Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Punch and Punch Line

Bad publicity has historically been more like a punch - - like Smokin Joe Frazier. The public outcry and reactions are direct, lumbering, strong, and negative. Public outcry, legal action, threats of product boycotting by the public, Congressional hearings and debates - - direct and predictable action that public relation departments, media consultants, and the board of directors are used to seeing and are comfortably trained to deal with. BP has seen the punch - - political, public, legal, media, and financial. They have had sixty days of Joe Frazier.

The explosion of alternative outlets, such as YouTube, has also produced an environment that is new and unique. The damage and risk, especially in public arenas, is more a function of the punch line. Satirical humor as a form of public outcry and protest - - more indirect than direct in the public relations battle. More Mohammad Ali than Joe Frazier - - more dance and weave than power and punch. But just as effective and just as damaging. Yet much more difficult for the classically trained public relations department or the creativity limited media consultant to deal with. As social networking and alternative entertainment sites expand - - the punch line may become more damaging than the punch. BP has also had sixty days of Mohammad Ali.

The worse the publicity disaster, the greater the risk an organization will have to face both Frazier and Ali - - good luck.

Check out - - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM

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