“A” (PR PERFECT) to Universal Studios and Focus Features, for beating back the bad news of losing their lead actor in the highly anticipated film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. The BDSM-themed movie is set to begin filming next month, but two weeks ago a painful setback was suffered when actor Charlie Hunnam, a hotly debated pick for Grey, freed himself from the role. PR flaks tortured fans with a variety of possible replacements. Yesterday, rumors hit the media that former Calvin Klein model turned actor Jamie Dornan (pictured) was nearly tied down for the role. Far from being spanked by adversity, the studios managed to keep the film’s buzz hot and have fans begging for more.
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (Full Fiasco) to McDonald’s, chastised again last week for appearing indifferent to the plight of its lowest-paid workers. Activists seeking higher wages in the fast-food industry embarrassed the super-sized chain with a recording of a call one worker made to the company’s employee help line. The worker, who after 10 years as a cashier earns $8.25 an hour, was advised to sign up for food stamps to supplement her income. McDonald’s, playing defense, said all its employees, which number in the hundreds of thousands, have opportunities for advancement within the company. But it continues to lose the PR war on this issue: With more than half of its workers on public assistance, its low wages cost taxpayers $1.2 billion annually – an easy number to contrast with the $1.5 billion in profits it earned last quarter.
THE PRV “THERE’S NO THERE THERE” AWARD to a rather bizarre discussion about the physical build of one Captain Robert Durand, who runs public affairs for the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In a recent piece about reforming the base’s checkered image, The Washington Post described Durand as “thickset.” One presumes an indignant phone call begat the correction that followed this week, which flatly stated that the adjective was incorrect and should have said “muscular” instead. The New Republic jumped into the fray, opining that Durand looked neither thickset nor muscular in a recent photo. Slate, the online magazine, offered “fit” as a more appropriate descriptor. Whose image were we worried about again? Oh that’s right, the base’s….