Fifty Licks (or 100, please?)

Fifty Licks Portland OregonIt’s been a while since the AM:PM PR crew has updated the masses with a note on what’s happening in our ‘hood. We’re hoping to rectify that. Enter: Fifty Licks. As one would imagine by its name – it’s an ice cream shop that we’re lucky enough to be just across the street from. They also serve up superb Cuban coffee and inventive and splendid sorbet cocktails.

What started as a cart operation is now a full brick and mortar ice cream shop, complete with gleaming white tile, an adorable striped awning out front and tables to make it easy to enjoy the sun and a frozen treat at the same time.

Some standouts include the lusciously creamy Coconut Lemon Saffron sorbet and a Clyde Common New Orleans classic brunch cocktail-influenced ice cream, the Brandy Milk Punch. Its 5% alcohol content and just right sweetness level left us drooling for more (Literally. Mike was embarrassed). Who knew you could get more than a sugar buzz from an ice cream cone? We didn’t, but we’re pretty happy such a thing exists. They also have daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., so we’ll be test driving those sorbet cocktails soon!

With spring on its way, you may want to think about checking this place out, and swinging by our office for a high-five while you’re at it.

City Reader Offers Respite For Journalists, PR Professionals

Our recent Facebook post about The Oregonian’s move to cut their weekly community section inspired some raucous debate about the state of the media in America. Most of us seem to yearn for a golden age of journalism when newspaper rooms bustled with chain-smoking overcoat-clad reporters who weren’t constrained by advertising dollars or internet measurements like clicks – and who had more bandwidth (and salary) to craft in-depth original reporting.

broken heart fix
While the recent online debate grew heated and participants grew frustrated it became increasingly clear that change causes a torrent of emotions that can become difficult to navigate. It’s no wonder either, because if you think about it too much, the future of the media can seem quite bleak. Consider for a moment that Dennis Rodman is still able to command headlines across the country for being an arrogant drunk, and pop culture icons (*sigh*) like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus can earn tens of millions of dollars in ad equivalency by having identity crises or drug-fueled meltdowns.

To those suffering from media inspired anxiety, worry, fear and depression – I offer – a tonic.


karin city reader portlandWhile on a walk last week with my dear colleague Alexis, we came upon a woman named Karin who has recently started a magazine stand, located in the new D Street Village Development on Southeast Division Street. A magazine stand! With a handmade sign that reads “The City Reader” and an enthusiasm for selling her product, Karin was refreshingly excited about her media collection, and upon further discussion, it was clear that she had personally curated her entire selection. She enthusiastically answered my questions as I fished for leads on undiscovered publications that might aid in my PR efforts. It was clear too that she was inspired by a classic era of journalism, and she was doing something about it. I ended up buying two magazines.


city reader standTo me, Karin’s business is just one symbol of la resistance to corporate-controlled media in the internet age, and an inspirational serum for all ye dour, downtrodden diggers of the truth. If you keep your eyes peeled there are other green shoots sprouting from all corners of the digital media landscape. That’s one of the great things about the internet, isn’t it? Check out Medium, Quartz, Grist or eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s new project “The Intercept” by whistleblower Glenn Greenwald. Check out Seattle’s Crosscut, or closer to home, check out OPB’s special reports, or the latest pieces by Nigel Jaquiss, Richard Read, Jeff Baker or other key figures in the local rebel movement (my words, not theirs). Our traditional media model (which had its own long list of problems) may be dying, but its death will only serve as fertilizer for the next generation of muckrakers and entrepreneurs.

So next time you’re feeling down-in-the-mouth about a local paper that outsources much of its content, or you’re driven crazy by Facebook friends who are sharing posts from so-called “trusted” media sources on topics like FEMA Death Camps, just remember that you can do something about it. Change can be a little messy sometimes, and it may take awhile to see who the winners are, but you can influence the winners pool with your dollars. Donate money to your favorites, and if you’re in need of a quick-fix palate cleanser, go buy some magazines from Karin this weekend.

AM:PM PR Wins Award for One Direction Pop-Up Store Campaign


Alexis and Mike photobooth

They had a silly photo booth, so we got silly.

Last night AM:PM PR attended an award ceremony put on by the Portland Metro Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, and we left having won a Spotlight Award. Our award-winning PR campaign supported a pop-up store for the British boy band One Direction (1D) that opened in Portland’s Pioneer Place Mall for three weeks this past summer.

From the beginning, this award-winning project seemed like it’d be anything but. We started with barely two weeks notice until the launch of the store, and the members of the boy band wouldn’t even be making an appearance in Portland. Further, the grand opening weekend was scheduled during the Portland Rose Festival’s Grand Floral Parade. When I arrived the morning of the opening at 6 a.m., the parade route completely encircled the mall like a boa constrictor, choking off any potential foot traffic; while downtown Portland was deserted like a ghost town.


viral social media campaign

Two contestants from our viral video campaign

Despite all of the challenges we were given, our team rallied to craft several creative solutions and each member of the team showcased a remarkable skill or talent. Allison crafted our strategy (and a great partnership with Radio Disney), Cam engineered a great video component to assist a viral social media campaign, Alexis generated some great print coverage, and I was able to secure dozens of free promos from local pop radio stations. With our powers combined, our team echoed the go getters from Captain Planet (and our soundtrack was just as good).

The pop-up store project was fun, and a great learning experience for all involved. And perhaps most importantly, now the entire team can finally claim to know who One Direction is, and more importantly, what their music sounds like (mostly because we couldn’t get their songs out of our heads for months afterward).


one direction fans

One Direction fans lining up




Buzzmaker – One Tweet is Never Enough

Nobody does it better than our buzzmaker. Well, mostly nobody. OK, so there are quite a few people who do it better. Octavius Wrathchilde might not be the greatest spy in the world, but fortunately for him, he’s well matched to his adversaries. Oh, and he mixes up a mean Facebook status update. Sit back, buckle the seatbelt on your ejector seat, and prepare for the most hair-raising fake spy film trailer in the history of YouTube. Or at least the last 15 minutes.

grimm poster header

Grimm tidings to you, Sam and Dean

by Jake Ten Pas

Portland has been all a-Twitter about NBC’s new supernatural/fairy-tale-based thriller Grimm filming in town, and with good reason. Given Oregon’s abyss of joblessness, we’ll take any employment we can get. Secondly, for those of us who are tired of unimaginative reality TV, the recent slew of horror, fantasy and sci-fi themed options is like a breath of fresh air straight from an alternate dimension. Whether it’s “American Horror Story,” “Walking Dead” or “A Game of Thrones,” I’ll take it.

Grimm crime scene

But here’s the thing. Whoever scheduled “Grimm” at NBC pulled one of the classic jerk moves in the history of TV programming. He, she, they or it put “Grimm” on at the same time as two of my favorite network shows of the past five years, “Supernatural” and “Fringe.” Obviously, this is no accident. NBC wants to cannibalize the other two, steal their fans and leave the shows to die by the side of the road like zombie victims. If this theory of TV scheduling was, at one time, effective, I sincerely hope it won’t be anymore. I wish this not because I don’t want to see “Grimm” succeed, but rather because I think the notion of trying to kill off other shows that share a common fan base is an outdated, unnecessary, and just plain unwise way of going about the business of ca

rving out a viewer niche.

grimm show
In an era when more people are watching TV at a time of their choosing via DVRs, the Internet and DVDs, why is it necessary to try to gouge out your opponent’s eyes? As a proud geek, I can say that I make time in my week for a multitude of shows, and all you have to do is not A) Make it more difficult to watch your show than it has to be, or B) Piss me off by taking on one of the shows I’m already loyal to. Sadly, the NBC execs have done both. By scheduling “Grimm” at the same time as two of my favorite shows, they’ve shown their total ignorance of the way DVRs work.

While some DVRs will allow you to record three shows simultaneously, most standard ones issued by cable companies will not. With my DVR, we can record two shows and watch a third, but because these shows are on Friday night, I’m never at home to do so. Thus “Grimm” gets the boot, and the only way to watch it later is to hunker down in front of our tiny computer screen and watch it on Hulu. The week that the pilot of “Grimm” aired, NBC did something really smart by rebroadcasting it on SyFy. This not only exposed the show to a wider audience, but it also found a loophole in the DVR dilemma by allowing another time slot at which my DVR could find it and record it. Why they quit this strategy after week one is anybody’s guess.

After watching the first two episodes, I can say that the show potentially deserves better. While it owes a big debt to institutions such as “Supernatural,” I was instantly intrigued and wanted to watch more. Which leads me to wonder why NBC doesn’t try to incorporate some truly social elements into its marketing campaign for “Grimm”? Sure, it already has a Twitter account, but the account basically does nothing but promote itself all day long. Instead, why not subtly court fans of “Supernatural” and “Fringe” by putting your show on right before, or on an entirely different night, and then tout the similarities between them?

A truly social presence means giving props (or recognition) to others while saying what you have to say. It isn’t just about riffing on how rad you are. And in case you think that I’m saying “Supernatural” is doing any better of a job on Twitter, I’m not. That show’s Twitter account is full of the same self-aggrandizing nonsense, which is totally opposed to the self-effacing humor the show specializes in.

This is a new age for TV, in which people can watch what they want when they want. Your petty little network ploys and bickering can only get in the way of our enjoyment and support of an array of shows. With the advent of Apple TV – and who knows how many other technologies coming down the pipeline – it’s time to play nice and cultivate an audience of fans hungry for great stories that you can all draw from.

Quickly, before I leave this rant be, my coworker informs me that he can watch any show directly from NBC’s website via his iPhone used in conjunction with his Apple TV. Even if I simply had a newer model of TV, I could hook my computer up to it and watch “Grimm” on the big screen despite NBC’s attempts to make it as difficult as possible for me to do so. Perhaps this issue is indicative of technological growing pains we’re going through as a culture, particularly as they relate to TV. No matter how specific you want to get as to whose fault it is, I fall back to the basic position that it’s a network’s job to get its programming to me, perhaps more than it ever has been before.

So, if you’re reading, NBC, I’m here, I’m weird, and I’m ready to watch “Grimm.” Can you help a geek out?

5 things Occupy Portland needs to do to make a difference

I find the Occupy (insert your city name here) movement intriguing. And I’ve pondered what I’d do if the group were a client. I thought more about it after getting an email last week from an Occupy Portland participant sent to several other Portland PR firms, including AM:PM PR.

“Occupy Portland has recently formed a Policy, Vision and Strategy Committee,” the email read. “The group consists of people from within and without the camp, including several heads of nonprofits, professors, and business and labor leaders. The purpose of the group is to come up with short and long-term strategies on a large scale to help the Occupy movement advance in a positive direction that brings real and lasting change to America for poor and working class people. We would love to benefit from your knowledge and experience. If anyone from your organization is interested, could we meet for coffee so we can talk it over and I can answer any questions you may have?”


occupy portland

Photo courtesy of Crystal Beasley

If you judge PR success by the volume of coverage generated, Occupy Portland is doing well. It’s made the news every day since before its inaugural march and initial encampment October 6. It’s effectively used its website, Facebook (nearly 17,000 likes), YouTube (837 subscribers, more than 161,000 total video views), Flickr (nearly 2,300 photos posted), and Twitter (nearly 6,500 followers) to keep information about the protests moving to, from and among its participants, supporters and the community.

Protestors list plenty of reasons for their frustration: government bailouts of big banks; companies with billions in profits that pay no corporate taxes; shrinking benefits and higher health care costs; pervasive and persistent unemployment; and their key rallying point – the growing wealth of the richest 1% while the 99% are losing ground.

But that may be too many messages, and so far there’s been no clear call to action. As days pass, questions about what’s next are increasing.

Public sympathy for the protests remains high. Still, as the email noted, the group has yet to determine its long-term strategy for achieving real and lasting change. It won’t be easy to shape strategy because participants disdain traditional leadership. Instead, organized political interests have started connecting with the movement, seeking a share of the public stage built by Occupy. The movement risks losing control of its own credibility or having it co-opted by others with a better-defined mission.

To make the real and lasting changes they seek, the Occupy organizers need to move from civil disobedience to civil discourse. And I’d offer the following counsel:

  1. Define the purpose and mission of the movement. If the core of the protests is income inequality, that message is being muddied by the proliferation of other significant but tangential concerns.
  2. Debate the proposed direction internally to honor the democratic processes used by the movement. Vigorous debate will help further clarify the group’s purpose and mission.
  3. Decide. After a fulsome debate, get to the verb. Choose the direction and the primary goal. Accept that not everyone will agree.
  4. Declare to the wider community where the movement is headed. The debate and the decision will allow message clarity and consistency – essentials to developing momentum.
  5. Deploy the talents of the people who are part of the movement. Once purpose, mission and messaging are settled on, there’s a foundation for advocacy and action plans. Many talented people have been empowered by participation so far and their talents should be tapped to energize directed action.

David Sarasohn’s November 2 commentary in The Oregonian notes, “‘What’s next?’ is not a hostile question.” Having the answer could give the movement direction. Absent an answer, it’ll be little more than a crowded campsite stuck in the mud of a Portland park.


Just like a AM:PM PR Speakeasy roundtable

The Best King Arthur Story Ever – The 442

– by Jake Ten Pas

You know that story about the Round Table of Arthurian legend arising from the knights demanding to all be treated equally? Total nonsense. I wasn’t there or anything – I had a previous commitment at Morgana’s place – but I can tell you exactly what happened. It went a little something like this:

Arthur: Can you please pass the gravy?

Sir Lamorak: (who was sitting at the opposite end of a very long table): Eh? You like to shop at Old Navy?

Arthur: No, the gravy. The gravy! Can you pass it? And what is this Ye Olde Navy of which you speak?

Sir Lamorak: Inexpensive yet chic? I quite agree. I got this tunic there in several fun summer colors just last week.

Arthur: Did you just call me weak? Guards!

And after Sir Lamorak was beheaded (this is only one version of the story, mind you), Arthur decided that it’s just much easier to have a conversation if everybody is seated in a circle. A large circular table was constructed, gravy was passed without bloodshed, and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Or is it?

Last week, we hosted our weekly social media Gabalot, better known as PR 3.0, at 442 Soccer Bar on Hawthorne. It’s quickly become one of our favorite places to host the event for a number of reasons, all of which could prove instructive to other bars, pubs and nosheries looking to attract the patronage of businessy-type people such as us. So, without any further ado, a list of five reasons why we frequent 442:

1)   They’ve got a great circular seating area where roughly a dozen folks could sit, hear each other talk and keep a lively conversation going between them. Places that only have long, skinny tables simply will not work for a good group discussion. They end up breaking up into individual conversations about good TV shows, as opposed the big, dynamic group discussion about TV shows we prefer.


2)   They play great jazz music in there, but they understand how to work the volume knob. Few people on Earth are more obsessed with music than I am, but there’s just something about being forced to scream like a character in a natural disaster movie to be heard that tends to distract from the finer points of a good confab. Keeping the music at a reasonable volume encourages your customers to enjoy each other in addition to your tunes.

3)   The bartender, who I assume is also the owner, is a total character. He refers to everybody as either “Pretty lady” or “Nice guy,” and he is always friendly and welcoming. Big groups tend to spend a decent amount of money, and his strategy is endlessly more effective than that of some other bars, where you’re treated like yuppie scum if you walk in with a brief case or without a mustache and sarcastic T-shirt.

4)   442 features tasty Bosnian food. While this isn’t directly related to us holding our meetings there, it doesn’t hurt. And if you like to watch soccer games (Personally, I do not, but my coworker Erin is an aficionado), I’d imagine they go way better with Cevapi than hot dogs.

5)   442 has both a full bar and a killer selection of European beer. Normally, I only drink bourbon, but when you have the option of drinking a giant frosty mug of draught beer from the homeland of the owner of the bar – or thereabouts – I highly recommend it. And yes, I realize that any domestic beer is probably from the homeland of the owner of most U.S. bars, but now you’re just being difficult. Finally, unlike point number four, point number five IS directly related to us holding our meetings there.

The End.

Really this time.

Unless it isn’t.

stick stock kids

Young millennial pros teaching new tricks to old marketers

izzy lucaI confess that I’m obsessive about how millennials are changing how we all communicate.

In an interesting Advertising Age article last week, MTV senior VP of strategic consumer insights and research Nick Shore outlined lessons marketers can learn from the “digilife” of Gen Y (born 1977-1997).

millennial graphGeneration Y grew up in a digital world. Their older Gen X siblings (born 1965-1976) make up the small bridge generation between Boomers and Gen Y. As Shore notes, “Many Gen-Xers were already in their 20s before email became part of everyday life – and maybe into their 30s before the BlackBerry did.”

My cohort, the Silent Generation, is already out of the workforce (though I have refused to act my age and retire). Email was something revolutionary when it emerged in the 90s. Today, Gen Y considers email the new snail mail, preferring texting and tweeting rather than sending messages to wait in someone’s inbox next to Netflix ads and pleas from Nigerian bankers.

Gen Y adults came of age comfortable with the full array of digital tools. And their use of these tools is reshaping our world and how we communicate.

Their most significant influence is evident as young adults all over the world are using digital tools and social platforms to empower their generation, boost their self-confidence and push innovation even faster.

The Gen Z cohort (born 1998-present) is even more fluent in the digital world. Two weeks ago, one of our grandchildren used an office phone to call her mother. When she was done, she studied the handset and finally asked how she was supposed to end the call. She’d never seen a phone with a cord before and had no idea that putting the handset in the cradle would end the call.

Who knows what the next communication innovation will be? All we know for sure is that what we rely on today will seem as quaint next year as that corded phone.


We’re Better at PR than… “Yoga”

In the latest installment of AM:PM PR’s “We’re Better at PR” series of videos, the gang tackles yoga, with typically inept results. AM:PM PR is a public relations firm based in Portland that believes humor is one very important tool of good communication. If this video makes you chuckle, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter.