Anderson Cooper: PR Perfect

 Anderson Cooper: PR Perfect

The PR Verdict: “A” (Gold Star!) for Anderson Cooper and his PR regarding his coming out.

So Anderson Cooper, CNN’s biggest “name” anchor, has confirmed he is gay. Cooper hit the headlines earlier this week with his e-mail correspondence to journalist and blogger  Andrew Sullivan, which included the unequivocal message, “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be.” The phrase was reprinted endlessly over the next three days. The media wondered if anyone was shocked or scandalized. The definitive response: No.

From a PR point of view, this was handled perfectly. Cooper had never publicly indicated if he was–or wasn’t. That changed when a recent feature in Entertainment Weekly examined how celebrities handle coming out. Andrew Sullivan approached Cooper for comment, and Cooper’s response made headlines.

Cooper crafted a number of well-worded, thoughtful paragraphs explaining his reasons for coming out now and his previous reticence. He sent them to Sullivan who republished it in full, with Cooper’s permission. Next step: Cooper was unavailable for any interviews due to being on assignment. The void was filled with praise and endorsements from friends and colleagues. Nicely handled.

The PR Verdict: “A” (Gold Star!) for Anderson Cooper and his PR regarding his coming out.  Simple message, no details, well expressed, STOP.

The PR Takeaway: This was an elegant PR exercise. Closeted celebrities, take note: Keep the message and the delivery simple. Make your point clearly. Say what you have to say and make sure it is unedited (therefore, stay away  from lengthy sit-down TV interviews). Place it with a friendly media source, and then be unavailable. Nothing more to add. Nothing more to explain. And, in Cooper’s case, get back to saving the world.

Will Anderson Cooper’s self-outing have any repercussions? Should he have come out, or kept himself out of the limelight? Give us your PR Verdict!

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful!

sambrick1 300x280 Dont Hate Me Because Im Beautiful!

The PR Verdict: “F” for “Samantha The Beautiful”.

The fastest way to light up the blogosphere? Write about the pain of being extremely beautiful.  Guaranteed to elicit rage and vitriol, that is exactly what happened to columnist Samantha Brick who published an article in London’s Daily Mail entitled, “‘There are downsides to looking this pretty': Why women hate me for being beautiful.”  And hate they certainly do.

In her column she talked of the pain of being blessed with extraordinary looks.  Samantha wrote of her gilded life as a beautiful woman, being routinely gifted free champagne, flirting with male bosses while at the same time annoying female friends and co-workers.

The Daily Mail’s website, received more than 3,000 comments in response to Brick’s cri de coeur, the vast bulk wondering out aloud if she really is as pretty as she claims.  Coverage followed in multiple UK and US publications.  “If you’re a woman reading this, I’d hazard that you’ve already formed your own opinion about me and it won’t be very flattering” she wrote insightfully.   Sometimes any publicity is not good publicity.

 The PR Verdict: “F” for “Samantha The Beautiful”.  Her column, read largely by women, annoyed and upset readers. Is this any way to build a following?

First principle of PR is that it is ALWAYS better to avoid talking oneself up and instead have someone do it for you.  It always has more  gravitas and is less disputed.  How different might the article have been if Samantha’s beauty had been verified by independent endorsement from friends and colleagues.  From there Samantha and her heartbreaking story of life among the mean girls might have carried more weight.  This time however she never got past first base.

To read Samantha Brick’s column click here.

What’s your PR verdict on Samantha Brick’s claim to fame?