all about – bringing these investors together, with advocates of the arts, to raise awareness and funds in support of the fine and performing arts in Chicago, Illinois.


This plan also revolves around the idea of placing art within neighborhoods and communities in Chicago. Chapter 7 in Guth & Marsh discusses Community Relations which correlates directly with this particular Cultural Plan. The purpose of this Plan is to identify, build and maintain relationships with the city of Chicago, in order to gain support from all consumers; and also in hopes that Chicagoans will begin to further support and promote the arts in their city.

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The Theater of Politics

"As the party conventions approach, elaborate theatrics on the part of presidential candidates are at the forefront."


In 2008, then-nominee Barack Obama spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. The strategically set stage was on a sleek, classical and possessed several Greek-like amphitheater characteristics including towering pillars. The carefully thought out design set the perfect scene for his big acceptance speech. Not only was the set visually appealing, but it also offered even more value with its underlying message of history in the making.


A week later, then-nominee/Republican candidate Senator John McCain made a not-so-impressive appearance in a much simpler spotlight. The set featured a bar stage - no music upon arrival, no pillars. The main attraction: an IMAX-sized screen erected behind McCain, projecting a (maybe overly) enormous American flag. As much as the patriotism is appreciated, by the time the cameras panned out to capture the entire scene, John McCain was left to appear as a nearly microscopic speck.


Now let us fast forward to our current presidential election. On August 11, 2012 Mitt Romney, the current presumptive Republican presidential candidate arrived in Norfolk, Virginia to announce his choice of running mate. Did I mention he arrived aboard the U.S.S. Wisconsin? Shortly after his own entrance, Romney introduced his partner, Paul Ryan. In doing so, Romney misspoke, leaving the "vice" out of "vice president" (essentially introducing Ryan as next commander in chief... whoops!). Nonetheless, Ryan appeared atop the U.S.S. Wisconsin, bounding down the staircase. Romney's glitch did not seem to phase the audience, although it was hard to ignore the similarities between the partners' entrance routines. Both men’s entrances incorporated similar gestures. The biggest difference between Romney and Ryan's grand debuts were the musical accompaniment. Romney entrance was said to be accompanied by a "musical lull" while Ryan was introduced with a perfectly timed tune, peaking just as he walked those last few steps to embrace his running mate.


This instance shows that these types of events are show over substance. Party conventions are where the major political parties announce their 'presidential tickets'. These conventions used to be grounds for political drama and mayhem. But over the decades (as the primary system has come to determine the candidates well in advance to these conventions) these occasions have become more of a political theater than anything. A great deal goes in to the staging of these events in this day and age when much depends on style and presentation.


Similar to classical theater, political theater depends deeply on presentation - stage, set, backdrops and everything else that includes. A party's convention is only the "opening number"; simply a flashy, look-at-us type of way to introduce the characters and set the tone for what the future holds as the show goes on.


Chapter 8, Public Issue Campaigns and Debates, in our Center, et. al. text discusses key points to understanding the term “general public”. The text states that this term is usually used to describe “the uncommitted, often uninterested bystanders whose support or opposition might ultimately have bearing on the outcome of a situation or issue”. People who are watching and following politics may be new or old to the scheme of things. However, those involved in the behind-the-scenes must keep their viewers, audience members, and followers constantly intrigued and wanting more. Those responsible for staging these large events, such as the party conventions, take significant time in order to strategically plan the stages, backgrounds, lighting, and even prop usage if necessary. If done correctly, all of these things can have a great impact on the featured speaker. Overall, it is all about what the people, or general public, want to see in a candidate and how they want to see them portrayed.



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A Debate Over Lap Dances and Taxes

A Debate Over Lap Dances and Taxes | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

In considering whether some strip clubs should be exempt from sales taxes, the New York Court of Appeals is tackling an unusual subject: whether lap dancing constitutes an art form.


The Court of Appeals, New York State's highest court, is constantly dealing with heavily controversial issues. Some timely examples include same sex marriage, the death penalty, and most recently – is lap dancing an art?


On Wednesday, September 5, 2012 the issue debated was said to be “perhaps of less significance but far more prurience.” Does lap dancing constitute as a form of art? W. Andrew McCullough, the lawyer representing Nite Moves asked judges to rule that the club be exempt from paying just under $125,000 in sales tax on its door admission charge.


Nite Moves is a strip club in Latham, New York who prides and bills themselves on being the only club in the Albany area where customers have the option of seeing “fully nude private dancers.” So why do the owners of Nite Moves feel as though they are entitled to be exempt from paying these taxes? Because patrons pay an additional admission fee to see “artistic, choreographed, private performances”; their argument is that these same provision exempt Broadway and ballet performances from taxes on admission fees.


While in the courtroom, words were exchanged such as “nude” and “pole”; as well as euphemisms like “things that happen in private rooms”. An expert in the cultural anthropology of exotic dance was even cited.


By the time Mr. McCullough (Nite Moves’ lawyer) stood up for his second round of arguments, however, at least one judge seemed to have had enough: “Can we get past the idea that somehow this is the Bolshoi?” he said, referring to the internationally acclaimed Russian ballet company.


Mr. McCullough replied, “Well, no, get away from the idea that it’s the Bolshoi. The point is that the State of New York does not get to be a dance critic.”


However, Robert M. Goldfarb, lawyer for the State Department of Taxation and Finance, said even if pole routines and lap dancing on the main stage could be considered as “choreographed performances”, Nite Moves had still failed to prove that dances in the private rooms, which the customers pay for separately, were choreographed. Goldfarb also added, “There are some commonly used moves in stripping – various pole tricks, some of which are very difficult to perform, but that doesn’t make it choreographed”; meanwhile judges interrupted several times to ask ‘whether he was drawing a distinction between low-class performances and high-class dances.”


The court confirmed that the State could tax Nite Moves’ admission fees – regardless of the artistic merit of any dancing going on inside – because the bar qualifies as a cabaretlike establishment, which is required to pay taxes on entry charges IF its beverage sales make up a significant part of its business. There is no question regarding whether or not Nite Moves meets this quota, requiring each customer to purchase at least two beverages (alcoholic or nonalcoholic), costing up to $5, while at the club. Nite Moves refreshment sales account for over almost double of their door revenue. “Although, I submit that if the women kept their clothes on, no one would come to these bars,” one judge added towards the end of the hearing.  At this point, Nite Moves had already paid taxes on their beverage sales.


Mr. McCullough continues defending the club’s dancers as “trained artists” as the case comes to an end. He points out that “pole dancing is under serious consideration as an Olympic sport”; adding that the dancers at Nite Moves were talented enough that they would definitely be under consideration to make the Olympic team. He said, “They’re that good.”


This particular case made for a very unusual spectacle. Lawyers and judges were attempting to address a “decidingly unpretentious subject” with legal terms, benefitting the state’s highest court to the maximum possibility. Originally, I thought to tie this story in with Ch. 10 of the Center, et. al. text labeled “Standards, Ethics, and Values”. But the more I wrapped my mind around the issue at hand, the more I realized this issue really is not about whether or not pole dancing and lap dancing are right or wrong, but simply how the State of New York is going to make money off of it.


So, to correlate the story back to public relations, I would like to address the lawyer of Nite Moves and his tactics in winning the case. First, he assured the judges he was presenting to that these performers were professional artists, who performed choreographed routines in these private sessions. He also boasted the performers’ abilities adding that they could even be considered for the potential-future Olympic pole-dancing team. McCullough also assured the judges that he was not trying to compare what these dancers at Nite Moves did to what the dancers of the Bolshoi do, however he simply wanted it to be recognized that Nite Moves’ performers also work very hard at their occupations.


No matter what your position is on pole, lap, or exotic dancing I believe it is safe to say that this lawyer, although making a decent argument in defense of these Nite Moves performers, could have done a better job presenting more reasons as to why the club should be exempt from paying sales taxes on this particular aspect of their business. In my opinion the only good argument he made was that this form of exotic dancing is not the same to Classical or even Contemporary ballet, however all forms of art should be respect on the same level despite the genre.


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In honor of International Day of Dance, Canada's National Ballet School stages flash mob

In honor of International Day of Dance, Canada's National Ballet School stages flash mob | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |


On April 29, 2012 the National Ballet School of Canada staged a flash mob to celebrate International Day of Dance as well as the school's 50-year anniversary. A flash mob is a choreographed event in which people in a public place randomly "break out" into an activity which is unusual and/or attention-grabbing - often dance!


This particular flash mob took place at the Eaton Centre shopping mall in Toronto, Canada where over three hundred dancers participated on two separate levels of the building.


By following a link in this particular article, I came across three key points I'd like to discuss regarding this flash mob stunt, from a PR standpoint...


1. This flash mob works for the National Ballet School of Canada first and foremost simply because of the timing. Not only was the School celebrating and advertising the International Day of Dance, but they were also showcasing their fifty years of success in the art. The timing was all right and beyond appropriate, making the event that much more meaningful.


2. After reading other articles related to this one, I discovered that prior to this flash mob at Eaton Centre, T-Mobile did a similar stunt in a train station. Although both routines had some visual similarities, its important to cut these performers some slack - there is only so much they are able to do with 300+ people in a confined area. The National Ballet School of Canada's performance was very visually appealing, extremely upbeat, and overall a lot of fun to watch in my opinion.


3. I think the most important aspect to note is the importance of strength in numbers. If the National Ballet School of Canada would not have been nearly as effective nor successful had they only been half the numbers of performers there that day.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces Fall City Center Season

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Announces Fall City Center Season | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

Just yesterday the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the world's most beloved and popular dance companies, announced its 2012 fall season at the New York City Center. This year marks the 41st consecutive year that the company has performed at the New York City Center. This upcoming season runs November 28 through December 30 and will include premiers of "Another Night" choreographed by Kyle Abraham and " Strange Rumors" by the company's artistic director, Robert Battle.


The show will feature a work by Jiri Kylian, Czech choreographer, for the first time ever in the company's history. Also included on the show's bill will be "From Before" choreographed by Garth Fagan, who will be staging his work outside of his own company for the first time this season with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as a new production of "Grace" by Ronald K. Brown.


On the opening night of the 2012 fall season, November 28, there will be a large gala benefit. The benefit is intended to raise funds to support the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater company's educational and training programs for young people everywhere. At the November 28th Opening Night Gala Benefit performance and party, Academy-award winning actress and comedienne Mo'Nique will attend as Honorary Chair and Honored Guest.


Also recently announced was a new production of "Ailey Classics" which will be staged to honor the company's founder and his thirty year career in the dance world. This new production is said to be "a vibrant anthology of highlighs".


In the past three decades, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has grown at a rapid pace. Their success can be measured beyond the number of works they have produced. Now more than ever, the company is known not only across the nation, but throughout the world.


Due to the company's increased popularity, it is my belief that they will have no trouble whatsoever getting a large audience to attend the 'Ailey Classics" tribute performance. Because the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has the level of popularity and success, even those who may have only see AAADT shows featuring other choreographers' works would likely be interested in attending the "Ailey Classics" performance.


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"Atlanta Art Lives Here" Campaign

"Atlanta Art Lives Here" Campaign | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

Emory offers over 300 arts-related events a year. Music, theater, visual arts, dance, film, creative writing, and art history bring together students, scholars, and community members to focus on the artistic experience. Arts at Emory join more than 25 local arts organizations in the return of the “Atlanta Art Lives Here” annual campaign.


“Atlanta Art Lives Here”, designed by (service of Public Broadcasting Atlanta), is a collaborative campaign designed to raise awareness of the Atlanta region’s robust arts and culture offerings and the importance of their role within the community. The campaign unites arts organizations from a variety of disciplines who have contributed over $20,000 for the return of this campaign; increasing the number of media buys, amplifying its presence within the community and more than doubling its outreach for its second year running.


This campaign was launched in 2011 in direct response to the very unique struggles facing the world of the art, and garnered primarily on region-wide support. At this time, and still today, the art industry receives weak funding as well as a significant decrease in media coverage and audience attendance.


This second year of “Atlanta Art Lives Here” will feature a total of 25 local arts organizations, 15 of them returning from last year’s campaign and 10 brand new participants. These organizations use a combination of billboards, MARTA advertisements, radio spots, print advertisements and of course presence at community events to draw in new and hold on to their current stakeholders who support their passions.


The overall mission of this campaign focuses on reminding Atlantans how vital the arts are to the community and encouraging them to support and continue supporting. Chapter 5 of Guth & Marsh reflects on investor relations: “investor relations seek to build relationships with publics that have resources essential to a public company’s success”. This applies directly to the needs of the “Atlanta Art Lives Here” campaign because ultimately they are in search of supporters of the arts.

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Hasbro Play-Doh Announces "Official Play-Doh Artist of the Year"

Hasbro Play-Doh Announces "Official Play-Doh Artist of the Year" | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

Twenty-one year old Ian Williams recently was awarded the title of “Official Play-Doh Artist of the Year”. Recently, Hasbro Play-Doh teamed up with Rhode Island School of Design’s Sculpture and Ceramics Department and established a Play-Doh sculpture  contest. Students were asked to create models of presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, using only Play-Doh, for the chance to win a $5,000 tuition stipend. Submissions of the students were judged on realism, presentation, creativity, craftsmanship and overall incorporation of Play-Doh personality.


AOR Litzky Public Relations has been operating closely with the Hasbro Play-Doh brand on uncovering the artistic nature and capabilities of Play-Doh. Four staff members from AOR Litzky Public Relations have been working diligently to engage national print, online and broadcast media which cover politics and pop culture. AOR team members are also connecting Play-Doh with mom bloggers as well as regional press near Rhode Island and Rochester, NY, hometown of Ian Williams.


Social media, primarily Facebook, will play a major role in keeping this Play-Doh campaign afloat. Throughout the year, the Official Play-Doh Artist of the Year will create various Play-Doh sculptures which will then be posted on the official Play-Doh Facebook page for the brands million plus followers to view, “like” and  potentially repost.


Although it may seem almost pointless for Hasbro Play-Doh and AOR Litzky Public Relations to reach out to college students, while their target public is obviously children (and their mothers, of course). However, do not forget that this will be an outstanding way for Play-Doh to build a presence in the social media stratosphere and therefore receive more media attention.

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DanceOn: A Place For The Global Dance Community

DanceOn: A Place For The Global Dance Community | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |
If dance is movement, and movement is life, then it is not a wonder that the practice has been part of human life, since our beginnings.


Amanda Taylor (CEO) launched DanceOn in 2010. DanceOn is the first of its kind: an online entertainment network hosted on YouTube, dedicated solely to anyone who loves or simply appreciates the art of dance. Although dance is seen on several major television networks (E!, ABC, FOX, Bravo, MTV, etc.) there has never before been a cable or broadcast network dedicated predominantly to dance-related programming. It is not far-fetched to question why something like a dance channel has never been established, considering the outrageous success dance has had on all major television networks.


DanceOn began in New York and in December of 2011 it was moved to LA. CEO Amanda Taylor established a partnership with popular pop artist, Madonna and her manager, Guy Oseary. For the talent, DanceOn is about allowing them to connect with the fans and the audience. A great deal of dancers and choreographers are looking to do something online. The internet offers several business-to-business websites but there is not much to offer under the business-to-consumer umbrella. What better way than a video platform to make this happen? After all, this has proven to be the most effective means of maintaining these sorts of relationships.


Like any other channel, DanceOn aims for international impact and strives to ultimately make the topic of dance a global conversation. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of dancers and supports of dance around the world.


As of April 2012, the DanceOn YouTube channel was reaching near 26 million views per month. More recently, the channel is reaching just beyond 30 million views on a monthly basis. DanceOn has reached these numbers by demonstration what Guth & Marsh refer to in chapter 8 as “building relationships with consumers”. The texts states: “New technology, such as interactive media (such as YouTube) helps [IMC practitioners] build relationships with small groups or even single consumers.” This excerpt directly correlates with Amanda Taylor’s statement about DanceOn being an opportunity for performers to connect and maintain relationships with individual fans, who are ultimately the consumers.

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Dance Video Contest Heated Up The Buzz for Moe's Southwest Grill

Dance Video Contest Heated Up The Buzz for Moe's Southwest Grill | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

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Because Moe’s know how much their customers “dig the queso dip”, they decided to highlight the popular menu item in an annual campaign. For the past two years on July 20, Moe's Southwestern Grill holds "Free Queso Day". Leading up to the “Free Queso Day”, they have established a campaign accompanied by 


In 2010 Moe’s ran a sort of “trail” of their newest event “Free Queso Day” in which they put very little effort into advertising simply to see where the campaign would lead on its own. In May, Moe’s teamed up with Brandmovers to launch in attempt to start a hype and anticipation for the upcoming “Free Queso Day”. Featured on was a video contest in which Moe’s asked fans to create a video, 60 seconds long or less, conveying their love for Moe’s queso. Fans were encouraged to record themselves talking, singing, dancing, or anything else that would make the people at Moe’s believe they deserved the $1000 cash prize and year supply of queso dip. The first year resulted in less than 100 video submissions and somewhere around 9,000 voters.


From the first run of the campaign, Moe’s creative staff came to the realization that customers/fans are more likely to vote on than to submit their own videos. From the knowledge they gained, Moe’s buckled down and raised the stakes for their campaign leading up to the 2011 “Free Queso Day”. This time around, the video contest requirements on were changed to strictly dance entries. “We really wanted to give people an opportunity to express their love for queso in sort of an online, community environment,” said Lauren McGowan Barash, direct of PR and Corporate Communications at Moe’s Southwestern Grill.


The “I Love Queso” dance video contest was moved to the site’s homepage versus a link to be followed, making it available up front for as many viewers as possible. This simple act of readjusting the location of the contest information and update consequently increased the number of votes by 10 times from the previous year.


Other improvements made to the campaign from the first to second year include the amount of effort put forth in promoting and advertising the contest as well as “Free Queso Day”. The 2011 campaign consisted of in-store promotions and a small bit of additional advertising. Their biggest draw, they say, was power of word of mouth. Moe’s sent out an email blast to its sizeable electronic mailing list and also posted about the event(s) on their business’ Facebook page. From this point, Moe’s consumers, fans, supporters and followers did the rest. Individuals who submitted videos for the contest played a huge role in the word of mouth progression too, by sharing their videos and encouraging their followers to visit and vote.


The results of the 2011 :I Love Queso” campaign led up to a very successful “Free Queso Day” which increased by 24% (a very impressive level of sales increase in just one year). Aside from that event, the “I Love Queso” dance video contest also went over far better than the previous year. A total of 132 dance videos were submitted and voted on. There were a total of 104,000 votes all together, with over 600,000 video views and almost 150,000 visits to

The “I Love Queso” dance video contest was not the only factor in the rapid growth in popularity of “Free Queso Day”. Growing brand awareness caused by increased online chatter regarding Moe’s and its queso was a huge help. Consumers formed a bond over queso via various social media platforms.


The winner of the “I Love Queso” contest was selected by users’ votes and a panel of in-house judges who rated each video based on originality, quality and overall dance moves. The winning video can be seen at the ending of the short video at the very top of this post. Moe’s plans are to continue to evolve the fun each and every year now with the “I Love Queso” campaign leading up to the increasingly more well-known “Free Queso Days”.

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Kristin Chenoweth: Actress, Christian, and Gay Rights Advocate

Kristin Chenoweth: Actress, Christian, and Gay Rights Advocate | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

Late night talk show Chelsea Lately often covers controversial topics and does not attempt to sugar-coat their feelings and opinions towards the topics they discuss. Audience members clap in encouragement for minority equality, legalization of marijuana and host Chelsea Handler’s constant references to her love of African American men. So how did little Christian girl, sweet Kristin Chenoweth, end up on Chelsea Lately with this edgy crowd?


Kristin Chenoweth, who originated in her role as Glenda in "Wicked", is said to be a “study in contradictions”. The 43-year-old Bible Belt native has been in the spotlight of the media several times over the past year and she is just as comfortable speaking of her support for gay rights as she is about her Christian faith.


In several interviews Kristin spoke of her religious beliefs and her loyalty to Christianity, stating that she prays and reads her Bible. However, she does not believe being gay is a sin. She compares being gay to being short, since she is only 4’11”. God assembles you a certain way and you do not get to decide. If being short was a sin, she could only do so much to make herself appear to be taller (wear heels, tease her hair), but at the end of the day she asks herself and hopes others will as well – “What would Jesus do?” To her, this means loving and accepting anyone and everyone, not judging and condemning.


Chenoweth was named as a spokeswoman in 2005 for a Women of Faith concert in Oklahoma City, however promoters demanded she resign upon learning of her pro-gay stance. She refused to resign and was fired. Despite the harsh actions, Chenoweth continues to support and enjoy supporting gay rights.


Last year, Chenoweth received an online backlash from her gay fans after calling Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh’s column, regarding whether or not homosexual actors can play straight, “horrendously homophobic.”


In the end, I believe the entire scenario was a misunderstanding. Chenoweth’s response to Setoodeh’s column was harsh, but she was standing up for her friend (who the article was about) and what she believed – there is no wrong in this. However, before making any statements, she should have spoken with someone regarding the appropriate phrasing to use, as to not “ruffle any feathers” so to speak.


Because Chenoweth is in a tough place, she has to learn how to keep both her Christian fans and her gay fans around and happy. Due to the conflict between these two groups, she is already at somewhat of a disadvantage. But I believe because she is speaking on behalf of what she truly believes, even though this is an extremely controversial set of beliefs to have, her fans should remain loyal. Kristin Chenoweth has a genuine love for her Christian faith as well as her gay friends and coworkers. If fans recognize this, and especially if they share the same opinions as her, they will continue to support her work. The importance in this is that Chenoweth is being honest and upfront with her fans, friends, family, and anyone else who cares to ask.


“And I love, love that this has become a purpose in my life. It’s one that I didn’t ever expect.” -Kristin Chenoweth 

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Haitian Dance Group Reemerges From The Rubble

Haitian Dance Group Reemerges From The Rubble | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

In January 2010 an earthquake shook the Caribbean island of Haiti causing devastation, destruction and even death in the country’s capital city, Port-au-Prince.


For several years, choreographer Jeanguy Saintus battled the odds and achieved recognition for his talented, but “cash-starved”, company known as Ayikodans. Unfortunately, the 2010 earthquake caused a significant amount of damage to Saintus’ studio in the hills above Port-au-Prince; enough damage to prevent the company from being able to have rehearsals. However, most members of Ayikodans were too busy repairing their own lives at this time to be able to attend rehearsals.


Aside from establishing and executing Ayikodans, Saintus also owns and runs a dance school. Several of his students, who in-part finance the school as well as the company, have fled the country with their families towards safer havens in the United States, France and Canada. Saintus made a statement of reflection on this time in Haiti, stating: “Everyone spoke of rebuilding Haiti, but the arts were not on anyone’s list.” With next to zero proper dance venues and a very limited budget, it is hard for Ayikodans to building a consistent following.


Realizing his struggle, friends of Sanctus reached out to the head of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida. John Richard, who traveled to Haiti in 2010 to watch Ayikodans perform on their makeshift studio stage, was taken aback by the “genuine, resonating quality of the music and dance, and the rustic nature of the studio.” Richard then decided to step in and take matters into his hands; helping however he could to allow these people to be able to continue telling the Haitian story through the art of dance.


From there, a collaboration formed and a grass-roots movement leapt into full swing. The kickoff was a fundraiser performance last year in Miami which ended up raising $117,000, enough to keep Ayikodans afloat. Tom Murphy, head of a Miami construction firm called Coastal, was moved to tears by Ayikodans’ “extraordinarily good” performance; so much that he wrote a $50,000 donation check to the company.


Now, two and a half years later, Ayikodans has emerged from the rubble and repression of the 2010 earthquake. How did they do it? Ayikodans was given the opportunity to perform in Miami where they earned outstanding reviews and widespread cultural attention and support, achieving one of Saintus’ main goals.


Since their debut in Miami, Ayikodans performed two sold-out shows at the state-of-the-art Adrienne Arsht Center. The $500 million venue was a long way from the remains of their studio back in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Both shows’ tickets were sold out three weeks prior to the show.

Richard says the Arsht Center hopes to magnify Ayikodans work so they may become more established. Ayikodans, too, hopes its success in Miami will be a major stepping stone into larger and perhaps even more well-known venues; including the invitation to perform this fall at the New York City Center, one of the world’s most prestigious dance theaters.


The story of how the Haitian company journeyed from rubble and such deficit, all the way to standing ovations and sold out shows, is one of courage, dedication and intense determination. None of which could have been done without a little bit of help from their friends at the Arsht Center in Miami, Florida. In order to help Ayikodans, the Adrienne Arsht Center and its staff worked hard to determine the best possible way to raise funds for the struggling company. Needless to say, if the public was not interested in the talents of Ayikodans, it would have made the job of those at the Arsht Center much more difficult. However there is still a lesson to be learned in the relationships and networking done along this Haitian company’s journey to recognition.  As we are taught in the first chapter of the Center, et. al. text, we must build and maintain relationships in order to earn the trust of those we are involving ourselves, or our organizations, with. The text also states the importance of motivating supportive behaviors in these scenarios. When it comes down it, people like to know that their money and thoughts are going to good, better yet – GREAT, causes; hence why Ayikodans is having so much success in Miami.



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Celebrities Come Together to make First National Voter Registration Day a Success

Celebrities Come Together to make First National Voter Registration Day a Success | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

September 25, 2012 marked the first ever National Voter Registration Day. This special new day brings together volunteers, artists, celebrities, organizations and corporations for a single day of coordinated voter registration efforts. Statistics show in 2008, close to 75 million Americans who were eligible to vote did not; many because they were not registered. In order to make a drastic difference in these trends, several musicians, actors, comedians and artists have partnered with and to make voting more universal and simpler overall.


In honor of National Voter Registration Day, the popular Dave Matthews Band released an updated version of the video for their most recent single – “Mercy”. This edition of the video featured a special message from Dave at the end, regarding the importance of voting. It also includes an embedded link to the voter registration page.


Studies have shown than musicians, such as Dave Matthews Band, who encourage “civic engagement and voter registration” amongst their fans, are doing so at impressively high rates. In addition to this, after the last election, voter validation studies confirmed that these newly registered music fans actually do come out and vote in higher than average numbers. “Due to the confusing voter ID laws which are being proposed in places such as Pennsylvania in this election, the willingness of musicians to engage in the work of voter registration is ever more admired and their effectiveness is much needed.”


Perhaps the most effective aspect of this campaign was quite possibly the simplest of tactics. Over two hundred musicians, actors, comedians, and artists had their pictures taken with a clipboard reading: “Register to Vote”. On September 25, the first National Voter Registration Day, each and every one of them tweeted their photos including links to the voter registration site., with help from promises this to be “the largest social media-based voter registration campaign ever.”


Although celebrity endorsements are a strategy used by advertising professionals, there is still a lesson to be learned from a public relations point-of-view. By organizing all of these celebrities to tweet similar topics around the same time, chances are this topic became a “trending topic”. Trending topics are determined on Twitter simply by what a majority of Twitter users are tweeting about. used this knowledge to their advantage, and recruited several celebrities to take photographs of with their increasingly well-known “Register to Vote” slogan.


This article touches on several different types of celebrities who have a various array of skills and talents but all use one common tool to get their message across: social media. As discussed in Chapter 7 of Public Relations Practices by Center, et. al., Media Relations: “The main power of the media is to make us aware.” This entire campaign offered potential voters a chance to a) see that all of their favorite celebrities are voting so therefore they should as well; b) an easier, most universal way to register to vote; and perhaps most importantly, c) offered these citizens a sense of community and togetherness, knowing that on this specific day, several others just likes themselves were registering to vote to better the country we all share.

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"Prop 8 – The Musical"

"Prop 8 – The Musical" | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

This short, satiricial and sweet video went viral in December 2008 with over 1.2 million hits in just the first day.


Award-winning composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman did not wake up one day and decide to compose a mini comedic musical supporting same-sex marriage rights. During the time when the ballot initiative of California was to define marriage as existing only between a man and a woman, Shainman discovered Scott Eckern, the musical director of Sacramento's California Musical Theater, donated a significant amount of money to the "Yes-on-Prop 8" campaign.


Enraged, Shaiman alerted his friends and colleagues with a "can you believe this guy?" mass e-mail. In his reply, fo-founder, Adam McKay, suggested Shaiman do a song about the topic for Funny Or Die.


In an interview with Shaiman, he says that he actually had to take time to calm down and be able to find humor in the whole situation. But nonetheless, the seed had been planted and from there a viral phenomenon emerged. Shaiman began writing at his piano the next day and just one week later filming for the soon-to-be sensation began.


This 3-minute gem is said to "cram more socio-political commentary and pure hilarity into its brief time span than many full-length shows can boast". Aside from being playful, witty and entergetic, "Prop 8 - The Musical" features several familiar faces including John C. Reilley, Neil Patrick Harris, Margaret Cho, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Jack Black, and Andy Richter. Famous choreographer and So You Think You Can Dance judge, Adam Shankman, even took part in the video's creation, adding in quirky moves to compliment the skit's powerful message.


"Prop 8 - The Musical" was not only viral but also highly controversial (if you watch it you will understand why). When asked what he thought he had gained from creating this video, Shaiman responded: "...this video is just a viral picket sign. And hopefully funny. I hope that doesn't get lost. I hope that's what most people get out of it." 


Chapter 8 in our Center, et al. text describes Public Issue Campaigns and Debates. In my opinion this correlates directly with this particular article. In this case, the issue at hand are the rights of gay couples to legally wed under state law. An issue can be defined as a topic which there are "(1) two or more opposing arguments, (2) emotional involvement of a large number of people, and (3) concern that the decision will have an impact on people's lives or the smooth functioning of society as we know it." Of the four categories which can be assigned to issues, this particular one would have then and still be labeled as: "HOT"; meaning the subject of gay marrige is a full-blown issue in current debates.


This video came out at a time when the state of California was attempting to deprive homosexuals of their rights to marry whomever they choose. During this time especially and still to this day, issues regarding gay rights and same-sex marriage are all over the media, making virtually any time a good time to release something like this.

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The Guy in the Clown Nose? He's an Olympian

The Guy in the Clown Nose? He's an Olympian | Public Relations and The Performing Arts |

When their bodies no longer permit competition, growing ranks of Olympians are choosing to run off with the circus, specifically Cirque du Soleil.


The Olympic Games have come and gone another year for the athletes who work so hard to be able to participate and represent their countries. But do we ever think of these athletes when they are not participating in the Olympics? How about after they are no longer able to? With the exception of Bruce Jenner, we do not tend to hear much about former Olympic athletes. But perhaps they’re where you least expect them…


Growing rates of former Olympic athletes are choosing to “run away” and join the circus! After years of intense training and endless conditioning, an Olympic athlete’s career must eventually come to an end. Coaching and modeling, possibly even acting (good old Subway commercials) are all options for retired Olympic gymnasts, divers, and synchronized swimmers. However aside from these, unfortunately few jobs require the skills of these former competitors. Over the past ten years, Cirque du Soleil has become one of the most successful employment channels for Olympic athletes who have very scarce post-competition career opportunities.


For the past twenty-eight years Cirque du Soleil, a company based out of Montreal, has created a business out of “blending traditional acrobatic arts with Vegas-style theater”, bringing in an annual revenue of roughly one billion dollars.


“It is not likely that these athletes are able to make a living out of their sports”, said Fabrice Becker, casting director of Cirque du Soleil and French freestyle skier who is a former Olympian himself, winning gold in the 1992 Games in a demonstration event for ski ballet.


The circus world appeals to many former Olympians because it is often a difficult transition from the lifestyle they are used to, back into “normal life” as many of us know it. The way they see it, Cirque du Soleil is using Olympians to their advantage. These athletes have been training a majority of their lives before coming to audition for Cirque; therefore most of the work has already been done or at least been started.  However, this does not mean to say that Cirque du Soleil is a walk in the park for these former competitors. Gymnasts and other athletes who audition are pushed far outside of their comfort zones, being asked to sing, dance, do improvisational acting and even make monkey noises!


But the circus isn’t all rubber red noses and tiny clown cars. Cirque du Soleil has constantly had to combat the image of being a threat to the wide world of sports. When the company expanding in the 1990s and began hiring more athletes, there were rising concerns from coaches and teams that worried athletes would cut their competition years short “before reaching their prime” to pursue a career with the circus.


To come to terms with this accusation, in 1998 Cirque du Soleil hired former Canadian Olympic gymnastics coach, Bernard Petiot as an emissary. Upon taking the position as Vice President of Casting and Performance, Petiot did two major things which helped ease the grudge against Cirque du Soleil.


First off, Petiot set up clear ethics rules for the company: “I don’t go to competitions and aggressively contact athletes”, he said in an interview. Since the Olympics are absolutely off-limits for any sort of recruiting, the Cirque du Soleil Casting & Performance crew travel to legions of trials and other international competitions  – all of which are fair game for networking and building relationships which can last throughout an athlete’s career.


Next, Petiot set up a formal partnership with the International Gymnastics Federation, which is the governing body of the entire sport. With this partnership, both groups are able to exchange services such as performance/entertainment consultations and expertise in marketing strategies. Petiot was also given the rights to set up a Cirque du Soleil informational booth at gymnastics competitions.


In Chapter 9 of Guth & Marsh, ‘Business-to-Business Relations’ are discussed. To me this correlated directly to my article. As the text states, “business-to-business relations is the management of relationships with businesses that have resources that your business needs to achieve its goals”. Cirque du Soleil was being portrayed negatively as rumors of them “stealing” professional athletes lurked through the sports world. In order to set this straight, Petiot spoke out against this accusation and then proved his statement was truthful.


It is only fair that Petiot and the Cirque du Soleil Casting & Performance staff be allowed access to competitions (besides the Olympics) to network and meet potential performers for their show. Otherwise, retired athletes may never even realize this opportunity is available to them after their career as a professional athlete has come to an end.


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