2 Hotly Debated PR Topics

Recently, there has been a flare up of incidents that have left the media questioning, the PR world fumbling, and bystanders scratching their heads about these PR topics. Many times, businesses and people at the top end of the American social elite act before thinking and backpedal when their metaphorical toast is already burnt. Here are 2 examples of such blunders:

The Paula Deen Controversy

Paula Deen PR TopicAs much as this topic has been harped on time and time again, there are some aspects regarding how this matter was handled that are quite praiseworthy. On the other hand, there were also aspects that were downright disastrous.

The Boost: In any organization, transparency should be at the top of the organization’s code of ethics. This happened to get Deen in a lot of hot water. Although the majority of Americans feel that what she did was wrong, she should be forgiven nonetheless.

The Blunder: A counterproductive gesture to her credibility and overall PR approach occurred with Deen’s iconic interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show. To show sorrow is one thing; openly bawling on national television is another. Much to her dismay, the gesture seemed desperate and partially insincere. In a media interview when you are in the hot seat, never, ever cry: it makes you look more guilty than you already seem.

Dzokhar Tarnaev’s Rolling Stone Cover

When an organization wants to boost sales, sometimes it takes an edgy angle on a hot button topic and puts it to work for them. This is exactly what Rolling Stone Magazine did when it featured a cover headlining a rockstaresque Dzookhar Tarnaev, one of the two terrorists responsible for three deaths in the earth-shattering Boston Bombings earlier this year.

Rolling Stone PR TopicThe Boost: Because this issue is so controversial, it has gotten more press coverage than any other magazine cover in recent months. This is a huge plus for Rolling Stone, as their magazine’s name is getting put out to the public and they are likely going to sell more issues because of it.

The Blunder: The hot-button cover has received quite a bit of backlash, boycotts, and criticism for featuring a terrorist in their magazine, let alone the fact that the magazine is about pop culture, music, and fame. Is this cover glamorizing terrorism? You make the decision.

Regardless of which side of the fence you stand regarding these PR topics, they do have a number of facets that are worthy of evaluation and criticism allowing us to bolster better PR communications within our own businesses. After all, learning from other people’s mistakes is a lot more gratifying than making them ourselves.

*Photo credits: The New York Times

About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.

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