September 22, 2009

If the White House Isn't Employing the World's Largest PR Firm to Use the NEA to Astroturf their Agenda ...(bumped)

... then why is Bim Ayandele, of Winner & Associates -- a subdivision of Publicis Groupe, one of the world's largest PR firms -- twittering this stuff during normal business hours? Dan Riehl passes on word that Ayandele likes to use the social networking tool twitter. A tool often used to help stories go viral.

This tweet from Bim Ayandele is from around 8:35 this AM.

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But maybe Bim just got a late start this morning? Notice the time stamps. All of the links take you to either health care related or anti-Tea Party stories/blog posts.

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Notice the date on the last one? August 11th. The day after the NEA conference call with "artists".

If this wasn't about politics, then why was a self-described (note to Bim I never said you "ran" a huge PR firm) "Senior Associate" for a subdivision of one of the world's largest PR firms involved in the call? A PR firm which specializes in "grassroots organization", "issues management" and "crisis communications"?

Bim isn't an artist. He's a political consultant.

And I'm pretty sure the White House is in "crisis mode" on health care right now. Who better than the professionals that handled Exxon's PR after the Valdez disaster to handle the health care PR debacle?

Why was he involved if not as an expert trying to get the artists to take the White House's message and make it appear to be a spontaneous "grassroots" effort?

Again, look at the date at that last twitter. I'll note that Bim has been twittering since July 28, 2008. Between his sign up date and a year later he only twittered 19 times. None of them political.

One year, no political tweets.

After the NEA conference call he's twittered 38 times. Almost all of them political tweets.

Are you telling me that Winner and Associates has not been hired -- either directly by David Axelrod in the White House or indirectly through a third party such as MoveOn.org -- to help orchestrate "grassroots support" for President Obama's policy agenda?

If that is the case, then this would be twice when Winner and Associates employees were using company time to push Obama for free. One has to wonder, what kind of business plan does Publicis Groupe have that it allows its employees to do the work of the left wing of the Democratic party all day long .... for free?

Here we have the quintessential grassroots viral tool -- twitter -- being used by a professional political consultant on company time; and who also was involved in the now controversial National Endowment for the Arts conference call and we're being asked to believe that the conference call wasn't designed to get artists to push Obama's agenda?

Puh-lease!!

Just like we were asked by Ethan Winner to believe that the whole smear against Sarah Palin and the effort by Winner & Associate employees to try to get it to go viral was done on his own initiative -- even though we know it was done on company time?

Double puh-lease!!

It's amazing Winner & Associates makes any money at all.

Unless, of course, they were being paid to do all of this. In which case, one has to wonder whether any laws were broken?

UPDATE: Dan Riehl pointed out to me that Dana Loesch has already pointed out that after the conference call, other participants also became suddenly keen on tweeting for Obama.

The difference between the tweets by, say, Michael Skolnik and Bim Ayandele? Skolnik is an artist. Someone who, arguably, should have been in on a conference call on the arts.

Bim Ayandele works for a political consulting firm. If he wasn't there to help orchestrate a grassroots campaign -- in a paid capacity -- then why was he there?

UPDATE II: Wow, passing Obamacare is critical for the "arts community". It's almost as if the NEA is trying to get the "grassroots" to support the President's agenda...

Thanks to Drew M who has more on this "giant misunderstanding".

UPDATE III: But I'm sure this is all spontaneous "grassroots" stuff. No one is directing them. Especially no one in the White House....

UPDATE IV: Winner & Associates has a blog! And guess what one of their entries is about? How their firm can help you use twitter and other "Web 2.0" applications to manage crises. From the post:

However, as much as social media creates risks, Web 2.0 can also be a valuable tool for those who want to understand and potentially manage the actions, trends, and opinions that shape their reputations. As a borderless window to millions of minds around the world, Web 2.0 offers the opportunity to better understand global trends and opinions in the making a knowledge which is critical to anticipating issues and/or crises and developing effective response strategies...

Ultimately, organizations must actively ENGAGE with the millions of digital minds which aspire to discuss, debate and influence the decisions being made about the products they purchase, the services they use, the environments in which they live and the issues they care about....

Whether it is by blogging, tweeting, linking, or creating their own forums, organizations must be proactive online if they want to maintain control over their reputations. They must engage with online communities, be aware of participant concerns and, when appropriate, develop responses to those concerns. In the Web 2.0 global village where people live and learn through uncensored dialogue and near instantaneous interactions traditional external communications utilizing earned and paid media are no longer enough.

Managing issues and enhancing the reputations of our clients has been the highest priority of my firm, Winner & Associates, since its founding in 1975. Our global Advanced Reputation Management System gives our clients a competitive advantage in the constantly evolving world of Web 2.0.

So, Ayendale works for a firm that specializes in using social media to "manage issues and enhance reputations".

Issues like, say, health care? Reputations like, say, the President Obama's?

And doing it through unpaid media. This all seems like it's the very definition of "astroturfing" to me.

Thanks to Howie.

UPDATE V: Hmmm, BohicaTwentyTwo wonders if they were involved in the "No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick" Facebook scheme?

Developing.....

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:23 PM | Comments |