Category Archives: Branding

Jobs passes; a generation reels

Steve Jobs with the Apple II

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

The national media was ready for this; Apple’s founder Steve Jobs didn’t have much time left so the news agencies prepared for it.

But the nation wasn’t.

When Apple’s website made this simple announcement Wednesday evening, it came as a world-wide shock:

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

The phenomenon of social media that has flourished under Jobs-inspired platforms like the iPhone and iPad came alive over the news. Techies and average Joes expressed their feeling of loss, posted and tweeted quotes from Jobs, changed their status and profile pictures.

It occurs to me that the loss of Steve Jobs has a huge impact on Generation X in the way losing John Lennon was to the baby boomers. Think about it.

Let’s say you are a 40-year-old, born in 1971:

  • All throughout elementary school, you had an Apple II in your classroom
  • Your high school had a lab full of Macs
  • You were writing term papers on a color Mac in college
  • You may have heard “You’ve Got Mail!” from that original America Online dial-up account on a Mac
  • You bought your first iMac to surf the web before you were 30
  • About seven years ago you dumped all of your CD’s into iTunes and started walking around with your iPod.
  • You waited in line four years ago for the first iPhone
  • Last night you commiserated with your high school classmates on Facebook using your iPad.
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

By putting technology into everyday people’s hands that is so simple to use, Jobs rose to be a cultural Pied Piper. “What’s the next insanely great thing you thought of, Steve? We want it!”

For media folks, Apple is ubiquitous. From the video editing suite, to print and web layout, to viewer video from iPhones, and reporter’s copy on iPads, our industry’s productivity and quality have been revolutionized because of these products.

Some of us have never known a world that didn’t have Steve Jobs rolling out a new life-altering gadget on an 18-month product cycle.

So we mourn.

Blood War II coming

As we’ve noted before, The Community Blood Bank’s Dan Desrochers is passionate about his “turf” when it comes to raising donors for the region’s blood supply. Upon news of another blood bank setting up shop in the heart of Erie, he is facing the situation head-on, determined to keep every red drop local:

ERIE, PA – The Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh is again holding a blood drive in Erie that will take hundreds of pints of blood out of the county.
As the ONLY supplier of blood in Erie County for the past 4 decades the Community Blood Bank, which often struggles to meet the needs of local hospitals, is obligated to inform the public about the importance of giving blood locally.

The Community Blood Bank will be holding a ‘Keep Local Blood Local’ Rally from 10-11a.m. at the Tullio Arena parking lot in response to the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh’s 2-day blood drive with the local hockey team.

Only 1 out of 33 adults donates, and there simply aren’t enough donors in Erie to provide for the local need and for Pittsburgh. The Community Blood Bank only draws blood from where it supplies and, until recently, that was also true of the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh which supplies from Pittsburgh up to Meadville.

Multiple blood banks competing for Erie donors creates confusion, adds to costs, and will affect the safety of the local blood supply. The current supply is 300 pints lower than a year ago at this time.

“Please come out and show your support,” said Dan Desrochers, director of marketing at the Community Blood Bank. “We are taking a stand on behalf of all patients in Erie County who will need blood.”

Last year, when this happened, the CBB took some heat in these pixels. We will see if local donors see the distinction of where their selfless act should be directed.

Blood Bank’s Desrochers ‘furious’ about outsiders drawing from Erie

Dan Desrochers has one of the toughest public relations jobs in Erie.

As Director of Marketing and Community Relations of the Community Blood Bank of Northwestern Pennsylvania & Western New York, his job is to promote the benefits to our community and common man of a most selfless, personal act: donating blood.

His job has been complicated recently by the aggressive recruitment of Erie-area blood donors by blood banks based in Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Desrochers says that the exporting of “Erie” blood has reached such a critical mass that he felt compelled to invoke the help of City Council at Wednesday night’s meeting.

He answered some questions for Press and Tower:

P&T: What prompted you to go to the City Council meeting last night?

DD: The Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh is using community assets (Tullio Arena & Bayfront Sheraton/both get taxpayer money) to directly undermine the LOCAL blood supply. As a tax payer I am furious about this problem.

Are ‘junk polls’ giving Erie a bad rep?

Two polls were released this week that gave Erie some unwanted negative exposure and caused a flurry of discussion on area media.

It turns out that some of the angst was derived from bad analysis by a national media poll watcher. The other poll cited looks to be a garbage statistic.

Here’s the back story: on Monday, the Gallup organization released some new data from its ongoing Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, comparing living in the city vs. the country. ABC News Director of Polling Gary Langer reported on the distinction and mixed into his report the 2009 findings of Gallup’s daily poll which has

the goal of creating an official statistic for the daily state of health and well-being in the United States…individuals and communities receive an overall wellbeing composite score and a score in each of six sub-indices including life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment and basic access.

The problem came in Langer’s fifth paragraph, where he listed the top five and bottom five cities in the overall index. He got the top five correct, but listed #168 to #172 as the bottom five, which included Erie at #170. Of course, if you are ranking 185 cities like the Gallup poll does, #170 is close but not really at the bottom. The actual bottom five cities in wellbeing are actually:

  • #181 – Flint, MI
  • #182 – Charleston, WV
  • #183 – Modesto, CA
  • #184 – Johnstown, PA
  • #185 – Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ

The problem is that the Langer story was quoted by WTOP.com, then by ErieBlogs.com (who got the ranking right) and by GlobalErie.com, causing lots of hand-wringing locally. Now being ranked #170 is nothing to be proud of, and we need to be a more healthy community, but there’s no way that Erie, PA should be at the bottom for things like access and emotional health.

The Gallup poll asks 46 questions of its participants each day about things like feelings, and I just have to wonder if the typical surly take on life in our community that some Erieites have took a toll on the poll. Sometimes when you talk to someone from Erie who hasn’t lived anywhere else, you experience their extreme lack of perspective; a typical “grass is always greener somewhere else” mentality.

Then there was the insurance.com poll, an obvious ploy to increase page views, which listed its Most Dangerous Cities for drivers. You would think, LA, Chicago, or Boston, right? No, its Baltimore, with Erie PA listed at #5!

Baltimore tops the list with 36.5 percent of drivers claiming a prior accident when receiving a car insurance comparison quote from insurance.com. The port city might not surprise many, but there were plenty of stunners in the Top 10, including Erie, Pa., and Des Moines, Iowa.

This is what’s called a “junk poll,” using very flimsy criteria to build a statistic. Considering we live in a town that hosts a top ten auto insurer which bears the city name, perhaps the only Erieites looking for comparative quotes on insurance.com are the one who have too many accidents to buy insurance from ERIE, State Farm or Allstate!!

Meanwhile, our local media give credibility to the junk poll, even generating their own poll to dispute the insurance.com one.

Considering the meager marketing budget our community has to promote itself, we need every break we can get from free media. Suspect polls and poor reporting doesn’t help.

Crunch time for Kanzius/Pepsi fundraiser

Although I’ve never experienced it, they say that there is some kind of runners euphoria in the final miles of a marathon.

That endorphin rush is being experienced right now by the supporters of the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, as they attempt to cross the finish line in 1st place and win $250,000 from the Pepsi Refresh project. With just four full days to go at this writing, the cause has jumped from 17th in the first week to number one over the weekend, and it’s supporters are going full-throttle to keep it there.

A massive social and new media effort very early on became a constant on traditional media, and if I’m Pepsi, I’m thinking that this little expenditure of $1.3 million each month is worth far more than exploding fireworks and Michael Jackson (RIP) singing Pepsi lyrics to the tune of “Billie Jean.”

Erie, Meet the Beatles again

The Beatles have got Erie’s number on 9/9/09.

Today marks a massive release of Beatles music product, perhaps the most extensive single-day release in their history. Most anticipated is The Beatles Stereo Box Set and The Beatles: Rock Band.

The Stereo Box includes remasters of all 13 studio albums, plus a DVD of mini-documentaries of each album (17 discs in all). The Beatles: Rock Band comes in multiple configurations from just the software to a limited edition premium edition.

These releases will open The Beatles to a whole new generation of fans, who I’m confident won’t be lost on the musicianship, tight harmonies, and inspiring song structure of the band that defined a generation and then some.

My first album ever was Magical Mystery Tour. My older brother Peter, bought it for me the Christmas I received a Decca record player. I was seven.

Those were the days in Erie when JET 1400 ruled the roost, playing the Beatles and R&B hits that were hot sellers at the Record Bar. I heard early in my career that Frank Martin, the Morning Mayor, used to score a 60 share of audience back in the day. Playing “Can’t Buy Me Love” couldn’t hurt.

What about you? Are you in the market for this amazing new boxed set? What are your memories of the Beatles?

Response to Erie cop YouTube reveals city’s poor message management

Jimmy D.

The use of a pet name to refer to the leader of the internal affairs unit of the Erie Bureau of Police by the Mayor of the City of Erie was the tipping point early on in the continuing case surrounding the behavior of an Erie policeman caught on video and displayed on YouTube. The lack of professional response to the crisis set before them by the Mayor and Chief of Police Steve Franklin during that first interview by the Times-News’s Ed Palattella meant that this situation would have a much broader scope than the outrageous antics of one drunk cop “letting off steam.”

By originally putting the focus on the video author and the attempt to remove it from YouTube via court order, the city has shown that it has a deep lack of understanding of the modern media landscape and crisis management tactics. They didn’t realize that while they were responding with poor judgment when the video was first revealed, that they were already reluctant passengers on an Acela bullet train that would take this story global, complete with close to 60,000 hits on YouTube for the original video so far this morning, thousands more on the copies, CNN and Fox News calling for talking heads, and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation in play.