Lady Gaga’s Latest Revolution

 Lady Gaga’s Latest Revolution

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Lady Gaga.

Once quoted as saying “Pop stars shouldn’t eat,” Lady Gaga – arguably the most famous pop star in the world – certainly seemed to practice what she preached. She probably wore more food in her (in)famous meat dress than she actually ingested. Lately, that has changed. While Gaga’s fashion statements always make headlines, the media recently hinted at what may be her most daring look of all: 25 extra pounds.

The media quickly circulated a picture of the allegedly padded pop star, accompanying it with words like “fat” and “heavy” – though not “Photoshopped,” as the pic was obviously fake. Still, the reaction was hardly positive,and although no recent photos of Gaga have yet surfaced, the consensus is that she is now more happily proportioned than ever before.

Lady Gaga rewrote the book on how a star can forge a connection with her fans. Turning fattening lemons into PR lemonade, Gaga’s website Littlemonsters.com now features a forum called Body Revolution. “Today I join the BODY REVOLUTION,” Gaga writes on a photo of herself in bra and panties. The forum has already been filled with photos of Gaga fans dealing not just with overweight but diseases, mastectomies, and other physical maladies they were previously ashamed of. “Thank you, Gaga, for inspiring me to be brave.” they write.  Distance, denial? Not for Mother Monster and her Little Monsters.

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Lady Gaga. Whether her weight gain was intentional or accidental, and is temporary or permanent, she has found another way to forge a deep connection with her legion of fans and make a splashy PR statement.

The PR Takeaway: Why deny? Perceived flaws can be PR gold when spun the right way. Instead of going on a crash diet to shed the added weight, Gaga turned it into a tool for good – and good PR. She revealed that she has been bulimic since her teen years, says she is happy at her current weight (recent photos would be nice), and has launched an interactive campaign with a positive message. Pure PR gold that will be monstrously successful.

What’s your PR Verdict?

Burger King’s Big Fat Risk

The New Burger King Bacon Sundae 300x205 Burger Kings Big Fat Risk

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Burger King and their new bacon sundae.

While the controversy about America’s out-of-control obesity epidemic rages unabated Burger King is cheerfully hitting the headlines with a revamped summer menu. What’s new and exciting? A bacon sundae.

The world’s second-largest hamburger chain is offering vanilla soft-serve ice cream topped with fudge, caramel, bacon crumbles, and a slice of bacon. The salty-sweet bacon sundae has 18 grams of fat, 61 grams of sugar, and approximately 510 calories.

Burger King has not yet made it clear how this new “summer only” product launch, works with an earlier campaign that had the chain targeting a broader demographic. With much fanfare, that menu was then expanded to include fruit smoothies, wraps, and salads.  Take the summer off,  Burger King now seems to be telling weight-conscious America, and relax . . . with a bacon sundae.

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Burger King. New launches like this undermine claims that the industry is dedicated to helping solve the national obesity problem. Why not mitigate by coming out with a new lo-cal smoothie at the same time?

PR Takeaway: Actions needs to mirror words. If the fast food industry wants to be taken seriously and viewed as friend, not a foe, in the health debate, then it would be better to stand behind the wraps and smoothies they rolled out earlier. The bacon sundae is bound not to win over health advocates. Any more of these launches, and Burger King could find itself fighting the unloved corner in the national conversation about obesity. Just ask Big Tobacco what that feels like.

What’s your PR Verdict on BK’s bacon sundae? Tell us by leaving a comment, below.

PR Verdict in the news: Today’s NY Times quotes the PRV re Goldman Sachs, click here to see what we had to say.

Coke: Don’t Sugar-coat the Issue

RhonaApplebaum 28750 011 300x200 Coke: Dont Sugar coat the Issue

The PR Verdict: “F” for Coke and Rhona Applebaum.

Pity Dr. Rhona Applebaum, Coca-Cola’s vice president of science and regulatory affairs.  She has the uphill battle of giving Coke’s response to Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the sale of sodas in containers larger than 16 oz.  The ban, which would apply only to places other than grocery or convenience stores, has the food and drink lobby agitated. So what does Coca-Cola think?

Applebaum says the issue is about public health.  Appearing on CNN and talking in confusing metaphors, she said “Being gusty does not mean being right,” and “Stepping into traffic is not a leadership moment.”  Whatever that means, bottom line, Coke’s PR message is that obesity is about physical activity and a balanced diet.

With a long list of celebrities and opinion formers coming out in favor of the ban, Coca-Cola might be on a losing streak.  No one disagrees that smaller portions are part of a logical solution to obesity.  The smarter tactical move for Coke would be to make a conciliatory gesture and get on board.

The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) for Coca-Cola.  Claiming you are as concerned about diabetes and obesity as the next person while advocating the sale of jumbo sodas is a hard sell.  Why resist the flow toward health for consumers?

PR Takeaway:  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. In any PR issue, it’s important to follow the groundswell of public opinion.  On this one, despite some nanny state concerns, Bloomberg seems to be winning the day.  Applebaum’s comments might have sounded so much more convincing if she had simply conceded that this was an interesting first step.  The ban, after all, is limited in scope.  Why not agree with it, and then move the conversation onto the broader issues that ultimately take soda drinks out of the direct firing line?

To read more and see the interview, click here.