Your Public Relations and Communications Community

Fall 2013 Newsletter

In This Edition

Letter From the Chair

Dear Entertainment and Sports Section Members,

As we near the close of another year, many of us are beginning to shift our focus to 2014: our industries will continue to evolve and the responsibilities of PR professionals will continue to diversify. Public relations practitioners are being relied upon more than ever to help shape clients’ and corporations’ communications in every way.

The changes to the industry are also impacting our Section. Throughout the upcoming year, we will offer members a wide scope of programming that address this transformation. As we continue to welcome new members to our Section and Executive Committee, we ask for your feedback and participation to help shape our member offerings.

In this fall newsletter, we specifically examine the changing way in which publicists must work to market their clients, and how practitioners can work with celebrities. We also feature a new member spotlight that includes a brief Q-and-A.

I wish everyone a strong close to the year!


Shawn Warmstein
PRSA 2013 Entertainment & Sports Section Chair

Save the Date: Upcoming Section Brown Bag Discussion

“When Bad Things Happen to Good Brands”
Nov. 19, 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST

Communications executives from the sports and entertainment world will discuss how their organizations dealt with crises that were the result of an isolated incident or an individual’s actions that were not sanctioned or directly related to the organization’s activities. Additional details to follow.

Hitting the Right Notes: How a Marketing Plan is Key to Musicians’ Success

By Kimberly Jesika

As a publicist to Grammy and Billboard Award-winning singers, songwriters and musicians, the first thing I ask any client, whether a certified star or an up-and-coming artist: “What are you doing differently from any other artist in the industry?”

In today’s age where music is accessible via so many platforms, this question is vital. Musicians need to offer investors, record labels and managers not just their talent, but an even more important asset — ROI.

Gone are the days where being on a certain label or working with the hot producer guaranteed success. An artist must be a great product.

For publicists, this should start with the creation of a solid marketing plan and an inventory of their artist’s personal skills and affiliations, which can increase the value of their brand. I advise artists that the first two questions executives at a record label will ask are, “How soon am I able to make money from the services this artist can provide?” and “How bankable is the artist?” As their publicist, I need to have them ready with the answers!

A marketing plan will help identify what a musician’s target audiences are, and how their music connects with them. This targeting enables them to maximize their engagement via various social media channels so that they can be deft in the way they use these avenues to build and strengthen their fan base. In addition, this profiling allows artists to build opportunities outside of music, creating content and merchandise that can generate income.

In the end, artists can stay focused on maximizing the business impact of their music.  And that’s how artists should view the industry — as a business. It’s much better to be a partner in a business than an employee.

Armed with a hit record and the right marketing plan  — as well as a great brand, website and social media following — artists can stack the deck in their favor.

Remember, while it might just be notes and words on a page to the musician, it’s all about the packaging and number to the suits!

Seven Essential Tips for Working With Celebrities

By Rita Tateel

Celebrities bring visibility, influence and credibility, as well as attract more media attention for public relations/marketing campaigns and special events than most other strategies. Contacting, negotiating and working with celebrities, however, can require critical research and specialized rules of protocol, not to mention, the myriad of details that can make or break a project. Here are some tips to make the job easier:

  1. Put Yourself in a Star's Shoes
    Before you ask a celebrity to participate in a project or special event, ask yourself this question as though you were that celebrity: “Why should I do this?” If you can afford to pay a celebrity their going rate, it’s a great motivator. However, when budgets are slim to none, terrific perks and gifts can be an important factor in getting a celebrity to say “yes.”

    We would all like to think that celebrities get involved with cause-related marketing and PR campaigns because they really care about the charity. While this can be a contributing reason, the truth is that most celebs are motivated by other things, such as media exposure, personal interest in the activity or sport, personal connections to the city, the fun/exclusivity of the event, who else is participating or because of who asked them.
  2. Make a List 
    Once a celebrity has agreed to participate, make a list of everything s/he might want to know or need, and every question s/he might have — from the moment they leave home until the moment they return. Then list of all your answers.

    Celebrities and their representatives can become very demanding and difficult to work with if the celebrity feels insecure about his or her involvement. The best way to help make both celebrities and their representatives feel secure is to demonstrate that you have considered every little detail, and have anticipated their every question and need.
  3. Respect Their Time 
    Time is a celebrity’s most valuable commodity, so don’t waste it! There are a lot of people wanting a piece of them, so celebrities have to ensure that the time they do give you is time well spent. Therefore, ask for the least amount of time that will fulfill your needs. Don’t ask celebrities to arrive too early, and never make them wait!
  4. Keep Briefings Brief
    When a celebrity briefing session is necessary, determine whether it must be in person, or can be handled by phone, email or Skype. Of course, we would all rather meet celebrities in person, but remember tip 3 — time is their most valuable commodity. Use alternative communication methods whenever possible.
  5. Avoid Deluging Stars With Data
    Celebrities won’t want to memorize lots of facts and figures — unless they are being paid quite handsomely. Therefore, I recommend no more than four to five bullet points of the most important information you want your celebrity to remember and communicate to the media. Email briefing notes in advance and have a “cheat-card” ready for when the celebrity arrives.
  6. Hire a Specialist
    When you’re trying to secure a celebrity for a PR/marketing campaign or special event, having the correct phone number or email of their representative is not enough. Contacting, negotiating and working with celebrities require a great deal of advance research, and an understanding of the current celebrity marketplace.

    There are also specialized rules of protocol and strategies to employ when trying to engage the celebrity community — not to mention the myriad of details that can make or break a project. Most importantly, having strong relationships with celebrities and their representatives can save an immense amount of time, money and frustration.

    Just as you wouldn’t hire a carpenter to perform knee surgery or represent you in court, it doesn’t make sense to engage celebrities on your own, or trust another individual or agency who is not a specialist in this field. Hire a specialist with experience and a proven track record of success. It will ultimately save you time, money and frustration.
  7. Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep, and Keep All Promises You Make
    This business is so much about relationships. The quickest way to ruin a relationship with a celebrity and/or their representative is to not come through with something that was promised. ‘Nuf said!

 Rita Tateel
 President, The Celebrity Source, (323) 651-3300 
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Member Spotlight: Miguel Oliva

Born and raised in Mexico City, and living in Miami today, Miguel Oliva, vice president of public relations and corporate affairs at HBO Latin America, has been a member of PRSA since he graduated from Anáhuac University. Following various marketing and communications positions with American Express, Eli Lilly and Pfizer, he joined HBO Latin America seven years ago.

PRSA: Describe your role at HBO Latin America?
MO: From red carpet premieres and media tours, to sponsoring various film festivals and events, my team and I oversee the communications program for HBO across 24 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America. While PR programs vary from country to country, there are common elements. In addition to the promotion of HBO original programming, we also focus on public policy, intellectual rights and international publishing rights issues.

PRSA: How does HBO Latin America promote original HBO U.S. programming, and does HBO Latin America have its own programming to promote?
Programming is simultaneously launched in the U.S. and Latin America, so accordingly, we execute premieres, media screening and media tours following the U.S. promotion schedule. For instance, we just concluded a very successful program in Brazil that included a special “Game of Thrones” exhibition featuring artifacts from the show.

In addition to the promotion of original U.S. programming, my team is also responsible for publicity of original programming that is created across Latin America. This includes shows from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. Programming also comes to the U.S. after six months to a year on HBO Latino.

PRSA: Does HBO Latin America have the same competitors (e.g., Showtime) as its U.S. counterpart?
The TV industry is not as mature, and so HBO Latin America is the only real premium global TV network. Additionally, in Latin America there are no Premium online competitors, so that is another difference in the markets.

PRSA: What are the key differences in conceiving communication programs in Latin America?
The biggest thing to remember is that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Just because we are dealing with primarily Spanish speakers does not mean the plan will be the same. Each country and set of media requires a different approach. For instance, in Argentina you would not hold a press conference, but rather would need to schedule one-on-one interviews. In Brazil, you can hold a weekday premiere, while in other countries this would have to be held on a weekend. The way press materials have to be written is also very different.

Event Calendar

The Entertainment and Sports Section Executive Committee has created a calendar outlining all of the major upcoming events for 2013-2014 to help our members plan throughout the year. If you’d like to include your upcoming events, contact Dave Rashford.

Entertainment and Sports Industry News Articles

“Cory Monteith's Death: How TV Shows Handle the Loss of a Star”
The Hollywood Reporter

PR Victory: The New England Patriots Win On the Field of Public Opinion
Bulldog Reporter

Is the Steroid Scandal Good for Baseball?
Huffington Post Sports

Johnny Manziel and the NCAA’s PR Dilemma
Matter Communications

Follow us on Twitter for the latest Entertainment and Sports PR news.

Welcome New Members

The following members joined or rejoined the Entertainment and Sports Section between April 1 and Sept. 30. We are glad to have you on board! To view the entire Section member roster, visit the PRSA Member Directory.

Mariana Agathoklis, Sr. Director, Communications, MTV, New York, N.Y.
Michael Jay Bacos, Franklin, Wis.
Parker Elizabeth Bell, MBA, Strategic Communications Consultant, Freelance, Durham, N.C.
Katie Bond, Director of Marketing & Publicity, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tenn.
Eric Brown, Communications Coordinator, Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, Calif.
Adrienne Browne, Senior Communications Manager, TopGolf, The Colony, Texas
Jamie Marie Curtis, Writer & New PR Professional, Powell, Ohio
Jim Daves, Media Relations, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
Jennifer Davis, Austin, Texas
Maria A. DeStefano, Cortland, N.Y.
Erik A. Deutsch, Principal, ExcelPR Group, Los Angeles, Calif.
Gislaine Edwards, New York, N.Y.
Brittney French, Public Relations Consultant, UC Health, St. Louis, Mo.
Jovette Gadson, Ashburn, Va.
Katherine Marie Guiney, Piedmont, Calif.
Angela Hayes, Director, Communications Planning, American Cancer Society, Glen Allen, Va.
Etienne Hernandez-Medina, President/CEO, H&M Communications, West Hollywood, Calif.
J. Latrice Hill, Public Relations & Outreach Specialist, The 3P Agency, Alexandria, Va.
Boyd Calhoun Hipp, III, Director of Communications, Southland Conference, Dallas, Texas
Meredith Hulley, Clifton, Va.
Mary Ullmann Japhet, Senior Vice President, Communications & Community Engagement, San Antonio Sports, San Antonio, Texas
Kimberly Jesika, CEO, Celebritypreneur, Hollywood, Calif.
Chala D. Jones, Arlington, Va.
Chris R. Kemper, APR, Communications and Public Relations Manager, Scripps National Spelling Bee, Cincinnati, Ohio
Sandra Michelle Kendall, Marketing Manager, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Sali Kharazi, Director of Media & Fan Relations, Big Bad, Los Angeles, Calif.
Kristopher Allan Koivisto, Corporate Communications Manager, Portland Trail Blazers, Portland, Ore.
Erica McCaslin, Coppell, Texas
Shannon Miller, Event Specialist, Arizona Exposition & State Fair, Phoenix, Ariz.
Katherine Moore, VP Communications, JVS Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.
Pamela Narcisso, Publicist, Luck Media and Marketing, Los Angeles, Calif.
Miguel Oliva, Public Relations & Corporate Affairs, HBO Latin America, Miami, Fla.
Ty Pittman, Los Gatos, Calif.
Michael James Porter, San Mateo, Calif.
Deborah Prideaux, Independent Public Relations Strategist, Independent Contractor, Huntingtown, Md.
Elizabeth Lois Raflowitz, Multimedia & Social Media Producer, Regan Communications, Boston, Mass.
Aramis Xavier Ramirez, Public Affairs Supervisor, US Navy, San Diego, Calif.
Suzanne Schwab, MBA, College Instructor, Kean University, Elberon, N.J.
Christopher Sewell, Director, C J Sewell Communications, Laurel, Md.
Carly J. Somers, Publicity Manager, Olympia Entertainment, Madison Heights, Mich.
Akira Spann, Temporary Instructor, Miami Dade Public Schools, Miami, Fla.
Amy Summers, Manager, Communications, Time Warner Cable Sports, El Segundo, Calif.
David Talley, , Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.
Priscilla Vega, Public Relations Manager, WAKA Kickball & Social Sports, Monrovia, Calif.
Tiffanie A. Wagner, Founder, Esinahs, Inc., Pasadena, Md.
Jessica Fawn Weidensall, Director, Weber Shandwick, Denver, Colo.
Kristin G. Wood, Communication Specialist, Disney Citizenship, Disney Citizenship, Burbank, Calif.
Joann Young, Communications Manager, Auto Club Speedway, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

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