In a year filled with recalls and resignations, Beckham and blockbuster deals, there were plenty of PR hits and misses. PRWeek's editorial team looks at the best and worst of the bunch.
10 People with the toughest jobs in communications
1 Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, corporate comms VP, Mattel
The upside is millions of kids will be spared harmful holiday gifts. But Mattel's next challenge is regaining the trust of skeptical, frightened parents. Happy New Year, indeed.
2 Anne Tyrrell, Blackwater spokeswoman
Tyrrell has been defending the company against grisly allegations with hard-charging PR phrases, like "stringent accountability." But even a newly softened logo can't solve the image woes of the Iraq war's most vilified contractor- though Halliburton was likely glad to pass along the torch.
3 Dana Perino, White House press secretary
With so much attention focused on next year's presidential election, the White House had perhaps its easiest year since the Iraq war started - though not by much. And with Scott McClellan's upcoming memoir guaranteed to stir up old controversies, Perino can expect to spend 2008 revisiting some of the administration's darkest days.
4 Rick Simon, corporate comms VP, Countrywide
Countrywide's dubious lending practices came to a screeching halt this year with the sub-prime market meltdown. But with government intervention on the way and a rebound in the company's stock price, at least the media coverage has shifted from "whoever thought this would be a good idea?" to fixing the debacle.
5 Dan Whiting, comms director for Larry Craig
Poor Whiting had to explain the most confusing political scandal of 2007: lewd allegations, a coy admission of guilt, followed by an abrupt backpedal. Whiting can take some solace knowing that Craig will probably not run for re-election, though he is tightly hanging on to that Senate seat.
6 Greg Aiello, spokesman, NFL
It's becoming impossible to play Michael Vick's criminal activity as an isolated incident. This year's shootings and ongoing arrests point to a larger problem within the league. Maybe giving those retired players health coverage would help the NFL with some much-needed positive press.
7 Leslie Sloane Zelnik, partner at BWR and spokesperson for Lindsay Lohan
Zelnik had her work cut out for her in a year where Lohan had more than one stint in rehab, an arrest for driving while intoxicated, and continuing family drama, making her
popular fodder for the tabloids.
8 Jason Wright, SVP of comms and public affairs, Merrill Lynch
Not even the world's largest brokerage firm can protect itself against an economic calamity - the SEC is investigating the firm for reasons related to its holdings of high-risk mortgage debt. At least Wright can say the company is cooperating fully.
9 Jonathan Supranowitz, VP of PR, New York Knicks
It's his second year on the list, and things have gotten worse for the franchise. From a sexual harassment trial and guilty verdict for GM Isaiah Thomas to numerous losses, Supranowitz is challenged with winning back disgruntled fans.
10 Monica Orbe, VP of corporate comms, BearStearns
While the Wall Street firm dealt with a monstrous hedge fund collapse, CEO James Cayne was reportedly off playing bridge and golf in Nashville, with no access to e-mail or cell phones. We pity the corp comms person who had to explain that absence to reporters.
10 Testing events for crisis PR pros
1 Jet Blue
Known to many as the Valentine's Day Massacre, the ice storm that crippled the Northeast last February grounded planes on the runway for up to 12 hours. The PR backlash eventually led to CEO David Neeleman resigning.
2 Mattel toy recall
With more than 20 million toys recalled, this was probably the longest-running crisis story of the year. Regaining the trust of parents around the world will be an arduous task.
3 Taco Bell rats
After getting through an E.coli breakout in the Northeast, a video surfaced of rats running amok in a Manhattan Taco Bell/KFC restaurant. While it was an isolated incident, the PR hit was still nasty.
4 NBA's gambling referee
Veteran NBA referee Tim Donaghy's involvement in a betting scandal led to his firing and the league scrambling to maintain its integrity. Commissioner David Stern later altered the league's gambling policy for refs.
5 Virginia Tech shooting
Only six hours after a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, the world's media landed at the college. Larry Hincker, AVP for university relations, was forced to create a makeshift communications team from schools within the college to manage the more than 600 reporters covering the story on site.
6 US Attorney firings
The alleged politically charged firings of eight US attorneys put Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the White House on the defensive. Before the Senate Judiciary Committee though, Gonzales was unable to recall... any- thing - and eventually resigned from his position.
7 Blackwater shootings
When a Blackwater security detail gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, not only was CEO Erik Prince called to testify before Congress but it called into question the practices of the private security company.
8 GAP child labor issue
This year it was GAP's turn to catch heat for child labor practices. The much-maligned retailer came under fire for working with a vendor in India who used child laborers.
9 Pet food industry recall
Recalls involving hundreds of products left shelves in the pet food aisles barren for weeks. In response, the industry created the National Pet Food Commission.
10 Don Imus
Though his ratings weren't what they used to be, the original "shock jock" had to realize people were listening when he used a racially charged term to describe the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Not only did advertisers pull out, but Imus was fired days later.
5 Frankly honest political quotes
1 "Why don't you shut up?"
Spain's King Carlos to Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, who had just insulted the former prime minister of Spain.
2 "I never understood that line. The point was to inhale. That was the point."
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) on his past marijuana use and President Clinton's famous excuse.
3 "Now my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I
was tied up at the time."
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaking about Hillary Clinton's plans to support a Woodstock museum. McCain was a POW in Vietnam during the 1969 festival.
4 "The first time you get there, you're all excited, 'My God, how did I ever get here?' Then, about six months later, you say, 'How the hell did the rest of them get here?'"
Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK) and long shot presidential candidate speaking about his election to the Senate.
5 "We will not allow anyone to poke their snotty nose into our affairs."
Russian President Vladimir Putin on US attempts to monitor recent Russian elections.
5 Honestly absurd political quotes
1 "As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured."
President George W. Bush extolling the benefits of the No Child Left Behind Act.
2 "We want democracy, we want human rights, we want civil liberties, but we will do it our way."
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on his declaration of martial law.
3 "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who has told you that we have it."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech at Columbia University.
4 "We hope this visit will be able to enhance mutual understanding in the sphere of military and defense affairs."
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang speaking about the first visit by a Chinese war-ship to Tokyo since World War II.
5 "Your foot came toward mine, mine came towards yours. Was that natural? I don't know. Did we bump? Yes. I think we did. You said so. I don't disagree with that."
Disgraced Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) during a police interrogation following his encounter with an undercover police officer in an airport bathroom in Minnesota.
5 Brands that soared
Thanks to the hugely successful launch of the iPhone and introduction of the iPod Touch, Apple continued to be a darling of Wall Street, with its stock prices reaching an all-time company high of $192 a share.
The celebrity Web site separated itself from the pack this year by launching a TV show. It also continued to break a number of stories about celebrity breakdowns, divorces, and deaths.
The launch of the still hard-to-find Wii gaming system at the end of 2006 set Nintendo up for an all but can't miss opportunity to have a wonderful 2007. It didn't miss.
Aside from its usual financial dominance, the retail giant also won a slight reprieve from critics by concentrating on its environmental program to reduce waste and promote sustainability - one that has served as a model for the rest of big industry.
The social networking site hit its stride this year, becoming a must-join among business people. It was able to address users' concerns about privacy swiftly and managed to preserve its loyal following, as well as snag a $240 million investment from Microsoft.
10 Staff moves that made the news
1 Tony Snow resigns
The Fox radio/TV pundit turned White House press secretary left the post in September. Despite battles with colon cancer, Snow cited money as the reason.
2 Bartlett joins Public Strategies
Former White House counselor Dan Bartlett became a senior strategist for the Texas-based Public Strategies.
3 Blackstone hires PR help
The historically reticent private equity firm The Blackstone Group tapped former Goldman Sachs PR executive Peter Rose to serve as its MD of public affairs. The company certainly had a need for PR help after its $4.7 billion IPO spurred lawmakers to talk about raising taxes on the private equity industry.
4 Motorola chief steps down
Even though CEO Edward Zander was able to come out on top in a battle with Carl Icahn, he couldn't fulfill his promise to shareholders to provide a better follow-up to the megasuccessful Razr. In turn, he resigned his post.
5 Lark goes to Dell
Former CMO of LogLogic, Andy Lark decamped for Dell, taking the role of VP of global marketing and communications. He has already been part of Dell's recent landmark move to create a standalone agency within WPP that will handle all marcomms efforts for the company.
6 Tenderich leaves Bite
Burghardt Tenderich left his GM position at Bite Communications after spending three years at the agency. His LinkedIn page says he's "taking a break from [his] full-time professional life to focus on what's important to [him]," which definitely leaves the door open for a plethora of possibilities.
7 Wadler joins MWW
Ame Wadler left her chief strategic officer and global healthcare lead post at Burson-Marsteller to become EVP, chief management officer and global healthcare lead at MWW Group.
8 Feldman leaves DreamWorks
Bob Feldman exited his post at the animation company to start Feldman & Partners, a management consulting firm. It counts among its clients Moody's, The Home Depot, and DreamWorks.
9 Wexler goes to Ogilvy
Nu Wexler traded in his chief spokesman post at Wal-Mart Watch for a spot in the public affairs practice group of Ogilvy PR's DC office.
10 Hughes leaves DC
President Bush's under secretary of state, Karen Hughes, announced her resignation, effective mid-December. While she's credited with making changes within the State Department, many say her impact on improving the US' image in the Muslim world has been minimal.
5 Agency sites that awed*
GCI Group is clearly taking great emphasis on positioning itself as a creative agency. The animation is decent enough, but what is breathtaking about the site is its remarkable simplicity. Available instantly is a one-minute video describing the agency's philosophy, latest blog post, and case studies.
OK, the site does take a little longer to load than it should,
but it also has a simple landing point, and does understand that you can have a little bit of a scroll on a homepage. Information on Fleishman-Hillard is in uniform, easy-to-digest bites.
Many agencies have tried to show its "people." Capstrat's ingenious panoramic view of the office succeeds where everyone else failed. Every single employee appears to have a bio, declarative proof that it's an agency that cares about all of its employees.
The homepage is clean, the rotating image captures your attention, and the content on the site is updated. But what helps transcend Horn Group's site to one that awed is the simplicity of its blog page. The homepage takes you directly to the official Horn Group blog, and you're able to immediately transfer to other Horn employee-written blogs and client-written blogs.
The main image immediately draws your eyes in, then as you gravitate downward, you get a sense of the thought leadership from Edelman available at the site. The rotating career opportunities banner is a smart move, too.
* Based on sites as of December 3.
5 Agency sites that annoyed*
You may wonder, "When will it ever load?" Ah, yes, you had to wait for the animated avatar to get ready to spout bland marketing speak. Combined with the huge promotion for CEO Mark Penn's book "Microtrends," the site wants to hide whatever information that might be relevant about the firm.
You lost us, immediately, with the homepage flash animation of falling letters that assemble to spell out GS Schwartz & Co. Where's the content to draw in the reader? But it gets worse. The news releases are PDFs, the site changes fonts at random, and the navigation is unnecessary due to the paucity of info on the site.
The agency that was first to conquer Second Life still has not figured out how to put RSS feeds on its news section. Combined with an image of people doing handstands, the miniscule navigation buried on the left-hand side, and the undistinguished marketing copy, this site does not impress.
Coyne PR must have employed a good SEO firm because from its opening image to a list of clients, it all appears to be locked up in Flash prison. That, combined with no thought leader-ship content, is no way to build organic traffic.
WE's inclusion on this list is unfortunate, given the site is easy to use and has a lot of information. But the homepage looks like a poorly put-together high school paper, and the text randomly changes colors and sizes. A PR firm should know about first impressions. **
* Based on sites as of December 3.
** Denotes the Web site has changed since publication
5 Brands that sunk
1 Sears Holdings
This year, the owner of the Sears and Kmart retail stores announced a 99% drop in third-quarter profits from $196 million to just $2 million year over year. It will certainly have to do better if it ever hopes to compete again with the likes of Wal-Mart and Target.
While its stock price wasn't severely damaged by this year's toy recalls, the hit to its reputation is inevitable.
3 Ampd Mobile
One of the worst tech collapses since the dot bomb, the cell phone company filed for bankruptcy in June, letting a $360 million investment go to waste.
4 Britney Spears
Spears made such a mess of her life in 2007 that a judge awarded unemployed ex-husband K-Fed custody of their kids. Lowlights include: numerous panty-less exits from cars, a head shaving, and the infamous dead-in-the-eyes performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Getting caught up in the sub-prime fallout, it not only posted a $6.4 billion loss, but CEO Chuck Prince was forced to resign. It announced plans to lay off more than 40,000, and its stock continues to tumble.
5 Media brands on the rise
1 Dow Jones
DJ must be happy to be under News Corp's welcoming umbrella, rather than being run by careless family ownership. The Wall Street Journal is now poised for a breakout year - but will Rupert Murdoch impact the editorial quality? Only time to tell.
2 Associated Press
As more US papers close their foreign bureaus while slashing budgets, the AP is becoming the country's authoritative source of foreign news reporting. With a world in upheaval, it is now more indispensable than ever to both papers and readers across the US.
3 NBC Universal
NBCU captured some of parent company GE's expensive green sheen with a huge programming push late in the year. And its TV networks are doing well - Brian Williams is popular, MSNBC is creeping up on CNN, and CNBC is poised to fight off a challenge from Fox Business Network.
4 The Economist
The magazine has long been considered indispensable to the global elite, but it is making solid inroads in the US. The title's Web site is strong, and it even leaks content to influential bloggers to build buzz. Watch for it to grow into a full-blown competitor to the top US newsweeklies.
5 New York magazine
From its growing Web site capabilities to the break-out issues of its Look Book feature to picking up a few national magazine awards, the brand has enjoyed a successful year all around. It even curried some favor with the National Organization for Women by finally agreeing to stop accepting sex ads for the back of its magazine.
5 Media brands that hit the skids
1 Tribune Company
Supercapitalist Sam Zell scooped up the troubled entity earlier this year in a multibillion-dollar deal. But his optimism can't change its harsh financial outlook nor the new financial burden placed on its unhappy employees.
2 CBS News
The year was marred by embarrassing missteps like a "blog post" by news anchor Katie Couric that her staff actually wrote. It was hoped her arrival would revive the network after the debacle that ended Dan Rather's career. Instead, ratings fell further and the future looks bleak.
3 US News & World Report
Already a distant third in the newsweeklies race, it took a hit to its reputation this year as well, when a group of colleges challenged its popular annual rankings system, calling it "misleading" to prospective students.
4 The Philadelphia Inquirer
PR man Brian Tierney promised snazzy new marketing and promotions to help the flailing paper. But initial enthusiasm for Tierney has waned as he tossed out bad ideas like turning the paper's headquarters into a movie billboard and allowing a local bank to sponsor a news column.
5 The New Republic
The refined DC thought magazine had an unquestionably bad year. Business woes forced it to cut its total of yearly issues nearly in half. And a scandal over whether an anonymous soldier writing tales from Iraq was in fact lying, led many to question its competency in both journalism and communications.
10 Product debuts we couldn't miss
1 Apple iPhone
Following a big buzz around its launch, the iPhone became this year's hottest new item, selling more than a million units to date. The sleek, aesthetic design and Web 2.0 capabilities made it an instant techie favorite.
2 High School Musical 2
The sequel to the mega-hit original film, HSM2 had 17.2 million fans of all ages glued to the screen.
3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The seventh and last book from the series caused a cycle of book parties nationwide. Diehard fans purchased 11 million copies in the first 24 hours. The book also went global in 93 countries.
A huge marketing blitz helped drive dieters to pick up the first and only FDA approved over-the-counter weight-loss pill. Sales have surpassed $150 million to date, proving that unpleasant side effects won't deter Americans from shrinking their pant size.
5 Halo 3
This Microsoft launch set a new US record for opening-day sales by an entertainment property - $170 million. It made the covers of Time and Rolling Stone, too.
6 Google Android
Google generated buzz for its new mobile platform, slated to launch in 2008, by releasing a software developer kit that offers a peek at what it might look like.
Conde Nast launched the glossy business mag with the intention to spice up business reporting. Several issues in, many are still wondering if its editorial content can catch up to its ad sales.
The new Airbus took flight with the media when it launched the world's largest commercial passenger jet. For its US debut, there were about 120 news media outlets at JFK, 40 at O'Hare, and more than 200 accredited media personnel at LAX.
9 Microsoft Windows Vista
One of Microsoft's biggest consumer launches ever included appearances by Bill Gates on both Today and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
10 XO Computer
Nicholas Negroponte's nonprofit One Laptop per Child is averaging $2 million a day in donations since introducing the first low-cost, energy efficient computer designed for children in developing nations.
10 Business events that caused a stir
1 Microsoft gets a little Facebook
Microsoft bought a 1.6% stake in the social networking site for $240 million, which took the site's value to $15 billion. This made the 20% stake owned by founder and Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, 23, worth $3 billion.
2 Sub-prime meltdown
Rates for sub-prime mortgages jumped, causing economy-wide problems, including stalled IPOs and buyouts. Treasury officials and mortgage lenders will work together to staunch the bleed.
3 Sallie Mae buyout crumbles
SLM Corp., parent of Sallie Mae, took its potential buyers to court to save the $25 billion deal. The buyers said new federal laws lowered Sallie Mae's value and wanted to renegotiate, but Sallie Mae has rejected alternative offers.
4 Dubai buys NASDAQ stake
Borse Dubai, the government-controlled exchange for the emirate, bought a 19.9% stake in the NASDAQ and the NASDAQ's 28% stake in the London Stock Exchange. The new entity then went on to bid $4.9 billion for the Swedish stock exchange OMX.
5 Dell, WPP announce DaVinci
In 2007, Dell sought to streamline its entire marcomms function by asking the five major holding companies to create a singular agency housing all disciplines. The reward was $4.5 billion in billings over the next three years. WPP won and is expected to have a 1,000-staffer firm up and running by March.
6 Thain to head Merrill Lynch
For the second time in his career, John Thain will look to revive a troubled company. The former Goldman Sachs exec and NYSE Euronext head stunned many by becoming chairman and CEO.
7 Sun reinterprets fair disclosure
Sun Microsystems shook things up by issuing earnings results on its Web site before pushing the information out on the wires. The difference was only 10 minutes, but it has SEC chair Christopher Cox thinking about the Internet's role in earnings disclosure.
8 Stock market roller coaster
The stock market has been jumping and diving all year, but it has held on. The Dow Jones, in fact, surpassed the 13,000-point mark despite the turmoil.
9 Rupert Murdoch buys WSJ
Murdoch's News Corp bought Dow Jones & Co., including the venerable WSJ, for $5 billion. Journalists wondered aloud how his influence will affect the paper.
10 Yahoo CEO steps down
Terry Semel, a former entertainment executive who assumed the CEO post in 2001, handed the reigns back to Yahoo cofounder, Jerry Yang. Yahoo has struggled to compete with the likes of Google, MySpace, and others, so there's no guarantee that Yang will fare any better.
5 Terms we didn't hear before '07
1 Sandwich generation
Baby Boomers juggling the often conflicting responsibilities of supporting teenage or adult children and aging parents. Call it "grilled stress on rye, heavy on the pickles."
This self-indulgent amalgamation of 24/7 streaming video, social networking, Twittering, and GPS-tagged texting gives everyone the chance to play reality star.
An academic-lexicon staple, this all-purpose adjective has now been adopted by networks including MTV, TV Land, and BET as shorthand for "good corporate citizen; gives back
From community sanctuaries to megachurches, religious leaders across the US are moonlighting as word-of-mouth marketers for faith-friendly movies, books, and products.
5 Semantic Web
Also known as Web 3.0 (or the "pedantic Web"), this next-evolution of the WWW merges records into a global database, allowing for computers to find and integrate information more easily. Whoever can explain it gets a prize.
5 Terms we hope not to hear again
We know: In this post-Enron world, honesty is key. But let's leave "transparency" for Riedel stemware, and just tell the truth.
2 Sub-prime loans
It seemed like a good idea at the time, for lenders to offer these unconventional mortgage loans. But now? See "foreclosure."
3 "Going green"
It's become a catch-all term for everything from alternative light-bulb use to wearing hemp-soled shoes. Taking action is critical, but let's lose the color-coded euphemism.
Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, Target... of course we still love 'em. But pseudo-French pronunciations are so last year.
5 "Don't tase me bro!"
College student Andrew Meyer's plea to university police during a John Kerry speech not only spread like wildfire online, it also made its way onto bumper stickers and T-shirts. Just like his incessant wailing after getting zapped, this phrase makes our ears bleed.
5 Communicators we liked to hear
1 Al Gore
The former VP won a Nobel Prize this fall, capping off a campaign that began with the release of his film An Inconvenient Truth. He's been a better communicator outside of elected office.
2 Roger Goodell
When Goodell was named as Paul Tagliabue's successor as NFL commissioner, his bold talking may have been recognized, but initial skepticism remained at his ability to deal with the league's problems. Goodell was unwavering, though, suspending Pacman Jones for the entire season and Michael Vick indefinitely.
3 Steve Jobs
For the first time in recent memory, there were missteps for Mr. Apple, yet the CEO seemed to effortlessly guide the company back on track. With the iPhone's launch, he introduced the latest must-have toy, and when it reduced the price only weeks later, Jobs offered everyone store credit to keep his fans happy.
4 Arnold Schwarzenegger
There aren't many doubters in California these days. The Governator has bounced back again and again, showing leadership in the midst of the worst disaster in the state since the Northridge earthquake and by defying his own party on a number of issues.
5 Rupert Murdoch
When his bid for Dow Jones was first announced, it was viewed by many as something that would never happen. But Murdoch managed to say all the right things at the right times - emphasizing commitment to editorial quality - and in the process snagged one of the crown jewels of business media.
5 Communicators we couldn't bear
1 Scott Boras
By announcing that his client Alex Rodriguez would opt out of his contract during the World Series, Boras took greed to a new level.
2 Fred Thompson
A campaign that was supposed to light a fire under the GOP has not excited anyone.
3 John "Pat" Philbin
When your agency is facing its biggest crisis of the year, do not hold an impromptu fake press conference. Philbin, former head of public affairs at FEMA, did just that when the organization tried to set up a last-minute press conference in the midst of the Southern California wildfires.
4 Hugo Chavez
Being belligerent in front of the UN and being told to shut up by the King of Spain didn't help his international respectability any.
5 John Mackey
Apparently, the CEO of Whole Foods never got the transparency memo. In July, he was caught posting to the comments section of the company Web site's blog using a pseudonym.
10 Stunts that were Barnum worthy
1 Tony Soprano closes his eyes
A circus-like frenzy for the hit show's finale ended with a thud as nothing seemingly happens except Tony blinks just after Meadow walks into the diner and creator David Chase decided to roll the credits. You could hear an entire nation screaming "What?!"
2 Captain gets capped
This summer's JFK-style assassination of Captain America drew coverage from nearly all major media outlets.
3 Colbert for Prez
Steven Colbert's bid for president may have ended in South Carolina after election officials refused him ballot space, but The Colbert Report got more buzz.
4 Radiohead Robin Hood
The band made headlines in November by offering the digital version of their latest album on a pay-what-you-want basis.
5 Simpson circles
The Simpsons Movie made a splash on the other side of the pond when marketers carved a Homer crop circle in the English countryside. Despite outrage, the film grossed nearly $28 million on opening weekend in the UK.
6 Kanye and 50 Cent
The two hip-hop stars squared off in an album-selling war. 50 promised to retire if he was beat. Who won? Both. Kanye and 50 landed on Rolling Stone's cover.
7 David Beckham hits US soil
The frenzy surrounding the soccer god's US arrival was so overwhelming that it almost didn't matter that he only ended up playing five games due to ankle injuries.
8 Marc makes his mark
Hip-hop fashion mogul Marc Ecko bought Barry Bonds' record 756th home run ball and then launched a Web site asking visitors to vote on its fate. The majority wanted it branded with an asterisk and sent to the Hall of Fame. Bonds called Ecko an "idiot," which likely earned the latter even more street cred.
9 The Cartoonabomber
In February, Cartoon Network marketers planted blinking light installments under bridges and overpasses, sparking a security scare. The stunt planners landed in jail, but everyone now knows there's a network for cartoons.
10 The iMoan
Steve Jobs caught heat when prices for the Apple iPhone were slashed by $200 shortly after it hit the shelves. But he offered early-adopter rebates, scored headlines, and got people back into the stores to spend their rebates on more merchandise.
5 Corporate blogs that built buzz
Dell continues its return from online comms purgatory in the second year of its Direct2Dell blog. The posts are a mix of promotional and troubleshooting advice, perfect for the customers who love the products, but hated their customer service for so long.
J&J's blog reached a high point when Ray Jordan, VP of public affairs and corporate communications, honestly explained why the company was engaging in a reputation-threatening lawsuit against the American Red Cross.
The StonyField Farm Baby Babble blog is a perfect example of company as content producer. This blog is solely dedicated to providing information about rearing children. As such, visitors will instinctively think of the company as an expert on child health.
Yes, yes - a picture is worth a thousand words. And a blog that ties closely to Kodak's goals is worth a million. Giving staffers a photo blog - even if they're not the greatest snapshots in the world - is a simple way to boost employee passion and humanize the company.
Zillow's blog manages to accomplish great synchronicity between promoting the Zillow product and providing valuable information. The service that Zillow, a provider of online real-estate services, can provide through its blog is very important, considering the uncertainty and lack of sensible information in today's real-estate market.
5 Corporate blogs that bored
It's chock full of information, but it's not very compelling. The straight-laced prose is a bit tedious - not what you'd expect of Googlers after reading countless profiles of how awesome it is to work for the search-engine giant.
We admit the topic discussions are a bit over our head, but we can see the built-in audience for GE's "From Edison's Desk" scientist blog. Unfortunately, the 40 some-odd contributors have only found the time to create 29 total posts this year (as of December 1).
This is sad for such a revolutionary, Web 2.0 company. Not only has it not updated the blog since September, the blog was never that interesting when populated. With all its data and the fact that folks were populating del.icio.us with interesting content, why were the posts only about product extensions and how-tos?
The Yahoo Anecdotal blog started out to put forth the various musings of creative Yahoo staffers, but it devolved, as of late, too much into self-promotion and apologies for outage issues. That's fine, but the seriousness of those posts have drained the fun out of the irreverent initial intent.
At its core essence, the Ask.com blog is just another way to use Ask.com for searches. Every post seemed to be either overtly promotional or just a series of links to the result page for obvious searches, as opposed to a place to unearth interesting content. Search engines may index blogs, but they don't seem to get them.