PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to actor Mark Wahlberg, who announced that, after a year of secretly taking online classes, he has earned his high school diploma. Growing up in a tough neighborhood in Boston, a young Wahlberg started doing drugs and ran afoul of the law multiple times before being arrested and tried for assault at 16. Emerging from prison with an attitude adjustment, Wahlberg found fame in the band New Kids on the Block and in a series of provocative underwear ads for Calvin Klein. Two Oscar nominations later, the 42-year-old said that getting his diploma was an important personal achievement. The perfect PR tale of redemption and a personal turnaround. Will someone make a movie about this?
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (Full Fiasco) to John Boehner, Republican speaker of the US House of Representatives, who again showed powerlessness to corral his caucus and keep its more intransigent members from stampeding the entire herd off a cliff. Boehner gave in this week to the Tea Party faction of his caucus and vowed to proceed with another effort to defund Obamacare, President Obama’s signature health care reform initiative, or shut down the government. Even Senate Republicans, as well as GOP commentators and other Obamacare opponents outside government, have decried the Republican House strategy as futile and self-destructive. Boehner previously has argued much the same but reversed course to accommodate his colleagues – again showing that for House Republicans, the tail wags the dog.
THE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to indie horror film Escape from Tomorrow. The film was shot secretly on location at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, without permission from the company, telling the tale of a man’s disturbing experiences during the last day of a family vacation at the amusement park. Due to Disney’s reputation for being fiercely protective of its brand, the cast and crew used guerrilla filmmaking techniques to avoid attracting attention during its making. Since early screenings, the Mouse House’s response has been a stoic “no comment,” knowing that in PR, paying attention means giving attention. Presumably the silence before the legal storm…..