Words like 'fat' and 'sex' sell, Wal-Mart redesigns logo, and Colt 45 graffiti stirs anger in Philadelphia

No surprise to many, but buzz words like "fat," "cancer," "money," or "sex" are likely to get PR people press in the general interest media, according to The New York Times.

No surprise to many, but words like “fat,” “cancer,” “money,” or “sex” are likely to get PR people press in the general interest media, according to a report in The New York Times.

To add an attention-grabbing hook or element to a story, the Times wrote, “Strategic word selection can catapult an announcement about a study, a product or a ‘breakthrough' onto the evening news instead of to its usual destination – the spam folder or circular file.”

“PR people want to invest time in things that are going to get picked up, so they try to put something to the ‘who cares?' and ‘so what?' test,” said Kate Robins, a longtime PR consultant, to the Times. “If you say something is first, most, fastest, tallest – that's likely to get attention.”

David Armon, president of PR Newswire, told the Times that writing a news release is often like writing a headline for the front page.

“It's a lot more scientific than it used to be,” Armon said, “because you're not just trying to get media pickup, but to get search engine attention.”

Also:

Wal-Mart's image makeover will now include its logo, which is scheduled for a "funky" redesign.

Companies looking to capitalize on a hands-free cell-phone-and-driving rule in California are taking a nontraditional route to marketing by creating viral videos and even a campaign to change the state bird.

About 60% of AMA members believe that reducing spending on key marketing programs in an economic downturn is a huge mistake, according to a recent American Marketing Association survey.

Parents and anti-blight advocates in Philadelphia are not happy with graffiti-style murals in the city that feature Colt 45 malt liquor. The ads show comic book-style characters clutching bottles and cans of booze with the slogan, “Works every time.”

Pirate's Booty and other snacks by Robert's American Gourmet remain popular despite various setbacks over the years that included a recall and other bad publicity. The New York Times' Rob Walker talks with the company's founder who credits reacting quickly and openly to those incidents with helping to maintain its success.

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