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

hijabs The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to the Overland High School girls soccer team in Aurora, CO, for a stirring show of solidarity. Last week, referees barred one Muslim player on the team, Samah Aidah, from playing with a hijab on her head, calling it “dangerous.” Never mind that FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, officially permits the practice – not to mention the US Constitution. For the next game, all of Samah’s teammates and coaches wore the traditional Islamic headscarf in support. A tweet by one of the girls with a picture of team, all in headscarves, sent the matter viral. Young people leading by example, again.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) TO Lady Gaga, who continues to have a bad hair year. She fired her longtime manager, and her latest album, ARTPOP, hasn’t sold nearly as well as her previous collection, Born This Way. Now, her Born This Way Foundation, which seeks to “foster a more accepting society,” is under fire. Tax reports for 2012 show that BTWF spent $1.85 million in legal fees, salaries, travel, philanthropic consulting, and $808,661 in “other” expenses. Actual donations? A mere $5000. An example of how celebrity foundations aren’t born bad, they’re made that way.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO newly annointed Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen, who tried (and failed) to avoid rattling financial markets by couching her comments at her first press conference. Oh Janet, have you not studied your predecessors’ previous faux pas? After saying “We will try as hard as we can not to be a source of instability here (regarding communications)”, Yellen promptly gave what investors interpreted as a potential timeframe for interest rate increases, and one earlier than they had expected. Was that the message Yellen meant to convey? Who knows — and it doesn’t matter. Stock markets fell, bond yields rose, and the world carries on. PR tip to the head of the Fed:  When it comes to interest rates, “no comment” is the best comment.

Gaga’s Ho-Hum Album Sales

 Gagas Ho Hum Album Sales

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga.

The launch of Lady Gaga‘s third album, ARTPOP, continues: with events such as a shopping tie-in with retail clothing giant H&M  a massive artRave album release party , the chatter of the spectacles and the so-called “flying dress” space suit – early  reports indicate that the mega-marketed album is, well, kind of a flop.

So how has ARTPOP performed? The album did debut at number one on the Billboard music charts, with 258,000 in sale and Pitchfork.com provided comparative numbers: 250-300,000 is typical for chart-topping pop stars but Gaga’s previous album, Born This Way sold an astonishing 1.1 million albums in its first week of release.

Theories abound: sales may have been affected by sharing limelight with mega-star Katy Perry, comeback kid Britney Spears, and Disney child gone wild Miley Cyrus. Her songs are not as strong as before, her dress  is not as shocking and finally the suggestion that she is overexposed. Will these ho-hum sales be a blip for Gaga, or a slide down from Olympus?

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Ride out the rough times. With innovation comes imitators; at first, outrageous Gaga was considered an innovator by those too young to remember Madonna’s cone bra. Those falling from great heights should refrain from public panicked gestures that signal flailing, such as Gaga recently firing her longtime manager. Carry on as planned and ride out the storm. After all, Madonna’s still around, isn’t she?

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

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: A (PR Perfect) to Lady Gaga.  Though we had ranked her earlier this week, Lady Gaga has not stopped topping the list of trending stories right across the web.  While the world may be holding a global UN summit in New York, Gaga turned a 25-lb. weight gain into a point of pride – and a brilliant PR maneuver.  The coverage keeps on being generated following the launch of her Body Revolution, a forum urging acceptance for less than perfect physiques. A media masterstroke that has put more serious global issues in the shade.

 

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: F (Full Fiasco) for Team Romney. The latest Gallup Poll shows Mitt Romney trailing behind Barack Obama by six points. It’s not hard to guess that the number 47 figured into that percentage somehow. With just over a month until Election Day, Team Romney must come up with a serious plan to halt this free-fall. The announcement of a genuinely new and unexpected economic plan might just reset the debate. Something fresh and unexpected is needed. Any suggestions?

 

 

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV AWARD FOR BRAND CONSISTENCY: Samuel L. Jackson for his “Wake the F*ck Up” political bedtime story. The actor, so well known for his expletive-laced lines in films and real life that he’s usually called “Samuel Motherf*ckin’ Jackson,”  cuts through indistinct attack ads with a punchy pro-Obama rant. In rhyme!  While it may not encourage anyone to change their vote on the big day, Jackson has successfully reinforced his own brand without talking about himself  – the secret to all successful PR.

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?

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.

Could Lady Gaga save Bradley Manning?

bradleymanning Could Lady Gaga save Bradley Manning?Bradley Manning is the 23-year-old US Army intelligence analyst who, allegedly lip-syncing to Lady Gaga, downloaded classified documents from US military servers.  He now faces charges of distributing government secrets to Wikileaks and is coming up for a preliminary hearing today.

Manning’s public image is that of the marginalized loner, without political motive, who strayed.

Wikileaks argues the whistle-blower “singlehandedly changed hundreds of thousands of people’s lives for the better.”

The challenge will be to run these two stories concurrently: The loner and the whistle-blowing game changer. Manning’s personal PR will need to argue the former, alongside more powerful and influential constituencies arguing for the latter.

The PR verdict: “B plus” for his PR defense strategy so far. Manning’s personal PR already has him portrayed as a non-threatening protagonist. Keep it up

The PR challenge will be to drown out concerns that Manning endangered lives by breaking national security. Manning’s team needs to characterize this as a David and Goliath battle and then use third parties to champion his unwitting contribution to freedom of information and transparency. Mention Lady Gaga as often as possible. It indicates to the public, in a sound bite, Manning is young, over his head and without sinister motive.

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