Category Archives: Chicago Sun-Times


Is a Donut Better for You than a Salad?

Candice Choi’s article, “Dunkin’ Donuts adds doughnut bacon sandwich to menu”in the Chicago Sun-Times is a great public relations move. The sandwich consists of fried eggs and bacon on a glazed doughnut, so I don’t think I could eat it unless I extend my daily workout from one hour to five. However, what Dunkin’ Donuts is doing is newsworthy. 

Everyone knows that fatty, sugary, salty foods aren’t good for you, so fast food restaurants, even McDonald’s, are offering salads and more healthy food. You’d think that since people are more health-conscious, they would want more healthy food, and even Choi says that sales have increased because of the healthier menus. However, Dunkin’ Donuts is giving people what they’re wired to crave, and it seems like a novelty. After all, PR-wise, healthy food doesn’t seem as exciting, but a crazy, caloric sandwich can make a splash. 

It reminds me that what’s old is new again, because for years fast food restaurants didn’t offer healthy food, and Dunkin’ Donuts is returning to that approach. In that way, what Dunkin’ Donuts is doing seems contrarian in their publicity efforts. However, the company really scored because the sandwich will cause lots of conversations online and off. I bet people have even been posting photos online of them eating it just to show others how adventurous they can be. 

After looking at what that company has done, think about what you can do that will be noticed and that people will talk about. Maybe you’re not a proponent of unhealthy food, but if you look at your business, there’s probably something you can find that’s noteworthy. 

By the way, if you’ve tried the sandwich, let me know.  


Does a Prostitute Belong at Your Honeymoon?

Here’s a real winner: a man was arrested on his honeymoon for soliciting a prostitute. I can understand why that Chicago Sun-Timesstory, “Suburban man arrested for soliciting prostitute on his honeymoon,” by Jon Seidel and Stefano Esposito, has become so popular. On what was supposed to be a very special day, his wife noticed he’d gone missing, and lo and behold, she found out that he’d responded to an ad on a website that was posted by an undercover detective. I think it’s safe to say that this marriage isn’t going to be so great, and it’s not the only example of a failed partnership.

There are partnerships in business that don’t always go well, and a good relationship is especially important when doing publicity. Whether a company has merged with another, has acquired new clients, or simply wants to publicize new hires, everyone has to be on the same page. Not only does the message have to be clear and consistent, but anyone communicating with the press and public should have the same tone, facts, goals, and style. After all, the company might end up getting the kind of publicity the newly married couple got, and no one would want that. 



Can a Press Release Become the News?

Cashing in on press releases that generate
negative publicity is simply goofy.

I saw an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, “State Sen. Sandoval’s $68,400 side gig: translating news releases,” by Dan Mihalopoulos, Steve Warmbir, and Dave McKinney about how a politician is making a great living by being a consultant for the Town of Cicero, where he was also elected to serve. What caught my attention was not just what State Senator Martin Sandoval is doing to profit from his skills, but that there’s so much news surrounding press releases. That’s because with the speed of communication nowadays, press releases aren’t as important as they used to be.

It used to be that a press release was the only way to connect to the media, but now there are other avenues, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, which make us not have to rely on just press releases. I still think they’re useful and allow us to summarize client news. Plus they’re a good way to send out information that might be picked up by news websites. But spending thousands of dollars on them? That’s not smart at all.

If you hire someone to translate a press release and distribute it through a service such as PR Web, it should only cost around $300. But according to the article, the Town of Cicero is paying him $4,200 a month to be a consultant, in addition to the $1,500 a month he gets from the village of Melrose Park. That’s a lot of money to spend for press releases, especially when the media has changed, and they don’t pay as much attention to press releases anymore.

Sen. Sandoval has taken advantage of people’s lack of media savvy, and look what it’s gotten him: negative press coverage.