PR (positively ridiculous?) CHALLENGES

2 Nov

Somewhere the journalism professor who declared “PR is evil!” to our class is smiling about the PRedicaments below. PR pros, how would you spin to win?

1) “Even though 2010 was the drug war’s bloodiest year, with more than 15,000 dead, Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, declared 2011 the ‘year of tourism.’”  — Newsweek

2) After Bank of America announced on Oct. 1 that it would begin charging a $5 monthly fee for debit card use in 2012, its “incensed” CEO, Brian Moynihan, defended the controversial move saying that the company “has a right to make a profit.” He added, “The fees are to get people to bring more relationships,” according to a report. You may have noticed that this comes at a time when Bank of America finds itself the subject of a host of harsh headlines involving mass layoffs, a precipitous decline in stock value, low company and customer satisfaction rankings, and major lawsuits.

3) What’s worse than being a member of the Boston Red Sox after the baseball team’s historic September collapse (7-20 record that month) dashed the playoff hopes of its rabid fan base on the final day of the season? Reports that pitcher Jon Lester and two other members of Boston’s starting rotation drank beer and ate fried chicken during games.

My favorite presidential humorist, Abraham Lincoln, might’ve had this to say about the challenges above: “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

A good friend of mine, whose surname happens to be Valentine, stood up for love recently when putting down a certain “famous just for being famous” celebrity, who just called it quits before her high-profile marriage to an NBA player could make it half way through its third month. “She takes the oldest profession to a whole new level and while the rest of this country is struggling to make ends meet she makes $18 million off of a fake wedding and divorce,” he said. “While no one should care, it seems people do anyway.”

That raises another good question: is it ever a PR problem if the silent majority doesn’t care but your hyper-consumptive niche audience can’t get enough of you (good or bad)? The saying “any publicity is good publicity” comes to mind. Perhaps country artist Toby Keith takes it a step further in these modern times with this lyric from “American Ride”: Livin’ in a cruel world, pays to be a mean girl.


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