Paris – Disneyland Paris

1 Apr

We were lucky enough to travel to the outskirts of Paris to visit Disneyland Paris (Euro Disney)’s marketing a public relations department.

We met with two of their marketing ladies.  They talked to us about and showed us a movie on how Disneyland Paris was originally greatly protested and hated by Europeans because they feared it was America pushing its Western views on them.  This year is Disneyland Paris’ 20th anniversary, so they obviously overcame that, but it was a rough process.

The ladies explained there were two ways to go about the situation of Europe hating Disneyland Paris: 1) Ignore the situation and keep doing what they’re doing, or 2) Be proactive and change people’s point-of-view by showing them how European it is.  They did the latter.

They launched campaign after campaign to raise people’s awareness of what Disneyland Paris is actually about and changed people’s views.  They also had celebrity endorsements and campaigns where celebrities joined with Disneyland Paris.  They created free days for certain groups on certain days (all Parisians on x day of the month.)

It was a lot of work for Disney, but the people did a complete 180.  People now openly accept and support Disneyland Paris.  This is an inspiration for any public relations campaign trying to drastically change people’s views.   It is possible.


Paris – Kay Rolland

25 Mar

On Tuesday, we went to Lee and Burna’s flat to have our morning presentations there.   The first speaker was Kay Rolland.

Kay Rolland created Where Magazine, a magazine published in English for tourists that covers a variety of things such as dining, shopping, entertainment, galleries, museum, hotels, etc.

Now Rolland is an independent ad agent.

She currently works with USA Today International.  She sells the newspapers to hotels in Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels.  Rolland gave us some background information about how she approaches and appeals to the hotels.

She also sells ads for three aviation trade publications.  Two of the publications are commercial aviation-related and one is defense aviation-related.

We did some interactive activities where we read and compared old USA Today International papers to new ones, discussed USA Today’s (recent) logo change, and briefly reviewed the aviation trade publications.

Paris – Accenture

18 Mar

While in Paris, we were lucky enough to visit Accenture’s Paris location.  Accenture is a world-wide management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company helping clients become high-performance businesses and governments.  They serve about 1/3 of the global Fortune 500 companies.

We met with marketing representative, Stephanie, and public relations representative, Allen.

Allen said when presenting to a potential client he shows them everything the company needs to do, in general.  Then he shows how Accenture can do it.

One of the big things right now is pushing clients to use social media.  While this seems like common sense to Generation Y, companies led by Generation X are often hesitant.  Forbes even wrote an article about the ever changing and important role of soical media for businesses.

When pitching, you’ve got to differentiate yourself and your comapny.  “You’ve got to role play,” said Allen.  “Imagine you already work for the company; now pitch it.”  It is also important to build relationships.

He also made a good point about crisis communication: “react calmly.  You cannot fix the situation, you can only minimize the damage.”  While every good public relations practitioner knows having a crisis communication plan is important, these are good post-crisis tips.

Allen and Stephanie gave us some good interview tips as well:

  • Don’t get too comfortable – the interviewer is not your friend
  • Don’t put yourself in pre-set boundaries
  • Listen to the interviewer
  • When questioned, take time to answer or ask questions
  • Do your homework on the company prior to the interview
  • Be mature and professional

Paris – Libération visit

10 Mar

We visited the Parisian newspaper Libération where we met with Francois Sargent.

Libération was founded in 1973.  While the paper used to be a far-left paper, it is now a center-left paper.  Unlike in America media where reporters are objective, in France media outlets are all biased.  Their consumers read/view/listen to that media because their outlooks and views are similar.

The Libération, like all newspapers, is facing challenges in this electronic age.  They have 15,000 subscribers with 120,000 readers.  However, that’s decreasing 15-20%.  They have they publish daily newspapers as well as online.  In attempt to keep the media alive, the government is giving subsidies to all the newspapers.  This money comes from taxes all French people pay.  There was a total of 1 billion Euros given to all of the newspapers.

Libération currently has around 200 employees with about 175 of them working on the paper version and 25 working on the online version.

The Libération has found that contrary to popular belief, youth are still interested in media… just not to the extend they were before.  Today’s youth are informed with topics they like; not general topics.

French citizens are also very informed about American politics.  United States President Barack Obama is very popular in France with an 89% approval rating.  However, former president George W. Bush was very disliked in France.

Paris – Harriet Welty Rochefort talk

4 Mar

Harriet Welty Rochefort talked to us about her books with a focus on the topic “Joie de Vivre”, a French phrase meaning “the joy of living” and also the title of her latest book.

Harriet Welty Rochefort is an author, speaker, freelance journalist, former professor of journalism at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and longtime resident of France, living there since 1971 and is a bilingual binational..  “A French-American dual citizen, Harriet lives with husband Philippe in the trendy east of Paris in a garden apartment with a tiny lawn just big enough to mow and a fig tree that has miraculously defied both Paris weather and pollution.”  She writes light-hearted, but very informative, books about French culture for English readers.  You can check out her blog or her Understand France webpage.

Rochefort breaks Joie de Vivre into eight basic parts:

  1. Romance french style
    -PDA and kissing
    -Importance of vague
    -Importance of private
    -What’s sexy? (Quirks; too perfect is not attractive)
  2. “Les petits plaisirs”
    -Small is good
    -Petit details
    -Petit coup de rouge, un petit noir (Small cup of red wine, small black coffee)
    -La petite robe noire (the little black dress)
  3. Savoir-vivre: life as an art form
    -Art is aesthetics
    -Art of lightness
    -Art of playing with truth
    -Rules are made to be broken
    -Nonpursuit of happiness
  4. Having fun while you disagree
    -Consensus is boring
    -Americans view it as yelling at one another, French view it as a fun activity with a little louder of a voice
    -Don’t be freightened; they’re simply having fun
    -Art of disagreeing without getting personal
  5. Hanging out without feeling guilty
    -Work AND lunch
    -Organizing all those paid vacations
    -Second homes
    -3 reasons: 1)Benefit from national healthcare; 2)College education virtually free (about $300 a year); 3)Retirement and pensions paid by those working
    Note: It’s a trade-off; have lower wages and higher taxes
  6. Dressing, acting, and pouting like a Parisienne
    -Comfort vs Glamour
    -Black dress (spice it up with broaches, scarves, jewelry)
    -Color me Parisienne
    -Parisienne Dragon Lady
  7. Being a Frenchwoman
    -At ease with their femininity
    -Look at me! (Always dress like their on display)
    -Don’t talk about diets (why feel guilty for eating a small piece of your favorite chocolate?)
    -The <<Older Woman>>
    -Children AND work; not children OR work (Good work-life balance with a lot of national emphasis on family)
  8. Wining and dining


Iran says it successfully sent a monkey to space

28 Jan
A still image from the video released by Iranian state TV showing the monkey Iran says was launched into space.

A still image from the video released by Iranian state TV showing the monkey Iran says was launched into space.

Iranian state television said it successfully sent a monkey to space as part of its space program.

The state TV did not say when the launch occurred, but said the launch coincided “‘with the days of’ the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, which was last week, but gave no date,” according to this Reuter’s article.

However, this New York Times article said, “Western monitors have not announced any missiles launchings by Iran in recent days.”

Iran said sending the monkey into space was a test for eventually sending “an astronaut into space as part of its ambitious aerospace programme,” according to this Aljazeera article.

Despite Iran’s claims, the West, primarily U.S. and its allies, is worried that this launch was a precursor test to ballistic missiles potentially carrying nuclear warhead.

Iran has repeatedly said the monkey was sent into space because monkeys and humans have similar genetic makeup, and they would like to send humans into space within the next five to eight years, according to the New York Times.