Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today is Red River Radio's first-ever radiothon!

Red River College's former radio station, 92.9 KICK-FM, was shut down July 2012. The college's new online product, Red River Radio, launched August 2012 and streams live at radio.rrc.ca.

Right now, Red River Radio is doing a 12-hour radiothon, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., calling all eligible blood donors to head down to Canadian Blood Services at 777 William Avenue to roll up their sleeves and donate blood. CBS is open to donations until 7:30 p.m. tonight.

My Public Relations classmates and I have spent the last two weeks organizing today's radiothon. We've split up into teams (promotions, productions, and on-air). I'm part of the on-air team and you can tune in from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to listen to me gab!

We'll answer your questions of donor eligibility, the process of donating, give some cool blood facts, and let you know what to do to help save lives!

So stream us live today at radio.rrc.ca! Chat with us on @rrcradio using the #RallyForRed hashtag, and on facebook.com/redriverradio. Catch you on the air waves ;)

Here are some pics from our guerrilla marketing "balloon drop" last week. We dropped hundreds of balloons from every floor (up to the 4th) in Red River College's atrium to kick off the radiothon!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Minne Mouse creates controversy

Today, Disney and Barney's New York released their Electric Holiday campaign video.

Note: This post is in continuation of yesterday's post. If you haven't read the PR issue, please do here :)

This follows the backlash Barney's and Disney received after characters such as Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck underwent drastic body changes like the below image.

The video features Minnie Mouse embark on a magical fashion journey at Paris Fashion Week. After getting dolled-up in her true form, Minnie Mouse walks under a magical sparkly waterfall (conjured by Tinkerbell) onto the runway. Once she passes under the "waterfall," she grows an easy 5 feet and is much slimmer.

Barney's and Disney made the choice to not use the extreme body altering images that were formerly leaked. However, they didn't get rid of the body alterations altogether. This has left some people still upset (to see some comments on the video, click here).

The norm of the fashion world is super skinny models. Electric Holiday has been released. Minnie Mouse's figure has been changed. People are still upset.

What's the PR issue going to be like now? Is it over, and we should just overlook it? Is it just beginning? What do you think?

Electric Holiday campaign video:


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Skinny Minnie"

Fashion and Disney characters. Not a combination I'd ever see working together. But they are for Barney's New York's 2013 holiday campaign.

A classmate of mine introduced me to the PR issues surrounding the campaign earlier today. Barney's New York is a department store in the U.S. that caters to a high-end fashion market. The store is teaming up with Disney for their 2013 "Electric Holiday" campaign. The campaign follows your favorite Disney characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Goofy, among others.

Photos of these Disney characters were leaked to the public, and received some negative response. The photos featured a withered down Minne Mouse and Daisy Duck strutting the runway at Paris Fashion Week. The cute, curvaceous, animal-like characters were no more. Instead, their bodies are ridiculously stretched and elongated, stick-like, and not like the original characters at all.

These body image changes received immediate backlash. Critics say the characters' altered body types project a negative image for children and other females who look up to the signature body types of the Disney characters. Mainly, Minnie Mouse should look like a mouse, and Daisy Duck should look like a duck.

According to Women's Wear Daily, Barney's New York collaborated with Disney to come up with the look for each of the characters. The characters have ditched their signature garments for high-end clothing to wear down the runway. Minnie Mouse will be dressed in Lanvin, Daisy Duck in Dolce & Gabanna and Goofy in Balmain. Additional Disney characters will wear clothing from other high-end fashion designers.

The characters that have been around for nearly a century have been altered so much, they're barely recognizable.

Barney's creative director Dennis Freedman said their makeovers were a collaborative effort with Disney, and said the following:

"The animator and I sat next to each other and went over every detail of the clothes - how they're made, what material, how they would move - to get them as accurate as we possibly could. When we got to the moment when all Disney characters walk on the runway, there was a discussion. The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress. There was a real moment of silence, because these characters don't change. I said, 'If we're going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie,' and they agreed."

A petition has been formed in protest of the character alterations. The petition has over 140,000 followers, and needs less than 7,000 more to pull the campaign. Actress Virginia Madsen, who signed signed the petition alongside Walt Disney’s grand-niece Abigail Disney, told the New York Daily News:

“Whether they want to admit to it or not, they’ve made a statement that Minnie Mouse is fat and Minnie Mouse doesn’t look good in a designer dress, so we’re going to stretch her out and make a completely different, sexualized image of her.”

I do agree with critics that this campaign has created a PR issue. However, despite the backlash Barneys has received, I think it's more a PR issue for Disney.

It's unfortunate the fashion world has made super tall and skinny bodies the norm for runway models. But that's the fashion world, and it's likely not going to change anytime soon. Disney knows this.

If Disney knows they're agreeing to enter a world where tall and skinny is the acceptable norm, I believe they should have done some crisis communications before the revealing of the campaign. First, they should have ensured the pictures not be leaked. Second, they should be prepared to respond to hostility toward the new looks of the lovable Disney characters.

Barney's New York is tailoring the characters to meet the standards of the fashion industry, so that the outfits of the designers "look good" on them. If anything, critics are likely disappointed with Disney to agreeing to such alterations. I think it's Disney's brand at stake in the grand scheme.

On a side note, I think Barney's could have had some positive fun with this campaign. Having the Disney characters in their original body forms wearing the designs of famous designers might have been a light-hearted holiday campaign, and the awkward-fitting designs would have been overlooked by publics of the fashion industry. It might have been a fun idea that would've saved them from all the criticism. However, if fun and light-hearted ideas like this are not what Barney's is looking for, Disney needs to be prepared to handle the criticism.

The highlight of the campaign, an animated film in which Minne Mouse gets dolled up at Paris Fashion Week to live her "fashion fantasy", will debut tomorrow at Barney's Madison Avenue store. Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Goofy and others will be displayed in Barney's Manhattan store windows wearing virtual clothes designed by the top fashion designers.

I'm curious to see how the characters look in the final video (stay tuned). For now, have a look at the video already released: