We are all still children at heart.

Archive for February, 2012

What they Mighty Ducks Can Teach Us About Public Relations

I don’t know whether it is the fact that it is snowing right now in Eugene or that the NHL season is in full swing, but I have found myself watching Disney’s,  The Mighty Ducks. It might be the music or the constant “quack” chants, but the movie still gets me. The story of Adam Banks, Charlie Conway, Gordon Bombay and of course the Bash Bros. is a wonderful story about teamwork and the will to success and overcome any obstacle.

Julie "The Cat" Gaffney

In watching these movies for probably the 100th time, I began to draw parallels between coaching in sports, and the public relations industry.

  1. You must think on your feet. Coach Bombay must decide when to make a line change to bring on fresh legs. PR practitioners must be ready to make a change on the fly to make sure their message is being delivered accurately. They must decided what is important and what needs to be seen by the right people.
  2. Both must deal with adversity. Bombay had to face Team Iceland twice in the second Mighty Ducks movie. The Ducks/Team USA got their buts handed to them in the first game and where down for most of the second game. Bombay had to stay cool and keep a level head so he could coach his team to a gold medal in the Junior Goodwill Games. There will always be negative Nancy’s in the world and public relations professionals must learn how to deal with them. Some people might not like the plan that they drew up or how they are going about implementing it but it is up to the person to try their best to ignore these people and continue with what they think is the right idea and plan.
  3. It feels great when a plan comes together. When the Ducks won, both players and Coach Bombay were extremely relieved and ecstatic. Same goes when a PR plan is realized and achieved. People are all around happy.
  4. Both PR practitioners and Coach Bombay continue to look forward. Once a hockey game was over, Bombay brought his team together and they immediately began looking to the future and planning for the next game. PR pros must start preparing for their next assignment and not spend too much time reveling in their recent victory.

Movie info found here.

Aladdin’s PR Success Story

It took only a few rubs of a magic lamp for Aladdin’s life to completely change.

He went from a “street rat” to Prince in no time at all, and all it took was the voice of Robin Williams.

PR magic!

Of the three wishes the genie granted Aladdin, one was to be a Prince so he could catch the eye of the local Princess. He had seen her one day when she escaped the confines of her castle and set to roaming the streets of the city they both lived in. It was love at first sight for Aladdin but there was one problem; they were of a different social class and their marriage would be forbidden and shunned by everyone.

After his initial contact with the Princess, he was arrested, thrown in jail and then followed an old hermit into the desert. This is where he came upon the Cave of Wonders. He ventured into the cave (or the cave ate him because it entrance was a lions mouth) and came across huge piles of gold and more treasure than any one man could possibly have. In the very back of the cave, he came across the mother of all finds, a magic lamp. He released the genie from his cramped confines and in return, was granted three wishes.

Since Aladdin couldn’t wish for love, he wished for the next best thing, to be a Prince so he could marry the Princess. Then, using his magic, the genie turned Aladdin in to Prince Ali, complete with his own theme song. He waltzed into town and turned many head including the Sultan’s.

To get from living on the street to being a Prince, the genie had to use some magic, some PR magic!

No, not this kind of magic.

But really, I’m serious.

Dictionary.com defines “public relations” as “the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, and etc.”

I believe that the genie did this. All the genie used magic for was the clothing, conjuring up some people, and turning Abu into an elephant. Other than, the genie used public relations.

He created an event to let the people of the kingdom, and more importantly the royal family, know that he was a Prince. He set up the parade to show off the new Prince and how popular he is. The Genie tried his best to put his “client” in a good light and make him seem like a likeable person and marketable to the public.

Since the people in the kingdom didn’t have Facebook around back then, the genie had to get creative in his ways to “show-off” the new Prince. The parade was a huge success and scores of people turned out to witness it.

The genie took someone who was hated and  looked downed upon and turned them into someone regular people could cheer for.

A real rags to riches story.

Penn St. PR Fiasco

By now, it is well know what happened at Penn St.

Jerry Sandusky was accused of touching young children in the shower at the Penn St. University athletic showers in 2002. After it was discovered that Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary had previous knowledge of the situation, the Board of Trustees decided to take action and fire Joe Paterno and later McQueary. After the President of the university said he would stand behind his University and not judge the accused until later, the Board of Trustees took action again, this time axing the President of the University, Graham Spanier, himself.

What the Board of Trustees didn’t account for was the outpouring of support for the President Spanier and Joe Pa.

What followed was nothing more than a disaster for the Board of Trustees.

They reacted without first thinking of the consequences. They were extremely quick and didn’t use rash judgment in the firing of Spanier and the most celebrated college football coach of our time. There were pictures upon pictures of students gathered around the Paterno household as well as by his stature that bears his likeness at Beaver Stadium.

If the Board of Trustees has thought through their decision then they would have seen that the best course of action was the one that the former president took, wait and see what happens.

To put this in lighter terms, this is similar to what Mater from Car had to go through in the second movie. He came across an international crisis but when he told people what he saw, they did not believe him. If Lightning McQueen waited until hearing all the facts instead of just jumping to conclusions, then things might have been different. Mater would have saved the day a lot earlier and a lot more cars would have been saved in the process.

Mater Tow

Source here.

Lightning McQueen and the Hashtag #Fail

Ever since winning the World Gran Prix and showing the world who Miles Axlerod really was, Lightning McQueen has experienced a significant drop in public support. People view him as a thing of the past, that he cannot keep up with the newer racing cars. To improve his image, he decided to use his favorite social media site, Twitter. He started a hashtag campaign.

Lightning McQueen

He used the #McQueenStories hashtag to have people share stories of watching him race, how inspirational he is, and how he is a good person in general. This campaign however, backfired on him.

People “high-jacked” the hashtag and began to write horrible things about him. One user told the story of how Lightning McQueen refused to sign an autograph for his young son because he was wearing the wrong colors. Another user said that he saw McQueen breaking several laws in a matter of a few blocks.

If it was at all possible, Lightning McQueen is now viewed even less favorably in the public’s eye than before.

The same thing happened to McDonald.

The Golden Arches

They started a hashtag campaign using the slogan, #MeetTheFarmers. Their goal was to get people to understand where the food that they are eating comes from. Later, they revised their campaign to #McDStories. This latest hashtag caused a huge roar.

People began telling horror stories about the fast food giant. Some included people getting sick and not being able to ever eat meat again. While others claimed they have had a chipped tooth because of something in their burgers. What I can assume are animal activist used #McDStories to show video clips and picture about how inhumanly the animals that are used for meat and other products are treated.

As soon as it was hijacked, McDonald started to distance themselves from the hashtag. Deemed the “#McFail”, people still continued to berate the company with stories about their experience and how gross their food is.

However, their original hashtag, #MeetTheFarmers, was a success because no one on Twitter hijacked it and it remained.

Now only if Lightning McQueen can come up with a different hashtag that is not #McQueenStories, he might have a change to improve his public image.

For more information, click here. Or here.

Komen for the Cure Fiasco

Susan G. Komen

On Tuesday, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation announced that it would be cutting its funding for Planned Parenthood. The announcement created quite a buzz on social media sites and people began commenting and expression their anger toward the Foundation.

The breast cancer research group officially cut ties with the family planning organization after Komen for the Cure changed their policy. Komen for the Cure’s new policy says that they will be cutting funding for organizations that are currently being investigated by the local, state, and federal government. They are doing this to try and strengthen their grants program.

People have criticized this as a political move because of the hiring of Karen Handel who is a stanch supporter for pro-life. However, the founder of the Foundation and Susan’s sister, Nancy Brinker, went on MSNBC to defend her Foundation’s position. She claims that this move is not politically motivated at all and is strictly a policy issue.

However, the damage was done; Planned Parenthood put a picture on their Facebook page that read “Still Standing with Planned Parenthood”. As of writing this, the picture has 13,000 likes, 18,000 shares, and 1,000 comments.

Planned Parenthood

Donations have been pouring into the organization. The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, announced that he will match any donations to Planned Parenthood up to $250,000.

On the other side, people have not been so kind to the Komen for the Cure Foundation. There has been an outcry of rage against them. People have taken to Facebook and Twitter to express themselves. Their Facebook page has people commenting on the recent posts say that they will not support Komen again. The same level of disgust can be found on Twitter as well.

Komen for the Cure has tried to spin this saying that Planned Parenthood was ineligible because of the investigation but people don’t seem to care. Also, they are saying that they still have three grants with Planned Parenthood that they will continue to honor until the grants are up.

I myself, have been a supporter of Susan G. Komen for a number of years, running in the Race for the Cure, but now find myself at a cross roads. I still support their cause in finding a cure for breast cancer but I do not support their recent decision. The best thing that Komen can do now is to keep funding Planned Parenthood. If not, they will continue to see the same level of anger and resentment toward their foundation.

Just like Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story who were enemies that ended up almost ruining lives but in the end came together and became friends, Komen needs to admit their mistakes, own up to them and make amends.

They need to do an all-out makeover of their public image and promote themselves as advancing women’s healthcare.

Story found here. Or here.