58 episodes

Compelling tales from the world of public relations, marketing and branding, told by the well-meaning communications professionals who lived them.
On Lead Balloon, professional communicators share tales of the do-or-die situations that defined their creative careers—how they planned for the unexpected, how they navigated high-profile crises, and what they learned in the process.
With immersive storytelling and a wry sense of humor, host Dusty Weis revisits epic PR disasters, intense communications scenarios, professional inflection points and notable campaigns we all remember, and usually finds a reason to chuckle.
Because sometimes, there are important lessons to be learned from someone else's worst day.
And sometimes, it's just more convenient than group therapy.
Lead Balloon is an award-winning program for strategic communicators and content creators, named by Adweek as "Marketing Podcast of the Year," nominated for a Webby award and nominated for "Best Business Podcast" in the Podcast Academy awards.
Tune in monthly for new episodes. Visit podcampmedia.com/leadballoon to learn more.

Lead Balloon - Public Relations, Marketing and Strategic Communications Stories Dusty Weis

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 24 Ratings

Compelling tales from the world of public relations, marketing and branding, told by the well-meaning communications professionals who lived them.
On Lead Balloon, professional communicators share tales of the do-or-die situations that defined their creative careers—how they planned for the unexpected, how they navigated high-profile crises, and what they learned in the process.
With immersive storytelling and a wry sense of humor, host Dusty Weis revisits epic PR disasters, intense communications scenarios, professional inflection points and notable campaigns we all remember, and usually finds a reason to chuckle.
Because sometimes, there are important lessons to be learned from someone else's worst day.
And sometimes, it's just more convenient than group therapy.
Lead Balloon is an award-winning program for strategic communicators and content creators, named by Adweek as "Marketing Podcast of the Year," nominated for a Webby award and nominated for "Best Business Podcast" in the Podcast Academy awards.
Tune in monthly for new episodes. Visit podcampmedia.com/leadballoon to learn more.

    BONUS: Literally, the Grammar-Nerdiest Conversation You'll Ever Hear, with Dr. Valerie Fridland

    BONUS: Literally, the Grammar-Nerdiest Conversation You'll Ever Hear, with Dr. Valerie Fridland

    Sociolinguist Dr. Valerie Fridland says we need to relax about the changing nature of language.
    In her book, "Like, Literally Dude: Arguing for the Good in Bad English," she notes that language has always evolved. Every generation adds its own spin, and the English language is almost unrecognizable from what was spoken centuries ago.
    And for the most part, we agree.
    But Dusty thinks there's a *figurative* line in the sand that should never be crossed: the corruption of the word "literally" in modern English.
    We talked to Dr. Fridland for episode 43 of this podcast, where she gave us a brief history of how slang evolves, and why it’s a bad idea for brands to try and co-opt it.
    And she was so informative and wonderful and fun to talk to.
    But, in this clip that we didn’t have a place for in the episode, Dusty still had to press her about her stance on the word “literally.” 
    Is Dusty just being a stick-in-the-mud? Or do we need to hold the line on "literally?"
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    • 15 min
    Grumpy Cat, the Sound of Freedom, Watergate and More: A Look Back and a Look at What's Next

    Grumpy Cat, the Sound of Freedom, Watergate and More: A Look Back and a Look at What's Next

    When you're working with high-profile people in fields like PR, marketing and branding, things are always changing.
    History gets uncovered. New information comes to light that changes everything. And sometimes an opportunity comes along to learn just a little bit more about a topic of interest.
    So in this episode, we're revisiting three separate tales from Lead Balloon’s four-year run to dig deeper, uncovering some new "holy crap" moments that we never saw coming.
    From episode one, we find out how the manager for world-famous-Internet-meme-Grumpy-Cat feels about being cast as the villain on our podcast.
    From episode 13, how the Harmon Brothers agency, creators of the viral video ads for the Squatty Potty, have become involved with the rightwing-conspiracy-fueled media landscape of the "Sound of Freedom" film, distributed by Angel Studios, that made headlines in 2023. We also learn that they're working on an eyebrow-raising marketing/entertainment crossover called Homestead, based on the Black Autumn book series. And, we dig in to their other past projects, including Covenant Eyes and VidAngel.
    And from episode 40, Dwight Chapin—who served in the Nixon administration and did prison time as part of the Watergate scandal—talks about how he punked Nelson Rockefeller at a political press conference, and shares his sincere regrets about his time in politics. 
    Plus, we're joined by our old friends, marketer and strategist Kyle Brown and Andrew Julian, senior sports editor for the Messenger, to talk about what's next for Lead Balloon as a podcast.
    Cheers to 50 episodes, everyone.
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    • 51 min
    How I Almost Got Fired in My 1st Week in PR, and the Important Life Lessons I Learned

    How I Almost Got Fired in My 1st Week in PR, and the Important Life Lessons I Learned

    At the end of his first week working in public relations, Lead Balloon host Dusty Weis did something so dumb, he could have been fired on the spot.
    During a meeting with one of his new bosses, prominent Milwaukee politician Jim Bohl, Dusty made a bad assumption and recklessly insulted Jim to his face.
    Dusty wasn't fired, and the pair went on to work well together at City Hall for five years.
    But they never again spoke about what was said on that fateful day in 2012.
    That is, until the launch of Lead Balloon, when they recorded this important conversation about making mistakes, forgiveness and leadership.
    So in this remastered early episode of Lead Balloon, Dusty recounts the hilarious tale of the dumbest thing he ever did, with the help of colleague Ken Leiviska.
    Then, he and Jim Bohl revisit the insult to note some important lessons for media professionals transitioning into a career in political PR.
    And finally, Dusty checks in with two other City Hall officials, city clerk Jim Owczarski and public information manager Bill Arnold, to see just how close he actually came to getting fired in his first week on the job.
    Don't forget, I could really use your feedback about the future of the show.
    Please take the survey at podcampmedia.com/survey
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    • 46 min
    A UAP PR Campaign: Mainstreaming the Conversation About Unexplained Anomalous Phenomena, with Lt. Ryan Graves

    A UAP PR Campaign: Mainstreaming the Conversation About Unexplained Anomalous Phenomena, with Lt. Ryan Graves

    UFOs have traditionally been more of a pop culture phenomenon than an actual science.
    But with the recent declassification of Navy gun camera footage that shows unexplained craft seeming to defy the laws of flight and physics, there's a growing movement among the aviation, military and science communities.
    They insist it's vital to destigmatize the conversation around Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, or UAPs, which is the preferred nomenclature for the inexplicable occurrences.
    Because the craft seem to do things that are impossible for our current level of aeronautical technology, and have interfered with the operation of other aircraft in-flight.
    And if they aren't American, they pose a national security threat regardless of whether they're from China, Russia or... somewhere else.
    So in this episode, we talk to former Navy Lt. Ryan Graves, the founder of Americans for Safe Aerospace and a former Navy F-18 pilot who has experienced encounters with UAP. He was also one of three experts called to testify at a Congressional hearing in July.
    He'll share the things he saw that convinced him that UAP are a serious issue, what made him decide to come forward as the first military pilot to go public with his concerns, and why so many pilots experience UAP but choose not to report it.
    Then, we'll discuss how his organization is leading a campaign to destigmatize the conversation, promote UAP reporting, and bring transparency to the issue.
    Visit podcampmedia.com/survey to give some feedback about the future of the Lead Balloon Podcast!
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    • 45 min
    Sliding into DMs on the Dating App Hinge, with NextGen America's Kristi Johnston

    Sliding into DMs on the Dating App Hinge, with NextGen America's Kristi Johnston

    Let's be honest: political groups don't have a great success rate when it comes to their strategic communication tactics.
    Every election cycle, American voters are bombarded with mailers, emails and text messages that mostly just get trashed or deleted.
    And when a Political Action Committee like NextGen America is charged with reaching out to younger voters, they face an even more substantial task in motivating the perennially under-performing youth vote to make their voices heard.
    But this year, NextGen America made headlines nationwide when it leveraged a new, unconventional tactic in its get-out-the-vote efforts for a Wisconsin State Supreme Court race.
    Using a small team of staff volunteers, the group reached out to young people on the dating app Hinge, urging them to register and pledge their vote on an app that's typically reserved for romance and relationship seekers.
    And, with success in that race, the PAC is now looking to scale up its tactic for the nationwide presidential election next year.
    So in this episode, we talk to NextGen America's National Press Secretary Kristi Johnston. She not only pioneered the idea, but led from the front by reaching out to voters on Hinge herself, and she'll share what she learned, how her tactic is different from other forms of youth outreach, and why authenticity is key.
    Plus, we meet, Noah Turecek, a young man from Wisconsin who matched with Kristi on Hinge, to get his view.
    Visit podcampmedia.com/survey to give some feedback about the future of the Lead Balloon Podcast!
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    • 30 min
    Why Are Wireless Emergency Alerts on Your Phone So Terrible? A Strategic Communication Conundrum

    Why Are Wireless Emergency Alerts on Your Phone So Terrible? A Strategic Communication Conundrum

    On January 18, 2018, the entire State of Hawaii received an ear piercing alert on their cell phones.
    "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL."
    Those with a keen memory will recall that the Aloha State was NOT, in fact, wiped off the map by a missile strike.
    It was a false alarm.
    But what it revealed about the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system should concern every strategic communicator.
    Because while the WEA system has the potential to be a powerful lifesaving tool, it is routinely misused by emergency managers and misunderstood by the public.
    With little to no federal oversight, the manner in which this system is used is left up to more than 1,600 local jurisdictions.
    As a result, users are being bombarded with too many notifications that are not germane to their immediate safety, and that is conditioning us to ignore potentially life-saving alerts in the future.
    So in this episode, we parse lessons from Hawaii's WEA SNAFU with Commander Bhavini Murthy, a medical epidemiologist and researcher with the U.S. Public Health Service, and Dr. John Anderton, the Associate Director for Communication at the Centers for Disease Control’s Office of Readiness and Response.
    We learn from an expert on WEA messaging what jurisdictions nationwide are doing incorrectly. Dr. Jeanette Sutton is an Associate Professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity at the State University of New York at Albany.
    And, Dusty works to instigate WEA reforms in his own backyard with Milwaukee County Supervisor Shawn Rolland.
    By the way, if you've ever wondered what to do in the event of a nuclear missile strike, here are some resources from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/emergencies/index.htm
    Visit podcampmedia.com/survey to give some feedback about the future of the Lead Balloon Podcast!
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    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Mag22 ,

Truly intriguing conversations!

Dusty and team have done a great job setting up some of the best “behind the scenes” conversations around events we all know about. From marketing nightmares to general public misconception, Dusty has no fear in tackling both the good and bad. Keep it up Dusty and team!

momitts ,

Who knew marketing could be so interesting!

Dusty Weis provides great background and sets up lessons in marketing and public relations that even non-marketing mavens can enjoy.

OateseyInSD ,

TERRIFIC podcast

One of the best produced, most insightful, entertaining and informative podcasts around! I’m a huge fan now!

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