McDonald’s feeling the heat to drop antibiotics

mcdonalds antibiotics

For a long time, McDonald’s and other fast-food franchise brands have been unwilling and unenthusiastic participants in the ongoing debate over healthier food options. Especially for kids.

It’s not really that Mickey D’s wants kids to eat unhealthy. It’s simply that the business model is not based on freshly made and prepared foods. It’s about decent quality meals at a reasonable price served fast and consistently across all locations. The latter concerns, fast and consistent are the biggest keys to the success of the franchise. That’s the model, and there is a long chain of events that leads to the cashier putting that wrapped burger in the brown paper bag. Continue reading

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Filed under Branding, News and Views, Public Relations

Hostess Brand Goes Public this Fall

Yep, that’s right. And not only are they going public with a new IPO that will trade as HOSTESS, but they are looking at adding new treats to their lineup.

A year or so ago, a majority stake in Hostess was sold to Gores Group (GRSHU), who has raised an additional $375 million to purchase another company or key brand with similar products. They are looking to combine the two into the new Hostess brand. Continue reading

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Trump Courting Big Donors

donald trump donor

GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has, from the beginning of his unlikely campaign, touted his strength as a self-funded man of the people. The one candidate who not only isn’t “bought” but cannot be bought, because he already has plenty of cash to pay his own way.

Now, while that’s never been precisely true – Trump has always accepted and appreciated donations to his campaign – as he enters the general election, the sheer numbers involved have begun to catch up with him. It takes about a billion dollars to run a major party presidential campaign, numbers even the Ten Billion Dollar Donald doesn’t want to expend.

Trump recently hired a national finance chairman and scheduled his first series of fundraisers. Next up, inking a deal with the GOP, which will allow him access to their big bank of major donors, the folks who can stroke checks of up to $300,000 apiece. According to the Associated Press, Trump’s finance team is already planning a dialing for dollars program at Trump Tower.

Among his mega-wealthy supporters are real-estate mogul Elie Hirschfeld who has partnered with him on numerous projects – although Hirschfeld also served as Hillary Clinton’s landlord for a while, he is standing with Trump.

To date, Trump’s expenditures have been relatively minimal in the world of national politics. He reportedly spent about $50 million of his own money and another $12 million in donated funds on his successful vanquishing of 16 other GOP primary opponents. This tight purse approach was bolstered by Trump’s unprecedented ability to rake in earned media. The guy was either on the TV every day or being talked about when he wasn’t on. The incessant name repetition is priceless in politics, even at this level.

It’s a strategy Trump plans to continue into the general election campaign. He’s already said he won’t spend as much on canvassing, identifying voters and getting out the vote. He’s banking on his celebrity, name recognition and rallies to carry him into the White House. If anyone can turn that strategy into a winner, it’s Trump. He understands media, and he knows the temperature and temperament of his likely voters. Trump is selling Trump, something he’s done very well over his entire business career.

That doesn’t mean he won’t be hosting fundraisers – reportedly up to 100 – this summer. After all, a billion is a huge number, no matter how big your name.

 

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How these top tech brands are helping fight terrorism

tech brands fighting terror

When the Obama administration wanted help in countering the success ISIS is having online, they didn’t call the CIA or the Defense Department. They called in the experts – Apple, Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Government officials want to be able to monitor and track ISIS communications on the ‘net, and they need answers on the best ways to do that.

While this is not the first time major American brands entered a war, it does signal a sea change in how moderns wars are fought.

In the early days of America’s fight against Fascism in Germany, Italy, and Japan, U.S. companies such as Ford and General Motors turned their factories into productions companies for the war effort. Nowadays, the DOD has its own go-to suppliers, and the war has shifted into new terrain – cyberspace.

ISIS, far from being only a few ignorant Middle Eastern peasants, has done an incredible job using the internet – particularly social media – to connect with sympathizers, recruit fighters, and radicalize others, even in the west. While western coalition forces may be beating ISIS in the field, they are struggling against the radicals’ social media PR efforts.

White House officials expected at the meeting, either in person or by teleconference, include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The guest list details just how serious the administration is taking this threat.

Officials want to know how they can make it harder for terrorists to use the ‘net to benefit their cause. Tough challenge there.

The second purpose of the meeting and the more important one from a tactical standpoint is how those fighting ISIS can develop and disseminate their own counterprogramming.

staff_sergeant_david_firester_2010

Staff Sergeant David Firester

Propaganda has been a part of every war in recorded history. Armies use it to pump up their own troops, discourage the enemy and win the hearts and minds of non-combatants on both sides. There is both an art and a science to propaganda messaging. Sometimes it is as sharp as a scalpel. Other times it is as subtle as tossing a flaming torch into a fireworks factory. Counter terrorism expert David Firester, founder and CEO of TRAC Intelligence, said, “Knowing when, how, and how much to employ each of these tactics is a vital operational necessity. Hopefully, these top tech companies can help the U.S. do a better job”.

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Filed under David Firester, Juda Engelmayer, Media, Technology

Crowdfunding: the new Real Estate goldmine

real estate pr

Everyone knows there can be big rewards in real estate investing. But, for many, the risk was always too high. No matter which way you went – commercial or residential – there were so many variables that even the savviest investor could lose his shirt.

But crowdfunding is changing that. A startup called RealtyShares recently launched a way for investors to put small amounts of cash into larger deals. In this way, you could spread the risk out among many different projects and increase your chances of success. Better still, investors can get a piece of major projects with relatively little cash up front. For example: for projects ranging from $100,000 to well over tens of millions, the buy-in could be as little as $5,000.

This method allows beginner investors to get a piece of the larger action and veteran investors to spread the risk around. Instead of putting fifty grand into a single make or break project, investors can put the same money into ten projects. Even if half of those projects don’t turn a profit, you are still likely to cash in.

Elie Hirschfeld, a real estate developer noted, “This idea works great for developers too. Instead of going to one well-heeled investor for the cash to get a project going, some will turn to crowdfunding getting cash faster and easier.”

In 2015 alone RealtyShares built $300 million in real estate property value through 200 different projects in 17 states. According to company spokesmen, investors have been getting between 8 and 29 percent return on their investment, depending on the project. Try getting that in a mutual fund! This is just one way crowdfunding has revolutionized business and investing. What are some ways you think crowdfunding will change the world in 2016?

 

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Bad News Continues for Volkswagen

Volkswagen Crisis PR

The news just keeps getting worse for Volkswagen. After the story of the German automaker’s international emissions scandal broke, everyone in consumer PR knew it would be bad. But it’s worse. November sales plummeted more than 25 percent. In the time of year every automaker is desperately trying to clear out old inventory to make way for new models, no one is buying. Continue reading

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Filed under Juda Engelmayer, Public Relations

167 Jewish sites and cemeteries saved by Muslim nation of Morocco; King Mohammed VI honored at New York Museum of Modern Art

At the New York Museum of Modern Art on November 19, distinguished guests from a multitude of faiths converged to pay tribute to King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The Moroccan royal was honored for his work in preservation of Jewish cemeteries in his mostly Muslim nation. King Mohammed’s efforts reflect how citizen and leadership majorities can still successfully join together in harmony to provide for the interests of minorities.

Attendance of this distinguished event was also a successful joining, with many religious dignitaries standing to applaud the king. His Eminence Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was present for the ceremony, as was His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Rabbi Arthur Schneier lauded King Mohammed’s efforts, as did Imam Mohamed Hamagid, the Islamic Society of North America’s President.

Despite increasing tensions and ever present cultural stressors throughout the world, this convergence indicates the willingness of peoples from all faiths to work together for common good. Hosted by the Council of Jewish Communities of Morocco and produced in conjunction with religious leadership and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Thursday event proved well-attended by diverse peoples with the goal of honoring King Mohammed VI for his rehabilitation of Morocco’s Jewish cemeteries.

A photo journal produced as part of the cemetery rehabilitation project chronicles efforts from start to finish. The project has become known as “The House of Life.” The Conference of Presidents and King Mohammed hope that the photo collection will one day be exhibited within a museum such as the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Religious historic sites today often suffer the wrath of disrespect and wanton destruction. It is rare that one religious group will work diligently to restore damaged sites of another faith, as this project entailed. The House of Life is seen as a positive example of interfaith historic preservation in a time when so many faiths fail to find common ground or work together with mutual respect. It is a project of hope.

Launched in April 2010, the House of Life project of Morocco spent five full years rehabilitating Jewish cemeteries throughout the kingdom. King Mohammed VI oversaw efforts and directed the course of action for restoration of 167 Jewish burial places. As part of the project, 159 new doors were installed. 140,000 feet of fencing was constructed. Perhaps most heartrending, over 12,600 graves were repaired.

Of the project, Ambassador Serge Berdugo quoted the king as saying that House of Life is a testimony of the kingdom’s spiritual heritage, as well as its richness and diversity. The king paid tribute to the country’s Jewish legacy and called its rituals and other aspects an “intrinsic part of our country’s heritage for more than three thousand years.” He referred to the new Moroccan Constitution, wherein Hebrew heritage is recognized as a facet of the national identity.

As part of his speech, Rabbi Arthur Schneier noted appreciation and thankfulness for the work of His Majesty Mohammed VI. Schneier called him a “role model of interreligious peaceful coexistence between the children of Abraham.” Schneier then recognized united pursuit of tolerance and peace through diversity. He said, “United we shall prevail over the terrorist scourge that has metastasized, united we shall prevail over the wreckers of civilizations.”

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Filed under Education, Juda Engelmayer, Judasim