2017: Best, Worst & Favorites from AM:PM PR’s Staff

What was the best campaign you saw in 2017?

Pat McCormick (PM) Big brands and companies can afford amazing, creative campaigns. I’m always impressed by the small brands that remain true to themselves and prevail against the big guys. My favorite local example this year is Old Town Brewing’s defense of its trademarked logo – featuring the iconic leaping White Stag that people associate with Portland, against the onslaught of mega-brewing giant AB InBev trying to get rights to use that image through the City of Portland. The best gesture in the battle came from Rogue Ales – a much bigger Oregon craft brewing company. Rogue banned the Portland mayor, city lawyers and other “bureaucrats” from its pubs until the city abandoned its effort to license the image beer and alcohol giants. (P.S. Dan Keeney, a former colleague, is Old Town Brewing’s spokesman. He’s an exceptional PR strategist and a great friend of craft brewing.)

Allison McCormick (AM) – It’s a tie for me…

The Indivisible campaign has been awe inspiring to follow. The grassroots movement was started when former congressional staffers commiserated after the election of Donald Trump and decided to draft a guide they could share with all the progressives across the country that wanted to do something. Borrowing from the pages of the Tea Party playbook, The Google Doc guide laid out a roadmap for taking on Trump and the members of congress doing his bidding. It emphasizes starting locally and using focused advocacy tactics. Since the guide was first shared it has been downloaded more than two million times, at least 5,800 local groups have formed across the country and the energy sparked by the campaign is changing elections. Congrats, Doug Jones!

The #MeToo movement has been equally powerful in its swiftness and impact. Effecting every level of Hollywood and government, every industry, and interactions in every day life – young and old women alike are finding the courage through each other to stand up and stand together against harassment and misogyny. It makes me feel like I did when I first heard this song and saw this clip from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee:

Karly Tarsia (KT) – I’m not sure if this classifies as a campaign but the #MeToo movement along with Time’s Silence Breakers. Watching that spark on social media was both incredibly heart wrenching but also incredibly powerful. This year there has been so much noise on social media and in general it’s hard to say if any campaign has stood out but if #MeToo qualifies as that I think it’s the one that was the loudest and had one of the biggest impacts in society.

What was your favorite accomplishment (personal or professional) from this year?

PM – Marking 51 years of marriage. The accomplishment is really Donna’s. She’s delivered our seven children, endured all these years with me and still laughs at my jokes, even ones she’s tired of hearing.

AM – Hiring Karly Tarsia.

KT – Personally, getting my own place postgrad and moving in with one of my best friends. Professionally, getting hired as an Account Coordinator at AM:PM PR last spring.

What trend do you think was overhyped in 2017?

PM – The most overused term in 2017 PR plans is “influencer” marketing. It’s a trending term, but the concept behind it isn’t really new. In marketing as well as in public policy advocacy, the importance of individuals and authorities who help shape people’s view on a product or an issue has been well understood. Digital tools have improved our ability to understand and reach those whose views influence others. At our old firm, we were charter members of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. For those interested in learning more about influencer marketing, here’s a link to the WOMMA guide – http://womma.org/free-womm-resources/

AM – Mom jeans.

Just. Stop.

KT – I feel like everything is beyond hyped now and is so in your face that it becomes overhyped very quickly. Doing makeup tutorials with unconventional products, foods that you can tell are just solely so you can post it on Instagram, unicorn-related everything. Everything feels so over the top you kind of wonder how it can catch on and then it spreads like wildfire and is everywhere.

http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/26/the-unicorn-trend-is-infantalising-us-all-and-it-needs-to-die-6597978/

What is your favorite memory from 2017?

PM – I have lots of great memories, but my trip to Orlando in October is likely most memorable. I got to spend five days at Disney World with Luca, my eighth grandchild to share a Disney adventure with me. Our trip coincided with the NWSL championship game and we got to watch the Portland Thorns, our amazing women’s professional soccer team, win the title in a tough-fought game. My next grandchild Disney adventure will be in May, going with Keeton to Disneyland. Another great memory coming soon.

AM – It’s a tough call between Michael Flynn’s guilty plea and the defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama.

KT – It’s hard to remember a specific moment that stood out for me in a year, but its all the small moments you don’t realize you loved until later. Being with my friends and laughing until we cry. Being with my family and watching my relationships evolve with them now that I’m an adult. Watching some of my best friends get married. Really realizing how lucky I am to live the life I do. I’m really trying to focus on that and be more grateful going into 2018.

Favorite 2017 guilty pleasure?

PM – Binge-watching The Crown.

AM – Flaunting my new lipstick and sharing more of them as gifts.

KT – Hands down memes. I know I should stop tagging my friends in them but I really can’t (sorry Lauren and Megan). Also podcasts, I can never get enough.

What was your favorite app you used in 2017?

PM – For the last couple of years, Sleep Cycle has been a favorite app. It tracks my sleep and offers a gentle wake-up when I’m easiest to wake in my sleep cycle. This year I added a companion app called Life Cycle. It tracks all my activities throughout the day. I’ve come to appreciate Apple’s efforts to track fitness and health using my watch and phone. It’s made me much more conscious of my good habits, and more sensitive about the bad ones.

AM – The Apple Podcast app. Hands down.

KT – It’s a toss up between Apple’s Podcast app and Snapchat. But if I have to choose I’ll say Apple Podcast.

We did a similar post last year for predictions in 2017, what was the most surprising thing you felt that happened this year?

PM – It’s tempting to talk about politics because I’ve never experienced such poisonous rhetoric and distortions of conventional mores in public life. For those troubled by the lack of civility in political discourse, I recommend reading my friend James Hoggan’s book, “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot,” published presciently at the beginning of the 2016 election year. In my real life, the most enjoyable surprise of 2017 was getting to watch our adventurous Grandson Haxton start walking, then running – and smiling a smile that melts your heart.

AM – It might be Roy Moore’s loss, but this year has made it hard to remember anything farther than a few days in the past.

KT – Allison and I have talked about this so much and really its everything. When we started answering these questions we both struggled because so much has happened in a year, it’s hard to digest what happened even a month ago. I had to go back and look through different huge events and be like, “Oh yeah that did happen”. Things that would historically define a year feel like they are happening weekly and it’s hard to keep up and remember everything, whether that be in pop culture or politics. Personally, and as a civilian, I feel that so much has happened I could have never predicted this is where we would be ending 2017. It is both hopeful and terifitiyng to see where we will be this time next year.

What are you looking forward to most in 2018?

PM – Besides my May trip to Disneyland with Keeton, I’m looking forward taking Donna back to Maui for some R&R. Allison and Juan gave her a gift certificate for a restaurant we like on Maui, so using it will require us to go there.

AM – Robert Muller’s investigation outcomes and a trip to Spain with my husband.

KT – Turning a quarter of a century old! Plus a few trips I’ve planned.