Qdoba Tries To Buy Our Endorsement

What is it with corporate communications professionals?

The PR firm (in Colorado) representing Qdoba, rather than bother checking out our sites, just sent us a press release promoting some new combo offer or whatever to help Americans be less fat. That’s fine and dandy.

But what gets my goat is that the PR professional who sent it included a personal message. A personal message offering coupons/free product, that is, without ever mentioning that the FTC/FCC/yadda yadda requires disclosure of that sort of thing.

I think it’s unethical to offer free meals/product in exchange for positive press (just as it would be unethical to receive, say, housing from a candidate in exchange for positive press or have the financial backing of a candidate without any disclosure). And borderline offensive when there’s no mention of required disclosure on a PR professional’s behalf.

While there’s nothing nefarious going on, I think it’s important to remain objective and open. Receiving something in exchange for coverage is just obscene in my opinion. Local bloggers and press folks need to ditch that practice ASAP.

What do you think, dear reader? Shoot me an email if you’re so inclined.

Welcome Back to Work, You Worker Bees

Why is the school board discussing legislative priorities? Jefferson County Public Schools? Yeah, you’re right, state schools. And, really, pressing to allow closed-door meetings to discuss superintendents’ yearly evaluations? Somebody is in need of a serious wakeup call. Because this is a farce. [Nancy Rodriguez]

Have you heard the latest audio recording from Daniel Mongiardo? He compared being Lt. Governor to being married to a whore and, well, just give it a listen. [Page One]

Will Rick Pitino discipline the two players – Jerry Smith and Terrence Jennings – for being arrested in Indiana? [C-J]

Remember when 10,000 people applied for 90 GE factory jobs in Louisville? Well, it’s so insane that the story has gone national. [HuffPo]

Decker College’s attorneys allege that a federal vendetta caused its collapse. It’s a long, six-page story. [Ralph Dunlop]

Sure, these silly “possibility city” ads are a total waste of money and shouldn’t be airing locally, but what’s with all the feigned outrage over the latest humor? [C-J]

Mario Lopez loves Louisville and its “little Main Street.” [USA Today]

Is the Highland Park neighborhood finally going to be put to good use? [C-J]

The University of Louisville has a fancy new research facility. [WHAS11]

Oh snap – “The West End does not know David Tandy.” This mayoral race is going to be a hoot, kids. More potential campaign finance troubles for Jim King, as well? [Joe Gerth]

New Kentucky Oaks & Derby Logos

Last week the new Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby logos were unveiled.

For the second year in a row, the logos were created in partnership with SME Branding. And try as we might, we can’t find a reason not to absolutely love them.

See for yourself:


KENTUCKY DERBY 136


KENTUCKY OAKS 136

From the press release:

Horses are featured prominently in both event marks, with a contemporary, athletic horse head topping the Kentucky Derby 136 logo and a curvaceous pink filly attached to the Kentucky Oaks 136 design. Both event logos also feature the Derby and Oaks “icon” marks – golden horseshoes with a red rose for Derby and a pink stargazer lily for Oaks – embedded within the overall artwork. The official Kentucky Derby 136 mark introduces a new color, sapphire blue, to the Derby brand colors of red and gold, while a shade of plum accentuates the more feminine aspects of the Kentucky Oaks’ signature colors of pink and gold.

-SNIP-

“The new Kentucky Derby and Oaks 136 logos build upon an overall visual brand strategy introduced in 2009, which folds the ‘icon’ marks representing the Derby and Oaks brands on a year-round basis into a larger event logo design,” said Edward M. O’Hara, SME’s chief creative officer and senior partner. “A horse race is at the heart of the Derby brand, and reintroducing equine images to this year’s logo collection allows us to blend the tradition of premium horse racing with fresh colors and text styles that communicate the Derby and Oaks’ modern-day relevance and constant evolution.”

Shirts, jackets and other items are already for sale at the Derby Store. Glasses and other items are scheduled to be released prior to the holiday season.

Will a Marketing Campaign Make the Streets Safe?

The city is throwing money at making our streets safer for bikers and walkers.

It’s a noble cause. Maybe not because three bikers and 23 pedestrians were killed on city streets. But because another 353 walkers and 118 bikers got hurt in accidents.  That makes it a significant problem, and since police can’t really prosecute drivers unless they actually see the incident, public education may be the best way to get the message out.

There’s an online destination for the StreetSense campaign, filled with sensible advice for bikers, walkers and drivers.  The first part of the campaign, which will cost $45,000, is financed from federal transportation money.

The campaign launched at a press event this morning.

Civil Discourse on the News

Stuff I Didn’t Know: As a public service to you, I listened to the new talk station today, and learned from Michael Savage (Noon – 3) that Pres. Obama is taking our guns, socializing our health care system, and is part of a plot by outsiders to take down America. Then Glenn Beck (3-6 p.m.) screamed at  a listener:  “Get off my phone you little pinhead.” To someone who disagreed with him about health care, or illegal aliens, or something. Isn’t it great to have this stuff on a local station?

C-J Misery Update: Good to see Cary Stemle’s byline appearing in LEO, where he takes a closer look at the attitudes at Sixth and Broadway on the day of the latest layoffs. [LEO]

And a Departure: In this week’s Velocity, Javacia Harris says so long to Louisville.  We’ll miss her. She’s off to Alabama for a teaching position. [Velocity]

Famous Friends: One of Harris’ last stories is about Belle beau Russ Renbarger, who has figured out the limit to the number of friends you can have on Facebook. It’s 5,000. He’s the “bad boy” linked with Hadley, and he’s opening his own bar this weekend on Baxter. He’s on the cover of Velocity. [MetroMix]

Bridge News: The governors of Kentucky and Indiana pledged to speed up the progress of building Ohio River bridges today at a press conference/pep rally downtown.  But some Metro Council members won’t be giving the bill creating a new tolling authority a rubber stamp, so it won’t pass this month. [Biz First]

Fighting Bad for Health Care: We noticed that Gabe Bullard is keeping track of all the infighting among local health care companies, but his is not a complete list. He missed Humana losing that TRICARE contract.  [TheEdit, BizFirst]

Maybe He Thought the Sign said Food, Not Nude: Just read the hilarity as a Kentucky League of Cities spokesperson tries to explain how four execs charged $80 that wasn’t their money at a strip club in Vegas, thinking they were going to dinner. It was a three-pole joint. [Herald-Leader]

Chewing the Slots Issue, Again

UPDATE 4:22: Billy Reed covered the Forum and has a great take on it at BillyReedSays.

Today’s Louisville Forum will generate more discussion, none of it productive, about the failed slots legislation in Kentucky. Things aren’t going to change anytime soon in Frankfort, so it looks like the industry had better start looking for ways to make it without slots.

Still, Bob Evans of Churchill Downs is on the panel, along with a couple of other industry pros, that will be hosted by the C-J’s Jennie Rees. No one who opposes slots is on the panel. Expect Evans to do a lot of whining about state government.

The group might be better off watching video of John Boel’s series on the horse industry. In it, Boel found that purses are still healthier here than other states, that attendance at Churchill and Keeneland are up, breeding numbers in Kentucky are healthy. Churchill’s revenue numbers are way up. Which is not to say that trainers aren’t leaving the state, and that the horse industry doesn’t need some help from government.

The potential closing of Ellis and Turfway parks would be a serious blow to the Kentucky racing circuit.  But Boel’s report doesn’t support the assumption that all the horses are leaving Kentucky for other states, or that the reason horsemen have abandoned Churchill this spring has to do with purse size.

The industry’s problems might just be a marketing challenge. Amping up the marketing and turning on the lights sure made for a better party atmosphere at Churchill Downs this spring. Maybe the industry should consult with the Louisville Bats for promotional ideas.  Jake the Diamond Dog could sure bring in a few more fans to the track, even if they don’t bet a lot of cash. There’s no reason they couldn’t hire Bob Dylan to play a show after the card.

It’s not that we’re not in favor of slots. We’d like to see what would happen at Churchill if one-armed bandits invaded the facility. It’s a free market issue, and we don’t care if the not-so-smart members of our community throw their money into slot machines, lottery terminals or bingo. State laws that favor one type of gambling over another seem kind of silly.

But the numbers in Boel’s reports suggest that the racing industry’s problems, and its rationale for slots, chronicled so well in local media, aren’t supported by the numbers.

Right Direction, But Still Smoking

The state has released new smoking statistics that show smoking is becoming less popular among middle and high school students. That’s the good news.

But it’s hard to believe that one in 10 middle school students and one in four high schoolers in Kentucky count themselves as smokers. This, despite a whopping amount of educational programs and activities that discourage the habit. And a tax increase on cigarettes, which went into effect after these numbers were compiled. The news from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is that smoking is on the decline among students by 56 percent among middle schoolers and 28 percent at the high school level.

If you want a more troubling stat — Kentucky’s smoking rate among pregnant women is 26.7 percent, 16 percent above the national average.

Still, the CHFS can get pretty excited about the new numbers, simply because they’re heading in the right direction. From the press release:

More Kentucky teenagers are taking notice of public health efforts to encourage healthy lifestyle choices and are avoiding the harmful effects of tobacco, according to a recently released survey from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) today released results from the 2008 Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey, showing a continued decline in youth smoking rates across the commonwealth and an encouraging shift in young people’s attitudes about smoking and the use of tobacco products.

Forecastle Lines It Up

The upcoming Forecastle Festival is getting bigger, and bigger.

The latest announcement adds several musical acts to the list of performers, and includes a nationally known speaker.

Christopher Childs is an expert on energy and a former Greenpeace spokesperson. He’s written a book called The Spirit’s Terrain: Creativity, Activism and Transformation, which offers ways to draw on creative spirit to change the world.

In addition to previously announced headliners Widespread Panic, The Black Crows, The Black Keys and the Avett Brothers, the Festival announced today that the following acts will appear at the 8th annual event, starting July 10: Cage the Elephant, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Man Man, Designer Drugs, The Detroit Cobras, and Maps and Atlases.

In all, more than 50 bands will play. You can get tickets and more information here.

Better, Warmer, Midweek Ideas

Darkness on the Edge of the Track: If you’ve wondered what night racing would be like at Churchill Downs, you’re about to find out. The track announced it will bring in temporary lights and run a night-time card on June 19 and 26 and July 2. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission also approved a couple of new wagers. [Churchill Downs]

Never Trust a Guy Named Wavy: Joe Arnold’s lead story on the WHAS-TV newscast last night focused on a 26-year-old guy named Wavy Curtis Shain, who was admitting in federal court that he was operating a mortgage scam/scheme that ripped off a bunch of homeowners. He won’t quite say he’s sorry. And check out the full interview to see some real squirming. [WHAS-TV, Interview]

Bunning Whiffs: Sen. Jim Bunning would lose to any of the Democrats considering running against him in 2010, according to a new poll. So Page One is asking when he’ll give up. [Page One]

Now That’s a Tease: A banner on today’s C-J alerts readers that the paper’s front page will be different tomorrow.  “…an artist’s world of inspiration and creative expression.” We can’t wait.

Witnesses Need Protection: When a woman was gunned down in broad daylight in Shelby Park last month, and it turned out she was a witness in a double homicide case, it didn’t take a detective to figure out what happened. But there is little protection available for witnesses in Kentucky. [LEO]

Nothing Wrong with Second: The worst thing to come out of the Lady Cards’ second-place finish in all of college basketball is that Rep. John Yarmuth and Gov. Steve Beshear are putting packages of gifts together for their counterparts in Connecticut this morning. The Lady Cards gave fans hope early on, actually leading briefly, but lost last night to the best team on the planet.  [Crawford]