Our 13 Biggest Stories of 2013

And you can thank PR for that “scoop” too, buddy

This is the second half of our “26 Biggest Stories of 2013” countdown, so now’s the time to catch up if you missed the first 13.

These stories were strange, funny and even (gasp) controversial! We hope you enjoy re-reading them—or checking them out for the first time—as much as we enjoyed writing them.

  13. Vladimir Putin Hires Boyz II Men to Promote Russian Fertility

Kickin’ it just for you…and you, and you, and you…

We can’t claim to have written the original Moscow Times interview, which we found while scrolling through Twitter one afternoon. We can’t claim to have linked a single East Coast Family concert in Russia to Putin’s “crusade to raise the country’s birth rate” either. But we can claim to have been the first blog to make the connection explicit with a headline (which was not meant to be taken literally, Foreign Policy), and we definitely got a kick out of seeing the story blow up and hearing it mentioned on Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me, because we are dorks. Oh, and thanks to the Guardian for helping it go viral. That is all.

12. For Amy’s Baking Company, the Plot Thickens (Along with the Frozen Ravioli)

Hair by Guy Fieri

Oh hey, remember these guys? Did they really think anyone would believe their story about having their Facebook and Twitter accounts hacked? Come on, now.

11. Hack to Flack: A Former Journalist’s Guide to Better Pitches

Media relations: how hard can it be?

Who better to give advice on pitching to journalists than a former journalist and her colleagues? Our friend Lindsay Goldwert, currently with Hotwire PR and previously with the New York Daily News and other publications, called upon some of her writer friends to offer pointers from the other side of the media divide, and we liked it very much.

10. PR Fail: Food Website Exploits Boston Tragedy


This story upset us for several reasons: the horrific tragedy behind it, the cluelessness of using that tragedy as a promotional springboard and the fact that Epicurious is in every other way a great site for food lovers.

It was a damn shame on every possible level.

9. Chipotle Fakes Twitter Hack for 20th Anniversary Publicity Stunt


First, who knew Chipotle was 20 years old? Second, this may have been the best example of a cheap stunt that will never really work—just ask MTV. No one will believe that your feeds got hacked for a few hours, and no one enjoys going through a real hacking, so can we please retire the idea in 2014?

 8. 10 of the Best Brands on Vine


Oh look, it’s you again

Vine was still the Hot New Thing when we made this list, and in retrospect it’s obvious that other brands did more interesting things with six-second loops this year. But it’s cool to see how quickly these tools evolve, isn’t it?

7. Sorry, LinkedIn Users: You’re Not All That Special

He gets it

This isn’t to say that you’re not the world’s most beautifully unique snowflake; you may well be. But being in the top 10% of LinkedIn users just isn’t too terribly impressive unless you’re using the stat as a trick to “engage” audiences, who will then promote your service by spreading awareness of your clever email marketing campaign. Good work, guys.

6. Slacker vs. Pandora: The Art of Branding with Attack Ads

She does have a point

Attack ads are always fun, aren’t they? FWIW, though, we prefer Rdio and Spotify to both of these guys. And as awful as the house version of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” was, we can think of a couple of 2013 ditties that were even more inescapably annoying.

5. The Top 5 Grammar Issues PR People Still Can’t Agree Upon

Don’t even THINK about removing that apostrophe

Oh, you fellow word nerds; what would we do without you? Truth is, we’d probably still be upset about how we’re never supposed to use the Oxford comma on this blog, even though we totally give a f*ck about it in real life.

4. D.C. Firm Empowers You to Drunk Dial Congress

Five-oh, five-oh: open container violator

We can’t recommend that your agency exploit anger at a pitifully dysfunctional government in order to win a little press attention, but if the stunt turns out to be this amusing then you can just be our freaking guest.

3. 10 Great Apps for PR Professionals 

Apps in the image may be less useful than they appear

So…were these any good? (Evernote is the only one we actually used.)

2. Lay’s ‘Do Us a Flavor’ Contest Lets Customers Vote for Their Favorite Chips

What, Howie Mandel was busy?

Now here’s one that totally surprised us. How can we explain its runaway popularity? Well, people love to eat salty snacks and argue about things they don’t like: for a while nearly 50% of our “anonymous tips” consisted of insider info like “i like chicken and waffles.”

But cheesy garlic bread? Really? It was sriracha all the way in this house.

1. 11 Things the Media Does That Piss Off PR

Now take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard…

This was both our most popular and most “controversial” story of the year by a mile. Apparently we touched a nerve among certain members of the media community on a slow Friday in December.

We figured most readers would see the post as a cheeky, exaggerated response to the many, many, many “22 reasons PR people are the worst people ever in the history of everything” stories that appear in our newsfeed every damned week.

We were wrong. The post sparked a bit of outrage among both journalists and PR veterans and inspired a bunch of hate from Facebook users we’ll never meet, but it brought us a bunch of clicks in the process. According to Jim Romenesko, it also facilitated a conversation about the frequently lampooned relationship between the two parties, who really should see each other as partners rather than adversaries even if they annoy the crap out of each other on occasion.

Next time we’ll put the “please don’t take this post 100% literally” disclaimer at the top. Promise.

Well then…thanks for reading, everyone. And here’s to a great 2014.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: December 30, 2013 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/our-13-biggest-stories-of-2013/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT