Archives for September 2013

What’s in a Name?


The  “Redskins,” Washington DC’s NFL team has been in existence for almost a century. And now some in the media are refusing to use the term, citing a racial slur against Native Americans.

Here, the media is more than the messenger. The journalists are playing the role of conscience-minding mentor, who can make the choice of the words they use, both in broadcast and in print.

And team owner, Dan Snyder is using the media to broadcast his refusal to change the moniker.  He told USA Today: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Christine Brennan from the same USA Today explained “even if only some Native Americans think it’s racist, here’s news for the rest of us. Whether we want to hear it and deal with it or not: it’s racist.”

And what does the franchise really lose if the network coverage refers to the team as “Washington” rather than the “Redskins?” Even though the name has not changed, the term “redskins” is slowly disappearing from sports culture.

Other sports teams are also facing challenges to their brands including baseball’s Cleveland Indians, who stoutly defend their red-faced Chief Wahoo logo. According to Cleveland Indian President Mark Shapiro,. “Chief Wahoo is not going anywhere. He will continue to be “featured prominently” and presently on every team uniform. But there seems to be a transition to the “C,” emphasizing Cleveland instead of the red-faced, hook-nosed chief.

wahooAs the media pinpoints the teams and erases their colorful mascots, sports teams may be forced to re-brand.  All this political correctness would demand that the teams create a new image.  But the real question is, who is the audience? Loyal fans and season ticket holders may be as offended by a name change.  It proves that branding and when to change your brand is a very difficult question to answer.


Hats Off … to a very Ready John Putnam


Watch the segment here.

Recent client, Putnam Accessory Group/Chuck Originals’ John Putnam gave a “textbook” performance on the KTLA Morning News, hosted by Mark Kriski and Frank Buckley .

“You can’t hate a guy who makes hats,” he began.

As seen here, Mr. Putnam avoided the biggest mistake most executives make of not naming the brand! He branded perfectly, both verbally and visually. But beyond marketing, he informed his morning audience with the latest trends in accessories for Back-to-School from backpacks, to hats, to patterned socks.

With all the energy needed to communicate to and through the media, Mr. Putnam “had fun with it” and was confident, clear, and concise in his delivery.  He held products steady to show off designs and colors to the camera, and brought his teenage son, Jack, to model all the essentials.

Thanks to Jenn Deese and Kelley Coughlan at Melrose PR in Los Angeles for making the media coaching connection!




“Fore” is the warning shout golfers use when there is a chance that a wild ball may hit other players or spectators.

NBC’s Golf Channel hit fans and players alike with a shout heard ’round the Twittersphere:

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The tweet landed them in the rough.

The Golf Channel’s hasty retraction …

“Our earlier tweet was inappropriate. The intent was to celebrate this important date in history and we regret we failed to meet that standard.”

was an attempt at a mulligan (a do-over, or replay of the shot) but the penalty was already incurred.

They didn’t score on this one. Co-opting one of the most important and iconic speeches of the 20th Century as a branding opportunity was strictly out of bounds.

This isn’t the first time a brand wasn’t up to par by trivializing the Civil Rights Movement. On Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in 2012, Taco Bell tweeted,

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Someone should media coach these brands to visualize their targets and avoid the hazards!