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In public relations, reaching out to the community and getting involved is often an important, common objective for many clients. Whether you’re doing PR for an organization that is active in the community, or you’re a PR student trying to find ways to use your PR skills to help out someone for a resume booster, the community is almost like a member of the family in the field of public relations.

Sharon Brandsma’s story is no different.

In September 2008, Brandsma finished writing, illustrating and co-publishing Glory Rose and the Gloaming. Since then, she has been busy with many book signings, marketing tours, agent meetings, a TV appearance and trying to finish writing Glory Rose’s sequel “Glory Rose and the Book of Shadows,” which is due out next fall.

Glory Rose and the Gloaming has inspired many local citizens to get involved and support Brandsma on her adventure and journey to becoming a nationally recognized author.

Recently University of Oregon electronic media major, Tyler Macklin, produced a news segment featuring how the local community of Eugene is involved with Glory Rose and the Gloaming.

So, here it is! Hope you enjoy, (you might recognize a familiar face).

How do you get involved with your local community? Tell me your story.

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The end of fall term has quickly stumbled upon me, and I am thrilled to say that this has been the most successful, and rewarding term of my college career! For the first time ever, I feel enthusiastic and confident about where my future in public relations will take me.

best-of-us

Brandsma and I at the 2008 Author and Artists' Fair

I am so grateful to have gotten to work with Sharon Brandsma and “Glory Rose and the Gloaming.” As you know, I’ve been busy pitching and promoting her book, and so far the results of my work have been beyond successful.

Getting involved with Glory Rose was definitely a new experience for me; I became passionate about something I was working on and because of that, I did everything in my power to support Brandsma in accomplishing her goals. Even though I am talking in the past tense, I am still very much committed to continuing to help Brandsma next term.

Besides being ignited by Glory Rose, I have to give a major thanks to my professor Tiffany Derville. She made this term productive and worthwhile (i.e. she challenged me). This could be seen as a negative thing for some students, but I tend to do better when I am challenged. Thanks to her, I am now a part of the blogosphere. I have sharpened my social media and Web navigational skills. I have created a professional resume and portfolio. I have a digital footprint: when you Google my name stuff actually comes up. I better understand common grammar errors PR professionals tend to make. And most important, I have a sense of confidence in my work.

Enough about the past, let’s talk about the future.

My winter term is going to be significantly different than this term. I will be working as a public relations intern at The Ulum Group, which is a full-service public relations firm in Eugene. I am also going to be working as the creative production/promotions intern at KEZI-TV. Both of the supervisors who hired me on seem really excited to have me joining their team, which makes me even more excited and motivated to prove my worth! I am looking forward to all the opportunities and challenges that will emerge from these internships. Having these two internships will hopefully make my soon-to-be transition of college (kid) life to career (adult) life a bit smoother as well. I will be working Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, as well as taking my last four college credits. So I will be busy! But who isn’t these days?

So there’s a recap of fall term and highlights of what’s to come for next. I will probably be taking a hiatus from blogging for a bit to rightfully celebrate the holidays with friends and family; however, I totally intend to keep blogging it up next term so stay tuned!

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twilight1Everyone by now has heard of “Twilight.” You have either read it yourself (meaning you are probably a woman); you’ve heard about it from your girlfriend, wife, or daughter; or you’ve seen it publicized on TV or the Internet. I admit, I am a die hard “Twilight” fan. I have almost completed the entire saga; I only have 300 pages left of “Breaking Dawn,” which I’m absolutely loving so far!

Contrary to what some critics said about the movie, I thought it was very well done and stayed true to the book. I had very high expectations for passion1 the film and especially of Edward Cullen in particular. Sure the screen writing could have been a bit stronger, but overall, the on screen passion between Edward and Bella felt real, and the beautiful, Northwest filmed cinematography was spectacular. Even my boyfriend, who is a film major, thought the movie contained some stunning outdoor cinematic shots. My favorite scene of the movie is when Edward is climbing (or more like running) up a 200ft tree with Bella on his back. At one point the camera pulls from a close up to a panoramic view and reveals them standing near the top of the 200ft tree. It’s remarkable camera work that you can tell was not green screened!edwardbellatree

Since I am a PR major, my mind is often naturally thinking about public relations things, such as how I could creatively promote something, or how a company could promote something better. While I was in the theater thoroughly enjoying “Twilight,” I noticed some definite intended product placement. Can anyone guess what I’m referring to?

Well, I can tell you that it’s not Bella’s 1953 Chevy truck, or Edward’s Volvo S60 R, or even Rosalie’s BMW M3rainier506d1 convertible. I’m actually talking about Charlie’s and Billy’s drink of choice: Rainier Beer.

If you don’t know already, Rainier beer is a Northwest born and brewed beer. Stroh Brewing company has slacked local thirsts in the Georgetown area of Seattle for more than a century now! Once prohibition ended, the owners of the brewery installed a giant, red “R” neon sign (visible from I-5) that later became a local landmark. In the 80s, the climax of Rainier Beer’s popularity, the brand produced some of the region’s quirkiest and popular advertising, such as the running of the RainBeers (a herd of bottles with legs sticking out of them) and a motorcycle whose gears shifted to the whine of the product’s name. The brewery became the fourth largest in the world. In 1999, Rainier Beer was sold to Pabst brewing Company and soon after the famous “R” sign was taken down.beer091

I thought it was very clever and refreshing to see the movie use a locally brewed and nationally recognized old-time beer favorite. Charlie, the protagonist’s dad, referred to Rainier Beer as “Vitamin R.” There were at least three scenes that showed Charlie getting back from the store with two, 6-packs of Rainier “tall boys,” or slugging down a can of Rainier Beer while listening to Bella talk. There’s even one scene where Bella says something like, “Here dad, have another one of your favorites,” referring to the beer. I found the product placement to be very appropriate. Obviously Pabst Brewing Co. had to give Summit Entertainment permission to use the beer in the film. You would also have to assume that they probably agreed on some financial arrangements for the beer to be used, because I can assure you that Rainer Beer was not incorporated into the “Twilight” books, written by Stephenie Meyer.

It’s interesting because Pabst Brewing Co. has not really invested in advertising in over 20 years. It’s also interesting that it is hard to find Rainier Beer these days. Many stores and restaurants do not even stock it anymore. I worked at a restaurant this summer, and we sold Rainier Beer… let’s just say on more than one occasion I made guys’ days because of that.

I would categorize this type of PR promoting as “guerrilla PR.” I don’t think the intention of Pabst Brewing Co. or director, Catherine Hardwicke, was to revamp the brand name of Rainier Beer, as so much as to honor the Northwest region by using one of its own products as a prop.

I wonder how the product placement of Rainier Beer in “Twilight” will affect (or not affect) sales. What do you think?

Even at a vampire movie my mind is still thinking PR. Is that strange?

If you have a minute you should definitely check out this old-school Rainier Beer commercial. It’s pretty darn funny.

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picture-151Over the holiday weekend “Glory Rose the Gloaming” was given the gift of being featured in three more regional newspapers! It is amazing to watch the progress since Glory Rose’s release in September 2008. Since her initial media coverage on Nov. 16, Brandsma has continued to receive fan mail and inquires about the book through e-mails. She is hoping that people will continue to follow their interests and curiosities by buying the book and spreading the word.

The Gazette Times entertainment reporter, Theresa Hogue, wrote an excellent review of the book that portrayed Glory Rose and Brandsma’s writing in high regards. This is the first published book review of Glory Rose, and I’m happy to announce that it was a success! The article that ran in the Gazette Times, also ran in the Albany Democrat Herald on November 28, 2008.

Today, an article in the Bend Bulletin came out, which featured a more detailed look into Brandsma’s background and how she began writing Glory Rose.

It has been refreshing that all three articles have had different angles to them. Each reporter has personally told Bransma how much they enjoyed the book, which they have all clearly shown in their writing.

One PR concept that I have learned from doing this project is that reporters usually need (or highly prefer) an event or special occasion to tie in with a story, especially for something like promoting an author and book. It was much easier to pitch the story idea to reporters after Branssma landed a book signing or reading somewhere.

The next steps for Glory Rose are to continue to promote and market the book to even more areas of Oregon, including Salem and the Portland. I will keep you all posted on Glory’s Rose’s escalating journey to success!!

Since I am Brandma’s publicist, it would only be appropriate for me to remind you that Glory Rose is available on Amazon.com and Target.com for only $14.99. Books are great gifts to buy for friends and family. I’m sure many of you gave the “Twilight” books a chance, so why not give an Oregon author a chance?

Here are even more reasons why you should give a book as a gift:

  • “A Book. Longer-lasting than a fruitcake, cheaper than a flat screen, more fun than a partridge in a pear tree.”
  • “Books return dividends for life.”
  • “Why a book? Because a new tie never changed anyone’s life.”
  • “Affordable. Portable. Memorable. Books are a gift beyond measure.”
  • “Give love. Give time. Give joy. Give books.”
  • “A Book: The perfect gift for someone who has everything. The perfect gift for someone who has nothing.”

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hollywood_viedologo_redA few of my friends and I recently had a conversation about how the video store industry has got to be on the verge of collapse. In all honestly, how many of you still make the trip to the go to video store? My guess is, is that most people do not. There are so many other options for video renters today that are so much cheaper than Hollywood Video or Blockbuster. Anyone heard of Netflicks or better yet, Redbox? redbox

I’ll sum up some of the reasons why I think people turn to these two choices more frequently as opposed to video stores: They are profoundly cheaper, much more quick and efficient, no extra gas expenses, no waiting in lines, and no driving all the way there to find that the video you want is gone.

All this got me thinking about how the video store industry should try and revive and revamp itself.

Well, I think the answer lies in changing some of the ways they are doing business, and most importantly, developing a strong public relations promoting campaign.

I was never a frequent visitor of Blockbuster so I’m going to use Hollywood Video as the example store.

After brainstorming a bit, I thought of some of PR tactics that I think Hollywood Video could have success with. Keep in mind that this is all hypothetical, and I’m’ pretending to have a decent budget.

It would be ideal if Hollywood Video could slash its prices, but I’m thinking that it might be a little unrealistic with the brewing economic troubles. So, I would suggest Hollywood Video to get inside the head of its consumers and think and understand why people are choosing other renters over them. You could probably narrow the reasons to: cost of movie, cost of gas it takes to drive to video store (and back to return), and pure inconvenience. Here are the tactics I came up with.

1. Start a daily “happy hour” during certain hours of the day where people could come in and either receive a $1 off coupon, a free soda, candy, or popcorn bucket, or an old movie rental for $1.

2. Create and pitch a strong proposal aimed at partnering with a national gas company. Ideally, Hollywood would like to giveaway gas coupons to all customers, which would then “drive” the customer to that particular gas station, where a free rental coupon would be given away with any fill up. A mututally benefical strategy.

3. Develop a sweepstakes contest for customers who spend a certain amount of money or come in many times a month, to enter to win a trip to Hollywood, CA where the winner would receive passes to tour Universal Studios.

4. Give away free movie coupons to local schools, libraries, museums, art studios, restaurants, boutiques and other places where people would use and appreciate the coupon. This would help broaden awareness that Hollywood Video is trying to stay “In tuned” and up-to-date with the changing technology.

5. Raise awareness about Hollywood Video’s Community Spotlight project called “Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation.”index_top

Although these are just a few hypothetical ideas about what the suffering video store rental industry could do to improve their faltering business endeavors, I think that many of the tactics I mentioned could generate positive media coverage, which is exactly what Hollywood Video would want.

Unfortunately, it may be only a matter of technological advances (or time) before video stores are completely taken out. Realistically, I envision being able to download any new or old movie instantaneously on your own computer within the next three to five years, don’t you?

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Two of my close friends, Tyler Macklin and Michael Miller, recently finished creating a music video. Tyler directed, filmed and edited the piece, while Michael helped with creative input and lent his skills in visual effects. The video is far beyond amateur quality and deserves to be seen, so I figured I would take the initiative to try and help them promote it (since I am a public relations major and all).

I’m not just doing this because they’re my friends; I’m doing it because, like the book I’m promoting, I believe in their work.

Their most recent collaboration is this music video titled “These Few Percepts,” the song was written by Shawn Cook, and the lyrics are based on a soliloquy from Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet.” I was lucky enough to be a part of this project as well. I hope you enjoy it!

On Sunday Nov. 16, they entered this video into Diva Studio’s monthly Video Slam and won first place, which qualified them to be a part of the annual Video Slam Festival in February.

Now, here’s some background on these two incredibly talented filmmakers.

Tyler Macklin started working with video at an early when he began to film himself and friends

Tyler Macklin

Tyler Macklin

skateboarding. In 2004 Tyler scripted, filmed and edited a professional TV segment that aired on Fuel TVs “DC Shoe’s Project Detention.” That was really when he realized that he had an “eye” for video, and he wanted to pursue a career in film.

In his time at the UO he has worked on many class and freelance projects that have helped him improve his skills and get noticed. From 2005-2007, Tyler produced, filmed and edited weekly TV segments for “Duck U.” He also produced, filmed and edited safe-sex, anti-drug and drinking PSAs for the University of Oregon Health Center. Last winter, Tyler was featured on the front page of the Register Guard for his extensive online video work with YouTube, and during spring term he won second place for “Best Dramatic Short” at the 2008 UO Student Film Festival. Right now, Tyler is working on many class projects and as being a multimedia reporter for the Oregon Daily Emerald.

Michael Miller started doing video workwhen he was young as well. He used to make stop motion videos where he would try using practical effects, like making his brother look like a giant, with various camera angles. At the age of 12 he got a job as an acting extra on the movie “Drive Me Crazy” with Melissa Joan Hart. He soon realized that acting was not for him, and he dropped out of video making for a short period.

Michael Miller

Michael Miller

Michael started to get back into video about two and a half years ago when he made a Star Wars/Nintendo spoof that ended up winning a small award. The excitement from that was enough to launch him back into film making. Michael’s specialty and concentration with video is working with special effects and graphic design. He is currently working with Amsel Media, and Behind-the-Scenes Productions, from Eugene, Oregon.

Michael has been recognized for his work with visual effects by winning first place and the “People’s Choice Award” in the 2008 Open Lens Film Festival at Diva Studio in Eugene, Oregon. He also won an award for Technical Merit in the 2008 Salem Film festival. Like Tyler, Michael has an extensive YouTube account with an array of fun, creative videos.

If you ever have a minute and are browsing through videos on YouTube, you should check out both of their sites. I promise that you will not be disappointed; in fact, you will be highly entertained.

Since they both have so many videos, I would suggest checking out these ones in particular.

Tyler’s videos: “Green Eugene –Hippie Hunt,” “Safe Sex Condom PSA,” “Hike of Terror” and “Inner Child Revelation.”

Michael’s videos: “The Conflict Within,” “Escape from the Clones,” “Human Torch Effect,” and “Dos Lunas.”

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sharon-book-signingAlthough it has been anything but a quick or small task, my first media coverage, based on my public relations work, has finally arrived!

I have been working on a freelance public relations project with Sharon M. Brandsma, author of “Glory Rose and the Gloaming” for over a month now. In that time I have put many of my PR skills to work. I have written a feature news release, targeted and pitched the story idea to reporters, sent out many copies of the novel to book editors and librarians, created a book signing poster, recorded a pod cast and made a social media release. I guess you could say I have been trying to promote the crap out of it.

After doing the initial research and work, I waited around for a few weeks (basically till after the election), before I heard anything back. The first reporter I contacted, Randi Bjornstad from the Register-Guard, was the one to take an interest in the story and write it.

I am very happy and proud that my hard work and dedication has paid off for Brandsma and myself. I am not being paid or even getting credit for working with Brandsma; I am doing it solely because I love and wholeheartedly believe in “Glory Rose and the Gloaming,” and I knew my PR skills could help Brandsma out. Without a doubt, I believe that this is the beginning of a long journey to stardom for Brandsma, and I’m so happy that I could be involved with it!

I’m really hoping that this media coverage will expand her fan base and readers, because this book deserves to be read!

If you have a teen, “tween,” or fantasy loving friend, brother/sister, or distant relative, and are looking for a great gift to give this holiday season, you should consider buying “Glory Rose and the Gloaming.” What better gift can you give to someone than an imaginative, picturesque and action filled adventure? Think of it this way, you would be supporting and native Oregonian, and the book is under $15. In my opinion, books are great gifts to give because they have more potential than almost any other gift; they continue to give for a lifetime.

With this freelance project, I have learned invaluable PR skills that I will take with me on my continuing journey to finding a career in PR. Working with this book, and Brandsma, has sparked creativity and confidence in my work that I needed to further my PR potential. I can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for me, and for Brandsma’s “Glory Rose and the Gloaming.”

Brandsma at her book signing on Nov. 15, 2008 at the Thurston Book Exchange

Brandsma, far right, at her book signing on Nov. 15, 2008 at the Thurston Book Exchange.

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