The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners and Losers

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR Perfect) to Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland man who helped free three girls held captive in his neighbor’s house for more than a decade. Ramsey’s Internet stardom was launched with a local TV interview that included colorful one-liners like “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms.” One of the only people available to the media in the early hours of the story, Ramsey was roundly lauded for both his actions and his handling of the unexpected attention. Not everyone was positive: Slate gnashed its teeth over “a troubling trend of the ‘the hilarious black neighbor’.” Overall, though, the Cleveland dishwasher came off as heroic, lively, and genuine.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to rappers and their agents who lured the allegedly unsuspecting entertainers into lucrative endorsement contracts, only to have them rescinded shortly thereafter. Three rappers were dropped this week: Reebok let go of Rick Ross, while Pepsico released Li’l Wayne and Tyler the Creator. Suddenly their lyrics were deemed to be offensive and racist and not in keeping with corporate values. The rappers issued lukewarm apologies, but what was clear was that nobody had done their homework before signing on the dotted line. Finally, Reverend Al Sharpton weighed in and said everybody was at fault. We agree. Everyone gets an “F” –  no debate.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO Georgia Holt, aka Cher’s mother. Perennially youthful celebrity Cher is a legend when it comes to reinvention of media relevancy, and her documentary Dear Mom, Love Cher - which recently aired on the Lifetime network – is one for the PR books. However, press for the tribute to Mom sounded slightly less than scintillating. When told of granddaughter Chastity’s upcoming sex change to grandson Chaz, the quote from mere Cher was, “That’s interesting, sweetheart.” Hm. Okay. Well, good for her, but was it good for PR?

No Celeb Surprises at the Polls

cher and kathy griffin 150x150 No Celeb Surprises at the Polls

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK ) for both political parties and their star endorsers.

Does Cher love Mitt Romney? Does Chuck Norris endorse Obama? Both might have been sensational headlines, but the opposite was true. As the election draws to an inevitable close, celebrities have been in a rush to make their final public and political stand. Uploading their Presidential endorsement videos on You Tube and their own websites, there are disappointingly few surprises about their pickings.

Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kathy Griffin, and Cher have all thrown their weight behind the Democrats. Madonna seems to have had a harder time of it; when in New Orleans recently, she was booed off the stage for endorsing President Obama, but her experience doesn’t seem to have deterred others. Obama’s celebrity support continues to be broad. But is anyone really that surprised by Hollywood favoring the Democrats?

Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan also have their share of celebrity endorsements. Arguably, the list is somewhat broader (and older) in scope: Kid Rock, Kelsey Grammer, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, Meat Loaf, and, of course, Donald Trump. Golfer Jack Nicklaus and country music stars the Oak Ridge Boys and Lee Greenwood have been joined by celeb du jour Honey Boo Boo, the youngest of the pack and therefore ineligible to vote.

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK ) for both political parties and their star endorsers. What we really needed was a surprise.

The PR Takeaway: Astonish if you want to make a difference. It is generally understood that while celebrities may not bring in more voters, they do boost a candidate’s base and help energize the campaigns getting voters to polling booths. Fine and well, but what would really move the PR dial is to have an endorsement from left field. The element of surprise was missing with nearly all celebrities this time around. Next time, flush out the star with the surprising point of view. It’s guaranteed to vitalize a campaign and minimize the risk that the A-Listers are simply singing to their respective choirs.

To see the latest Cher video endorsing Obama, click here. To watch Chuck Norris endorse Romney, click here.

Who would you most have wanted to see stump for Obama, and who for Romney? Give us your PR Verdict!