PR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) TO Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis, for filibustering to block an anti-abortion measure in the Republican-controlled Texas Senate. Davis spoke for 10 hours without water, food, or bathroom break, and when Republicans cut her off on shaky procedural grounds, her fellow Democrats delayed a vote on the measure past a midnight deadline. By then the statehouse overflowed with her supporters, #standwithwendy was trending on Twitter, and 180,000 people watched the proceedings live. Republican Gov. Rick Perry has called another special legislative session to win passage, but the onetime teenaged single mom who went on to graduate from Harvard rallied a national audience around the plight of Texas women harmed by the bill and put an embarrassing spotlight on a dysfunctional Legislature.
PR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) TO celebrity CEOs. It’s been a bad week for corporate figureheads in the public eye. At press time, Paula Deen’s sponsors were lining up to drop her, making her the new Lance Armstrong. Earlier in the week, George Zimmer, founder, CEO, and spokesman for fashion chain Men’s Wearhouse was dethroned by his own company. And Martha Stewart revealed on a chat show that she’s sent sexy text messages and “maybe” had a threesome – the sort of information she’d once have paid good money to keep under wraps. And then, she spanked the chat show host with a paddle. Considering Martha’s conservative homemaking audience, the PR strategy there would be . . .?
THE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD TO News International. Or News UK. Or is it News Corporation? Rupert Murdoch’s array of corporate entities receives this award for the baffling announcement that News International is becoming News UK, while News Limited will undergo a similar metamorphosis in Murdoch’s native Australia. Both will become part of “the new News Corp,” ie the parent company, whose name hasn’t changed. Got that? The rebrand, which comes in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal in Britain, seems to have fallen short of its stated goal to achieve a “more coherent and logical identity.” In any event, the “news” failed to impress. As one online wag noted, “New name – same ethics.”