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Archive for July, 2012


July 30th, 2012

Things we love about the CIC: The Wellness Expo

Things we love about the CIC: The Wellness Expo

Here at @PromptBoston, we have the privilege of working in the Cambridge Innovation Center – a space where pie is served around Thanksgiving, Lego blocks are readily available to play with and interaction is encouraged amongst the growing start-ups and technology companies in the Greater Boston area.

Last week, the CIC spoiled us some more by hosting its first ever Wellness Expo.  Sponsors from TruNourish, Vita Coco, Weight Watchers, Whole Foods and many others lined the walls of the CIC’s fourth floor kitchen, as they exhibited the latest snacks and drinks to improve one’s overall wellness.

Which got us thinking – what exactly is wellness?

Ashley Heffernan, a Vita Coco exhibitor, said: “Wellness improves your overall quality of life.  Being physically well means having more energy at work, and doing things you normally wouldn’t have the energy to do.  It changes everything, for the better.”

As if the healthy (and delicious!) samples weren’t enough, music, yoga, massages, raffle prizes and presentations were also available to the crowd – a refreshing boost to the typical office workday.

We look forward to attending more Wellness Expo events in the future, and to improving our overall well-being – thanks for the inspiration CIC!

Vita Coco was one of the many exhibitors at the CIC's first ever Wellness Expo.

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July 26th, 2012

Newsweek announces plans to become an internet only source

Newsweek announces plans to become an internet only source

The next generation of readers will not be reading Newsweek in hard copy format. The publication plans on becoming an online only source in the next couple of months.

In an era where readers get the latest news and information from free online sources, print magazines and newspapers have been forced to adapt – and rather rapidly.

In a story announced yesterday, Newsweek is the latest print publication to buckle under the pressure of the Internet. The award-winning magazine, owned by InterActiveCorp (IAC), has released possible plans to become a primarily online source as early as September, according to IAC chairman Barry Diller.

The action is a direct result of lagging newsstand sales, which don’t cover the time and cost it takes to produce the print publication. Newsweek is projected to lose as much as $22 million this year, according to Bloomberg News.

This digital transition would mark the end of Newsweek’s 79-year run as a print publication, and mirror the format of the publication’s sister source, The Daily Beast.

As the Prompt team bids farewell to the hard copy of Newsweek, we are also not entirely surprised by the news.  Now more than ever, both readers and marketers are strategically investing in digital— a trend that is quickly changing the world and arguably killing print publications in the process.

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July 24th, 2012

Prompt Grammar Tip: Bronze, silver and gold medal mistakes

Prompt Grammar Tip: Bronze, silver and gold medal mistakes

With only three days left until this year’s Summer Olympics, @PromptBoston and @PromptLondon are eagerly awaiting countries from around the world squaring off in nearly every type of warm-weather sport.

But as a copywriting and public relations firm, our team has decided to hand out medals for another type of activity – grammar mistakes.  Here is our podium for the top three most impressive grammatical errors. Read on, as the most cringe-worthy error takes home the gold:

Bronze: Its versus it’s

Coming in third place, we have the all too familiar confusion of its and it’s.  The error is incredibly common and crops up in places one would never imagine– including many corporate websites and brochures. So how do you avoid a mistake that’s so easy to make? Well, it’s easy:  Use it’s only when it is a contraction, and you mean ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. But always use its to mean belonging to it – the word it doesn’t take on an apostrophe when it gets possessive…

Silver:  Who, which or that?

In second place is a grammatical error we stumble across almost every day – the incorrect use of ‘that’, ‘which’ and ‘who’. But the good news for frequent winners of the silver medal is that there are easy ways to remember which terms to use.  ‘Who’ refers to people, ‘which’ refers to animals and things, while ‘that’, can refer to either persons or things.

Gold: Words that sound the same, but are spelled differently

Bringing home the gold, are frustrating common misuses of similar words, such as ‘hear’ and ‘here’, or ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’. Maybe even ‘where’ and ‘wear’, ‘bare’ and ‘bear’, ‘cereal’ and ‘serial’, ‘hole and ‘whole’, ‘right’ and ‘write’ and many, many others. These are just some of the many combinations of words that sound the same but are spelled differently, commonly known as ‘homophones’. Often their correct usages can elude people for many years. Although there is no sure-fire way to catch these errors, a thorough proofread will reveal all such mistakes.  Be sure to pinpoint sound-a-like words that often trip you up on your way to gold, and then train hard to use them in their correct forms!

So there you have it, our awards for the top three medal-worthy grammatical mistakes, just in time for the London 2012 opening ceremony.  Just be sure keep our Prompt Grammar Tips in mind the next time you find yourself long jumping into a writing assignment.

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July 19th, 2012

Meet the Superhumans

Meet the Superhumans

Only last night I was chatting to someone about adverts that make me cry. Then this morning my brother proved the point perfectly by sending me this link to Channel 4’s latest television campaign in support of its upcoming coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It successfully combines all the essential elements of great advertising: it makes you think; it’s very moving; it has a great slogan; and it has a thumping Public Enemy soundtrack.

Tom Tagholm, who created the ads for Channel 4’s in-house agency 4Creative, revealed the thinking behind the biggest campaign since the station launched in 1982: “We knew we had to make some noise. We knew we had to add some edge and grit and attitude. We narrowed it down to four or five concepts but then someone came up with this line: ‘Meet The Superhumans’. We loved the scale and the confidence of it. So we built up from there to create the strongest, most impactful concept we could get.”

And in just 90-seconds, this perfect blend has the power to move some of us to tears.

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July 16th, 2012

Potato/Patattah…Fries or chips?

Potato/Patattah…Fries or chips?

As a copywriting and public relations firm located in the heart of a bustling Kendall Square, it’s not uncommon for us to sneak out of the office every once in a while to grab a bite to eat and soak up the city scenery.

What does come more often than not, however, is the naming difference @PromptBoston and @PromptLondon discovered over lunch one afternoon, when a steaming plate of greasy goodness hit the table – fried potato (err…patattah) strips.

What would you call the image above? Chips or fries, potatoes or patattahs?

In North America, the side dish and its variations (thin, thick, curly, waffle, etc.) are all automatically referred to as French fries.

But take a trip anywhere else in the world, and you’ll find yourself paying very close attention to the type of potato side dish you order.  In British English, ‘chips’ are the equivalent of an American’s piping hot ‘French fries’. Similarly, ‘chips’ to @PromptBoston, or the cold potato snack food, are referred to as ‘crisps’ by the @PromptLondon team.

Now, just to make it even more trickier, we ask the age old question: Why do Americans say ‘fish and chips’?  Shouldn’t it be ‘fish and French fries’?

Some answers, we will never know.  And just when you think of a neutral term like fried potato strips, someone comes around and calls them ‘patattah’ strips. Such is life!

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July 12th, 2012

Prompt celebrates two decades of the first-ever Web photo

Prompt celebrates two decades of the first-ever Web photo

This photo, showcasing the parody band Les Horribles Cernettes, was the first to be uploaded onto the internet.

This photo, showcasing the parody band Les Horribles Cernettes, was the first to be uploaded onto the internet.

Here at Prompt, we are fascinated with the constant evolution of technology—as every high-tech and green-tech PR and copywriting agency should be. In fact, we couldn’t imagine spending a single day without one of the most innovative creations in the tech realm – the internet.

And what better way to acknowledge such a powerful resource than to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Web photo upload.

This week marks 20 years since a picture of the parody band Les Horribles Cernettes entered the cyber world. The image was edited using the first version of Adobe Photoshop, and was then saved as a GIF file. And the photo upload created some revolutionary aftermath. The internet, which was originally used to conduct serious business and research, quickly became a social space for sharing photos, posts, location check-ins, and other personal information.

Here are some interesting statistics that were all derived from a photo of four women in a parody band:

250 million – photos are uploaded onto Facebook each day

1992 – the year the first photo was uploaded onto the Web

196 – hours of YouTube videos an average user will upload each year

11 – new users join Twitter every minute

2 – Twitter accounts where you can follow the Prompt team: @PromptBoston and @PromptLondon

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July 10th, 2012

Prompt Grammar Tip: Is it worse, or the worst?

Prompt Grammar Tip: Is it worse, or the worst?

As a copywriting and public relations firm located in Boston and London, we believe nothing is ‘worse’ than switching up two words that are not interchangeable.

Worse and worst are two of those words that some people use incorrectly. It doesn’t make you the ‘worst’ linguist around if you get these two words mixed up, but grammatically speaking, there are some easy concepts to keep in mind when using these words in everyday language.

Worse is the comparative for ‘bad’. It can be used as an adjective or an adverb, and is usually used to compare one thing unfavorably with another.

For example:
• Maria’s nerves are much worse than Sheldon’s.
• I thought the book was bad, but the movie was worse.

Worst is the superlative of bad, and refers to the most inferior, or the least good. There’s no comparison here; worst is just as bad as it gets. It’s a very dramatic adjective, or sometimes a noun, and should be used when expressing the ‘worst’ case scenario.

For example:
• Data backup is vital because losing those critical files is the worst thing that could happen.
• My typing skills are the worst.

We hope this Prompt Grammar Tip will come in handy the next time you’re torn between using worse or worst.

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July 2nd, 2012

Potato/Patattah…Cotton candy or candy floss?

Potato/Patattah…Cotton candy or candy floss?

With the Fourth of July quickly approaching and summer in full swing, the @PromptBoston team is excited to dig into some of the season’s traditional foods. The options are endless – hotdogs, potato (or is it patattah?) salad, and for dessert—candy floss.

Cotton Candy/Candy Floss

Nothing says summer fun like cotton candy...or is it candy floss?

Wait…candy floss?! Across the pond, @PromptLondon uses this term to describe the sweet treat found at fairs and carnivals around the globe – cotton candy.

The sugary candy was invented in 1897 by a dentist, of all occupations. William Morrison, along with confectioner John C. Wharton, introduced the treat at the 1904 World Fair (based in America), with the label ‘Fairy Floss.’ At 25 cents per stick of puffed-up sugar, Fairy Floss was considered expensive, but too good to walk away from.

Since then, cotton candy (or candy floss) has only grown in popularity. America has dubbed December 7 as National Cotton Candy Day, while the United Kingdom recently created a vending machine that dispenses single-serving packets.

Whether you say cotton candy, candy floss, or even fairy floss (for all of our Australian friends), one thing is certain – the sweet treat is loved by both children and adults around the world.

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