PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (GOLD STAR!) TO: The Fiscal Cliff. Where was this now-infamous, much-ballyhooed, utterly dreaded fiscal cliff over the interminable electioneering months? The term vanished from the public lexicon then but is now rekindling waves of panic in financial markets and cable news. Before the election this had at best medium celebrity value, but ten days later the media hasn’t stopped talking about going over the cliff and new catastrophic lows for the economy. The “cliff” is the perfect PR package: terror, fear, and and the unwanted leap into the unknown. No wonder both sides of the political debate won’t let this metaphor go. Creating urgency around this means someone has to blink first. Artful PR.
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) TO: Guy Fieri, Food Network star and owner of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. This week, Fieri’s new Times Square establishment got national media attention – for receiving what may be the most scathing restaurant review The New York Times has ever published. Highlights: “Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?” Fieri hit back immediately – ensuring that even more people read the review. Yet one wonders: What did the reviewer really expect from a 500-seat eatery in Times Square, and will the quality of food really matter to visitors trapped in a touristic culinary wasteland?
PR BLUNDER OF THE WEEK TO: Jill Kelley’s brother David Khawam. He hit the airwaves hoping to move the dial on the national fascination with his socialite sister Jill Kelley, who is intimately involved in the Petraeus scandal. Springing to her defense, he claims it is ‘ludicrous” to think his sister had an affair with Petraeus. “She has three kids and is a dedicated wife,” he protested. A well-intentioned but awkward PR move. Besides being an unconvincing defense, the question of Kelly having an affair with Petraeus had not been seriously raised before. Was this a case of team Kelley shooting itself in the foot?