Pat’s Picks: Top 3 Fave Brands

Today’s blog post highlights AM:PM PR Co-Founder Pat McCormick and his three favorite brands!


“Hi, my name is Pat and I’m an Applephile. I need to make that admission to explain why I have Apple’s marketing at the top of my list of faves. Apple infuses its brand in every element of its products and marketing – from ads to packaging, to the look, feel and function of its products. My latest Apple acquisition is my Apple Card. Like other Apple products, it’s clean, simple, minimal. It lives in the Apple universe with my Apple MacBook Pro, Apple iPad Pro, iPhone XS Max, Apple Watch, Apple HomePod, Apple TV and Apple Music. (Full disclosure: I’m an Apple stockholder.)


My second fave is Disney. Family and friends are familiar with my tradition of taking my grandchildren to Disneyland between their 9th and 10th birthdays. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy 9 great Disney stays with 9 amazing grandchildren. It’ll be awhile before I can take Haxton, who just turned 3 last week.
The Disney marketing that’s caught my eye recently is its upcoming launch of Disney+, the new streaming service. Disney’s D23 Expo, the annual gathering of the Official Disney Fan Club, was this past weekend and a number of new program announcements were released. The company made great use of its social media, digital tools and traditional media relations. Disney+ will to tap into the existing and future Disney media libraries as well as Pixar, the Marvel Universe, the Star Wars franchise and National Geographic. Cost will be $7.50/month, about half of a Netflix subscription. I’m also a Disney stockholder.

Portland Gear

Third fave is Portland Gear. The company and its founder, Marcus Harvey, have a great origin story. He leveraged Instagram to perfectly position his company and his personal commitment to our community, its sports teams, and great design. Portland Gear is my nominee for the best example of developing a brand from a great idea which resulted in significant success using Instagram.”

A Song of Ice and Fire and Apple TV


Apple TV

Behold, the future of TV, which doesn’t involve cable companies. Unfortunately, much like the music industry, they’ve ignored the will of the consumer for so long that they will die upon their own swords of greed and denial.

by Jake Ten Pas

“There once was a device called Apple TV,
Cable’s customers, it did steal away
But without an app called AirParrot,
No old Mac would properly AirPlay.”
– From “A Song of Device and Ire” by Marillion

I love George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series with every last muscle fiber in my unrepentantly nerdy heart. I’ve only read the first three books, but I’ll soon start “A Feast For Crows,” which means it won’t be long before I start “A Dance With Dragons,” and then commence to bitching about how long the next book is taking, along with every other grown nerd child.

I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the TV series based on the books, HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” I’ve enjoyed it so much that the unavailability of the second season was the final straw that broke my will and sent me on a quest that ended in me attaining Apple TV.

Regular readers of this blog well know AM:PM PR’s obsession with Apple products, which verges on the fanatical lust for conquest normally reserved for Dothraki hordes. I, on the other hand, temper my fascination with Apple with an ongoing frustration at the company’s nickel-and-diming mentality when it comes to charger cords, adapters and other peripheral products that they don’t need to gouge you for, but seem to take great and wicked pride in doing nonetheless.


Dothraki Khal

Even a Dothraki Khal’s ravenous appetite for the spoils of war pales in comparison to AM:PM PR and 7/Apps’ lust for the products of Apple.

Case in point. It all started with a journey to Best Buy. My goal was to pay the gold price for an adapter that would allow me to connect my MacBook Pro directly to my TV, enabling the watching of “Game of Thrones” on a screen large enough to convey the show’s visual majesty. Once there, I realized that I’d have to spend nearly $50 to buy the proper plug/cable combination. For little more than twice that amount, I could own Apple TV, the miracle puck that would open up a whole new world of adventure and exploration, also known as “time wasting.”

Let’s rewind for a moment. As I said, season two “Game of Thrones” is not yet available for purchase, but a traveling minstrel told me about an amazing site where you could stream pretty much every great show of the past five years with no fuss or muss. Because I don’t want this site to get shut down – on the totally slim chance it’s doing something semi-legal – I’ll simply refer to it as Mt. Dew and Whoppers. Now, Mt. Dew and Whoppers, or MD&W, is truly a miracle, sent from The Seven to serve me my stories on a silver tray. If it was possible for me to watch it on my flat screen instead of my computer, by the Lord of Light, that destiny had to be realized.

Picking the brain of the Nerd Herd (Geek Squad?) at Best Buy, I was assured that my TV would be able to mirror any content from my MacBook Pro upon release of Apple’s newest operating system, Mountain Lion, with the help of Apple TV. As an aside, I hope Apple calls its next OS Shadow Cat. What the experts forgot to tell me was that this only would be possible if my computer was newer than 2011, which it most assuredly isn’t.



Because Apple decided to be evil and not let AirPlay screen mirroring function with computers older than 2011 (as in MOST OF THEM), a clever company called AirParrot came along and solved the problem, allowing your Mac’s screen to appear on your apple TV, and saving the world from wondering what happened in its favorite TV shows.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this was an issue until I was at home with Apple TV purchased and set up, Mountain Lion downloaded and MD&W cued up and ready to make all my Throne-Gamey dreams come true. After thrashing about, reprimanding both my TV and my computer, choreographing a punch-dancing sequence and trying to will an AirPlay icon to appear on my screen for roughly a fortnight, I took my cyclopean problem to the real Geek Squad, my coworker Cam and the think tank at our sister company, 7/Apps.

What they discovered on my behalf is the most amazing invention ever in the history of the past few months. It’s an application for your computer called AirParrot that allows you to mirror your computer screen onto your TV using AirPlay even if your computer is old and decrepit. Mine is about three years old, which in computer years translates to being buried in the ground long enough that your bones are considered fossils.

Once I installed AirParrot, I went home that night, opened MD&W, cued up episode one of season two of “Game of Thrones,” switched to Apple TV mirroring, and pressed play. What came next can only be described as what it would feel like to slap Joffrey Baratheon a thousand times with my own hand. My quest to retake the Iron Throne of my couch (and by iron, I mean of course microfiber) succeeded, and another epic chapter of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” was written in the pages of this blog, which itself has been forged of Valyrian Steel. Winter is coming, after all, and thanks to AirParrot, I now have enough stories to keep me basking in TV’s warm, glowing, warming glow until the wheel of time brings Spring around again.

new year fireworks

My 12 expectations for 2012

time protester

As I look forward to 2012, here’s a short list of my PR, social media and technology expectations for the year.

1. Counsel will be king. PR firms wrestle with their responsibilities as new tools and technologies reshape how people communicate. PRSA, the largest association of PR professionals, recently launched a “Public Relations Defined” conversation to modernize the meaning of PR. The review is timely. PR professionals, at their core, are (or should be) strategic counselors. I expect 2012 will see more clients looking for strategic help from PR pros, rather than just tactical support for their media relations, social media and community outreach.

2. “Power to the people.” When John Lennon recorded that song in 1971, it became an anthem for a generation opposed to the war in Vietnam. This year’s Arab Spring and the Occupy movement pushed Time Magazine to declare The Protestor as its Person of the Year. The biggest difference in today’s protests is individual empowerment facilitated by ubiquitous, low-cost communications technologies – cell phones, smart phones, social media, texting, etc. I expect empowered and disgruntled protestors will shake up and redefine politics in 2012.

3. It’s a mobile world. Windows we opened a few years ago on our desktop PCs are now with us wherever we go. I expect 2012 will accelerate the obsolescence of desktop computers. I expect one item pushing that accelerator pedal will be Apple’s iPad 3. That’s the technology toy I want most in 2012, with its rumored high-res screen and Thunderbolt connectivity. (Apple, please release it in March, as rumored. It would be a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.)

apple logo
4. Apple still leads. Steve Jobs’ passing worried Apple fanboys like me, saddened by the loss of such a visionary leader. But I’m convinced part of his leadership is evident in the deep talent pool he built and the company’s commitment to the exceptionalism Jobs instilled. I’m expecting to be blown away by at least one Apple announcement next year, in addition to the iPad 3.

5. More video, more places. TV (video) is the emotional heavyweight in communications. It’s also the heavyweight in bandwidth consumption and cost. I expect we’ll continue to see technology improve delivery and simplify production. Websites, social networks and online demand for video programming will speed acceptance of second screens (computers, smartphones, tablets) as almost interchangeable video platforms.

6. More B2B social networking. Social networking dominates Americans’ online time. Employers that previously sought to limit or block workplace access to social networks will increasingly embrace social tools to support internal collaboration, customer relationship management and marketing. Most early adopters have been consumer-facing companies. I expect fast growth next year among business-to-business firms.

7. Authenticity vs. professional polish. There’s a dilemma in the digital world. On one hand, many businesses feel uncomfortable or unprepared to produce their own online content. They rely on professionals to help them communicate in blogs and social media. On the other hand, online content produced outside the company can lack the credibility of content produced by the credited author. I expect we’ll see more companies seek training and support for internal authors in order to make their digital communications more authentic.

8. The Oregonian on the iPad. There’s a lot of speculation about the demise of newspapers. Count me among those saddened by changes in the news business. It’s disturbing to see news staffs shrinking. As news media experiment with new delivery platforms, I expect The Oregonian will be among the newspapers developing an app to deliver content to tablet devices like the iPad. I can’t imagine NOT starting my day with a print copy of The Oregonian, but I’d still pay to get their newspaper content on my iPhone and iPad.

9. Romney vs. Obama. After all the Republican presidential candidate debates, the months of campaigning and the ups and downs in polls, I expect Republicans will nominate Mitt Romney to face off against President Obama next fall. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks.

10. Basics continue to matter. With so many shiny new communications toys to explore, it’s easier than ever to get caught up tinkering with tactics. But I expect, as the experimentation with new platforms and tools is analyzed, we’ll see that communications basics still prevail. Success in public relations will always be rooted in research, targeting to connect with the right audiences, persuasive writing, effective execution and thoughtful evaluation to measure success in achieving goals.

11. More of our lives will be in the clouds. As huge data centers spring up across Oregon (and around the world), it’s evident that much of what we consider private is no longer locked up for safe keeping in our homes and offices – or even in our computers and hard drives. We’re willingly sharing more about ourselves on social networks, and depending on others to store our music and photo libraries, as well as much of the rest of what we consider personal or proprietary. I expect we’ll see even more such sharing in 2012, and we’ll hear just as much angst about the erosion of personal privacy.

US seal
12. Partisanship will keep Congress paralyzed. There’s no joy in this expectation. But watching the chaos in Congress is beyond disappointing. Something serious has poisoned our political process. If elected officials can’t resolve it, I expect this year’s Occupy protests will pale in comparison to civil unrest we’ll see.

Those are my expectations for 2012. On behalf my colleagues and my family, I wish you the best this Holiday season and in the year ahead.

revolution image

5 reasons to say “Viva la Television Revolution”


by Cam Clark

Viva la Television Revolution! TV has come a long way since 1926. If you think of the DVR as the Wright brothers’ airplane, then we are on the cusp of the jet engine of TV – a fundamental shift in how we consume, interact with and distribute video media. If you look at recent industry developments, a crystal-clear picture begins to emerge.

John Logie Baird

Jan 23, 1926 John Logie Baird gave the first demo of a television apparatus.

Lets start with a Neilson Poll that states “Online Video Usage was up 45% in 2011″ It increased to “68.2% of US internet users, or 158.1 million people watching video content online each month,” as stated by eMarketer. The site also said that “by 2015, that figure will increase to 76% of internet users, or 195.5 million people and In the same period, online video advertising spending will surge from $1.97 billion to $5.71 billion.” Those are some impressive numbers.

tv graph
More people than ever are turning to online video for their video entertainment. Add in a report from The Diffusion Group that states “Likelihood to downgrade PayTV Services is increasing for those that watch online video” (Netflix in particular in this study.) and you start to see a trend of people moving to online video in masses.

If that weren’t enough, services such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Video On Demand, Blockbuster Video Online and Vudu, just to mention a few, are rapidly growing in number and popularity. Netflix streaming alone is now the single largest source of peak downstream Internet traffic in the U.S., according to a new report by Sandvine. The streaming video service accounts for 29.7 percent of peak downstream traffic, up from 21 percent last fall.

Finally, many hardware companies are throwing their hat in the ring to make the next box to deliver these services. A few of these devices are: AppleTV, Google TV, Roku, Boxee Box, PS3 and XBox. Sony’s CEO says the company is investing heavily in “a different kind of TV set.” In Steve Jobs’ biography, he was quoted as saying, “I’d like to create an integrated television set, It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud … It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”  Apple has single-handedly changed the music, computer and mobile phone industries, and now has the television industry in its sights. Apple’s had a rumored game-changing TV for some time now. Two big hints of big moves by big companies coming soon.

Let’s recap:

  1. More people then ever are watching video online.
  2. Internet video usage went up 45% this year.
  3. Once people start watching video online, they tend to “cut the cord” of old methods of consumption.
  4. Internet video has become the No. 1 source of downstream traffic on the internet.
  5. Major companies are investing in industry-changing moves.

By now, the picture I was talking about earlier should be transmitting to your brain in high definition. Are you as excited as I am about the revolution that is about to unfold? If the answer is no, why not? If the answer is a resounding yes, then I bid you happy watching!