Sex and the Single Gurley Brown

 Sex and the Single Gurley Brown

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Helen Gurley Brown.

What is the PR secret to staying “on- message” and in the public eye for over forty years? The death this week of Helen Gurley Brown (HGB), former Editor- in-Chief of Cosmopolitan and author of once scandalous books, provides some clues. Since the 1970s, she never stopped preaching the same message. And women in particular, kept on listening.

Feminists were never quite sure where to place HGB. Some staged a sit-in at her offices in protest during her editorship of Cosmo, while others lambasted her “teenage immaturity.”  She certainly knew how to scandalize, claiming “I’ve never worked anywhere without being sexually involved with somebody in the office.” Did this include her boss? “Why discriminate against him?” was her tart reply. Cheeky!

Having shocked America with her thesis that unmarried women not only had sex but also enjoyed it, the NY Times recently wrote that she spent “the next three decades telling those women precisely how to enjoy it even more.” Bottom line, her aim, she said, was to tell women “How to get everything out of life — the money, recognition, success, men, prestige, authority, dignity — whatever she is looking at through the glass her nose is pressed against.” So it wasn’t just about sex after all.

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for HGB. Her message was simple: Kick off the conversation with headline-grabbing sex, but broaden into “having it all.” No wonder she was still listened to.

The PR Takeaway: Lasting success comes from wrapping a simple message into a wider discourse. Weighing in at 100 pounds all her life, HGB was a socio-political heavyweight, talking about sex in the wider empowered context of “having it all” and being your best. The mistress of the sound bite, HGB was famous for her motto, “Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere.” Back in 1970, she was already speaking to the Sex & the City zeitgeist, perhaps even helping to create it. Forty years later, her message still resonates; no small achievement for someone who was supposedly just talking about sex and the single girl.

To read more about HGB, click here.

Did Helen Gurley Brown help to objectify or liberate women? Give us your PR Verdict!

 

 

 

 

 

PETA’s Naked Agenda

cf05e peta xxx2 300x280 PETAs Naked Agenda

The PR Verdict: “C” for PETA and its promo porn.

Do you care about animals? Do you care about porn? Well then, today is your lucky day!  Animal rights activist group, People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)  has launched a site for you.  The eye-popping website features naked porn stars and vegetarian sex tips, including advice on how to boost your sex drive with vegetables.

The adult-only site, called PETA.XXX.com, was introduced by famously unattractive porn star (and animal lover) Ron Jeremy. “This is the perfect example of sex just being used to draw interest,” he explained, “and then once you’re there on the site, we’re going to hit you with facts that you need to know about the world of animals.”

Justifying the approach, PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajit said, “We live in a 24-hour news cycle world, and we learn the racy things we do are sometimes the most effective way that we can reach particular individuals.” The porn site will raise awareness of veganism, said Rajt. “We really want to grab people’s attention, get them talking… we can help the greatest number of animals by not eating them.”

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for PETA and its promo porn. While it may grab the headlines on day one, it raises potential problems that go beyond splash coverage.

PR Takeaway: Resist the quick hit and the quick headline. Yes, PETA’s website and launch has garnered media attention, but for an organization already known for outrageous PR stunts, this seems desperate. With Ron Jeremy as a key spokesperson, PETA risks being excluded permanently from any serious debate about animal welfare and food sustainability. More importantly, PETA’s supporters may be as opposed to porn on the grounds that it exploits women, as they are opposed to the exploitation of animals. What will Ron Jeremy say then?

To read more click here and here.

What is Sex Like with Hugh Hefner?

 What is Sex Like with Hugh Hefner?

The PR Verdict: "D" for the future, former, future-again Mrs. Hefner.

If only we could take back what was said in haste.  That must be what former Playboy Bunny Crystal Harris is wishing.  Twelve months after the 26-year-old ditched her fiancé, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner 86 , the pair have confirmed that their engagement is back on.  Crystal is wondering why the media isn’t taking the happy news too seriously.

The lack of media excitement may have something to do with their previously “amicable breakup” before their big wedding last year.  Engaged in December 2010 after two years together, Hef and Harris were ready to tie the knot at the Playboy Mansion in June 2011.  Five days before the wedding, the relationship deteriorated into an unseemly spat.

When the breakup went public (via Twitter, of course), Harris hit the airwaves and didn’t hold back.  She gave her reasons on nationally syndicated radio shows:  Sex with Hefner  apparently  lasted “like, two seconds.”  In case that wasn’t clear enough, she added, “Then I was just over it…I just like, walked away.  I’m not turned on by Hef–sorry.”

The PR Verdict : “D” for Crystal and her desire for the media to take her engagement seriously.  Next time, let your fiancé’s publicist do the talking.

PR Takeaway:  Whatever is true at the moment may not be true later on–or, if it is, maybe it’s better left unsaid.  Avoid being held hostage to fortune.  Claiming Hefner was a dud in bed while Tweeting that the separation was amicable was always going to strain credulity.  The archive is stronger than the Tweet.  Next time,  pretend the split is amicable, and let the PR team do its job.  And there probably will be a next time, because as we know, Hef and Harris have a funny way of changing their minds.

To read more, click here.

In Case You Didn’t Know Meghan McCain Is “Strictly Dickly”

meghanmccain2 In Case You Didnt Know Meghan McCain Is Strictly Dickly

The PR Verdict: “D” for Meghan and her PR positioning.

Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain, has given a puzzling but compelling interview to Playboy.  Unloved by right and left wing commentators, she is facing an uphill battle to be taken seriously.  One conservative blogger describes her as “a self-indulgent set of mega-breasts (that) doesn’t belong anywhere near a TV studio commenting on anything.”  Missing the point Meghan replies, “Every guy I’ve ever dated and every boyfriend I’ve ever had—nobody ever complained about my body.”

The interview continues downhill.  Describing herself as “seriously interested” in politics, (“My mom was pregnant with me at the 1984 Republican convention”), Meghan says she is not interested in the sniping and unkindness of political life.  Reassuring Playboy readers that she loves politics and is not bisexual, she comments “I’m strictly dickly.  I can’t help it.  I love sex and I love men.”

 The PR Verdict: “D” for Meghan and her PR positioning.  Is Playboy the best venue to launch a pundit’s career? Was this the wisest content? Who is doing Meghan’s PR?

Asked why so many politicians get caught up in sex scandals Meghan observes “repression breeds obsession. Politicians have to be goody-goodies…the more you deny your sexual side, the more it builds up and comes out in inappropriate ways.”  Odd words from the daughter of an ex Presidential candidate.  A change of strategy might be what is needed.  This was a great interview to secure a slot on late night Chelsea Lately but not Meet The Press.  Strictly dickly Meghan might want to begin charting a different course.

To read the interview in Playboy click here. To read some of the coverage click here.

What’s your PR Verdict on Meghan’s interview?

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