How About A Pulitzer for Beyoncé?

essencebeyonce1 How About A Pulitzer for Beyoncé?

PR Verdict: “F” For Essence’s cynical and embarrassing ploy.

Does anyone else find something vaguely ridiculous about Beyoncé being awarded a prize for journalism by Essence magazine? On May 15th, the New York Association of Black Journalists in association with the magazine, will award Beyoncé first-place prize in “arts and entertainment writing” in its magazine category.  There are 39 other winners who will also receive an award on the night.  What a surprise to realise that award winning journalism is being written at the rate of one article every nine days!

Beyoncé’s cover story from last year, called derivatively,  “Eat, Play, Love” has been named best in category and chronicled her 9-month sabbatical from her hectic recording career.   Written in the first-person, the article  gave readers an insight into the breakthroughs Beyoncé enjoyed while travelling the world.

Readers looking for insights will be delighted to know that Beyoncé discovered  she “loved artichokes and that a salad and fresh fish are not only healthy choices but incredibly delicious.”   In the article she also noted that “All over Italy, the streets smell like gelato.”  Did even she realise that this was award winning stuff?

The PR Verdict: “F” For Essence Magazine and its cynical and embarrassing ploy to garner publicity for its award show.  Column inches have been secured but most are vaguely derisory.  Bad move.

PR Takeaway:  Not all publicity is good publicity.  This is one case where the snarky tone of most of the coverage of the upcoming event has already diminished the value and integrity of the 39 other prizewinners.  Getting a celebrity to attend is one thing, giving her a prize for journalism is quite another.   Does Beyoncé need another prize?  She could have been easily comforted by one of her 16 Grammy awards if she was feeling blue.

To read  more click here and here.

What’s your PR Verdict?

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Why? Because I’m Worth It.

bettencourt Why? Because Im Worth It.

The PR Verdict: “B” for Jean-Victor (and his very rich granny)

Is Jean-Victor Meyers worth it? That is the question investors in the cosmetic powerhouse L’Oreal must be asking.  Just appointed to L’Oreal’s board he is the grandson of famous 89-year-old heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who after a protracted and public fight with her daughter,  has stepped down from the board.  The family that started the firm is still calling the shots and his grandmother’s mantle has been passed to her grandson, 25 year old Jean Victor.

Stepping onto the fourteen-member board, his ascension is unlikely to create immediate rifts given that his family, despite bitter wrangling, often end up voting en bloc.  Described as “sheltered and publicity shy”, the NYTimes described the newest and youngest board member of a firm with over 20 billion euros in revenues, as having “a taste for fashion but little expertise in business.”

For the moment the media claims his start up men’s label, Exemplaire, selling leather goods and cashmere sweaters, is his greater interest.  One long-term investor was quoted as saying what others were probably thinking, “he’s only 25 years old, he is inexperienced and he seems to lack maturity.”  Jean Victor hasn’t given interviews but has confirmed he will bring “energy and enthusiasm” to L’Oreal.

The PR Verdict:  “B” for Jean-Victor and his rich granny.  Hard to give a higher grade for saying nothing.  For the moment it really is best to say rien.  Energy and enthusiasm will suffice.

PR Takeaway:  When you have nothing to say,  then stick to saying nothing and avoid holding yourself hostage to a comment later down the line.  His appointment was inevitably going to invite detractors and critics.   Given ongoing market speculation about Nestle and its possible interest in L’Oreal, he could end up playing an important role in later board manoeuvres.  Being the young ingénue, regarded as the blank slate without a view,  is probably the best place to be for the moment.  Yes maybe he is worth it.

To read more click here.

What’s your PR Verdict?

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Lunch with Werner Erhard: Why the Disappointment?

wernererhard24 171x300 Lunch with Werner Erhard:  Why the Disappointment?

PRVerdict: “C” for Werner Erhard.

Lunch with the famous Werner Erhard!  The founder of EST, Landmark Education and America’s most famous personal development guru just gave his first interview in many years.  His choice?  The Financial Times and Saturday’s “Lunch with the FT” slot,  written by the notoriously sharp Lucy Kellaway.  The purpose?  To discuss Erhard’s latest work, developed with Harvard economist Michael Jensen, about the nature of integrity and how it applies in the business world.  Erhard says expansively,  “I want people to know that most suffering in their lives is the product of out-of-integrity behavior”.

Kellaway in her write up veered between portraying Werhard as exhausting and draining and  then, most tellingly, a poor listener.  Mistakenly calling her “Suzie” during the interview Erhard introduced an exercise from one of his training sessions as the interview seemed to flag.  The result was more than a hint of irritation from his luncheon companion.

This was a tough lunch and probably better done as a team, with his associate Jensen on hand to have provided some balance.  Not only would it have reduced straying into Erhard’s checkered and much previously discussed personal history, but it may have served as a brake on Erhard using workshop techniques on a seemingly reluctant journalist .

The PR  Verdict:  “C” for Werner Erhard.  For a thought leader with much to say and contribute, this was a disappointment.  This interview got lost in distractions.

PR Takeaway:  Make your point by giving examples and make them easy.  This interview lacked solid illustrations as to how an absence of integrity was the genesis for some of the more recent seismic scandals to have hit the corporate world.  With Erhard’s colleague Michael Jensen, previously one of the more vocal advocates of aligning management interests with stock options, an analyisis of Enron, Tyco and the 2008 financial crisis might have been a good place to start.  It might also have postponed Erhard’s one-on-one workshop with Lucy Kellaway to a later date.

To read the interview click here

What your PR Verdict on Werner Erhard’s interview?

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Guess Who Confessed To Hacking Again?

Phone hacking1 Guess Who Confessed To Hacking Again?

The PR Verdict: "F" for Murdoch and public interest

Fancy that!  BSKYB the television broadcaster has fessed up to phone hacking.  Is the latest revelation from another Murdoch controlled news organization all that surprising?

Besides being astonishingly embarrassing for Murdoch, it follows on the heels of his son James’s resignation from BSKYB and increases scrutiny on a proprietor who has broken his trust with the public.  The circumstances of the cases were detailed by BSKYB,  who while acknowledging that hacking was illegal, said it was authorized by the News Editor to benefit the public interest.  SKY thundered this illegal act was only done under strict rules and for a specific purpose.  No need for us to worry then.

Next time it may be less of a hassle to simply hand over the file to the police to avoid these sorts of problems.

The PR Verdict: “F” for Murdoch (yet again) and his newly found PR strategy of claiming protection by way of public interest.  Is there any thing else to confess while we are here?

Cloaking the issue in the mantle of public interest has inherent risks.  Since when has society broadly consented to giving editors carte blanche to break the law?  Without defining the “public interest” served in this case, the waters are now muddied.  Why not simply say they were all errors of judgment?  Far simpler given the pattern and volume across Murdoch based businesses.

To read more click here.

What is your verdict? Is claiming the public interest a good PR strategy?

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