PR Debacles and How to Avoid Them
“To the German Commander, NUTS! The American Commander”
McAuliffe’s one-word response electrified the country and the world. The following day the weather changed and the “Battered Bastards of Bastogne” got air support and supplies. On Dec. 26, Patton’s Third Army broke through and came to the rescue.
In this case, the word “nuts” resulted in a massive PR coup, as opposed to Jesse Jackson’s PR goof.
Always Have Your Ducks in a Row!
Three recent events illustrate how supposedly savvy PR professionals can screw up big time:
* Dec. 17, in the thick of the Democratic primary campaign, former President Bill Clinton made a startling announcement in Orangeburg, S.C. “Well, the first thing [Hillary] intends to do, because you can do this without passing a bill,” Clinton said, ”the first thing she intends to do is to send me and former President Bush and a number of other people around the world to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again.”
“He has never discussed an ‘around-the-world-mission’ with either former President Bill Clinton or Sen. Clinton,” retorted former President George W. Bush’s chief of staff, Jean Becker, “nor does he think such a mission is warranted since he is proud of the role America continues to play around the world as the beacon of hope for freedom and democracy.”
* Jan. 28, The Times of London reported that a company called Qtrax announced to the world that it had cut a deal to make more than 25 million songs available on the Internet, “that users can download to keep, free and with no limit on the number of tracks.” Among the companies that bought into the scheme were EMI, Universal Music and Warner Music—that previously “chased file-sharers through the courts in a doomed attempt to prevent piracy.” Later that day, The Times printed this retraction: