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Author: Mike Kuczkowski

By Mike Kuczkowski   It was, according to Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, “a great business decision that also benefits all of our stakeholders.” Not so fast, buddy. Shkreli was referring to his company’s decision to raise the price of Daraprim, a treatment for toxoplasmosis it had recently acquired, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Some 60 million Americans carry the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, but most people are unaffected by it. For those with suppressed immune systems, however, like...

The pontiff, who visits the US this week, has effectively used symbols in his communications to change the dialogue about the Roman Catholic Church. Photo by Tânia Rêgo for Agência Brasil, used under Creative Commons 3.0 Brazil license. By Mike Kuczkowski Imagine, if you will, a hypothetical scenario for the 2016 presidential election. After a tough series of primary battles, former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire[i], is drafted out of retirement by enthusiastic Democratic supporters into the South Carolina primary and secures...

To understand Donald Trump’s lead in the polls, look closely at the narrative he’s constructing about himself – and America. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Used under Creative Commons license.   By Mike Kuczkowski It was January 2004, and I was meeting with my boss when a colleague knocked on the door and popped in. “Hey, did you see ‘The Apprentice’ last night?” My boss and I looked at each other and smirked. “No.” The smirk was telling. The program, which was...

By Mike Kuczkowski Today marks the 111th anniversary of the day on which James Joyce first went strolling around Dublin with his future wife, Nora Barnacle. Also, the date on which Joyce imagined a short story taking place that would follow an ad man, Leopold Bloom, around Dublin. Which, Joyce later expanded into the 18-chapter, 768-page epic novel “Ulysses.” Which, according to the Modern Library, is considered the greatest English-language novel of the 20th century. Which, was...

By Mike Kuczkowski He’s baaaack! Bill Simmons, the bad boy of podcasting, has returned to the studio and is churning out his commentary on Vegas’ National Football League lines again, along with podcasts on basketball and various other pop culture topics. I feel like Don Imus has returned to WFAN after racist comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, or Billy Martin is back in the Yankee dugout. Actually, I don't feel that way at all. Simmons is nothing like...

By Mike Kuczkowski That ESPN and the NFL each face criticism for their handling of employee discipline underscores the unpredictable nature of the modern crisis, and how important performance in the face of unexpected events has become the measure of crisis response. The league has botched a series of incidents of domestic violence and child abuse involving its players. Most notably, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had to backpedal aggressively in the wake of criticism of his suspension of...

Filmmakers at the Mill Valley Film Festival spoke about how transmedia storytelling boosted their projects By Mike Kuczkowski The rise of what many call “transmedia storytelling” has been both exciting and disruptive for communications professionals. My former Edelman colleague Steve Rubel speaks and writes usefully and at length about this concept; I’ve lectured on it to college classes and found it quite a powerful organizing framework for communications efforts. The concept involves developing a single piece of content or a...

By Mike Kuczkowski A couple of weeks ago in Cupertino, a huge brand put everything on the line to try to re-establish its relevance in the face of doubts about its ability to execute. Its actions were beyond innovative — I’d argue they were revolutionary and hold the potential to transform the industry going forward. I’m not talking about Apple. I’m talking about U2. If you haven’t heard the entire story, here’s a quick synopsis. At the close of...

Two major brands, Nike’s Jordan brand and Gatorade, have produced tribute ads to Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter, who retires this week. Which did a better job of expressing Jeter’s brand? Here’s our scorecard. R2SPECT  Produced by Nike’s Jordan brand, the spot features celebrities, athletes, firefighters, police, doormen and fans appropriating Jeter’s signature hat tip, under the line R2SPECT — integrating Jeter’s uniform number into the headline in an iconic manner. It debuted in July, at the time of Jeter's 14th and...

By Mike Kuczkowski Derek Jeter has done a lot of amazing things on a baseball diamond. He’s amassed more than 3,450 hits, the sixth most of all time. He’s played more games and has more hits at shortstop than anyone, ever. And, he has won five World Series rings, most among active players. With Jeter, though, it’s not so much about what he’s accomplished, but about how he’s accomplished it. Diving into the stands face first at full...