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

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (GOLD STAR!) TO Mike Tyson, who spoke this week about the day he found his then-wife Robin Givens in bed with “some little beach-bum-looking dude,” otherwise known as Brad Pitt. The true punch line is that there was no punch thrown; “I wasn’t thinking of attacking him,” Tyson told Global Grind. “I was just depressed I couldn’t bone [Givens] no more.”  Once known as throwing a punch or even a bite at the slightest provocation, his new PR image is that of the vegan, reflective giant.  With this amusing head-shaker of a story, his previous PR image of the unhinged boxer continues to recede and his PR rehab continues.

 

 

NY Post1 150x150 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) TO The New York Post, which came under fire from readers and the media alike for printing a front-page photo of a man seconds away from death after being pushed onto subway tracks. (Out of respect for the family of victim Ki-Suck Han, the PRV will not show the photo.) The photographer said he was too far away from the victim to help, and that he was trying to warn the train driver with the flash from his camera. The Post did not bother defending its decision to run the photo with screaming headline DOOMED. With the Murdoch press still under the glare of phone hacking and other scandals, it’s silence on the issue leads to the inevitable question: Have they learnt any lessons?

 

 

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO NBC’s Today Show, for a bizarre mock-segment featuring host Matt Lauer as the “victim” of sexual harassment. The faux story, spawned after host Willie Geist swatted Lauer’s bottom with a newspaper, got more cringe-worthy by the minute as NBC investigative reporter Jeff Rossen was brought in report the “facts” and the camera cut to Lauer quietly questioning what he’d done to provoke the attack. Anyone on the receiving end of real sexual harassment couldn’t fail to be offended. An ill-conceived idea to stem Today’s recent ratings decline? Whoever dreamed this one up needs to return to Sensitivity 101 class. (For more, here.)

When It Comes to PR, Mike Tyson’s No Pigeon

Mike Tyson Kissing Pigeon2 150x150 When It Comes to PR, Mike Tysons No Pigeon

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Mike Tyson and a comeback that gives the public a new way to think about him.

Boxer Mike Tyson recently told the Financial Times (FT) that by the age of thirteen, he had been arrested no less than 38 times. His life was one chaotic downward spiral. A rape charge led to him serving three years in prison; he ran through a $400 million fortune; there were endless drugs, arrests, more arrests, and then, the coupe de grace: biting off Evander Holyfield’s earlobe. How to stage a PR comeback from all of THAT?

Tyson pinpoints the exact moment he became the “baddest man on the planet.” At fifteen years of age, bullied relentlessly (hard to imagine), and a lover of pigeons (even harder), Mike Tyson had one of his prized pigeons killed by a taunting bully. Tyson fought back, and from that moment, his descent into one helluva scary guy was guaranteed.

Tyson’s second epiphany, this one leading in a different direction, occurred much later. Tired of sleeping with a never-ending procession of prostitutes and having multiple STDs, he turned to veganism as a route to good health.

The former ear-biting prizefighter now speaks publicly about his non-meat eating lifestyle, and his love of pigeons. “My pigeons, they were there for me,” he says. “They’ve never let me down. Easier than people.” The world got its first incredulous glimpse of the kinder, gentler Tyson in his reality show Taking On Tyson, and again in his sold-out one-man Broadway show, The Undisputed Truth, directed by Spike Lee. The Mike Tyson of yesterday has turned the page and is writing a whole new chapter.

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Mike Tyson and a comeback that gives the public a new way to think about him.

The PR Takeaway:  Turning the page is best explained by a personal epiphany. In PR terms, it explains clearly the what and why of a seminal moment. Fighting a bully made him realize his own power. One too many prostitutes made him realize that salvation lay in veganism. The constant throughout it all? His love of pigeons. Apparently, Tyson was the misunderstood gentle giant. Now even the Financial Times wants to write about him. Who would have thought? Now watch the endorsement contracts come through.

To read more about Tyson, his turnaround, and his pigeons, click here.

Is Mike Tyson a canny PR manipulator, or is the public feasting on his foibles? Give us your PR verdict!