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!

Is Hillary Having An Unofficial PR Makeover?

Hilaryclinton Is Hillary Having An Unofficial PR Makeover?

The PR Verdict: "B" for Hillary Clinton and her ongoing unofficial PR makeover.

What is going on with Hillary Clinton? Are we seeing a PR campaign by stealth? Over the last month Madam Secretary seems to have been working on, what can only be described,  as an unofficial PR makeover.  Something’s afoot.

It all started with the photo of Hillary Clinton texting while aboard a C-17 military plane.  It went viral and comics in cyber space had fun creating harmless spoof texts about to whom and what she was texting.  Was it Beyonce?  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?  Or Condi Rice? Then much to everyone’s surprise, Hillary started tweeting directly, followed up by an invitation to the creators of the spoof texts to meet with her at the State Department.  Cameras ready?   Hillary now on Twitter and Tumblr!

Next stop: An unofficial photo from Cartagena, Colombia, while there for the Latin America Summit.  Photos of good ol’Hillary  dancing with her office gal pals for a colleague’s birthday after hours.  It made all the papers and she was having fun.  Nice one!  And while we are there,  it temporarily pushed the scandal of secret service officers and prostitutes in hotel rooms, off the front page. Yay!

The PR Verdict: “B” for Hillary Clinton and her ongoing unofficial PR makeover.  From the Cruella de Vil of foreign policy to fun Ol’Hillary.  It’s amazing what a tweet and photo can do,  particularly for the female vote in an election year.

PR Takeaway:  A PR image can only exist in one dimension for so long.  Hillary is tough and clever -we all know that.  But this gets old fast.  Something was needed to change the pace.  Her recent forays into social media have moved the dial on her popularity and likeability.  Hillary has another side.  See?  Who knew?  Is all of this really just a coincidence?

To read more about Hillary texting click here.  To see Hillary partying in Columbia click here.

What’s your PR Verdict on Hillary’s ongoing PR makeover?

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What Will We Remember Silvio Berlusconi For?

Berlusconi2 What Will We Remember Silvio Berlusconi For?

The PR Verdict: “F” for Berlusconi and his hope of imparting a political legacy.

Been to any good parties lately? Is anyone feeling more than a hint of envy and disappointment at not having been invited to Silvio Berlusconi’s rather extravagant soirees, currently being described in excruciating detail in an Italian court.

The former Premier of Italy is on trial for allegedly paying a 17-year-old Moroccan girl for sex (left), then using his influence in 2010 to cover it up.  He has denied the charges but details emerge daily about the parties he was either hosting or attending.  The key finding?  His entertaining style was more Girls Gone Wild than formal state dinners.

Yesterday’s revelation that the fetes involved female guests allegedly dressing as nuns and stripping for titillated guests will ensure this is what Berlusconi is remembered for.  His political legacy has now become permanently entwined with jokes about bunga-bunga, strippers nuns and Sister Act.

The PR Verdict: “F” for Berlusconi and his hope of imparting a political legacy.  These headlines will define his premiership.

PR Takeaway: Anecdotes kill reputations faster than any long-winded critical evaluation.  To permanently damage a person’s reputation all that is needed is a simple incident that can be forever used by detractors as shorthand for a wider moral failing.   Clinton had it with cigars, John Edwards had it with $500 haircuts, while corporate tycoons had it with ice sculptures looking like centurions and $6000 dollar shower curtains.  The anecdote is usually the opening paragraph to any story.  It’s an uphill and often unsuccessful battle to change the perception from then on.

To read more click here and here.

What’s your PR Verdict?

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Why Does DSK Have Trouble At Orgies?

dsk21 Why Does DSK Have Trouble At Orgies?

The PR Verdict: “F” an outright fail for Dominque and his misguided PR statements.

The fortunes of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn aren’t improving. Yesterday he was taken into custody for questioning over allegations of a prostitution ring. Things just keep on getting worse for DSK.

French and Belgian police have been questioning prostitutes who said they had sex with DSK during 2010 and 2011 as part of an organised call-girl ring at various locations in Washington and Paris. The specificity of the leaked details are sending alarm signals to DSK’s defence team.

Strauss-Kahn’s PR took a turn for the worse when his lawyer, during a radio interview, seemed to inadvertently confirm his client was routinely attending orgies. Digging his client’s grave while theoretically defending him, his lawyer said, “He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman.”

The PR Verdict: “F” an outright fail for Dominque and his misguided PR statements. On the other hand, the comment is so wildly out-of-line it generates a peculiar type of begrudging admiration.

While clever PR this time around is unlikely to help this most desperate of cases, a word of advice to his lawyer is needed. In moments like this, a better PR tactic would be to say that the client was drinking heavily, took prescription drugs and doesn’t remember the night.  Volunteering to the media that your client attends orgies but has trouble identifying who is who at the orgy, is not the sort of personal weakness that generates sympathy. ..Yes…Really.

To find out more click here and here