Mr Brand? Will That Be All?

Russellbrand Mr Brand? Will That Be All?

The PR Verdict: “B” for Russell Brand and his well-structured testimony.

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?

To see very brief excerpt click here and to see a longer excerpt click here.

What’s your verdict on Russell’s testimony?

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What’s the PR Verdict on the Latest Chess Move by Murdoch?

murdoch and the sun Whats the PR Verdict on the Latest Chess Move by Murdoch?

The PR Verdict: "B" for a chess move designed to startle.

Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that he will begin publishing the Sun on Sunday has surprised followers of the phone-hacking scandal.  In one move, Murdoch has managed to change the conversation from criminal charges and ongoing arrests, to one about a new newspaper, and fresh jobs for journalists. The 81 year old has moved quickly and as a game changer this is perfect.

Though unanswered questions will continue to plague Murdoch’s empire, the company now has a definitive reason to start talking about its future without having to answer questions solely about the past.  By creating a new newspaper, News International can confidently reply:  That Was Then –  This Is Now.

The PR Verdict: “B” for a chess move designed to startle.  The new story about News International will be the Sun on Sunday’s actual content and business performance.

If News International really wants to put the past behind it, the first issue of the Sun on Sunday should carry a pledge from management and journalists making a clear break with the past, outlining core values and making a public promise of integrity to its readers.  It might just be the definitive line-in-the-sand the public has been waiting for. After that, the editors will need to work out just what type of paper they can create when they are not putting celebrities under surveillance or hacking phones for gossip.

Will the Sun on Sunday be that different from News of the World?  Let us know.