Archive for the ‘Fun stuff’ Category

10 Reasons why PR ‘Matters’ in 2007

posted by Brendan Hodgson
  1. Because no self-respecting CEO should be without an avatar in second life.
  2. Because business journalists wouldn’t have anything to write about otherwise.
  3. Because CEO’s need to be convinced that bloggers are not voracious, flesh-eating fire ants intent on painfully stripping away the layers to reveal the truth about your ‘brand”.
  4. Because lawyers need to understand that “no comment” is not a legitimate key message.
  5. Because bankers need to understand that, sure, shareholders are important… but so are customers, employees, partners, suppliers, regulators, communities, NGO’s etc. etc.
  6. Because when things go wrong, it inevitably gets characterized as a “PR blunder”, and people need someone to blame.
  7. Because advertising doesn’t.
  8. Because perception is reality.
  9. Because bad things can – and do – happen to good companies.
  10. Because I wouldn’t be in this business otherwise.

(of course, some of this is tongue-in-cheek. I challenge you to identify which)

Toondoo – Communicating through Cartoons

posted by Brendan Hodgson


In communications, very often, pictures (like video) will trump the written word. Toondoo is a site that caught my eye recently as an entertaining though simplistic application for creating very basic cartoons – blending both images and text – to communicate a concept or message. I took my first stab today (click the link for a larger image of the above), and while the result may not be pretty (or particularly funny – Natural Law Party, get it?), it was an exercise in creating “dialog” that – if applied appropriately – could have impact in a variety of PR capacities.

Nice also to see that it offers all the social media bells and whistles that we’ve come to expect – comments, page views, sharing and linking features, RSS etc.

And to those who didn’t laugh. I challenge you to do better! 

When music, the military and Youtube collide…

posted by Brendan Hodgson

The fervour with which the armed forces of various countries (and their supporters) have embraced video – and Youtube, in particular – as an outlet to reach out to potential recruits, showcase the conditions under which the troops serve, communicate to loved ones, and deliver personal tributes to the men and women who serve in the military (of which there are nearly 100 for the Canadian Forces alone) is fascinating. 

Without question, Youtube has helped to more broadly expose the harsh realities under which our troops operate, and to amplify the efforts of recruiters to reach younger audiences. 

But they can also portray a lighter side of a dangerous job, one that highlights the pride and camaraderie of the soldiers, sailors and airmen on the front lines. Perhaps the most entertaining are the growing numbers of music videos created (out of sheer boredom, one wonders) by the servicemen and women themselves. A sample playlist:

  • The “Sun Kings” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 rendition of the Black Eye Peas’ hit song, “Pump It” and Outkast’s’ “Hey Ya,” (You can read here about the potential impact of these videos on recruitment. Hat tip to Ian Ketcheson.)
  • Not to be outdone is the Royal Navy’s version of Queen’s Bohemian Rapsody.
  • And you can judge for yourselves which version of “Is this the way to Amarillo” is better: this video by British soldiers stationed in Iraq, or this clip video’d by the Dutch military in Afghanistan. (what is it about this song?)
  • One clip I wish I could find, and an example from a Canadian context, is Rick Mercer’s 2005 (or was it earlier?) visit during his This Hour Has 22 Minutes days to Canadian soldiers stationed in the Former Yugoslavia, to lead a rousing karaoke sing-along to ”We’re here for a good time, not a long time” by Canadian rock dinosaur, Trooper.

    Sadly, since I can’t show that, I figured I’d show another Mercer/Trooper moment just prior to the 2006 one of the recent Federal elections, and to the tune of “Raise a Little Hell“. Fun, but not quite the same impact though.

10 steps to hosting a successful national digital practice meeting

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Last week, about 20 H&K consultants from across Canada flew into Toronto to take part in our first digital practice meeting. It should be stated, the digital practice itself has been around a while (since 1999, in various iterations), we’d just never reached out to so many people before at one time. And, despite the stress of coordinating the event itself, it was quite something. Here’s some lessons learned:

  1. Invite kickin’ guest speakers to pick up the mood when 8 hours in a hotel conference room get you down. Fantastic job,guys!
  2. Intersperse your presentations / discussions with cool stuff from around the web… a dollop of Zefrank, some Youtube clips, real case studies, and a bit of a show and tell on the good, bad and ugly of social media.
  3. Save those cool sites to a page… it’s easy, and a good reminder of the application of these various tools.
  4. Brainstorm around real clients. The ideas were something else, and we’re already moving forward to apply some of the better ones.
  5. Invite the big wigs for dinner, especially if you’re able to convince Paul Wells to hold court. Get ‘em toasty, and they’ll be putty in your hands when you show them the bill.
  6. Splurge on wine at dinner, though maybe not $120 a bottle… that’s a joke, Mike… no, really.
  7. Have multiple back-ups when the hotel’s wireless starts getting finicky… damn that interweb!
  8. Don’t give booze as a thank you gift to anyone who has to fly and doesn’t have checked baggage.
  9. Don’t leave the booze that you couldn’t send unattended, though I do think it added some creativity to one of the break-out groups.
  10. Involve consultants at all levels who are passionate about digital (even though their passion might exceed their current knowledge and experience)… and have a plan to sustain the momentum moving forward.

HKDP Quebec Election Predictor: The Final Numbers are in!

posted by Brendan Hodgson



Nearly a month, 100,000+ page views, approx. 37,500 unique visitors, and numerous media and blog hits later, HKDP’s Quebec election predictor appears to have (just about) nailed it… that is, if you had correctly predicted last night’s outcome. (click on the image for a larger size)

With the final voting percentages tossed into the mix, the end result showed the predictor giving the Liberals (PLQ) slightly fewer seats (45) from their actual (48), the separatist PQ scoring slightly higher (39) than their actual (36), and bang on for the ADQ at 41.

Not bad, I think, when it’s a system based purely on playing the numbers. Next up (sooner or later being the question), the next version of the Federal Election Predictor.

You Are Mighty!

posted by Brendan Hodgson

For a brief moment, I too believed (tip: turn your speakers to 11)… and not even that harsh mistress reality could deter me from completing my most mighty tasks… timesheets, ppt decks, scratching the itch behind my mighty ear…

A nifty little viral, nonetheless. Hat tip to you, sis, and thanks for the recognition (if only my fellow employees thought equally highly of me – he says with tongue planted firmly in cheek).

 Now back to regular programming.

Habits of the Highly Disorganized… "Bless your Mess!"

posted by Brendan Hodgson

“Moderately messy systems outperform extremely orderly systems.”

I think that if I’m ever fortunate enough to meet Eric Abrahamson or David Freedman, authors of “A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder“, I will buy them a drink (or more than one).

Why? Because, according to the authors, and as reported in Time, I can now take comfort in the lawlessness and general dishevelment that is my desk. No longer must I suffer the indignant glances of my colleagues, or feel a sense of inadequacy at the sight of their grotesquely sterile and well-manicured work spaces. In fact, and to my somewhat perverted delight, trying to maintain an immaculate and clutter-free zone was found by the esteemed authors to be, against all popular wisdom, counterproductive. (input smug chortle here).

“There’s a reason people tend to stack stuff on their desks,” reports Time’s Jeremy Caplan in summarizing the book, “Such intuitive organization can be effective. Not only are things often hard to find once secluded in a complex filing system, but they’re also out of sight and therefore out of mind. Those with mesy desks often stumble upon serendipitous connections between disparate documents.”

To quote H. Simpson, it’s funny because it’s true. Very often, and as I plow through stacks of paper seeking the elusive memo, strategy, or earlier draft of a messaging document, I regularly fall upon old white papers I’ve yet to read, bits and pieces of old RFP’s, draft presentations and other such caboodle. And much like Dirk Gently, the Douglas Adams character who seems always to get to where he needs simply by following a car which looks like it knows where it’s going, it often seems fortuitous that I happen to pick that particular stack (as there are many) at that particular time, as whatever I fall upon tends to offer up something useful to what it was I was working on. Perhaps it’s my own little taste of Chaos theory.