Good PR: ZWACK Vodka

I learned two things last week while I was on Spring Break.  The first thing I learned is that college students love free giveaways.

For Spring Break, my friends and I packed up our cars and headed to Garden City for a week of friendship, fun, and frolicking on the beach.  Since we’re all 21, we decided to go out one night to a bar in Murrell’s Inlet called the “Beaver Bar”.  There was a promotion going on with a new kind of vodka called Zwack.  And by new… I mean it originated in 1790.  I call it new because none of my friends nor I had ever heard of the stuff.  The Zwack promotion girls were dressed in all Zwack gear and handed out free hats, t-shirts, shot glasses, and shots of Zwack.  The only thing that anyone had to do to win Zwack gear was play a mini air hockey game against a friend while blindfolded.   

I think Zwack did a great job of promoting their product at the bar.  They targeted the right audience: college students on break.  They engaged their targets by having them play games and stick around the Zwack girls.  They also gave out gear that college students want to wear.  Every day after we were given the Zwack gear, at least one person wore their Zwack shirt out to the beach.  I’m not sure if Zwack Vodka is available at every bar- maybe not even the ones at Clemson, but I can bet that some of my friends will start asking for it when we go out.  Here is a picture of most of the people who I spent my break with in our Zwack gear:


The second thing I learned on Spring Break this year? No matter how old you are, or how many times you’ve seen them, spotting dolphins while sitting on the beach is still awesome.

Tiger Woods- Is This PR?

With all of the rumors floating around about Tiger Woods’ alleged affairs and now his indefinite end to golf, I figured I would write about him for my last “Is This PR”.  I’ve recently read blogs saying that keeping quiet is horrible PR for Tiger Woods because it’s making people wonder about the situation even more.  His not speaking is like a company saying “no comment” when they are faced with a crisis.

This scandal is also hurting his business as a spokesman for many businesses.   Tiger represents many different well-known brands and there is no way that this situation is helping those brands.  Since Tiger represents these brands using golf-related commercials, my prediction is that his indefinite end to golf will hurt him.  For example, Gatorade has already dropped Tiger themed sports drinks.  When thinking about the brand Nike, Tiger’s name and the game of golf immediately comes to mind.  I wonder what will happen to Tiger’s contract with Nike now that he is taking a break from golf.  Why wouldn’t brands ask someone else more credible become a spokesman for them?  The video is a parody that shows why a brand should chose another spokesman than Tiger.

There are a lot of unknowns that will come to the surface in time.  I know that this has been bad PR for Tiger.  Hopefully he will break the silence soon.


I’m from Greenville, S.C. and I enjoy reading the Greenville Daily Photo Blog.  I’ve added it to my Google Reader and look at the pretty pictures that Denton posts every day.  Recently, Denton posted a picture of a ball with a stretchy string inside of it hanging on a Downtown Greenville Map.  The ball is part of a new toy that was invented and designed in Greenville!  This new toy is called Djubi and features two hand-held nets and a ball with a string attached to it.  It’s basically like a game of catch, except one player launches the ball like a sling shot. (see video below). 

Before the Greenville Christmas Parade, Djubi hung many of these balls around downtown Greenville with the site “” printed on them.  These balls were also handed out to parade attenders.  I went to the site and found out that after buying a set of nets, Djubi gives buyers a free set of 3 balls!  Djubi also gives away free stuff on Twitter and has videos on YouTube.  I think it was really smart that they strategically placed the promotional balls over Greenville before the parade because of the audience that they were trying to reach.  Usually, parents with small children visit parades.  This toy is designed for children and the free set of balls promotion is for the Christmas season.  What better way to reach children and “Santa” then displaying your brand name all over downtown before the big parade??  I think this was great PR for Djubi.

Tide Loads of Hope- Good PR

After seeing a commercial about Loads of Hope by Tide, I decided to research a little further.  I quickly found out that Tide trucks with built-in washers and dryers drive to places that have recently been hit with a disaster.   The trucks let disaster victims do loads of laundry for free.  These energy-efficient machines can clean 300 loads of laundry every day.  Tide promotes Loads of Hope through its Web site, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and has multiple videos on YouTube. 

The videos are positive testimonials of people who have used Tide’s services and machines.  They list places the Tide trucks have visited as well as how many loads were completed and how many families were helped.  Below is an example of one of the YouTube video testimonials:

The Tide brand is looking like saints to the disaster victims.  When disasters occur, I usually hear about organizations donating money to help out the victims.  By helping with a task that seems so trivial, Tide is helping victims as well as helping themselves gain great publicity.

C.J. Spiller for Heisman- Good PR

Clemson University fans have a spirit for their school that is hard to hide.  As painted tiger paws on the road lead you into the town of Clemson, it is instantly easy to tell the color scheme of the esteemed university: ORANGE, ORANGE, ORANGE!  Orange shirts and orange overalls are worn by every fan.  Orange flags are hung from fans’ cars or houses.  Orange tents are stationed at every big tailgating spot and orange tiger paws are painted on the side of fans’ faces.  Often referred to as “The Clemson Family”, fans, students, and alumni are connected through their love of the Tigers.  One Tiger in particular is currently a contender for the biggest award in college football.     

C.J. Spiller is a nominee for the Heisman.  I understand that as a Clemson fan (and soon to be alum), I am bias, but I think that the Clemson family has given Spiller great PR over the past few months.  In July, 4,000 “C.J. Spiller for Heisman” posters were distributed at limited grocery stores, realtors, and quick-stops.  Other posters were sent to media outlets all over the country to promote the campaign.  Clemson’s Web site mentioned the poster campaign in an article about it on their site, along with The State , The Greenville News, The Anderson Independent and other well-known publications.  The posters were given out very quickly and pumped up fans.  It raised national awareness that C.J. Spiller was ready to fight for the big trophy. 

Clemson’s football coach, Dabo Swinney, has also been promoting Spiller for Heisman through student-wide e-mails.  When Dabo sends e-mails about game days, he also reminds the student body to vote for Spiller at this site.  He also mentions Spiller’s Heisman nomination in his press conferences.     

I think that the Clemson students and fans have also given Spiller good PR through social media.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see a Facebook status or tweet that says something about the Spiller Heisman campaign.  Although I don’t frequently read TigerNet, the Clemson sports discussion board, my guy friends tell me that it is a subject that is constantly discussed.  YouTube videos of Spiller’s greatest plays are also posted by Tiger fans with reference to his Heisman nomination.   

With Clemson University, Dabo Swinney, and Clemson fans promoting C.J. Spiller, he has a very large number of supporters that are giving him great publicity.  This is great PR.  I really hope that come voting time, all of this publicity pays off and we’re see our very own tiger bringing Clemson its FIRST EVER HEISMAN TROPHY!

Dickey’s Barbeque-Pulling at My Heartstrings

I recently came upon an article on that reported a heartwarming story of a soldier and his BBQ cravings.  A Spartanburg, S.C., resident, 22-year-old Sergeant Danny Sheppard, was shipped to Iraq in July.  While in Iraq, he called his mother and told her that he was craving barbeque from his favorite restaurant, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit.  His mother, Kim, quickly drove to Dickey’s to order a sandwich for her son to send to him overseas.  When she got there, she asked the owner, Bill Friend, to help think of ways to ship the BBQ sandwich.  Instead, Bill asked how many soldiers were in Danny’s platoon.  After Kim said that she didn’t have the money to pay for sandwiches for all 170 members of the platoon, Bill said that it was on the house.  Bill and his co-workers cooked enough briskets and meat to feed all of the members of Danny’s platoon in Iraq and sent it as a “way of saying thanks”.

Reading and watching the broadcast of this story brought tears to my eyes.  I appreciate everything that our soldiers are doing overseas and I continue to think of them and thank them every night.  The measures that Dickey’s restaurant took to bring smiles to the faces of the men and women who are fighting for our freedom is unbelievable.  

I know that Bill Friend probably did this from the goodness of his heart, but it also is great PR for his restaurant.  Dickey’s was given free positive press and positive publicity.  Through the interview with the soldier’s mom, viewers found out that it was specially requested and was his FAVORITE barbeque spot.  This testimony to the deliciousness of the barbeque may convince others to try their sandwiches.  Also, the other soldiers in Danny’s platoon may have never had Dickey’s BBQ before.  This free sandwich may make them love it as much as Danny.  This act of kindness could possibly bring in another 169 dedicated customers when they return from their tours. 

Soldiers, thank you for everything that you do.  God Bless America!

Popular Clothing Brands on Facebook- Mountain Hardware Bad Public Relations

For my public relations class, we were asked to look at major brands on Facebook.  I chose to look up popular brands that make products that many Clemson University students wear and use.  The three brands that I looked up were: The North Face, Patagonia, and Mountain Hardware.  Out of all three, Mountain Hardware’s page was the least put together.

Patagonia’s Faceboopatagonia-labelk page has over 6,500 fans.  On its wall, Patagonia shares news stories about earthy subjects that are geared more towards their clientele.  Fans of Patagonia write mostly positive feedback on its wall.  Under it’s INFO tab, Patagonia lists its Web sites, background information, and the products that it produces. In its PHOTOS box, there are outdoorsy pictures of nature.  Interestingly enough, there are very few pictures posted that include the Patagonia label.  Patagonia has a YOUTUBE tab where it features outdoor activities that would be interesting to their fans.

The North Facthe-north-face-logoe fan wall is similar to Patagonia’s except it has five times more fans than Patagonia’s.  The North Face fan wall shares Facebook notes about a climbing excursion of a 5 man team.  They also have fans that write positive feedback and promote events that will be happening in stores that carry North Face products.  Under it’s INFO tab, The North Face fan page has multiple Web site and the products that they sell.  With the other tabs, The North Face fan page is very similar to the Patagonia page, but they do not have a YOUTUBE tab.  In addition to the regular tabs, they have an EVENTS tab that lists the upcoming outdoor activities that The North Face is hosting.

The last fan pamountain_hardware_logoge that I looked at was Mountain Hardware.  The fan page has less than 300 members and only has 3 tabs to explore the site with.  A few fans have written on their wall, however there have been no posted articles or upcoming events by Mountain Hardware.  The information in the INFO tab lists one Web site and the major designers and their backgrounds.  There are few photos that are under their PHOTO tab.  This fan page is the worst out of all three because of its lack of ingenuity and information.  The site isn’t geared towards it’s fans and doesn’t try to connect on a personal level.

Free Flowers for Heart Day <3

Yesterday, as my friend and I sat on the benches in front of Daniel waiting for our class to start, I noticed that every girl that walked by was holding either a white or red carnation with a note attached.  When I got into class, I asked one of the girls if I could read the note that was attached to her flower.  On the note, it explained that with Valentine’s Day coming up, people are feeling many different emotions.  Some are feelings explained in the note are feelings of happiness or sadness, rejection or acceptance, and unattractive or beautiful.


After a paragraph explaining the possible emotions that some people are feeling, another paragraph explained that we are all loved in God’s eyes.  At the very end of the note, there was a Web site:  Since the Web site didn’t specify what kind of people should visit the site, I visited the site and explored it to learn more.  I found out that this free flower give away was sponsored by Campus Crusades for Christ and the Web site allows people to explore information about God and ask any questions that they may have about Him.  The site also mentions when the group meets and has video testimonials of students who started believing in God after not believing for a while.

I think that this was good PR for this organization and it’s Web site.  Giving away free things seems to always get an organization noticed.  They also chose the perfect gift (flowers) to giveaway at the perfect time (Valentine’s Day) to girls who may not get flowers on Valentine’s day.  I also think it was a smart idea to name their Web site the way that they did: Every Clemson Tiger.  Since the title doesn’t mention any sort of religious affiliation, I think that it may persuade more people to go to the site, even if they don’t attend church or believe in God.  Being a girl who enjoys receiving flowers, I think that this was a perfect way for this organization to get themselves noticed.

The note attached to the flower:

Today, you are hearing many messages from the world.  You are hearing that your value and worth are dependent on your success, your physical appearance, your relationship status, and even in the question, “Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day?”  You might be experiencing several emotions: loneliness or connection; frustration or satisfaction; rejection or acceptance; feeling unattractive or beautiful; from feeling unappreciated to feeling valued…

However, your identity is not tied up in who you are or aren’t dating…your identity is not tied up in how the world tells you to view yourself… How you might feel today does not define who you are.  On this Valentine’s Day, may this floewr serve as a reminder that Jesus loves you-so much that God has declared you to be “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  Today, please know that you are invited to know Him personally and experience His love.

May your day be one of blessing and joy!  We invite you to visit

Good PR: Denny’s Free Breakfast

This morning, at 5:45, I awoke to three text messages from my best friends asking me if I was up and ready to head to Denny’s for our free breakfast this morning.  Along with one of my roommates, my sister and her hall mates, my three next door neighbors, and my two friends from Berkley Place, we headed into Anderson and arrived at Denny’s around 6:15.  When we arrived, there was already very little room to move in the waiting area because it was so packed.  Looking around, I tried to categorize the types of people waiting for the “Grand Slam Breakfast”, but it was almost impossible.  There were groups of college aged students, families with small children, a table with men all wearing the same work uniform, old couples, young couples, and people of all different backgrounds and cultures that gathered at Denny’s to enjoy each other’s company and eat breakfast for free.


For those who don’t know, Denny’s offered free breakfast for customers nationwide from 6 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon on “Fat Tuesday”.  The breakfast offered was called “The Grand Slam Breakfast” and included two pancakes, two sausage links, two eggs, and two pieces of bacon.  Denny’s offered the breakfast so that Americans could see that in this time of recession, they could still afford a breakfast at Denny’s.  After participating in the free (awesome!) breakfast, I now think that this was great PR for Denny’s.

Denny’s aired a commercial during the third quarter of the Super Bowl, which was seen by millions of American football fans.  Not only were there commercials prior to the big day, but newspapers wrote stories about the free breakfast and radio stations mentioned the breakfast on their morning shows.  Newspaper articles, like USA Today, mentioned that they thought that Denny’s would serve free breakfast to about two million people at its 1,500 chains nationwide.

While sitting with our group of 10, we all decided that it would be fun for all of us to wake up early once a month and drive to Denny’s to eat breakfast together before class.  I’m sure that we’re not the only ones who have decided to head to Denny’s instead of their competitors (Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, Perkins…).

Tom Barlow wrote an article for Wallet Pop that figured out that all in all, Denny’s spent $400,000 on this promotion.  With all of the publicity that Denny’s attracted, that sort of money was definitely worth it.  So, Denny’s received free positive publicity and happy customers that plan on returning for the sweet breakfast.  Since Denny’s quarterly report won’t come out for a while, we won’t know for sure if this PR stunt helped bring in more customers.

However, I think that Denny’s free breakfast left a good taste in every customer’s mouth… figuratively and literately.