From Prohibited to Supported: the History of Public Relations in Hungary

Tamas Barat, president and founder of the American-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce in New York, spoke with the Museum of Public Relations about the evolution of public relations in Hungary and his personal contributions to the profession.

In this first part of the interview,  he talks about freedom of press in Hungary and his first steps as a journalist. He mentions how his career evolved from journalism to public relations and talks about one of his first successful campaigns as a publicity executive. 

 Tamas Barat (picture taken from NapiMagazin)

Tamas Barat (picture taken from NapiMagazin)

Keep Your Kitchen Clean and Reputation Cleaner

 
  Hell's Kitchen's Gordon Ramsay.   Photo by Buzzfeed

Hell's Kitchen's Gordon Ramsay. Photo by Buzzfeed

Public relations agencies work alongside clients to build their image, which could undeniably change the future of your business. Having a close relationship with your client is also crucial when it comes to public relations. A PR practitioner along with their agency, should do everything in order to keep their client’s reputation in good standing; however, that could be slightly more difficult when it comes to individual clients. More specifically, bold, celebrity chefs.

Today, we will look at the industry’s most-famous chefs and review their reputations perceived by the media. Apparently, talent in the kitchen isn’t enough now a days as some chefs have a front for the camera - naturally, this cooks up some controversy!

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Gordon Ramsay

Michelin-starred chef and star of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” Gordon Ramsay has cultivated quite the reputation with his blunt criticism, fiery temper and filthy mouth. The Brit celebrity chef has certainly created his own cooking empire; including 25 restaurants and several television series. Gordon has also gained a large following on Twitter by roasting food pictures fans send to him. He is not shy about judging the food, and some tweets are quite hilarious. Away from being known for his brutal insults, personal issues have impacted Ramsay’s image as well: with a share of feuds with other high-profile chefs (Marco Pierre White), and a mistress in the picture - this can’t be good publicity, Gordon!

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Eddie Huang

New York City-based, marijuana-loving chef Eddie Huang has his fair share of controversy since his opening of BaoHaus, a Taiwanese bun shop in Manhattan. Another restaurant, Xiao Ye, was less successful and closed after poor reviews and controversy over its sales of Four Loko. Huang's career is much about his memoir, “Fresh Off the Boat,” and shows for Viceland; however, he's been involved in other sectors such as corporate law, designing clothes and being an author. Aside from his diverse background, Huang drew in serious criticism for comments he made about black women during an interview on Real Time With Bill Maher in 2005.

"I feel like Asian men have been emasculated so much in America that we're basically treated like Black women." -Huang

This is not the only occasion Huang has offended the African-American culture over social media, and then proceeded to delete it. His foul-mouthed persona and alleged cultural appropriation sparks some discussion, no doubt!

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Anthony Bourdain

The Travel Channel’s celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has recently passed away at the age of 61 of an apparent suicide. Before his death, the world-traveling chef held a multi-faceted reputation; where he was known for his sharp tongue when it came to his likes and dislikes. Bourdain famously has mocked Rachael Ray via Facebook, held years-long fued with celebrity chef, Paula Deen and was also very open with his issues of being a drug addict - which all added to his “bad boy” image. May it live on, forever!

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Rachael Ray

You may have recognized this celebrity chef from her lifestyle program Rachael Ray or any of her three Food Network series. This businesswoman and celebrity chef has established a pretty tidy reputation; however, viewers mock her for her silly catchphrases, such as “yum-o,” “delish,” “sammies,” and “stoups.” Nonetheless, she appears very friendly and holds a large fan-base!

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Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond, or better known as The Pioneer Woman, has, too, been in hot water for racism. This Food Network Star lives on a working ranch outside of Oklahoma and is known for her blog - where she documents being a ranch wife and mother. With her sweet and down home style, you would think Drummond seems pretty scandal-proof, but she made headlines in 2017. During a Season 2 Episode, Drummond pulls a batch of “Asian hot wings” out the oven and then a tray of American Buffalo wings with comments, “I don’t trust ‘em,” and ”Now those are some wings.” Drummond also explained that her husband loves classic Buffalo wings and she wants to pull a prank on him by serving Asian wings.

"I like to mess with my spouse, I can’t help it,” she says. The offensive conceit — that he and his college buddies would be revolted by Asian wings." - Drummond

Viewers of the Asian-American community quickly clapped back on Twitter with their frustrations of racism throughout the episode. The founders of Thick Dumpling Skin, a website and podcast, initially tweeted the clip of the Season 2 Episode; which sparked major controversy and discussion.

"There isn't a single show on the Food Network hosted by someone Asian, unless you count Iron Chef (and we don't). Why must we watch non-Asian cooks who can't pronounce 'Sriracha' and don't have a chopstick drawer show us how to make our own dishes? And how come, when they do, we have to watch as their entire family mocks it—like in this episode of The Pioneer Woman?" - Chen and Lee, Thick Dumpling Skin founders
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Paula Deen

This cooking show television host has often been seen in two different lights: “Martha Stewart of the South” or a racist. In recent years, Deen has undergone a swift fall making her one of the most hated celebrity chefs with allegations of racist language in the workplace - causing a lawsuit, canceled contracts and companies that put her face on their products to quickly disaffiliate. Despite racial controversy, she has also gotten backlash from creating unhealthy recipes; as she is known for high amounts of fat, salt and sugar in her creations. She then developed type 2 diabetes herself and partnered with a pharmaceutical company to promote its diabetes drugs. She was “cashing in on a disease that was caused by the kind of high-calorie, fat-laden diet promoted in the recipes she prepared and celebrated on national television,” according to a Bloomberg article. Even that drug company later ended its contract with Deen.

No matter where you stand in the food world, we can all agree that how the public sees you can definitely influence your brand. These celebrity chefs have faced multiple controversial cases within their career, but have for the most part, overcame them. Public relations is all about building relationships to advance, promote, and benefit the reputation of you yourself, your department and institution. This is why public relations is so important when it comes to celebrity chefs, or the food industry overall. PR has the power of changing the way people think about you. Some businesses get a bad reputation unfairly, while other organizations aren’t on the right people’s radar. PR campaigns can help you to fix either circumstance. The right campaigns and PR support can raise awareness for your brand in all the right ways.

Want to learn more about the food industry? What makes an impactful PR campaign and the role of social media influencers in food & beverage PR are a few of the discussions in store for our next Summer School session, “Eating and Drinking Your Way Into PR,” Thursday, July 19. To RSVP, click here.

 

Intro to Food PR: Highlighting A True Food Connoisseur

 
  Fannie Merritt Farmer, left, with a student at the Boston Cooking School.   Photo by NY Times.

Fannie Merritt Farmer, left, with a student at the Boston Cooking School. Photo by NY Times.

In today’s society, the “foodie” population has significantly rocketed, particularly brimming with young people. We cannot scroll through social media or go throughout our daily lives without seeing a new food or beverage trend. With new brands and restaurants flourishing each day, the industry can get pretty competitive, as one could imagine.

Like it or not, the majority of our world today revolves around having the next best thing and broadcasting it among social media platforms, which has honestly done wonders for the food PR industry. A meal out is much more than the actual food now a days; guests focus on atmosphere, aesthetic and overall experience. Not only has food trends boosted today’s economical ways of marketing, tourist attractions and eateries within the years, but has created its own lifestyle.

So, what is the importance of food PR? It’s much more than making things photogenic. With being a part of such a large and upcoming industry, restaurants are in need of more than just chefs - brands are now turning to the power of public relations. Public relations within the food industry was once overlooked, but could now make or break a company. From creating campaigns to strategic thinking, PR agencies have held major responsibilities and roles in the food world. With an industry many once thought could not be its own sector, we wanted to kick-off our first food post by highlighting an iconic food pioneer and the impact she’s made in food history.

Cooking in the 19th-century relied on measurements like a “handful” of this and a “sprinkle” of that; however, Fannie Merritt Farmer changed all that. Farmer is known as the first professional cook who brought a scientific approach to cooking - by using precise measurements like teaspoons, cups and ounces for the best outcome.

Correct measurements are absolutely necessary to ensure the best results.
— Farmer

Farmer was enrolled in Boston Cooking School, which was founded as a philanthropic venture to enable women of modest means to find work as cooks in private homes and institutions. On top of being a cook who revolutionized the amateur chef experience, Farmer was also the first woman to be admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, she shared her food insights and deepened her career in diet and health. Many more accomplishments like weekly lectures in The Boston Evening Transcript and the publishing of “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book” -- which influenced famous female TV chef Julia Child -- also add to Farmer’s legacy.

Overall, Fannie Farmer was and is still today, a respected connoisseur in the culinary world. For more information, visit The New York Times’ Overlooked story, “Overlooked No More: Fannie Farmer, Modern Cookery’s Pioneer.”

Hungry for more? Check out the third session of our Summer School series, “Eating and Drinking Your Way Into PR,” Thursday, July 19. Julie Sternberg from HunterPR will be teaching how the world of food & beverage marketing is ripe with opportunities for PR professionals! To RSVP, click here.

 

The Complex History of 'God Bless America'

 
  Irving Berlin.   Photo by A&E's Biography

Irving Berlin. Photo by A&E's Biography

Americans across the nation celebrated the country’s 242nd birthday earlier this week with barbecuing, fireworks, and trips to the beach. Chances are that patriotic songs were played during these festivities. You know, the songs that are commonly sung during sporting events or ceremonies. July Fourth also marks the 100th birthday of America’s unofficial national anthem, “God Bless America,” written by immigrant Irving Berlin in 1938 - the same year he became a U.S. citizen. Berlin is also the composer of classics like “White Christmas” and “Easter Parade.”

The composer was originally born in Russia, but he and his family fled when he was 5 years-old because of religious persecution. After the family spent time in a holding pen, American immigrant officials decided to allow them into the country.

Twenty-five years later, a classic piece of music emerged. Berlin wrote “God Bless America” as a “peace song” in response to the “fascism and war threaten[ing] Europe.” “God Bless America” debuted on Nov. 10, 1938, to commemorate Armistice Day, and the revenues for the song went to the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts of America, according to the Library of Congress.

The song was written in 1918 while Berlin was serving in the U.S. Army in Yaphank, New York. The title of the song was a phrase his mother repeated during his childhood. Berlin decided the song did not fit in the revenue, Yip Yip Yaphank, and shelved it. After years of revision, Berlin’s song finally premiered in 1938 and quickly gained popularity. A later version by radio star Kate Smith was sang on air weekly.

As time went on, the patriotic song’s meaning and ideology started to change. When critics discovered "God Bless America" was written by a Jewish immigrant, they believed that Berlin could not celebrate this country as his. The anthem started to face major backlash. Here are some prominent examples of the backlash that occurred throughout history:

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Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land”

During the 1940s, Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, an American singer-songwriter, penned his song, “This Land Is Your Land” in critical protest to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” When Guthrie was tired of hearing Kate Smith sing Berlin’s song on the radio, he sarcastically clapped back with writing “God Blessed America for Me” before renaming it “This Land Is Your Land.” However, as the song’s popularity grew, its protest roots faded. Regardless of Guthrie’s intentions, his popular anthem is still played until this day and was added to the National Recording Registry in 2002.

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Marc Anthony’s MLB All-Star Game Performance

Grammy-winning, Puerto Rican artist, Marc Anthony, was selected to perform the national anthem at the MLB All-Star Game in 2013. Controversy aroused when Anthony sang Berlin’s “God Bless America”; racist remarks flooded social media. Baseball fans took to Twitter to protest the Latino singer by calling him “un-American” along with other racist remarks. Born in New York and raised by Puerto Rican-born parents, Anthony said he is definitely qualified to sing one of America's most patriotic songs.

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Ku Klux Klan/Nazi Boycott

Some listeners questioned Irving Berlin’s right to evoke God and to call America his “home sweet home.” In 1940, the song was boycotted by the KKK, the Nazi-affiliated German American Bund, and the newspaper of a domestic pro-Nazi organization printed a screed against the song:

“[I do] not consider G-B-A a ‘patriotic’ song, in the sense of expressing the real American attitude toward his country, but consider that it smacks of the ‘How glad I am’ attitude of the refugee horde.”

Arguments over who is entitled to proclaim blessings upon the “land that I love” still continues today, but no one can deny the that this unofficial national anthem is a love song to America. The song celebrates its centennial anniversary this year, so it’s well worth understanding its origins!

 

 

Shout-Out to Our Founding Fathers!

 
  The Founding Fathers   Photo by Flickr.

The Founding Fathers Photo by Flickr.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! In honor of this special day, let’s give a proper shout-out to some of our Founding Fathers: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington. There are officially more than seven involved; however, these men are arguably the “key” Founding Fathers. These men are also much more than just wigged characters in our history books; they represent the ideals of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. The birth of our nation would have not been possible without each of their efforts and dedication! Let us highlight each of these members and their stories in celebration of our patriotism:

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George Washington (1732-1799)

This Virginia-native served as the first President of the United States from 1789-1797. George Washington was one of the leading Patriots and played a major role in drafting the Constitution of the United States in 1787; he set up protocols in the new government’s war between Britain and France. The Proclamation of Neutrality, Jay Treaty and other reforms under his leadership supported his beliefs in avoiding war with Britain at all costs. He returned to farming after his tenure as a president. Upon his death, he was famously eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen". 

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John Adams (1735-1826)

John Adams was a leading advocate for the separation of the American colonies from England. This Founding Father served as the first Vice President (1789-1797) and second President of the United States (1797-1801). He was a Massachusetts-native, successful lawyer and Harvard graduate. Adams went on to serve as a member of the Continental Congress and assisted in drafting and signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Thomas Jefferson was born and educated in colonial Virginia; he graduated from the College of William & Mary practicing law. He became a Founding Father by signing the Declaration of Independence and later served as the third president of the United States from 1801-1809. At the start of the American Revolution, Jefferson was the Virginian representative for the Continental Congress. He was also widely-known as the leader of the Enlightenment - a period in the 16th and 17th century marked by intellectual and scientific advancement.

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James Madison (1751-1836)

James Madison is known as the fourth president of the United States(1809-1817), being renowned for his political philosophy and participation in the founding of the U.S. Government and Constitution. Madison worked towards establishing religious freedom in his state of Virginia from a young age and has been ranked as an above-average president by historians. He was also referred to the “Father of the Bill of Rights,” as he was the author of the first ten amendments.

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Alexander Hamilton (1755~1804)

This Founding Father worked his way to the top. Born in Charlestown, Nevis and orphaned as a child, Alexander Hamilton eventually became a self-taught lawyer and Washington’s right hand man. Hamilton also worked as Secretary of Treasury after he founded the U.S. Treasury, hoping to strengthen the U.S. banking and economic system to back up the proposed central government. He died following a duel with notorious Founding Father Aaron Burr, who blamed Hamilton for a smear PR campaign that caused him to lose an election for governor of New York State.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

A scientist, diplomat, inventor, printer/publisher and politician- Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents who, even today, is highly respected (so much so that he’s on the $100 bill). He never served in an official U.S.A political position (though he was “president” or governor of Pennsylvania for three years when it was still a colony), but his work was crucial in both the instigation of the revolution and the framework for the country to come afterwards. Franklin is well-known for being a drafter of several important U.S. documents, including the Declaration of Independence. Franklin also wrote “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” a forecasting book featuring poetry, weather predictions, and astronomy.

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John Jay (1745-1829)

New York-native, John Jay, served as the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court among a variety of top government posts. Jay drafted the state’s first constitution in 1777 and was chosen president of the Continental Congress the following year. Jay served two years as governor of New York and then sought a deeper consolation in religion after his time in politics. Although he was not a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Jay strongly supported ratification of the Constitution and would have contributed far more than the five essays he wrote for The Federalist had illness not crept up.