Welcome to the Ampersand Blog

The peeps at Kel & Partners have a lot to say. After all we are public relations and social media zealots who thrive on sharing interesting news and great stories with the public. The Ampersand Blog is really the voice of our Peeps – the kick-ass team of people that work at K&P. Whether it’s a story about the way PR works NOW, the social media universe, our families, beloved pets or quirky travel experiences, you’ll find it all right here. You may laugh, you may cry, but the best part is you’ll leave feeling “wicked smaht” as we like to say here in Boston.

Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

  • Facebook

    Alexis Eliopoulos | Friday, February 21, 2014 16 Comments

    Beyoncé Changing The Way of Music?

    Each morning I stroll through my emails and check social media for any overnight excitement. One particular Friday morning while strolling through Instagram, I saw Beyoncé’s name in pink with the caption, “Surprise” and proceeded to watch the video announcing her latest album including 14 songs and 17 videos. I’m sorry – is this real?

    It was real, and Queen B decided to launch her album on social media without any advance warning. According to Mashable, the surprise album generated 5,300 tweets per minute and spiked more than 1,300% mentions on Facebook. As a PR professional, my immediate thought was, “Beyonce just took traditional PR and Social promotion to the next level…and killed it. Typically before an album release, artists drop their single on the radio and begin media tours for at least 2-3 months prior to the release. They hit the national TV circuit, appear on magazine covers, and try to maximize publicity for their upcoming album with tactics including highly-visible PR stunts. For example, Miley Cyrus gave a memorable VMA performance in preparation for her “Bangerz” album release. However, Beyoncé wanted to do something different.

    In the only press release issued after the album went on sale, Beyoncé said the following, “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it, I am bored with that.” Beyoncé – and her genius team – took control of the power of social media and made a direct connection with her audience. The album sold 80,000 copies in the first three hours and continues to dominate sales. While the initial shock of this “surprise” release has subsided, it has earned its spot in history. It will not be soon forgotten, and should serve to inspire others brands to “kick it up” when it comes to how they approach product promotions and leverage social media as much as possible.

    Do you think social media will change the entertainment industry?


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  • Facebook

    Jayne Seward | Friday, January 24, 2014 23 Comments

    Top PR Blunder Of 2013: Lululemon’s Founder Strikes Foot-In-Mouth Pose

    While perusing through Business Insider’s end-of-the-year stories, one specific headline caught my attention: Max Nisen’s “The 5 Biggest PR Blunders Of 2013”.  From Chick-fil-A’s inauthenticity to Carnival hiding at the top, Nisen hit the nail on the head with his list. But the one blunder that really struck a cord with me was his #2 choice: ‘Lululemon: Shifting the blame’. As a PR professional and Lululemon customer, this was one communication crisis from 2013 that is hard to forget.

    Lululemon founder and chairman Chip Wilson ignited a social media frenzy last November after telling Bloomberg TV that “quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work,” in reference to criticisms that Lululemon’s pants were too sheer. Numerous media outlets picked up the story, and Twitter erupted with responses to Wilson’s “fat-shaming” comments.

    Although I think we can all agree that his statement was offensive, what made the whole situation worse happened when he released an ‘apology’ for his actions on YouTube that has since been deleted from the company’s YouTube page. Many believed the apology was insincere, and ABC News noted, “It seems like he [was] saying I’m sorry I got caught, but I’m not sorry I said it.”

    In many ways, how Wilson handled the situation showed us how not to handle a PR crisis situation. Here are a few things we can take away from this situation as we begin a new year in crisis communications:

    • Think Before Speaking – All company spokespeople should think carefully before they speak – especially in our media-happy world where anything can be shared by anyone.
    • Tell The Truth – Always be honest and speak the truth to your customers and to the public. Own up to mistakes if you’ve made them, and cite specific actions you’re going to take to remedy them. Being truthful and authentic can go a long way.
    • Tell It Fast – Wilson waited four days before issuing an apology. Responding immediately could have lessened the blow in this instance, and it’s critical to act quickly when in a crisis situation.

    Business Insider also summed up the overarching PR lesson that can be learned from this quite well: “Don’t blame customers for your mistakes, and know when to shut up!”

    Do you think Chip Wilson has made the situation better or worse by attempting to apologize for the comments he made on television?

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  • Facebook

    Anna McCarter | Friday, December 13, 2013 31 Comments

    A Nostalgic Look at Some of Our Favorite Holiday Commercials

    The holiday season is upon us and with it comes a new crop of holiday-themed commercials. This year, you’ll find Taylor swift and Justin Bieber making an appearance in a celebrity-filled Macy’s holiday commercial. You may have also seen the group of pant-less men “jingling their bells” in the risqué Kmart commercial. Companies put a lot of creativity (and money) behind their holiday advertisements, as it’s a key window to drive retail sales, but consumers more often remember the particularly heart-warming ads far beyond the season – sometimes for many years to come. In honor of the holiday season, let’s take a moment to look at some commercials of holidays past, which have become holiday classics.


    Who can forget the bright red Coca-Cola holiday trucks that lit up the night? As a true “Americana” brand, Coca Cola does a great job of associating their product with family traditions like waiting up for Santa – or in this case, waiting for the red Coca Cola trucks coming to town.



    In the early 1990s, Folgers Coffee pulled at our heartstrings with the “Peter Comes Home for Christmas” commercial. Folgers incorporated the

    classic scene of a person waking up to the smell of a fresh brewed pot of coffee. But on Christmas morning, the version is extra special with Peter’s surprise return home. This ad reminded us that no matter how many presents are under the tree, having your family home for the holidays is always the greatest gift. And of course, it reminded us that Folgers Coffee is perhaps “the best part of wakin’ up” on Christmas morning.

    Campbell’s hit one out of the park with their melting snowman commercial from 1998. As the snowman eats the soup, you see the snow melt away to reveal a young boy underneath. The commercial is clever, and most importantly, it makes you want to warm up with a bowl of Campbell’s soup after watching it. Their tagline says it all: “Nothing melts away the cold like a delicious bowl of hot chicken noodle soup.”

    In December, most people watch classic movies like “A Christmas Story” or “It’s A Beautiful Life” to get in the holiday spirit. In a similar way, these older commercials stir up holiday excitement and make us nostalgic for seasons past. What are some of your favorite holiday commercials from over the years?


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  • Facebook

    kandpeeps | Friday, June 1, 2012 13 Comments

    Can you imagine a world without Facebook?

    My eyes were glued to the TV as I watched Mark Zuckerberg ring the NASDAQ opening bell and expose his company to further public scrutiny. For many looking to make a quick buck off of the IPO, Facebook has thus far looked like a dud. With stocks plummeting, critics of Facebook are proclaiming “I told you so” and quickly writing off this American success story. I can’t wait to tell the speculators “I told you so.”

    See, I’m a child of the social generation. I’m not a financial advisor, nor am I an expert on everything tech. However, when Google went public in 2004, I could have told you it would be a great investment. When Apple was on the brink of collapse, I could have mentioned that they had the capability of really kicking butt. And with Facebook going public now, I’m telling you that Facebook will be around for the next 50 years.

    The Criticism

    The main critique of Facebook is that it’s just a social networking platform that won’t be able to deliver real value. It’s an understandable stance. After GM ended its agreement with Facebook for paid ads, the very prospect of Facebook ads being worthwhile for businesses came into question. If a large company can’t profit off of its advertisements, how can a small business?

    With 85% of Facebook’s revenues coming from advertisements, weakness in the system is undoubtedly a bit scary.  The roughly 1 billion unique users inhabiting the Facebook-world are still hard to monetize.

    With news of Facebook’s overvaluation, investors are reasonably skeptical towards Facebook’s exact worth. But should they bet against the 800-pound gorilla?

    The Future (my fearless forecast)

    If we take a moment to remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” then we appreciate that Facebook is still gaining its legs. Facebook has already shifted the world.

    After all, it was Facebook that piqued my interest in Public Relations and later Social Media. It was Facebook that filled my college days with event invitations to parties. It was Facebook that started revolutions and unified people against tyrannical governments. When a government completely forbids their populace from using a social networking site, there is definitely something special.

    It is Facebook that is working to determine presidential elections. It is Facebook that connects family members worldwide. It is Facebook that allows users to actively participate in conversations around the World Wide Web. It is Facebook that will continue to change the social landscape for years to come. And it is Facebook that does not yet know its own potential.

    And how will Facebook do it?

    The potential of f-commerce (Facebook Commerce) to track data and optimize it for individual users is mind-blowing. Businesses will be able to reach ~1B users and sell merchandise directly through Facebook. Slowly, users are accepting that Facebook caters advertisements to interest and search history. Once Facebook finds a way to remove the taboo of being a social media site and harnesses its mobile potential, it will explode financially.

    With all the comparisons to Myspace’s gigantic fall from grace, there is one big reason that Facebook won’t fail. It has time.

    Facebook has what all businesses seek: a user base that is incredibly loyal. As much as people dislike the changes that Facebook makes to its platform, they always stay. The prospect of a gigantic user-base and technological advancements prepare Facebook for future progress.

    This preparation for the future will work well as Facebook emerges as much more than a website. Think once again of the two tech companies that come to mind first, Apple and Google. Apple is now much more than a computer company (iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac) and Google is much more than a search engine (Android operating system, Google+, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Glasses).

    Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, told investors that ‘the one company closest to being like Apple is Facebook. And just today, Apple announced a partnership to build Facebook into their iOS 6 software.

    So why are we betting against Facebook?

    If you are a business owner, you probably would love the ability to do these things at a fraction of the cost

    • Cater ads by interest and location
    • Sell items to interested parties
    • Create promotions
    • Find new customers
    • Interact with happy and disgruntled users
    • Send messages to followers

    However, Facebook does not just help businesses; it also educates the user on new products and allows for feedback that traditional media do not allow. After all, we trust our peers much more than we trust advertisements.

    In the end

    I’m putting my eggs in the Facebook basket. I’m no financial advisor, but I do see the potential of Facebook to continue to drastically change the worldwide business environment. Does this mean that Facebook will transfer into immediate justification of the $38.00 per share? Absolutely not, but I’ll leave it at this: I’m not betting against the social giant.

    It may be a hunch, but can you see a world without Facebook?

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  • Facebook

    Deirdre Carey | Friday, April 15, 2011 17 Comments

    Pink Toes – Oh No!

    Have you seen the new J. Crew ad called “Saturday with Jenna?” OMG – it is causing quite a stir! The ad was featured recently on the Today Show, and has taken center stage on talk shows, in newspaper headlines & blog posts.

    The “controversial” ad, which was emailed to customers, shows one of J. Crew’s top creative directors, Jenna Lyons, painting her young, toe-headed son Beckett’s tootsies hot pink.  Clearly mom and son appear to be giggling and having some fun!

    The caption below the picture reads, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

    So why does the pink polish have some many parents & doctors seeing red?

    “This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a FoxNews.com Health column about the ad.

    Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”

    “Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna’s indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future,” Brown wrote in an opinion piece Friday. “J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.”

    Really people? Really?

    Personally, I find it a bit comical that people are in such an uproar about this.  But we’re all entitled to our own opinions, right??

    But, I have to say, I’m with J. Lo and Gwen Stefani on this one – “it’s only paint, people!”  Let kids explore, be creative, and express themselves!  Last week I bought my 13 year old son a pink Abercrombie shirt to match a pair of very stylish plaid shorts, and didn’t give it a second thought.  You know what I think? BIG DEAL!

    So what do you think? Do you feel this ad promotes gender identity confusion in our kids?  What will become of poor pretty-in-pink-toed Beckett?

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

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