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Heinz is Taking a Special Interest in Chicagoans

America’s favorite ketchup company may have its feelings hurt over Chicagoans refusing to put the delicious condiment on their hot dogs. Whether you’re from Chicago or not, it’s no secret that according to Chicagoans ketchup just doesn’t belong on hot dogs. We love our all beef dog on a poppy seed bun with all the fixens of chopped white onions, pickled sport peppers, one large pickle spear, dash of celery salt, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices and mustard. Ketchup? No, thank you.

chicago dog

Heinz thinks it may have a more inclusive solution to incorporate a tomato based condiment for Chicago dogs. It is being very careful not to refer to this sauce as ketchup, but rather “Chicago Dog Sauce.” In honor of National Hot Dog Day, one of the many days dedicated to delicious food that the world has adopted within the past years (see post here about World Chocolate Day), Heinz went to Chicago hot dog shops and provided them with the new Chicago Dog Sauce. The locals’ reactions were positive until they found out what was really in the Chicago Dog Sauce. Watch the ad below to see how Heinz’s Chicago Dog Sauce experiment really went.

5 Ways for PR to get Involved in ‘World Chocolate Day’

It seems like there is a world or national day for just about every day now. For example, there’s ‘National French Fry Day,’ ‘National Eggnog Day‘ and ‘National Avocado Day‘ to name just a few. Well today, July 7th is ‘World Chocolate Day.’ Today, the world comes together to celebrate one of the most delicious treats out there. PR Daily posted an article today about how PR and marketing can take part in the celebration.


“Worldwide, roughly $101 billion is spent on chocolate each year.

PR and marketing pros taking part in World Chocolate Day are hoping to increase that number—or at least grab consumers’ attention.”

Read the entire article here!

Is Kik Replacing Snapchat?

Social media comes in many different shapes and sizes. From Facebook to Snapchat to Pinterest to Kik, there are a variety of ways for us to stay in touch with our friends and favorite celebrities every day. Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest are widely known by many, but what is Kik?

I’m sure many of us have heard the phrase, “You got a kik?” but what is it really. Kik Messenger is an instant messaging mobile app available for Android, iPhones and Windows Phone operating systems. Through Wi-Fi, you can send and receive messages, videos, sketches and other content with any of your friends that have the app and register a username. Sounds a little bit like Snapchat with similar capabilities and a focus on anonymity. Kik made its debut in 2010, but why did it get lost in the shadow of Snapchat?


Ad Week recently published an article about Dunkin’ Donuts’ interesting marketing move involving Kik. On National Donut Day this year, Dunkin’ Donuts will create and sponsor the first branded face filter on Kik. This face filter will be in addition to the filter they will be creating for Snapchat. While Snapchat face filters have become increasingly popular in recent years, this is the first time a major corporation will be paying for a filter on Kik.


Dunkin’ Donuts could be onto something here. Kik is making its first major comeback in the always evolving world of social media. Will other major corporations follow in Dunkin’ Donuts’ footsteps and create and sponsor face filters for Kik? Or is this going to prove to be a complete waste of money for the coffee and donut company America runs on?

Make sure to grab a donut for National Donut Day!

For more reading, visit Ad Week.


REI Would Rather #OptOutside On Black Friday

REI Blog Picture

The national outdoor and sporting goods retailer REI has decided to close all 143 stores on Black Friday this year in a push to encourage customers to #OptOutside and enjoy the outdoors. In recent years the trend has been for stores to open earlier and earlier on Black Friday leading some stores like RadioShack to open as early as 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. This year, REI is taking a stand against the craziness that ensues when customers flock into stores for some of the lowest prices of the year.

An article by USA Today describes how REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke came to the decision to take a step back from Black Friday:

“Any retailer that hears this will be startled by the idea,” says REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke, who admits he was apprehensive about closing at first. “As a co-op … we define success a little differently. It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?”

Other stores like Costco and Nordstrom have taken a stand against opening early on Thanksgiving Day, but no other store has sat on the sideline during Black Friday until now. This is a momentous decision by Stritzke because Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season and, as USA Today points out, Black Friday has consistently been a top 10 sales day for REI.

With its #OptOutside campaign, REI hopes to completely turn the tide of the Black Friday shopping tradition and give its employees two paid days off to enjoy the outdoors.

The Bloomington, MN REI store manager Brian Harrower has already planned an ice hockey tournament for his first Black Friday off in 25 years, USA Today reported.

“Somebody has to be the one to kind of put their flag in the sand and say enough is enough,” he says. “That’s what #OptOutside is for us, is saying we’re going to be the first, we think this doesn’t make sense anymore, it’s not healthy. And an outdoor life is a healthy life.”

Well put, Brian!

In fact, shouldn’t REI fanatics be thanking Stritzke? Because after all, by forgoing shopping altogether, shoppers will score the best savings of the year.

Oct. 21, 2015: Brands That Leveraged #BacktotheFutureDay

BttF Day Blog

Last Wednesday marked the day Marty McFly went to the future in the 1980’s movie, “Back to the Future,” and brands didn’t skip a beat aligning themselves with the cult classic. Fortune took an in-depth look at how brands like Nike, Toyota and Pepsi  leveraged the day with ads connecting them to the film, while Ford and Universal created mock ads for a Flux Capacitor and Hoverboard. Lyft even added an element to their ride-sharing app called “McFly Mode.” Great Scott!

Here’s how each of these companies used Back to the Future Day to promote their brand:

  • Nike: When Marty McFly arrives in 2015 in the film, he puts on a pair if Nike sneakers that can lace themselves. Starting in January 2015 Tinker Hatfield, the original creator of the concept, said the Nike team was planning to release self-lacing shoes at some point in the year. The concept was again teased to the world this past Tuesday via a tweet. As of now, we still wait for the futuristic sneaker to become a reality.
  • Toyota: Not only does the car in the film travel through time, it is also fueled by garbage. The car company used the date to promote its new hydrogen fuel car, the Mirai, by including actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the debut commercial.
  • Pepsi: The drink of choice for Michael J. Fox’s character in the film, Pepsi released limited edition bottles of the soda that were sold on Amazon. However, they may have been a little too limited. Many fans hoping to get a bottle of the Back to the Future Pepsi took to Twitter to express their disappointment.
  • Ford: In honor of Back to the Future Day, Ford created a dummy version of a flux capacitor – the essential part for time travelling in the film. The Y-shaped generator powered by a getting struck by a bolt of lightning bolt or nuclear fuel was released in a mock ad and advertised to sell at a fictional $1.21 million.
  • Universal: Unfortunately not a real product, but Universal released a mock ad for a hoverboard like the sweet ride available in Back to the Future’s version of 2015. Check out the ad here to see how Universal envisions hoverboards in 2015.
  • Lyft: The on-demand ride sharing company offered free rides for up to 15 minutes around New York City in a DeLorean, the type of car used in the film. Users simply had to press the “McFly Mode” button in the Lyft app and the DeLorean ride would arrive minutes later.

Whether a devoted fan who has waited decades for this day or just someone who wanted to take part in the Back to the Future Day festivities, brands successfully engaged audiences through strategically impactful advertising.

For more on how brands utilized the date for product placement read the full Fortune article here:


Humana Adds Healthier Options To Taste of Chicago


What would a summer in Chicago be without outdoor music festivals, sporting events and the annual Taste of Chicago? The Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. Every summer since 1980, Grant Park along the city’s magnificent lakefront has been home to the world’s largest food festival.

With shifting dietary preferences and the rise in healthy eating, Humana Inc., a health and well-being company, launched Humana Healthier Choices to help festival goers find the healthiest options. This is the first year the program will take place to showcase a group of the healthiest options available at the festival.

All of the restaurants participating in the 2015 Taste of Chicago were invited to submit their menu items for consideration for the Humana Healthier Choices program. For an item to be considered, restaurants submitted nutritional details including calorie count, sodium content, saturated fat and the list of ingredients.

“By expanding Humana Healthier Choices to include vegetarian options and promoting gluten-free alternatives, we’re looking to help a greater population of Taste-goers pursue a healthy eating experience that inspires lifelong well-being,” said Charles Dow, Humana’s Regional President of Senior Products in the Great Lakes. “I encourage everyone to try these delicious, healthy foods and immerse themselves in Humana’s rewards program for a fun, active experience at the Taste of Chicago.”

Here are some of our favorite dishes that are less than 500 calories, 500 mg sodium and 4 g saturated fat. Make sure to check them out at the Taste, going on until July 12th!

  1. Watermelon Hibiscus Gazpacho – Farmer’s Fridge
    Farmer’s Fridge is a healthy kiosk concept that delivers delicious salads and snacks to customers through automated kiosks around the Chicagoland area. Known for their fresh hand-crafted salads, Farmer’s Fridge will debut a limited edition menu created exclusively for this year’s festival. The Watermelon Gazpacho is a bright, refreshing and subtly sweet dish that is finished off with a dollop of raw cashew cream for a savory contrast.
  2. Malnati Salad – Lou Malnati’s
    The oldest family name in Chicago pizza, Lou Malnati’s has a commitment to quality and using the finest and freshest ingredients. They are serving the Malnati Salad that includes romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, Volpi salami bits and gorgonzola cheese and Sweet Vinaigrette and romano cheese.
  3. Doner Kebab – DönerMen
    DönerMen is German Imbiss (street food) that showcases grilled meats and flavor combinations from around the world. DonerMen’s Doner Kebab is a traditional Turkish dish innovated into a fresh, healthy wrap. It’s filled with vertical spit-roasted chicken, cucumber yogurt tzatziki, spicy North African harrissa red pepper sauce, fresh greens, tomato/cucumber shirazi, wild Turkish pickle, thin sliced onion and rolled in hand made Yufka flat bread.

For more information about the Taste of Chicago please visit:

Compelling Campaign’s Rise to the Top at 2015 Cannes Lion Festival


After all of the results were announced at the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival last week, people noticed a trend in the winning campaigns – advertisements with empowering messages brought home the most prestigious awards.

The Cannes Lion Festival, a global awards ceremony held for top professionals in the creative communications and advertising industry, had a spike in the number of awards given to the campaigns with a powerful message.

There are over 18 different advertising and media related categories and a top prize, the Grand Prix award, awarded to one campaign in each group. In the PR category, the #LikeAGirl campaign for feminine care brand Always created by ad agency Leo Burnett transformed the negative term “like a girl” into a strong message for women. #LikeAGirl won the award over 1,969 other entries in the PR category.

Other highlights included the LifePaint campaign for Volvo created by ad agency Grey London, Lucky Iron Fish by agency Geometric Global, I Will What I Want for Under Armour created by Droga5 and Red Light App for Vodafone by Y&R Team Red Istanbul which all received a Grand Prix award, the highest honor of the ceremony.

Many of the winning campaigns promoted topics like women empowerment, awareness of various issues such as iron deficiency in Cambodia and safety. According to USA Today, many of these campaigns have made a positive impact towards their cause. The Lucky Fish project for example was proven to have improved the overall iron intake of Cambodians, who are prone to iron deficiency leading to diseases like anemia.

Although the 2015 Cannes Lion Festival has awarded many other campaigns for being innovative and original, the creative communications with the most powerful messages were clearly the most successful in their efforts. Will heartwarming and empowering become the next big thing for PR and advertising?

Millennials and Money: Embrace the YOLO Mindset with Phroogal


Most Millennials, or people whose birth years range from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, experienced a Great Recession during a time when they were on the journey toward career development. In result, most Millennials have formed a YOLO mindset, an acronym for you only live once, on how to handle their money. Phroogal, a millennial lifestyle brand, aims to help Millennials embrace a positive YOLO financial mindset by offering advice and empowering Millennials to make better financial decisions in order to live a dream lifestyle. Phroogal strives to teach Millennials that there is no better day than today to start learning about money and making smart financial decisions.

Phroogal is embracing the positive YOLO mindset by hitting the road on a cross- country road trip to get people talking about their financial wellness. The Road to Financial Wellness tour will kick off in Portland, Maine on June 1, 2015 and wrap up in Los Angeles on June 30. The epic 10,000 mile road trip will take the Phroogal team across the country to visit 30 cities in 30 days. The Phroogal team will be hosting events at each stop along the way including financial education workshops, fairs, coffeehouse discussions and impromptu street level discussions. The Road to Financial Wellness events are aimed to start local conversations about money and turn them into a national conversation about financial well-being.

With this new financial mindset and journey underway, here are our top three favorite tips from Phroogal about being financially smart and maintaining a positive financial mindset:

  1. Envision your dream lifestyle. YOLO emphasizes today over tomorrow, but remember tomorrow is just the following day. Retirement is closer than you think as days turn into months and years into decades. So envision your dream lifestyle, prepare, and go for it!
  2. Invest in yourself. Whether you’re dreaming about backpacking around the world or driving a new sports car, it’s going to take some crucial financial planning to make that happen. If you want to have more free time then stop exchanging your time for a paycheck.
  3. Tackle Debt. There is nothing wrong with spending, but overspending leads to debt. When it comes down to it, the longer you wait, the more it costs you. Consider additional ways to make money such as side hustles or freelance work.

To learn more about Phroogal and the Road to Financial Wellness Tour Visit:

HYDRIVE Energy Water was Celebrity “It” Drink at the Emmys

HYDRIVE Energy Water set off to Los Angeles earlier this week to hang out with some of their favorite TV stars for a little pre-Emmy fun. Actors from Emmy-nominated shows such as Veep actor Matt Walsh, Michael Gill from House of Cards, actress Sibel Kekilli from Game of Thrones and RJ Mitte from Breaking Bad enjoyed a low-calorie and refreshing boost from HYDRIVE Energy Water along with Emmy red carpet host Ross Mathews, Jaime Pressly, Missi Pyle, singer Kate Nash, sister to Miley Cyrus, Brandi Cyrus and more. The low-calorie energy water is the hottest new trend among celebrities who need an energy boost both on and off screen at only 30 calories/bottle.


“Chelsea Lately” and “Tonight Show” Star Ross Mathews.


“Veep” Actor Matt Walsh.


“True Blood” Actress Kristin Bauer.


 “House of Cards” Actor Michael Gill.


“Game of Thrones” Actress Sibel Kekilli.

This Weekend: Flat Iron Artists’ Association Presents Coyote 2013, The Wicker Park/Bucktown Festival of the Arts!

PPR is gearing up for this weekend’s Coyote 2013 Festival of the Arts, which will honor the artistic spirit of Wicker Park/Bucktown September 27th-29th, 2013. Coyote 2013 is an art show that will feature the artwork of more than 150 painters, sculptors, photographers, performers, poets and musicians. Participating artists include Dana Parisi, Paul Alexander, Lenny French, Turkan Ilkdemirci, Barbora Simerska and many more!

Highlights of this event will include neighborhood galleries and local businesses participating in a fun and magical atmosphere with live music venues. Wicker Park/Bucktown will be buzzing with art enthusiasts and newcomers alike enjoying the festivities.

For more information on the event visit their Facebook page.

(Artwork by Charles Rees)

Follow @FlatIronArtists to win original artwork by some of the featured artists at Coyote 2013 and check out their blog here.