PR Fish Bowl

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TGIF: A November To Remember

In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving bounty of food and family, this month has offered its share of embarrassing political viral videos.  This cornucopia of candidate catastrophes demonstrates how powerful and influential social media has become.  Online social sharing is now as common, if not more, than reading the newspaper, and celebrating the successful is not nearly as crucial as mitigating the miserable. What can be learned from this month’s mishaps?

“Rick Perry’s Drunken Speech” video has over 500,000 views on Youtube and shows a loopy Governor giggling and yelping through a campaign stop.  Perry’s communications and press people had to have known that even if a silly speech isn’t televised, it’ll still be all over the Today Show the next morning.  It’s just how today’s media works.  What kind of damage control would have worked best here, if any?

The Texas governor needed a rebound after the “drunken” video debacle, and his handlers rightly assumed a national debate would be a great platform to change the Rick Perry storyline.  It’s simple:  know the talking points, stay on topic, and get the appropriate message across.  Mr. Perry failed miserably at the debate on November 9th with his now infamous “Oops” moment.  How much message training is really enough?

Next up:  Herman Cain. When asked if he agreed with President Obama’s handling of Libya, he seemed comically confused.  Thanks to the power of social media, the non-televised interview has been everywhere (Jon Stewart even professed his love for Mr. Cain over it).   Was the “lack of sleep” excuse a credible one? Who thinks up these things?

While you mull over these incidents, a few lessons from the modern media world

The cameras are always rolling. (even an iPhone in the audience)

With message training, one size does NOT fit all. Some folks will always need extra prep and notes.

Snark is the new black (to quote The Good Wife)  No matter how innocuous the gaffe, it will be twisted and tweaked for maximum (mostly negative) media appeal.

Share your observations and lessons here.

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