There was something surreal about the testimony of comedian Russell Brand to the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee yesterday on drug abuse. Was it is his sleeveless black shirt, the wild man beard, the crazy hair or the multiple rings and chains? Was this Russell’s Sunday best?
Appearances aside, he made his points clearly. The dozen-times arrestee said substance abusers should get treatment and not be sent to prison. He spoke with passion and conviction about a topic he has been public about many times. His key message? Drug abuse is a public health issue not a criminal issue.
From a PR point of view he was clear about what he wanted to comment on and what he didn’t. He batted back various questions including the legalization of drugs and other wider social issues claiming he was not “particularly qualified” to make that call. But then he didn’t stop talking…Enough Russell ! And please sit still!
The PR Verdict: “B” for Russell Brand and his well-structured testimony. This might have been an “A” but if only he would STOP talking. Sometimes enough really is more than enough.
PR Takeaway: Make your points and watch them land. Wait for a response and say nothing. Brand’s testimony gave some unintentionally good pointers as to how to handle a media interview. Style of delivery is just as important as content and Brand fluctuated between skittish and grounded, overexcited and solemn. In the future stay confined to short bullet point paragraphs and make it clear when finished. No need to fill in the blanks. Just wait for the next question. And why NOT tuck your shirt in?
What’s your verdict on Russell’s testimony?