Vogue’s Kimye Cover Stirs Viral Uproar

 Vogues Kimye Cover Stirs Viral Uproar

THE PR VERDICT: “B” (Good Show) for Vogue.

Print fashion bible Vogue has been trying to boost drooping sales with bold cover choices, such as rap sensation Rhianna and Girls star Lena Dunham. But this month’s cover of Vogue, featuring Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, is apparently straining the core readership’s tolerance for what’s new this spring.

“I guess I’m canceling my Vogue subscription,” tweeted actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. “Who is with me???” (And where was her publicist for that zinger?) Gellar was just one of many who took to the twitterverse and beyond to voice outrage over the cover choice. Why? Vogue die-hards want to know what Kim and Kanye have to do with fashion, other than being able to buy a lot of it.

Ah, but that would lead to the assumption that Vogue is merely about clothes. No no, asserts editor in chief Anna Wintour. “Part of the pleasure of editing Vogue…is being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it,” Wintour is quoted as saying. Another reason? Sales have fallen 20 percent; desperate times call for Kim and Kanye covers.

The question in this internet age is whether controversy translates into cash, or if talk – when done online – will cheapen the effect. Time and sales figures will tell. For now, everyone is talking about Vogue‘s cover.

THE PR VERDICT: “B” (Good Show) for Vogue.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Talk is expensive, and may even cost you. It’s not easy these days to dominate web chatter, be the object of debate and even satire, and garner a large chunk of chat shows. Vogue‘s cover has done all of that, albeit probably not for the reason Wintour wanted. At the risk of riling the faithful – though dwindling – core audience, people are talking about Vogue. Better to be controversial than boring.

Kim Kardashian Shakes Up Bahrain

 Kim Kardashian Shakes Up Bahrain

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for Kim Kardashian.

Some people love Kim Kardashian. Others hate her. And new on the list of fully-fledged haters are Islamic militants based in the tiny Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. Recently, over 100 militants turned out in Bahrain to welcome the reality TV star to their shores. This wasn’t the traditional greeting of Arab charm and mint tea; teargas was fired on militant protestors as they chanted “Syria receives martyrs while Bahrain receives whores.”

Bahrain has seen violent clashes between security forces and opposition protesters on numerous occasions over the last 18 months, including government crackdowns that have drawn the ire of human rights groups. Earlier in the week, a group of conservative Bahraini parliamentarians tried to ban Kardashian from visiting the country, citing her “bad reputation.” The motion never got off the ground, and all the while Kardashian correctly said nothing – until she made a mistaken Tweet. Then, she then managed to upset more than the militants.

In town to promote the opening of a franchise of milkshake shops, Kardashian met with fans who paid $1200 a ticket to be near the reality TV celebrity. Local media swooned over Kim’s fashion choices (white bandage dress with body panels, hair modestly pulled back) while Kardashian Tweeted photos of herself posing in front of camels. She then mistakenly Tweeted, “Thanks Sheikh Khalifa for your amazing hospitality. I’m in love with The Kingdom of Bahrain.”

Immediately, human rights groups asked, “Why is Kim Kardashian promoting the Bahraini dictatorship?”, likening the event to “milkshakes with a hint of torture, flavored with teargas.” Ouch! For someone who was not trying to take sides she was suddenly the in the middle of the fray.

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) For Kim Kardashian for her “no comment” policy.

The PR Takeaway: Even a thank you note can cause trouble. Saying nothing requires discipline. For a while there, Kim Kardashian was handling the fuss over her arrival with relentless cheerfulness. Then, the mistaken Tweet. Staying out of the fray is not as easy as it sounds. Kim has now learned that this can even apply to a thank you note.

To read more, click here.

THE PRV REPORT CARD: This Week’s Winners & Losers

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What do Kris Jenner, NBC , McDonald’s, and the Octomom all have in common? They all share the glory of being part of this week’s PR Verdict media wrap-up.

PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (Full Fiasco) to NBC for ignoring the 9/11 moment of silence. Instead, they ran  a segment with Savannah Guthrie interviewing Kardashian matriarch/mogul Kris Jenner about her breast implants. The network finally commented on the resulting outrage, telling The New York Times that its decision not to run the national moment of silence was  consistent with previous NBC coverage of 9/11 anniversaries. This was  not a gaffe, said NBC PR,  so we won’t apologize, only to repent a day later and make a half hearted apology to local affiliates. Who knew Kardashian breast implants made for better television than the President talking about 9/11?  Read more here.

PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR Perfect) to McDonald’s for its decision to list calorie information on its menus starting next week in the US.  The fast food chain also said that it’s testing menus for next year that will include recommended food groups from the US Department of Agriculture’s 2010 dietary guidelines. It’s always better to be one step ahead of regulation; seizing the advantage by making the move before it is made for you makes good PR sense. Read more here.

And finally:

octomom2 150x150 THE PRV REPORT CARD: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHERE’S-NO-“THERE”-THERE PR AWARD: Nadya Suleman, better known as The Octomom, has been talking to the media with breathless excitement about her new rented California home for her and her family of 14. Suleman’s rep confirmed, “The home has five bedrooms and three full bathrooms as well as a 14,000-square-foot backyard that features a gated pool and spa and basketball court.”  The rep added, “[Nadya] has been earning and doing well from several endorsements, appearances, taking calls from fans on DialAStar.com, and her video. Her single ‘Sexy Party’ comes out Tuesday on iTunes.” The Octomom, who is also making money by staring in adult films, told the media “I owe a lot to Wicked Pictures contract star Jessica Drake,” she said. “She opened my eyes to a whole different world of self-pleasure that I could have never imagined… I’m very excited for [her masturbation video] to come out!” Sometimes, you can’t pick your clients. Read more, if you feel you must, here.

Are there any recent stories you feel should make the PRV Report Card? Give us your PR Verdict!

 

Guest Column: Lady Gaga’s Fur Flap

 Guest Column: Lady Gagas Fur Flap

The PR Verdict: D (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga.

Last week, Dan Mathews, Vice President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) blasted Lady Gaga for prancing around in a fur coat. Gaga had previously been on the record professing,  “I hate fur, and I don’t wear fur,” but recent photos of her in fox and rabbit, and with a wolf carcass, made it appear that she has either changed her mind or lost her memory. Matthews told Gaga via a public letter that by wearing fur, she’s making herself “a target, just like the mindless Kim Kardashian.” The non-leather gloves are off!

Gaga responded with a Tweet instructing those wondering whether her fur was real or faux to “credit the designer HERMES. Thank You!” She then issued a lengthier explanation on her LittleMonsters.com website and simultaneously took a dig at PETA, saying that she doesn’t support “violent, abusive, and childish campaigns.”

“I am choosing not to comment on whether or not the furs I purchase are faux fur-pile or real because I would think it hypercritical [sic] not to acknowledge the python, ostrich, cow hide, leather, lamb, alligator, ‘kermit’ and not to mention meat, that I have already worn,” she said, referencing her infamous meat dress of 2010.

Gaga continued “…I have truly always stayed away from skinned fur, especially [since] I have never been able to afford a nice one, but this does not mean my morals are rigid and that I won’t bend at the sight of an absolute art piece of a coat… But I am truly sorry to fans who are upset by this, its [sic] a fair and applaudable [sic again] feeling about the health and safety of animals. I respect your views, please respect mine. And Kim Kardashian is fabulous,” the megastar added.

The PR Verdict: D (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga. While a chastising public letter from PETA could be construed as “violent, abusive or childish,” it might also have been possible to turn the other cheek and let the whole issue blow over. The more important lesson for Gaga is to choose allies, such as the intractable PETA, carefully.

The PR Takeaway: Stand by your message or abandon it, but don’t remix it by saying one thing, then sort of retracting it. If you’re against fur, be against fur. If not, fine, but being against some fur and not all is a tad wishy-washy, and former allies like PETA will understandably make a meal of it. On the plus side, communicating via an impassioned blog keeps the connection with fans strong. But one tip: typos and mistakes don’t prove authenticity of authorship. A copy editor won’t dilute the message, however confusing the substance might be.

Lights, Camera, Lawsuit: The Real Drama Behind Documentaries

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The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for David and Jackie Siegel.

Why does anyone agree to take part in reality TV-style documentaries? Invariably they end in tears and lawsuits. The forthcoming documentary The Queen of Versailles, about a thrillingly tacky billionaire couple that embarks on a quest to create America’s largest home, proves the point. Well before the film’s release date on July 20, lawsuits began flying.

Meet David and Jackie Siegel, the couple with royal pretensions. David is the billionaire founder of Westgate Resorts. At 77 years of age, he says with pride that Westgate is the largest privately owned time-share company in the world. His wife, 31 years his junior, marvels in the film at her crocodile boots by Gucci ($17,000), her ten kitchens, spa, and bowling alley–requisites, obviously, of any comfortable home. The dream? To create a palace to rival Versailles, in the principality of Orlando, Florida.

The dream turned nightmarish when the film’s final edits came through. Westgate, like many other business, hit the headlines for running into problems with the collapse of the property boom. The film suggests that David Siegal was in financial trouble and juxtaposes images of ongoing and then ceased construction.  Wasn’t this meant to be about business success and not business failure? We’ve been stung–call the lawyers!

The PR Verdict: “D” (It’s a Dud) for the Siegels and their delusional expectation that this documentary would be anything but problematic.

PR Takeaway: It’s all in the final cut. The longer the filming, the bigger the edits.  If Siegel wanted a documentary about his business success, he should have paid to have a promo film made about him and his firm. As the film crew followed the construction of the 90,000 square foot house, requiring months of filming, any control of the final outcome was relinquished. Not even a generous banquet with the producers in the Siegel’s Hall of Mirrors would shift the story line on this one. Their best hope is to take a leaf out of the Kardashian book and see how they can milk their new notoriety.

To read more, click here.

Should the Spiegels have expected anything other than drama, or are they getting a room with a view to reality? Give us your PR Verdict, below.