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 Adele for reportedly declining a seven-figure offer from publisher HarperCollins to write a memoir. The 24-year old superstar allegedly described herself as wanting to live a bit more before chronicling her life – imagine that! In turning down the deal, Adele is taking a different tack than many of her peers, including Miley Cyrus, who penned a tell-all at 16; Justin Bieber, who at 19 has two memoirs under his belt; and, at 28, ancient Katy Perry, whose autobiography is due out this year. Kudos to Adele for wisely realizing that she’ll likely have a more interesting story to tell – and sell – in a few years’ time.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to the PR team for Christine Lagarde of the IMF. Red faces at the PR office of Lagarde, who failed to make the recent list of Time Magazine’s top 100 people. The usual suspects were there, including Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, and even Chrstina Aguilera of talent reality show The Voice. But the rariefied list strangely didn’t include the widely travelled head of the IMF, who has been busy trying to save the euro and halt the ongoing European banking crisis. We doubt it bothered Lagarde herself, but it was a curious omission that someone in the IMF PR department might want to take a look at before the next staff meeting.

BRADLEYCOPPER 150x150 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO Bradley Cooper.  The actor voted “Sexiest Man Alive” by People  in 2011 has just given an interview to Details that was immediately picked up by surprised media everywhere. The news hook? Bradley lives with his mom. Apparently he moved in with his mother Gloria following the death of his father two years ago and since then, they live in rooms next door to one another. Admirable though that may be, it does work against some of the PR positioning as one of Hollywood’s leading men. Explaining to Details, Cooper said, “She’s in the next room. But here’s the thing: She’s a cool chick. We can hang, and she can roll with the punches.” Bradley’s PR presumably winced when reading…

 

 

Yet Another Bieber Blooper

 Yet Another Bieber Blooper

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for the Justin Bieber.

Teenage pop idol Justin Bieber caught the full wrath of the Internet this week during a visit to Amsterdam. The Canadian superstar, currently on tour in Europe, visited the Anne Frank House to view the tiny attic where Frank and her family hid for two years from the Nazis before being discovered and sent to death camps. Writing in the guest book, Bieber said the visit was “truly inspiring” and that he hoped Anne would have been “a Belieber,” the moniker given to his fans. Frankly, no one could “beliebe” he left the narcissistic scribble; as UK site Sugarscape put it, “The world smacks their hands to their foreheads.”

The gaffe follows months of questionable behavior for the young singer: showing up late to concerts or canceling, fainting at a London appearance, purportedly smoking marijuana at a party, scuffling with the paparazzi, and allegedly spitting at a neighbor.

The antics have begun to take a toll on the Bieber Brand, with media speculating that Biebs is on the verge of a Britney Spears-esque meltdown. Polls suggest his likability factor is suffering: teens are finding him less attractive, and parents are seeing him as “rude.” The clean image that helped launch Bieber’s successful career is starting to look rather sullied.

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for the Justin Bieber. He hasn’t lost any sponsors yet, but more bad-boy behavior could change that.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: It’s not easy being a teen, even less easy being a teen brand. The transition from adolescent to young adult seems to be one of the rockiest roads for celebrities, and one need only read up on the cautionary tales of Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Lindsay Lohan for guidance on what not to do during this unpredictable time. Just as parents must do for their unruly offspring, Bieber’s handlers need to keep the lines of communication open with their young star and stress that the consequences of his actions will become more serious as he ages. There’s more to lose than celebrity status; Justin can beliebe that.

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) Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. Yahoo’s CEO suddenly found herself and Yahoo at the center of a national conversation about the merits of working from home. Brought in to turn the ailing tech firm around, Mayer arrived at the Yahoo campus only to find empty offices and parking lots with her colleagues “working from home.” Her subsequent leaked internal memo abolishing the work-from-home option caught media attention and put Yahoo front and center in the work debate. Yahoo’s response? “This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home. This is what’s right for Yahoo right now.” No further comment, but the media was clearly well briefed with informed statistics about Yahoo’s climbing morale and productivity. Mayer’s PR point was made loud and clear: Yahoo’s turnaround has begun.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Hugo Chavez’s camp. We love a conspiracy theory, but the dark mutterings coming from Chavez supporters that the US government was responsible for the cancer that killed their leader was one of the more fantastic PR responses. Even more so, given that Chavez was treated for his illness in Cuba, courtesy of his revolutionary pal Fidel. Until very recently, Cuban doctors gave him a clear bill of health and said the Venezuelan leader’s revolution would continue unabated. Don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but this PR point was more than vaguely comical.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO Justin Bieber. Nothing fuels a fire better than more gasoline – or, in this case, more Tweets. Admittedly, the teen heartthrob had a mildly squiffy PR week: He was reportedly booed after starting a concert two hours late, a nightclub turned his under-age pals away from his birthday party, and actress Olivia Wilde Tweeted that he should put a shirt on. Rather than ignoring these molehills, Bieber made mountains of them with a slew of ranting, defensive Tweets, concluding “im a good person. i know that. u cant tell me different” [sic]. The only thing we’d say differently, Biebs, is that most of the problem is now coming from u.

Bieber Quote: Abort! Abort!

tumblr lgryigv3ab1qd9cy2o1 500 300x271 Bieber Quote: Abort! Abort!

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Justin Bieber and his publicist.

Does anyone care what teenage heart-throb Justin Bieber thinks about abortion? Who knew he even had an opinion? An incendiary quote provides a cautionary tale as to why a PR flak should sit in on most interviews.

Last week, Rolling Stone published an excerpt of its cover story with the teenage singer. As excerpts go, it was certainly the raciest part of an otherwise dull interview. Bieber was asked how he feels about abortion. He said he was against it. The interviewer then asked if Bieber believed in terminating pregnancies in cases of rape. Bieber was quoted as saying, “Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason.” Cue cyber outrage.

As the Internet burned with the quote, and the indictment pictured above, Rolling Stone then amended the comment–presumably following pressure from Bieber’s PR–adding a previously omitted sentence. The boy wonder from Ontario apparently said, “Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.” (Italics ours to show addition.) Not much better, still problematic. Next time, how about avoiding the topic altogether?

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for Justin Bieber and his publicist. No need to answer a difficult, controversial question. Either take a pass or let the PR flak take the heat.

The PR Takeaway: Count on being ambushed in interviews, especially by potentially unfriendly media outlets. Unless Bieber genuinely wants to campaign on the incendiary issue of abortion, coach him on how to politely decline to answer the question. If the interviewer presses, it’s up to the PR Flak to bring the conversation back on track and on brand. While undoubtedly annoying to the journalist, it’s certainly easier than clearing up the later inevitable cyber mess.

Did Rolling Stone have a right to edit Bieber’s comment to make it more controversial, or should Bieber’s publicity team have coached him to avoid topics like these? Give us your PR Verdict, below.

Justin Bieber and Dinner with Mommie

justin bieber 02 300x207 Justin Bieber and Dinner with Mommie

The PR Verdict: “F” for Justin Bieber.

Does anyone, apart from pubescent teenage girls, find Justin Bieber even vaguely interesting?  Not really, might be the inevitable response.  While the 18-year-old singer continues to enjoy extraordinary popularity in his target demographic, his PR minders have obviously been wondering if they should explore further afield.  Cue an interview in the latest edition of GQ Magazine.

On paper the interview made complete sense.  How can we make Justin seem more interesting to another demographic? Why not young(ish), fashion conscious men who might want to hear more about him?  “How about a sit down interview with GQ?” must have been the excitement at the morning meeting.  Let’s see what we can arrange!

Bieber did the interview.  Nice enough. But the bad news is that it did nothing more than reinforce his image as a young kid, taken by surprise by his own success.  GQ describes him as ‘ a very small human being’ who resembles the Star Wars super hero Luke Skywalker,   “if he had his own perfume line”.  The interview was finally completed, after having been rearranged multiple times to squeeze in dinner with his mommie.

The PR Verdict:  “F” for a failed strategy.  It will take more than an interview with GQ to make him into the bad boy of music.  And next time don’t mention dinner with mommie.

PR TAKEAWAY:  Give a journalist something new to write about, otherwise the default content will be what has been written already.   This was an interview searching for a subject matter.  Bieber (all of 18) was unable to identify a cause, issue or romantic interest that would takes his profile to the Mickey Rourke or Sean Penn level.  GQ concluded the interview by opining that for Bieber “manhood can wait”.   Sadly , this interview was at best five years too early.

To read the interview click here.