PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & Losers

 PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for his first act post-office: taking on the formidable US National Rifle Association. Bloomberg has pledged to spend $50 million this year on gun control, a topic that Americans continue to debate though nary a week goes by without a tragic shooting incident. The former mayor’s last initiative, curbing large-size sugary drinks, incurred jokes and charges of creating a nanny state. This issue is a far better fit for his bulldog approach and financial muscle.

HomelessGoPro PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (Full Fiasco) to the Homeless GoPro project team, whose attempt to create empathy for the plight of the homeless succeeded mostly in creating enmity for themselves. The idea: give homeless people GoPro cameras to record their daily routines and interactions with the often-callous more fortunate. Though surely well-intentioned, the project comes off as exploitative, tone-deaf and not particularly helpful to those it would seek to help. As the Valleywag blog critically noted, the project says more about a tech-savvy “coding class” that needs a high-tech fad to experience empathy. “Poverty, homelessness, and inequality are bigger than any app,” they wrote. “Your tech isn’t helping.”

 PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to North Korea for its bizarre overreaction to a London hair salon that had a bit of fun at the expense of  the country’s leader Kim Jong-Un. Mo Nebbach, owner of M&M Hair Academy in Ealing, put up a poster of Kim with his characteristically closely shorn sideburns and the question “Bad Hair Day?” The next day Nebbach was visited by two apparent strongmen who demanded that the poster be removed, which Nabbach declined to do. One could be forgiven for thinking the visit a prank, but Nabbach contacted the police, only to find out that they’d already heard from the North Korean Embassy. It seems the diminutive leader’s feelings were, indeed, hurt.  Where’s Dennis Rodman when you need him?

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 security firm Codenomicon and Google researcher Neel Mehta, both of whom discovered the web security bug known as Heartbleed. The bug, a flaw that allows access to user information on what was thought to be safely encrypted websites and search engines, has been around for a while, but was found simultaneously by vigilant researchers Mehta and Codenomicon. All sounded the alarm, which may have circumvented breaches in the millions.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Katherine Heigl, who perpetuated her image as a cranky prima donna with a lawsuit against drugstore chain Duane Reade. The store’s transgression? Tweeting a photo of her walking with two of their shopping bags. Heigl is a “highly recognized celebrity… When plaintiff chooses to endorse a product or service, she is highly selective and well compensated,” the lawsuit sniffed. In other words, as one gossip web site snarked, “Basically: Katherine Heigl don’t do no free advertising. She can’t just have her grumpy, exhausted face freely associated with some drugstore FOR FREE..” Perhaps Heigl should invest in a good mirror. Duane Reade carries them, we hear…

kimjongun The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO the North Korean Parliament, who this week re-elected, to no one’s surprise, dictator Kim Jong-un as head the country’s top governing agency, the National Defense Commission. Kim’s election (if that really is the right word) means he is still in control despite political turmoil in the regime and can work to consolidate power by filling leadership posts left vacant by – you guessed it – his purges. The government-run news agency called his re-election a sign of  “the unchanged will of the military and the people” to support him.

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

giffordsjump The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who marked the third anniversary of the mass shooting that killed six of her constituents and left her in critical condition, with a different kind of death-defying, life-affirming act. Last Wednesday, Giffords, now heading a national gun control group with her husband, Mark Kelly, while continuing to inspire all with her painstaking, courageous rehabilitation from her injuries, paired up with a Navy SEAL for a tandem skydive over the Arizona desert. Giffords, whose injuries left her with sharply impaired speech, told an interviewer the stunt could speak for her. And what was the message? “I’m alive,” she said.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who’s trying to speed away from a PR disaster. After months of denying allegations that his office intentionally caused traffic jams in a town whose mayor didn’t endorse Christie, emails surfaced this week suggesting members of the governor’s inner circle did just that. In an emergency press conference, Christie fired one staffer, distanced himself from another and described himself as blindsided and humiliated. But the PR damage to the potential presidential hopeful is done: Either he knew about the antics and lied about them, or he didn’t know but is incompetent and obtuse enough to surround himself with vindictive bullies. The question for Christie is whether this PR stain will wash out by 2016.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to Dennis Rodman, former NBA basketball star, now self-appointed envoy to North Korea. As shown in the basketball game organized by Rodman, his skills on the court still far outweigh those of the ambassador he fancies himself as being. On this latest visit, Rodman insinuated that Kenneth Bae, a political prisoner held by North Korea since 2012, did something to deserve his sentence of 15 years of hard labor. Rodman’s empty apology, made via his publicist, was that he’d been drinking – something that, were he not Kim Jong Un’s bestie, might have landed him in a position to apologize to Bae directly.

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 Margaret Thatcher whose shadow continues to loom large. The Iron Lady was cited recently as a role model by the leaders of Japan and South Korea. While Thatcher might give both leaders a low grade for their economic policies, her renowned determination is giving her PR image a second renaissance. Japan’s leader Shinzo Abe told local media he was moved to tears twice in the biopic The Iron Lady, and in South Korea, Prime Minister Jung Hong-won has said that “Thatcherism” will “revive the nation from crisis.” While Thatcher may have been unloved by many at the time of her reign, anyone wanting PR associated with strong leadership need look no further than Maggie from some thirty years ago.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Rutgers University for the delay in firing Mike Rice, its head basketball coach. Rice was sacked this week after videos surfaced showing him shoving, kicking, and screaming anti-gay slurs at players during practice last winter. Unfortunately,  top brass at the New Jersey university knew about the behavior in November but elected to “rehabilitate” him with a fine and three-game suspension. A poor decision on every level, particularly so given that Rutgers became a poster child for bullying-related tragedy in 2010, when a student committed suicide after his roommate filmed him with another man and mocked him on Twitter. What was university leadership thinking?

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO North Korea’s threats. At least, that’s the message coming from the US Defense Department, even as Kim Jong Un et al have announced that North Korea’s nuclear missiles are now aimed at US targets. The threats have been called rhetoric, though US officials have deployed stealth aircraft and assured the public that the threats are being taken seriously. Perhaps they’re not serious enough to warrant the “My fellow Americans” speech from the president just yet, but many must be wondering just how far these threats will go.

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 Chris Christie. First, the governor of New Jersey decided to combat constant fat jokes made by David Letterman by showing up on the Late Show and noshing on a donut. “I didn’t know this was going to be this long,” Christie quipped. After Connie Mariano, physician to President Clinton, cast a shadow over speculation about a Christie White House run in 2016 by saying she feared the overweight politician would die in office (she has never examined him), he shot back in typical Joisey gov fashion: “She should shut up.” In both cases, Christie showed how to deftly turn negative media into positive PR.


 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: F (“Full Fiasco”) to North Korea. The government released a bizarre propaganda mini-film depicting a nuclear missile launch and New York City engulfed in flames. A dreamscape sequence set to “We Are The World,” the video was released on YouTube, a rather ironic platform given the dictatorship’s antipathy to freedom of information. If Kim Jong-un was going for intimidation, the video wasn’t a success. Bemusement and confusion seemed to be the primary reactions, at least outside North Korea. Maybe the response was different within the country itself – where, erm, no one has Internet access to watch it.


bfrankel 150x150 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” PR AWARD TO: celebrities and their pets. This week, ran two stories about celebrities and their pet troubles. Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton got her minute of questionable fame this week with the search for her lost dog. Bunton “took to Twitter” to announce that her chocolate labrador Phoebe went missing and has now come to an untimely end (no details given). Not be outdone, reality TV star Bethenny Frankel tweeted that her beloved dog Cookie is ill “which makes me sad & gives me anxiety.” The news? Cookie has been released from “hospital” following the insertion of a catheter. We can understand stars working social media to stay in the public eye, but there isn’t much to say here even when limited by 140 characters.

How Funny Was The Dictator On The Red Carpet?

sachabaron choen1 How Funny Was The Dictator On The Red Carpet?

The PR Verdict: “B” for General Aladeen and his ho-hum stunt.

Did anyone find Sacha Baron Cohen on the Academy Awards red carpet funny? As a comedic exercise it was at best lukewarm, but as a PR exercise it hit the mark, securing more coverage than if he had topped the “best-dressed” list.  Is spilling pancake mix the new way to secure coverage?

Prior to the Oscars there had been some noise about whether the Academy would allow Cohen to walk down the red carpet dressed as the fictional General Aladeen from his upcoming movie The Dictator.  Earlier reports claimed he had been forbidden to attend the ceremony, which the Academy denied.  In any case, the anticipation generated some pre-Oscar column inches.

During a red carpet interview on the night with Ryan Seacrest of E!, Cohen, carrying an urn filled with the “ashes” of former North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Il said it was Kim’s dream to attend the Oscars and “to be sprinkled over the red carpet and Halle Berry’s chest.”  He then tipped the urn to cover an un-amused Seacrest with dust.  Cue laughter.

The PR Verdict: “B” for General Aladeen who, despite the joke falling rather flat, got the PR bang he was hoping for.  There is no doubt the Dictator got more coverage than if he had walked down the red carpet as plain Sacha Cohen.

This PR stunt generated endless replays, went viral and gave commentators, tired of debating the length of Angelina’s leg, new material.  It created the sort of fuss that is the dream of every PR and has been followed up assiduously on social media by Cohen’s PR and marketing team. Now, the  the real test will be to see whether the 1.5 million hits on You Tube translate into movie ticket sales.

To see the interview click here and to read more click here. Take our poll and let us know how funny you found the interview:

[polldaddy poll=5986125]