At the 87th annual Academy Awards, women of Hollywood were demanded equality. Multiple actresses participated in the Ask Her More campaign via Twitter, during interviews on the red carpet and during acceptance speeches.
When Patricia Arquette received her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, she used her thank-you speech as a time to talk about equality rights for women. She said, "To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's high time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
This year, multiple well-known actresses also participated in the right for equality for women by using the hashtag #AskHerMore on Twitter.
The Ask Her More campaign was a movement started by The Representation Project. It encourages reporters to ask award show nominees and actresses more creative questions on the red carpet. Some of Hollywood’s top women wanted to talk about more than fashion; they want to be asked engaging questions to give them the chance to talk about what they are doing in their careers.
Reese Witherspoon, Academy Award winner, was the face of the Ask Her More campaign on social media. A few hours before the show began, Witherspoon shared the #AskHerMore message on social media and asked for support from her followers and fellow actresses to tweet questions that they wanted answered on the red carpet.
Witherspoon addressed the equality issue of only being asked about her appearance at the Academy Awards as well. On the red carpet Witherspoon said, “"We're more than just our dresses. We are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we've done. It's hard being a woman in Hollywood or any industry.”
Other celebrities who participated in this movement demanded reporters ask about their careers. When Emma Stone, Academy Award nominee, was told she was beautiful by a reporter, she replied with, “Oh, thank you. That’s all that matters.”
Laura Dern, nominated for Best Supporting Actress in her role in Wild, participated as well by talking about how the ring she was wearing supports lung cancer awareness when Ryan Seacrest commented on her jewelry.
It’s safe to say that the women of Hollywood are ready to fight for the equality of women. The top trending hashtag #AskHerMore may end soon; but from the reaction of Patricia Arquette’s speech — the fight is not over.
--by Elisa Richards, PRSSA General Member
When most people think of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week the first thing that probably comes to mind — fashion. What pops into my mind are gorgeous 6-foot tall models and clothing that costs more than my entire savings account. What most people don’t think of, is all the public relations that goes into making Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week flawless.
During fashion week, while most people are focused on the clothes, PR agencies are working to make sure there is great press and all the celebrities are being well-managed.
Fashion PR agencies communicate what happened on the runway to us average people who couldn’t be there in person to see the glory. It is essential for the designers to engage with agencies, in order to ensure that the hard work they put into their collection, as well as the best media coverage.
If you’ve seen The Devil Wears Prada, you know that designers and everyone involved in the design process get a little nutty in the high-stakes time period leading up to the big event. For PR agencies, it’s just as crazy and hectic.
Agencies handle all the details for a show, ranging from setting up seating charts and backstage interviews, to putting together teams for hair, nails, makeup and much more.
Working for a fashion PR agency is definitely not for the weak of heart. There is a lot of pressure to ensure that everything goes off smoothly and that the best image is presented to the public. But for those who love fashion, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week can be a high point in their fashion PR career. To follow what’s happening in NYC this Fashion Week, check out their live Snapchat story!
--by Katrina Swarthout, PRSSA Executive Member
A great leader always maintains a careful balance of attitudes. This simple truth explains why some leaders are infinitely more effective than others. All natural leaders possess three basic qualities that enable them to lead successfully.
The first quality is enthusiasm. Whether it’s having enthusiasm for an organization, a team or a goal, an effective leader always upholds an enthusiastic attitude. This passion directly translates to an enhanced experience for team members, who will feel that their work is essential and appreciated.
The second quality is organization. No matter how much passion a leader displays, it will ultimately go to waste if the leader cannot effectively manage the team. This can apply to everything from prompt email responses to well-planned meeting schedules. It permeates every aspect of team morale. If someone knows you won’t bother to read and file away their work appropriately, they’ll be much less likely to complete it.
The third quality is consideration. No matter how tight deadlines may be, a leader understands that every team member has a life outside of the team. Being firm, yet understanding garners an atmosphere of respect and gratefulness. If you are approachable, a team member will feel more comfortable being honest with you when something interferes with their work and respect you enough to perform when necessary.
While these are just baseline qualities of effective leadership, they represent a mindset that inevitably results in a more motivated, results-oriented team. If at all possible, a leader should reconcile all of these traits with an informed vision. To plan for the future, a leader must understand the present—this means learning all that you can about your organization, your position and your goals. Without that vital first step, it’s like starting the cliché metaphoric road trip without Google Maps.
The first step in becoming a more influential leader is recognizing the magnitude and flexibility of your position. If you’re reading this, you’re already taking steps in the right direction.
--by Katie Gatti, PRSSA General Member
She played an essential role in transforming perceptions and realities of the college football postseason. When Gina Lehe started as the senior director of communications & brand management in 2014, she brought over 15 years of public relations expertise to the College Football Playoff (CFP).
With the first-ever playoff commencing earlier this month, Lehe was responsible for the media relations and public relations outreach for the CFP, as well as branding the playoff. The main challenge Lehe faced when she started with the CFP was creating a significant, distinct brand that was separate from its predecessor, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
Branding the CFP to be separate from the BCS took work, but it was important to bridge the gap from the previous era in college football. “We weren’t starting with something that was negative or needed a lot of help,” Lehe said. “We were taking something with a solid brand and looking for ways to make it even better, and sometimes that’s even harder than starting from ground zero.”
Lehe got her start in the bowl game industry while she was a student at the University of Arizona, as an intern for the Insight.com Bowl. Since then, Lehe has spent time with the Fiesta Bowl in the Phoenix area, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
As an intern with the Insight.com Bowl, Lehe was fortunate to have a boss who provided her with opportunities that helped her move from college to a professional setting. “I was in a very fortunate position where I had a role model, in a strong woman who really taught me to stand up for what I believed and speak up when I felt I was right. She gave me opportunities at a really young age to essentially sink or swim in an industry that I really didn’t know much about, but it was the best way to learn,” Lehe said.
Using her former boss an example, Lehe continues the idea of mentorship and giving opportunities to young women in the sports public relations field. “I’ve really tried to carry the idea of paying it forward to other women to this day, giving young girls the opportunity to get into this industry,” Lehe said. “Whether that’s through an internship or a full-time job. Just kind of helping pave the road, similar to what she did for me.”
As a mentor to females trying to break into sports public relations, Lehe cautions to look at all options. “I think a lot of young girls who say they want to get into sports think they want to be a sideline reporter — it’s easy to say — because that’s one of the most visible jobs out there for women. There’s so many different opportunities for women to get involved in sports, whether it’s in front of the camera, behind the camera, or from a media relations standpoint,” Lehe said.
Having a willingness to be open and to explore what is out there is critical to breaking into the sports world. “Take whatever opportunity is presented to you,” Lehe said. “Because, you never know in what situation or what position you are in, who else might be around you and open the door for additional opportunities.”
What has been a driving factor in her success in the sports PR field? Lehe points to her ability to network as a huge asset. “The downside to social media over the years is that younger students think that just because they know somebody on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram that they have a relationship with that person,” Lehe said. “Traditional means of communication is almost a lost art these days, in addition to traditional, standard writing. I always try to stress that you give an effort in trying to meet people and talk to them personally. I don’t mean via email. Pick up the phone.”
--by Andrew Kivette, PRSSA General Member
A common strategy in public relations is to relate messages to current events or trends, which can spark interest and attention for the brand’s message. When a message reminds a consumer of a hot topic, they are likely to listen.
The key is to know what topics to play off of and which to leave alone. Unfortunately there can be a gray area between the two. A recent example comes from the “Deflategate” scandal. “Deflategate” is the name given to the 2015 American Football Conference (AFC) championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. During this game, the Patriots allegedly deflated the footballs below the National Football League’s (NFL) regulated pressure. Brands pounced on this opportunity to make a message out of such a highly publicized event.
Should these messages have been created? It’s hard to say. While “Deflategate” isn’t a terrible crime, it could be argued that brands shouldn’t use alleged cheating or controversy as a marketing scheme.
Other messages are easily pinpointed as serious lapses of judgment. Bank of America’s recent faux pas was a weekly email entitled “Je Suis Bullish.” This played off the phrase “Je Suis Charlie,” which was adopted internationally following the massacre of journalists in the office of French magazine “Charlie Hebdo.” The email message, which did not relate to the massacre or to France, appeared incredibly distasteful. Another example is the DiGiorno Pizza’s Twitter fumble of 2014. The trending hashtag #WhyIStayed was used to promote frozen pizzas. If a little research had been done, DiGiorno representatives would have realized that the hashtag was used in a campaign for domestic violence awareness.
Not all brand messages relating to current events spark controversy. Taco Bell’s Twitter message “Taco Bae” earned 29,510 retweets and 22,478 favorites. The important part of using current trends as a public relations message is to think from the target public’s perspective. A public relations professional must ask: “What effect could this message have? Could this be taken in a different way?” A quick reflection on the meaning of the message can balance sensitivity with excitement over current events.
--by Bethany Corne, PRSSA General Member
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.