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Posts tagged ‘history’

Do you know the evolution of PR ?

Emoticons History

Today I found the wonderful story of emoticons from Mashable.

Did you know the emoticon is almost 30 years old? Twenty-nine years ago, Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, first proposed a colon, hyphen and bracket as a way of conveying emotional meaning via plain text.

Fast-forward and the simple smiley has evolved — some might say mutated — into various, and very varied, multi-colored, animated characters leering at you from your computer or phone screen.

To mark this anniversary, we’ve taken an abridged look at some interesting moments in the history of the emoticon. Have a look through the gallery and let us know in the comments your thoughts on this form of communication.

1. The Olden Days

Using symbols to convey emotional meaning was not a 1980s concept. A hundred years previous, the “letter-press department” of satirical magazine Puck jokingly created typographical “studies in passion and emotions” so as not to be out-done by cartoonists.

It has since been suggested that one very early use of an emoticon can be credited to none other than Abraham Lincoln. In the original New York Times transcript of an 1862 speech by Lincoln, the symbol 😉 appears. There have been interesting arguments put forth as to whether or not this was a winking face, or (as we suspect) simply a typo.

Various reports (that we’ve been unable to verify) suggest that in 1979, an ARPANET user called Kevin MacKenzie, inspired by an unidentified Reader’s Digest article, suggested using punctuation to hint that something was “tongue-in-cheek,” as opposed to out-and-out humorous.

Apparently, MacKenzie throught a hypen and a bracket — -) — would be a suitable symbol: “If I wish to indicate that a particular sentence is meant with tongue-in-cheek, I would write it so: ‘Of course you know I agree with all the current administration’s policies -).’

However, as we now know, it wasn’t the tongue-in-cheek concept that took off, but the smiley-based emoticon. Although the classic yellow “smiley” design existed before Fahlman got creative with his computer keyboard…

2. The Smiley

The yellow smiley face symbol pre-dates and was developed independent of the emoticon, although now it could be argued the two symbols have merged in the general public’s conciousness.

Back in 1963, a freelance artist called Harvey Ball designed a yellow smiley face to be used on a button to try and boost morale at a recently merged insurance company. Ball netted $45 for his design and by all accounts it was a success for the insurance company, but it wasn’t until the 1970s when it became more widely known.

Bernard and Murray Spain, two brother from Philadelphia, saw the symbol’s commercial potential, adopted it, added the phrase “have a happy day” and churned out millions of buttons, bumper stickers, t-shirts, mugs. Thanks to the Spain brothers, the smiley as a symbol of ’70s hippie culture was born. Later in the ’90s, the symbol was used to depict another counter-culture — the acid rave scene.

Today, Ball’s smiley is celebrated on “World Smile Day,” the first Friday in October, when folk are encouraged to “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”

3. A Proposal

Credited as containing the first modern emoticon, Scott Fahlman’s original suggestion proposing punctation-as-symbols was posted on a Computer Science community message board at Carnegie Mellon in 1982.

Fahlman has since explained why he felt such symbols were required. “The problem was that if someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response. That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.”

“This problem caused some of us to suggest (only half seriously) that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly mark posts that were not to be taken seriously.”

“After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone. Various ‘joke markers’ were suggested, and in the midst of that discussion it occurred to me that the character sequence 🙂 would be an elegant solution – one that could be handled by the ASCII-based computer terminals of the day. So I suggested that.”

Interestly, Fahlman explains that the unhappy face symbol evolved further than he meant it to: “In the same post, I also suggested the use of 😦 to indicate that a message was meant to be taken seriously, though that symbol quickly evolved into a marker for displeasure, frustration, or anger.”

So what does Fahlman think about how the emoticon has developed? “It’s interesting to note that Microsoft and AOL now intercept these character strings and turn them into little pictures,” Fahlman says. “Personally, I think this destroys the whimsical element of the original.”

If you agree, then we’ve a tip for you. Take a leaf out of Mashable European Editor Stan Schroeder’s book and type your smilies backwards: (:

“When you type it backwards, scripts don’t recognize them and they don’t get turned into yellow ugly ones,” says Schroeder. “They stay old school. (;”

4. Evolution & Easter Eggs

Text-based emoticons fast developed from the simple happy/unhappy face. Other characters were introduced to suggest further emotions, and even crude depictions of famous people/personas. Fahlman says this happened within months of his original post.

“Within a few months, we started seeing the lists with dozens of ‘smilies’: open-mouthed surprise, person wearing glasses, Abraham Lincoln, Santa Claus, the pope, and so on. Producing such clever compilations has become a serious hobby for some people.”

When chatting on the internet became a serious hobby for the general public, emoticons evolved even further to be shown on screen as tiny images. Services like ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger and later MySpace started offering a wide range of emoticons that could be generated at the click of a mouse, rather than memorizing the charcaters needed to create them. These then evolved into animated versions.

There were also many “hidden,” or “Easter egg” emoticons not shown on main menus that could be generated if you knew the correct character sequence. The emoticons shown here are the hidden emoticons available for Yahoo! Messenger. While Skype and MSN have their own versions, Facebook’s “Chris Putnam” emoticon, depicting the designer, is a famous, although ultimately useless, hidden option.

In 2007, Yahoo! Messenger carried out a survey about emoticons. With 40,000 respondants, we think it’s safe to say the results were a decent snapshot of how the average Messenger user felt about the medium.

82% of those who use Yahoo! Messenger said they used emoticons on a daily basis and 61% felt that they “best expressed themselves” in IM using emoticons.

5. The Future

Today, the iPhone’s text messaging function does not automatically support emoticon graphics.

Gmail Chat’s default emoticon setting is text-based with simple animation.

Have we gone past the elaborate emoticon phase in our ever-evolving history of digital communication?

Should recent calls to stop using emoticons be heeded?

Has the smiley become a tired cliche, soon to become obsolete, or is it still useful in the emotionless medium of SMS, IM and email?

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Twitter History

Source: Mashable.com

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Social Networking

“Facebook did not invent social networking” says Vishal Sikka, SAP executive board member for technology and innovation.

But who did it ?

To prove his point, Sikka cited a case from 235 years ago when Thomas Paine, as part of America’s battle for independence, wrote his “Common Sense” manifesto.

“At the time,” Sikka said in his keynote speech at the TechEd Las Vegas event, “there were 1.5 million colonists, and out of that 1.5 million, 900,000 got a copy of Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ manifesto.

“Imagine: 900,000 people out of 1.5 million! So with all due respect, you know—of course we are all heavy users of Facebook and Twitter and so on—but social computing was not invented by Facebook; it happened a long, long time ago.”

The engine behind Paine’s first-generation social network—and even those not fond of Paine’s work must admit that reaching 60% of the total universe is pretty good penetration, particularly via a first-gen approach—was the printing press rather than today’s great connector of Facebook, Sikka contended.

“Johannes Guttenberg invented the printer to make it easier for people, originally, to print Bibles,” Sikka said early in a keynote talk entitled ‘A Simplifying Renewal.’

“And really what ended up happening with the invention of printing was that it became possible for people to become empowered to articulate their own thoughts in precise ways and  typographers were not at liberty to change what people had written, and so you had control of your own destiny.

“So people think about this and you wonder: connectedness is not something that just happened recently. People today talk a lot about connectivity, but connectedness has been going on for a long time.”

The core message behind Sikka’s commingling of Facebook, the ‘Common Sense’ manifesto, and Guttenberg’s printing press is that the age-old concept of content being the prisoner of the container in which it is held is unraveling today—and that software in particular will benefit enormously from the acclerated separation of content from container.

The results include more power to individual users, more specificity and beauty in applications, and fewer layers of low-value containers getting in the way of and ensnaring the high-value content.

In SAP’s case, the modern-day Guttenberg printing press is the HANA in-memory technology that is becoming the platform and foundation for all of the company’s future products. Here’s how Sikka laid out the strategy:

“And closer to our own home, we have been seeing some unmistakable signs of this: today we see the enterprise landscape littered with systems, capabilities and services in software that are trapped inside hardware containers, and within other types of software containers, and in services of all different sorts. Transactional systems, data warehouses, data marts, etc.

“The former CEO of one of our customers once told me something similar to this idea of the factory inside the 3D printer. She told me, ‘Vishal, the only reason I have a warehouse’—she was not talking about a data warehouse, she was talking about a physical warehouse—‘is because I don’t have real-time information on what my suppliers have. If I had real-time information on my suppliers that I could make decisions on, then I don’t need this warehouse.’

“So we are seeing the first signs of this already. In the case of Hana, for instance, data marts are already disappearing: many of our customers have already turned off their traditional data marts and replaced them with Hana. We are seeing increasingly signs of data warehouses being replaced with HANA.”

Then Sikka offered his most expansive vision for SAP and HANA, proclaiming that “we intend to replace and unify the entire data-processing layer in all of our applications.” And put the emphasis on all.

“From HANA Analytics, to planning, to new transactional applications, to traditional applications—everything,” Sikka said, “And it is not that we are replacing all the litter that was there with more litter, or with a different kind of litter; we believe that a grand unification of all these layers is possible. That, in fact, we have the ability to separate the capabilities that are in our software, from the scaling and delivering of those capabilities.

“And we can separate these layers, and one single, modern infrastructure is capable of delivering the entire essential content: whether it is the traditional content that you have painstakingly built over the last 20 years, or new content that you want to build. It can all be served off the same infrastructure. And the entirely new infrastructure actually can be delivered in the way that you choose,” he added, with options for traditional approaches, or the cloud, or both.

“This unifying software, we believe, can be delivered on the next generation of modern hardware built out of commodity—high-end, but commodity—x86 processors, large amounts of memory, massively multicore processing, delivered either in integrated appliances built by the community of the best appliance builders, or delivered as an app in the enterprise cloud that you manage, that you scale up and down, no matter how many applications run in that infrastructure, no matter what kinds of workloads run in that infrastructure, whether it is one user doing a single query that is distributed to thousands of cores, or a thousand applications with millions of users running on those cores,” Sikka said.

“All the way from small to medium to large, the entire provisioning of the infrastructure can be done on the inside of an enterprise cloud. We have been working with many of our customers on this already, and, of course, delivering these new capabilities—mobility, in-memory computing—in our own cloud.”

It was social networking before Facebook. I’m convinced now.

Source: Forbes.com

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

PR campaigns history by photo

American’s breakfast with eggs and bacon has an interesting PR story, written by the pioneer of the domain, Edward Bernays.

It took a survey of more than 5,000 doctors in the early 1920s by public relations pioneer Edward Bernays to convince Americans that a hearty protein-rich meal was recommended first thing in the morning.

Great campaign, indeed. What’s more, not only the American breakfast had a major campaign, but also other products. Again, a picture values more than a 1000 words.

Source: PR Daily

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.








Some PR politics

War or not, everybody needs PR. Today, according to PR Week, we found out that Muammar Gaddafi’s regime had plans to embark on an anti-Nato PR campaign in Britain.

The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that documents found in the Libya’s Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi’s abandoned office detailed the creation of a £8.8m fund to pay British and foreign campaigners to change the public perception of Nato’s intervention in the country.

The discover of the plans comes weeks after an email was sent to a host of London PR agencies by Libya’s Ministry of Information asking for PR support to improve the image of Gaddafi.

The paper wrote that the documents included plans to pay selected foreigners, the regime thought would be ‘sympathetic to Gaddafi’, up to £2m to lobby on his behalf.

Among the British officials named in the documents was a lobbyist who the Gaddafi government was planning to pay £200,000 a week, up to a total of £2m, to create an anti-war think tank called the Centre of Non-Intervention.
The paper reported that the lobbyist’s remit included releasing reports and studies, hosting lectures and conferences with ‘well-known British political thinkers’ and achieving the end goal – to ‘reject foreign intervention in Libya and around the world’.

Porter Novelli EMEA head of corporate Alex Woolfall said any agency attracted by this offer would ‘have taken leave of its senses’ and that now, more than ever, PR agencies are under ‘as much scrutiny as the clients they represent – they have their own reputations to think about’.

‘Assuming such a plan existed – I think it shows a pretty naïve view of what PR and lobbying actually is and can do,’ he said. ‘We complain about the media in this country, but they are a long way off from swallowing hook, line and sinker what they’re told by lobbyists. So, I can hardly see why they thought a few individuals would sway public opinion.’

Insignia Communications founder Jonathan Hemus agred: ‘When deciding with whom they would work, agencies draw the line at different places – and in some cases the lure of a large budget can move the line. But PR for the Gadaffi regime is way over the line for any agency I can think of.

‘In a strange way, the fact that the Gadaffi regime would consider spending such a large amount of money on PR just goes to underline the power and effectiveness of communication. It’s incumbent upon the mainstream PR industry to use that power responsibly.’

The Gaddafi regime also reportedly planned to ask Labour peer Lord Ahmed, who has campaigned for peace in Libya, to join the campaign. Lord Ahmed told the paper he had not been approached.

The Telegraph said the regime set aside an overall budget of £8.8m for the political and public relations campaign.

What’s next ?

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Presidential reading list

oana vasiliu

I just found on the Internet what president of US, Barack Obama, has read during these years of presidency. Let’s take a look: (more…)

Supermarkets story

oana vasiliuRegarding Wikipedia,  a supermarket is a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments.

The supermarket typically comprises meat, fresh produce, dairy, and baked goods departments, along with shelf space reserved for canned and packaged goods as well as for various non-food items such as household cleaners, pharmacy products and pet supplies. Most supermarkets also sell a variety of other household products that are consumed regularly, such as alcohol (where permitted),medicine, and clothes, and some stores sell a much wider range of non-food products.

The traditional suburban supermarket occupies a large amount of floor space, usually on a single level. It is usually situated near a residential area in order to be convenient to consumers. Its basic appeal is the availability of a broad selection of goods under a single roof, at relatively low prices.

The beginning

In the early days of retailing, all products generally were fetched by an assistant from shelves behind the merchant’soana vasiliu counter while customers waited in front of the counter and indicated the items they wanted. Also, most foods and merchandise did not come in individually wrapped consumer-sized packages, so an assistant had to measure out and wrap the precise amount desired by the consumer. This also offered opportunities for social interaction: many regarded this style of shopping as “a social occasion” and would often “pause for conversations with the staff or other customers.” These practices were by nature very labor-intensive and therefore also quite expensive. The shopping process was slow, as the number of customers who could be attended to at one time be limited by the number of staff employed in the store.

The concept of a self-service grocery store was developed by the American entrepreneur Clarence Saunders and his Piggly Wiggly stores. His first store opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916. Saunders was awarded a number of patents for the ideas he incorporated into his stores. The stores were a financial success and Saunders began to offer franchises. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) was another successful early grocery store chain in Canada and the United States, and became common in North American cities in the 1920s. The general trend in retail since then has been to stock shelves at night so that customers, the following day, can obtain their own goods and bring them to the front of the store to pay for them. Although there is a higher risk of shoplifting, the costs of appropriate security measures ideally will be outweighed by reduced labor costs.

Early self-service grocery stores did not sell fresh meats or produce. Combination stores that sold perishable items were developed in the 1920s.

oana vasiliuIt has been determined that the first true supermarket in the United States was opened by a former Kroger employee, Michael J. Cullen, on August 4, 1930, inside a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) former garage in Jamaica, Queens in New York City. The store, King Kullen, (inspired by the fictional character King Kong), operated under the slogan “Pile it high. Sell it low.” At the time of Cullen’s death in 1936, there were seventeen King Kullen stores in operation. Although Saunders had brought the world self-service, uniform stores and nationwide marketing, Cullen built on this idea by adding separate food departments, selling large volumes of food at discount prices and adding a parking lot.

Other established American grocery chains in the 1930s, such as Kroger and Safeway at first resisted Cullen’s idea, but eventually were forced to build their own supermarkets as the economy sank into the Great Depression, while consumers were becoming price-sensitive at a level never experienced before. Kroger took the idea one step further and pioneered the first supermarket surrounded on all four sides by a parking lot.

In the United Kingdom, self-service shopping took longer to become established. Even in 1947, there were just ten self-service shops in the country. In 1951, ex-US Navy sailor Patrick Galvani, son-in-law of Express Dairies chairman, made a pitch to the board to open a chain of supermarkets across the country. The UK’s first supermarket under the new Premier Supermarkets brand opened in Streatham, South London, taking ten times as much per week as the average British general store of the time. Other chains caught on, and after Galvani lost out to Tesco’s Jack Cohen in 1960 to buy the 212 Irwin’s chain, the sector underwent a large amount of consolidation, resulting in ‘the big four’ dominant UK retailers of today: Tesco, Asda (owned by Wal-Mart), Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

In the 1950s, supermarkets frequently issued trading stamps as incentives to customers. Today, most chains issue store-specific “membership cards,” “club cards,” or “loyalty cards”. These typically enable the card holder to receive special members-only discounts on certain items when the credit card-like device is scanned at check-out.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Crisis management: candy rationing in 1942

oana vasiliuCan you imagine your life without candies ? In 2011, it’s impossible, but years ago, in 1940, UK, candies were rationing because of the shortage of supplies. Rationing came into force on 8 January 1940, a few months after the start of World War II. All sorts of essential and non-essential foods were rationed, as well as clothing, furniture and petrol. Rationing of sweets and chocolate began on 26 July 1942.

The process of de-rationing began in 1948, but made slow progress until 1953. Then Food Minister Gwilym Lloyd-George made it a priority for his department.As well as sweets, he took eggs, cream, butter, cheese, margarine and cooking fats off the ration books.He de-rationed sugar in September 1953, partly as a result of pressure from sweet manufacturers, and finally ended rationing when meat was taken off the ration books in July1954.

Many, particularly women, took up smoking when sugar became scarce, so the tobacco industry expected a drop in sales once sugar became more widely available.

After 11 years, this candy rationing ends in Great Britain. BBC says:

Children all over Britain have been emptying out their piggy-banks and heading straight for the nearest sweet-shop as the first unrationed sweets went on sale today.

Toffee apples were the biggest sellers, with sticks of nougat and liquorice strips also disappearing fast.

One firm in Clapham Common gave 800 children 150lbs of lollipops during their midday break from school; and a London factory opened its doors to hand out free sweets to all comers.

Adults joined in the sugar frenzy, with men in the City queuing up in their lunch breaks to buy boiled sweets and to enjoy the luxury of being able to buy 2lb boxes of chocolates to take home for the weekend.

oana vasiliu

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Declaration of Principles – Ivy Lee

In order to understand a domain, you have to start with background information. The history of public relations begins in 1860s, when terms like “publicity”, “press agent” were put together with “business”, “industry” or “company”.

More PR history, here:

Ivy Lee is one of the pioneers of public relations, the one who in 1906 presented what today we call The Declaration of Principles.

This is Ivy Lee’s “Declaration of Principles,” as quoted by Sherman Morse in “An Awakening in Wall Street: How the Trusts, after Years of Silence, now speak though authorized and acknowledged Press Agents”(The American Magazine, vol. 63, September 1906). Update: vol. number was incorrect — the correct number is vol. 62. Page numbers = 457-63; the declaration is on p. 460.

“This is not a secret press bureau. All our work is done in the open. We aim to supply news. This is not an advertising agency; if you think any of our matter ought properly to go to your business office, do not use it. Our matter is accurate. Further details on any subject treated will be supplied promptly, and any editor will be assisted most cheerfully in verifying directly any statement of fact. Upon inquiry, full information will be given to any editor concerning those on whose behalf an article is sent out. In brief, our plan is, frankly and openly, on behalf of business concerns and public institutions, to supply to the press and public of the United States prompt and accurate information concerning subjects which it is of value and interest to the public to know about. Corporations and public institutions give out much information in which the news point is lost to view. Nevertheless, it is quite as important to the public to have this news as it is to the establishments themselves to give it currency. I send out only matter every detail of which I am willing to assist any editor in verifying for himself. I am always at your service for the purpose of enabling you to obtain more complete information concerning any of the subjects brought forward in my copy.”

oana vasiliu

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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