Being a trend topic on Twitter is something most people would pay good ad dollars for, but action movie director Michael Bay would probably pay to get off the feed. Making the rounds of social media and the morning shows is a videotape from tech convention CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, where Bay took to the stage for a talk – and then walked.
Bay was set to unveil the new Samsung UHD television, one of the big presentations at CES. The director of such blockbusters as Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and the Transformers series was introduced by Samsung Executive VP Joe Stinziano, and began, “My job, as a director, is I get to dream for a living…And what I try to do is…” He then faltered, saying the teleprompter was off, and promptly left the stage.
The spectacularly clumsy and uncomfortable few moments were, of course, captured as part of the conference, but could there have been a worse place than a gadgets convention for this to happen? Hundreds of phones recording it all, tweets sent immediately. A few rushed to Bay’s defense, but the mortification made the rounds by the time Bay posted a blog on his website. “Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES…I guess live shows aren’t my thing.” For a blockbuster director, that’s rather understated.
THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for director Michael Bay and Samsung, for an embarrassing show at CES.
THE PR TAKEAWAY: Know thyself, and say no. If live shows aren’t your thing, don’t do them. What could Bay have netted from this appearance? Surely the money couldn’t come close to what he’s made on a single Transformers movie. If he owed Samsung in some way, best to make it up with an offstage endorsement. Public speaking need not be part of one’s package. Those who are not born showmen would be better off letting others do the talking, with or without a teleprompter.