For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people's privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.
Turns out it was our favorite social networking company, Facebook, that hired the PR firm to do its dirty work. Burson-Marsteller fessed up about its arrangement with Facebook, and threw Zuck's company to the wolves. Hence the divorce.
So which company takes the hardest hit, Facebook or Burson-Marsteller? The PR company lost a big, powerful client, and looks quite sleazy. But it's hard to work up outrage, mostly because shady behavior seems to be, at least occasionally, part of the fabric of PR (not that journalists are always morally pristine). It's worth noting too that Burson-Marsteller has had a few unsavory clients in the past.
But our opinion of Facebook should probably drop a notch or two. The campaign makes Facebook look just a little scared and weak, and capable of questionable corporate behavior. But the company will probably get through this mess just fine, according to MG Siegler on TechCrunch:
Like it or not, Facebook is too integrated into the fabric of the web now for everyone to just walk away. As has been proven time and time again, people will get really angry with them for some misstep, and then totally forget about it a week later.
The Minnesota Vikings' agreement with Ramsey County for a new $1.057 billion stadium includes a $407 million contribution from the team and private financing. A chunk of that, should the stadium be built, would come from corporate naming rights. Same thing goes for a deal to keep the Vikings in Minneapolis.
So...which Minnesota company might pony up? Let's look at the most likely pool of candidates, Minnesota's Fortune 500, with a few thoughts interspersed.
1. UnitedHealth Group
Lots of injuries in football. Marketing opportunities abound.
Might as way go all the way. Target Field, Target Center, Target Stadium. The Target Triumvirate.
3. Best Buy
Name: Best Buy Bowl?
Eden Prairie-based Supervalu is consolidating its store-brand products under one nationwide brand. The brand name will be "Essential Everyday." So, it could call the stadium "Essential Everyday Field." Nah.
Probably doesn't need the name recognition. But "Post-It Palace" would be nice, wouldn't it?
A "diversified energy, grains and foods company," it could use some name recognition that a stadium might bring. I've never heard of CHS, have you?
7. U.S. Bancorp
We could have another Twin Cities stadium we could call "The Bank." Cool.
See United Health Group.
9. General Mills
Name: The GM Cereal Bowl.
10. Land O'Lakes
Land O'Lakes is based in Arden Hills, where a Ramsey County stadium would be built. So why not? Stadium nickname: The Milk. "I'm headed to the Milk to see the Vikings!"
11. Xcel Energy
Xcel Center. Xcel Stadium. Keep up with Target?
12. Ameriprise Financial
Financial planning. Might be problematic to take financial advice from a company that just blew millions to name a stupid stadium.
13. C.H. Robinson Worldwide
A "third party logistics provider," whatever that means. Nothing clever to say here. It's getting late in this post. Fill in your own.
14. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
Maybe my favorite. I'd love to hear TV announcers trip over it. Would this be the only stadium with a religious denomination in the name? Methinks so.
15. Hormel Foods
Nickname: The Chili. Spam jokes too obvious.
The world's largest supplier of phosphate and potash. So many possibilities.
18. St. Jude Medical
See United Health Group and Medtronic.
Look, folks. I'm getting tired. What would YOU say about "Nash Finch Field?"
20. Alliant Techsystems
We will defend our house! De-fense! De-fense!
College campuses are frequently held up as a market place of ideas, or at least a reflection of our current state of civic discourse. What's your take on the item below?
Colleague Alex Friedrich who blogs for On Campus has a fascinating item about the flag burning attempt by Ben Haas. He's a communication studies graduate student at Louisiana State University.(8 Comments)
Idea Peepshow has documented what many of us have been feeling for sometime. Let's just hope that steep downward drop comes to an end soon.
Here it is. A chart proving that we're enduring the worst-ever period for Minnesota sports.3 Comments)
Worse than the powder-blue seasons of Twins mediocrity in the 1970s. Worse than the short-but-painful Vikings reign of Les Steckel. Worse than the open wound of the Tim Brewster era at the University of Minnesota.