PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR Perfect) to Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland man who helped free three girls held captive in his neighbor’s house for more than a decade. Ramsey’s Internet stardom was launched with a local TV interview that included colorful one-liners like “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms.” One of the only people available to the media in the early hours of the story, Ramsey was roundly lauded for both his actions and his handling of the unexpected attention. Not everyone was positive: Slate gnashed its teeth over “a troubling trend of the ‘the hilarious black neighbor’.” Overall, though, the Cleveland dishwasher came off as heroic, lively, and genuine.
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to rappers and their agents who lured the allegedly unsuspecting entertainers into lucrative endorsement contracts, only to have them rescinded shortly thereafter. Three rappers were dropped this week: Reebok let go of Rick Ross, while Pepsico released Li’l Wayne and Tyler the Creator. Suddenly their lyrics were deemed to be offensive and racist and not in keeping with corporate values. The rappers issued lukewarm apologies, but what was clear was that nobody had done their homework before signing on the dotted line. Finally, Reverend Al Sharpton weighed in and said everybody was at fault. We agree. Everyone gets an “F” – no debate.
THE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO Georgia Holt, aka Cher’s mother. Perennially youthful celebrity Cher is a legend when it comes to reinvention of media relevancy, and her documentary Dear Mom, Love Cher - which recently aired on the Lifetime network – is one for the PR books. However, press for the tribute to Mom sounded slightly less than scintillating. When told of granddaughter Chastity’s upcoming sex change to grandson Chaz, the quote from mere Cher was, “That’s interesting, sweetheart.” Hm. Okay. Well, good for her, but was it good for PR?