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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How Did Sybrina Fulton Make It Clear She Wasn’t Going There?

sybrinafulton How Did Sybrina Fulton Make It Clear She Wasnt Going There?

The PR Verdict for Sybrina Fulton: “A” for grace under pressure.

One of the more unintentionally instructive interviews on the Trayvon Martin case was Bill O’Reilly’s Friday interview on Fox with the mother of the murdered teenager.  For media trainers, SybrinaFulton’s interview was a fine example of control and consistency of message, despite the prodding of the host.

O’Reilly did most of the talking during the interview, asking plainly rhetorical questions while implicitly asserting that he was on the fair and balanced side of the debate.  He offered assistance to his guest as the trial approaches saying  “if you have anything you need, you come right to me”.  Sadly it was never clear what this meant.

At the beginning of the interview, O’Reilly asked imploringly “was I wrong to say that Al Sharpton should apologize?” referring to comments made by the activist at an earlier press conference.  Sybrina Fulton replied with calm sincerity  “You want me to comment on that?  I don’t know everything that’s behind it. …… So I’m not sure what response you want.”  For once,  O’Reilly gave in and moved on.

The PR Verdict:  “A” for Sybrina Fulton.  For grace under pressure and for not being sidetracked into a side issue .

PR Takeaway: When in doubt, bat the question back and repeat your key message.  Sybrina Fulton was clear with a simple demand: her son’s death to be duly investigated.   “I’m not sure what response you want,” was a line in the sand.  She was not going to be pushed into a corner fighting someone else’s PR battle.

To see the interview click here.

What’s you PR verdict on Sybrina Fulton’s interview?

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People! Why Not Speak Clearly?

sounbite1 People! Why Not Speak Clearly?

The PR Verdict: “C” for the use of metaphors and analogies in PR.

Is no one else annoyed by the sound bite that means close to nothing? Yesterday the Wall Street Journal canvassed the usual cabal of M&A bankers for their market outlook on mergers and acquisitions activity.  Of note was their endless use of metaphors and analogies to illustrate simple concepts and trends.  Weirdly overdone.

One of the vogues in PR and media training is to encourage clients to drive home key points by way of illustrative metaphors.  Color your sound bites with analogy and metaphor!  You can’t help but be quoted!

It seems bankers have taken this to heart.  By way of explanation one advised “we need a couple of people to jump into the bath and say the water isn’t cold in here.”   Others added, the European economy continues “in emergency care on life support”, the “seeds of recovery have taken root” but it will be a while before the market is “going pedal to the metal.”  Enough!

The PR Verdict: “C” for the use of metaphors and analogies in PR.  Yes it has its place but what about stating something clearly and unequivocally?

Ideas have their own power.  Metaphors and analogies don’t always need to be used to support an idea.  Besides, the word on the street is that when the balloon goes up there will be blood on the floor, as the use of the metaphor withers on the vine.  See?…We hope we made our point clearly.

For a copy of the WSJ article click here.  (available only to WSJ subscribers)