Kim Kardashian Shakes Up Bahrain

 Kim Kardashian Shakes Up Bahrain

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for Kim Kardashian.

Some people love Kim Kardashian. Others hate her. And new on the list of fully-fledged haters are Islamic militants based in the tiny Gulf kingdom of Bahrain. Recently, over 100 militants turned out in Bahrain to welcome the reality TV star to their shores. This wasn’t the traditional greeting of Arab charm and mint tea; teargas was fired on militant protestors as they chanted “Syria receives martyrs while Bahrain receives whores.”

Bahrain has seen violent clashes between security forces and opposition protesters on numerous occasions over the last 18 months, including government crackdowns that have drawn the ire of human rights groups. Earlier in the week, a group of conservative Bahraini parliamentarians tried to ban Kardashian from visiting the country, citing her “bad reputation.” The motion never got off the ground, and all the while Kardashian correctly said nothing – until she made a mistaken Tweet. Then, she then managed to upset more than the militants.

In town to promote the opening of a franchise of milkshake shops, Kardashian met with fans who paid $1200 a ticket to be near the reality TV celebrity. Local media swooned over Kim’s fashion choices (white bandage dress with body panels, hair modestly pulled back) while Kardashian Tweeted photos of herself posing in front of camels. She then mistakenly Tweeted, “Thanks Sheikh Khalifa for your amazing hospitality. I’m in love with The Kingdom of Bahrain.”

Immediately, human rights groups asked, “Why is Kim Kardashian promoting the Bahraini dictatorship?”, likening the event to “milkshakes with a hint of torture, flavored with teargas.” Ouch! For someone who was not trying to take sides she was suddenly the in the middle of the fray.

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) For Kim Kardashian for her “no comment” policy.

The PR Takeaway: Even a thank you note can cause trouble. Saying nothing requires discipline. For a while there, Kim Kardashian was handling the fuss over her arrival with relentless cheerfulness. Then, the mistaken Tweet. Staying out of the fray is not as easy as it sounds. Kim has now learned that this can even apply to a thank you note.

To read more, click here.

Murdoch, Think Before You Tweet!

 Murdoch, Think Before You Tweet!

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for Rupert Murdoch.

When it comes to controversial tweets or scandalous emails, one of the more predictable cries from the media is to ask, what was this person thinking? Every smarty-pants commentator let’s us know: Nothing is private, all is public. Don’t write it if you don’t want it on the front page.

Apparently, media mogul Rupert Murdoch hasn’t been listening; he just learned his humiliating lesson in the world of social media the hard way. His Twitter followers were presumably puzzled by his Tweet this past Sunday that accused the “Jewish owned press” of favoring Gaza over Israel in news coverage concerning the latest military action. He asked his followers, which number over 360,000, “Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?”

Immediately, the commentators were wondering who could Rupert have been referring to. In previous Tweets, Murdoch complained of  “CNN and AP bias to point of embarrassment.” But as neither are “Jewish owned,” the comments seemed genuinely confusing. The wider consensus is that The New York Times, his US foe in the newspaper world, was the target. But the mystery now looks like it will never be solved.  Murdoch apologized unreservedly, describing his Tweet as “awkward and inappropriate,” adding he should not have brought in “irrelevant and incorrect ethnic matters.” Case closed.

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for one of the world’s leading media tycoons. However, it’s touching to realize that even a media mogul can get social media wrong.

The PR Takeaway: Press “pause” before “send.” The Murdoch incident is a flash in the PR pan, but it does show that even the most experienced media practitioners can get it very wrong. What’s obvious with the benefit of hindsight is sometimes not obvious at the time. Murdoch might want someone in his entourage to check Tweets before sending them; this is not a one-on-one conversation, after all. Take note, Wendi.

To read more, click here.

Guest Column: Lady Gaga’s Fur Flap

 Guest Column: Lady Gagas Fur Flap

The PR Verdict: D (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga.

Last week, Dan Mathews, Vice President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) blasted Lady Gaga for prancing around in a fur coat. Gaga had previously been on the record professing,  “I hate fur, and I don’t wear fur,” but recent photos of her in fox and rabbit, and with a wolf carcass, made it appear that she has either changed her mind or lost her memory. Matthews told Gaga via a public letter that by wearing fur, she’s making herself “a target, just like the mindless Kim Kardashian.” The non-leather gloves are off!

Gaga responded with a Tweet instructing those wondering whether her fur was real or faux to “credit the designer HERMES. Thank You!” She then issued a lengthier explanation on her LittleMonsters.com website and simultaneously took a dig at PETA, saying that she doesn’t support “violent, abusive, and childish campaigns.”

“I am choosing not to comment on whether or not the furs I purchase are faux fur-pile or real because I would think it hypercritical [sic] not to acknowledge the python, ostrich, cow hide, leather, lamb, alligator, ‘kermit’ and not to mention meat, that I have already worn,” she said, referencing her infamous meat dress of 2010.

Gaga continued “…I have truly always stayed away from skinned fur, especially [since] I have never been able to afford a nice one, but this does not mean my morals are rigid and that I won’t bend at the sight of an absolute art piece of a coat… But I am truly sorry to fans who are upset by this, its [sic] a fair and applaudable [sic again] feeling about the health and safety of animals. I respect your views, please respect mine. And Kim Kardashian is fabulous,” the megastar added.

The PR Verdict: D (PR Problematic) for Lady Gaga. While a chastising public letter from PETA could be construed as “violent, abusive or childish,” it might also have been possible to turn the other cheek and let the whole issue blow over. The more important lesson for Gaga is to choose allies, such as the intractable PETA, carefully.

The PR Takeaway: Stand by your message or abandon it, but don’t remix it by saying one thing, then sort of retracting it. If you’re against fur, be against fur. If not, fine, but being against some fur and not all is a tad wishy-washy, and former allies like PETA will understandably make a meal of it. On the plus side, communicating via an impassioned blog keeps the connection with fans strong. But one tip: typos and mistakes don’t prove authenticity of authorship. A copy editor won’t dilute the message, however confusing the substance might be.

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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Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher: Where’s the Tweet?

DEMIMOORE Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher: Wheres the Tweet?Actress Demi Moore has been in the headlines this past week for all the wrong reasons.

At the time of her November separation from Ashton Kutcher, articles quoted endless “friends” and “close sources” who gave prurient details of the breakup.

This week un-named sources confirmed that Moore is being treated for an unspecified addiction and eating disorder at a facility in Utah.  People quoted one kindly source as saying Demi is “on total lockdown and only talking to a small group of people”.

For a couple that conquered the twitter-verse and all things in social media, it seems entirely unsatisfactory that the only sources shaping this sad chapter are unnamed and not seemingly on the actress’s side.

The PR Verdict: “F” for Ashton (and Bruce) for their handling of this issue. Get Tweeting!

Don’t let an unnamed source hog the airtime giving updates that don’t help. Show some leadership and become the official spokesperson. Part of Kutcher’s fame came from mastering the Tweet.  Now is the time to use the technology for more selfless reasons