Real Bad PR in Atlanta

Real Housewives of Atlanta Logo

Bravo’s ratings giant The Real Housewives of Atlanta aired its reunion show this past Sunday. Let me just say that I am a huge fan of the reality reunion shows. It makes the cast rehatch all the drama that was portrayed throughout the season and the best part is: they have to say it to each other faces! I have been hearing for weeks about Porsha Williams’ firing from the popular show because of a brawl that she had with fellow cast mate, Kenya Moore.  Kenya Moore has been stirring the pot all season with sneaky and hurtful comments. Most of the cast had taken to magazine interviews and their own blogs to discuss their disgust with the former beauty queen.  Moore is definitely a villain, but what reality show does not have villain? It is a TV formula that has proven its works over and over again. The audience loves to hate a villain.

So what’s the problem?

Bravo aired the fight between Moore and Williams on Sunday, and it was a car accident that you could not look away from. You could see Williams break down after throwing the first punch and Moore getting dragged across the floor. It was horrific! It was good for ratings, but bad PR. So whose brand is damaged? Is it Kenya’s or Porsha’s? I believe Bravo’s brand has suffered.  Andy Cohen who is behind The Real Housewives franchise said the fight was disgusting, and they do not condone violence. I find this statement to be contradictory. If you are going to communicate with your publics about not condoning violence then make sure the actions of the network are aligned with that statement.  The network showed the fight between these two housewives, and showed Williams emotional break down. I felt the embarrassment of even watching that terrible event. I thought it was terrible that Bravo aired a very distasteful event for ratings. The reunion show did bring in big numbers for the network, but was it worth it?

I have not found confirmed reports about Williams firing, but I also feel that this is a bad move on Bravo’s behalf. I do not condone violence at all! I believe in crafting powerful words to get your point across, and not by using your fists. I think Williams should not be fired if Moore is not going to be fired. Moore provoked and taunted Williams throughout the reunion. I believe both of these ladies should be punished for their awful behavior. This will show Bravo’s commitment to not tolerating violence. I have not heard any reports because Moore’s job being in jeopardy. I told you Moore brought the drama, so she brought the ratings. By not firing Moore along with William then they are favoring ratings over than the message they are sending to viewers. I understand that it is important for Bravo to compete with other networks that have the same formula of show like Mob Wives and Basketball Wives. After going under major backlash for showing numerous violent altercations, both shows have stopped showing these fights. I believe Bravo should follow this trend if they do not want to experience the heat that VH1 did.

 

Did Bravo Make the right choice by airing the fight?

Beyonce: The Storyteller

Beyonce's secret album cover

Beyonce Self-Titled Album Cover

I am a big fan of Beyonce, and the term “big fan” is really an understatement. I love her music, and I think she is an incredible businesswoman. Plus, anyone who is able to look the way she does after having a kid is a winner in my book. She is having an amazing year since dropping her secret album in late December, and it just keeps getting better. Beyonce has my full attention, and I am sure she has the world’s attention too. As a future publicist, I tend to look at things little different. I always look to see if a celebrity has a strong brand. Beyonce definitely has a strong brand, but what makes it so strong is she is a skilled storyteller. The art of storytelling is a key function within public relations. Storytelling is an art and only a few have mastered it. Beyonce does a great job of telling her story in innovative ways, instead of interviews and released statements.

Lets Begin with Her Documentary…

I remember last summer when Beyonce released Life is But a Dream on HBO. I knew Beyonce had something much bigger coming by the end of the year because a documentary normally gets the audience warmed up, so when her album was released I was not surprised. Beyonce had received reviews about being too private, and this documentary dismissed those criticisms. Beyonce soon received praise from her summer documentary. Life is But A Dream showed a raw and transparent Beyonce. We got to experience her journey as an artist and a mother.  We saw what it meant to be Beyonce. She left you feeling inspired and she managed to establish a personal bond with her audience. I am not the only one who felt like I knew Beyonce on a private level. If your story does not impact your audience or build a personal connection then you have failed. Beyonce did not fail.

A Good Defense is a Good Offense…

Beyonce’s secret album, which is self-titled, definitely did not cover the usual subject manner we are used to hearing from this musical diva. It was a different Beyonce. I guess Beyonce and her team expected the backlash (always expect a crisis in public relations) so they released four mini documentaries of Beyonce explaining each song. Beyonce explained that her sexual undertones were not to be vulgar, but to give women their voice. I felt the timing and how she communicated her messages were brilliant. She released her mini documentaries right after her album hit iTunes. The videos communicated her message better than an interview or a press release. The videos gave her publics snack size information that was easily digestible. The way you tell your story is just as important as what you are communicating.

 

What do you think it takes to become a great storyteller?

 

 

The Fall From Grace: The PR Way

The guide to recognize the all from grace of celebrities

 

 

The Fall From Grace

I think we have seen several celebrities’ careers crash and burn over the years. This infographic outlines the steps before the crash actually happens. I think the step we are most familiar with is when the young celebrity becomes an active visitor to nightclubs.  We can only imagine the perks celebrities are able to get while in the nightclub. The next step is my personal favorite is the car accident/ DUI. We have seen this from Lindsay Lohan plenty of times. The car crash/ DUI is the start to the stars legal problems.

This step can also be replaced with assault charges because of an overly aggressive bodyguard. Nothing good can come from legal charges because it makes the celebrity look like they are above the law. Does this phrase sound familiar? Celebrities should still appear as if they are one of us. The next step is the public meltdown on social media. I remember when Amanda Bynes completed this step. People were shocked about what she was saying, and not in pleasant way. It was like a car crash that you could not look away from. She mentioned hip-hop star, Drake on twitter and began to tweet him obscenities. It was a mess!

Phoenix Can Rise from Ashes So Can a Career

Celebrities can resurrect their careers by simple tactics we have seen over and over, but they seem to work. We have seen celebrities go to rehab. It is nothing like a short stint in rehab to tell the public you are fixing the problem that made you have a melt down. We also have seen the documentary. The documentary allows the audience to get to know the celebrity on a personal and more authentic level. Did anybody watch Miley Cyrus’ documentary on MTV?

A Match Made in Vogue Controversy

Kanye has been the talk of the town (not always in a good way) since stealing the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Music Awards. I can only imagine the nightmares his publicist had after that media frenzy! Kanye met his controversial match in now fiancé, Kim Kardashian. Kim Kardashian knows a thing or two about getting people talking. Her sex tape with ex-boyfriend, musician Ray J, catapulted her to super stardom.

Kim Kardashian’s personal life has been constantly watched since her scandalous tape. Her 3-month marriage to NBA baller Chris Humphries quickly imploded, which resulted in divorce. Did I mention she was pregnant with Kanye’s love child before the divorce was finalized? The Young and the Restless couldn’t even come up with this storyline. This couple is made in bad publicity heaven so it is not a shocker that their cover on Vogue magazine is causing a little more drama with the issue publishing on April 1st.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

Bad for Vogue… But Great for Kimye

Vogue is known for being the leading fashion magazine. Vogue has been the go to guide for the most popular trends and the most prestigious celebrities. Making it to the cover of Vogue is the official certificate of acceptance to Hollywood. As Keli Goff writes in her post, this is where the problem occurs for Vogue. Vogue has different readers from the magazines Kim Kardashian has appeared in. She is known for her reoccurring role in the tabloids with her relationship antics and family drama. Remember the sex tape I mentioned earlier?

Readers of Vogue are outraged and have let their complaints roar. I cannot blame Vogue for keeping up with what’s trending in entertainment and pop culture, but I do not think this was a right choice.   Vogue has to consider who interacts with their brand and what they expect. Better yet, Vogue has to remember what their brand represents. Vogue represents sophistication and prestige.  Putting Kim and Kanye on the cover has cracked their brand foundation since they are known for not so classy situations. Sarah Michelle Gellar even tweeted about cancelling her subscription and asked would others be interested in joining her. This is a dangerous crisis when opinion leaders are jumping on board to boycott your product. Sarah Michelle Gellar's Tweet shows dismay about Vogue's cover

Remember it is Good For Kimye..

Kim and Kanye are able to align themselves with Vogue’s brand of elegance. We see them in a new light on the cover. When you look at the pictures, you do not see a hostile rapper or tacky reality star, but a loving and beautiful family. I looked at the cover and found a new respect for the couple and the publicist who was able to swing Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in putting them onto April’s cover. Kim will also be introduced to a new public that she might not have been able to reach. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe supports the cover choice for Vogue. “I think it shows u the marriage of pop culture and fashion [has] completely meta-ed at this point,” she said E News in a recent interview.

 

Will Vogue be able to survive this controversy?

Olivia Pope Couldn’t Fix This…

 

ABC's Scandal

My Thursday’s nights are no longer empty. Scandal has returned to ABC after its two-month break, and I am rejoicing.  I found myself tweeting every thought and criticism about Olivia Pope and her gladiators.  I was glued to the television and to my Twitter timeline. It felt good to discuss the show among other Scandal fanatics. I was scrolling down my timeline, and I saw a tweet from Tide. It said, “Tide to Go: The Original Fixer #scandal.”  I thought this was a brilliant move on Tide’s behalf.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 10.08.44 PM

Tide was able to seize a real-time marketing and public relations opportunity.

Real-Time Marketing

 

Tide cleverly tied its content to Scandal and tweeted while the show was on.  I also noticed Tyler Perry’s new movie, “The Single Mom’s Club” tweeted using the hashtag Scandal.  I do not think “The Single Mom’s Club” tweet was as effective as Tide’s.  The Single Mom’s Club tweet did not use content that was tied into Scandal. It just wasn’t a good fit. You can tell the primary goal was to get retweets, and not to interact with the Scandal fanatics.

Real-Time Marketing Gone Wrong…

The difference between Tide and “The Single Mom’s Club” tweets was the lack of connection between their brand and the show.  The lack of connection makes “The Single Mom’s Club” look like an opportunist and not authentic. I decided to get on “The Single Mom’s Club” Twitter page, and I noticed it has tweeted during The Bachelor as well. The Bachelor was number three on Nielsen TV Twitter Ratings, so I understand the opportunity “The Single Mom’s Club” saw. “The Single Mom’s Club” once again disappointed me with its content. The content is not creative and doesn’t even try to make it relatable to the ratings giant or to its audience.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 9.56.23 PM

Real-Time Marketing Gone Right…

Companies should make a visible connection with content if you are going to piggyback off another product, company or person’s publicity. I remember during the Super Bowl when everyone thought J.C. Penney’s twitter was hacked or its tweeter was drunk. J.C. Penney’s tweets became the main conversation on Twitter. I think I began to pay more attention to J.C Penney’s tweets than watching the Super Bowl.

I knew a brand like J.C. Penney would not be that careless with its twitter, so I knew it had something bigger up its sleeves. Brands like Snickers and Kia Motor Vehicles began to mention J.C Penney with relevant content that built a bridge between the real-time event and their own product.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 10.03.05 PM

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 10.03.00 PM

I thought this was brilliant and creative. I only hope “The Single’s Mom Club” will take notes.

What brands do you think do a go job with real-time marketing?

The Value of the Shock Factor

Miley Cyrus has not stopped shocking me since her VMA performance back in August so I am not surprised about her kissing Katy Perry at her Bangerz concert this past weekend in Los Angeles.  Eonline reported Miley was performing her song “Adore You” when she spotted Perry in the audience and pulled her into a kiss. Cyrus then said, “I just kissed a girl and I liked it!” giving a reference to Perry’s popular hit in 2008.  The kiss has been the top story for numerous blogs and media outlets. Is anyone else having déjà vu?

Lets Take A Trip Back to 2003…

I am having a flashback to 2003 when I saw a three way kiss between Pop’s top music divas, Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera.

Britney Spears and Madonna kissing at VMAs in 2003

Britney Spears and Madonna kissing at VMAs in 2003

Viewers at home could see the shock on the audiences’ faces while trying to wrap our own brains around what just happened. It was the scandal of the year and the best part was it was planned. It wasn’t a wardrobe malfunction, it wasn’t a starlet crashing her car, it was a good old-fashioned kiss between pop’s biggest stars at that time. Am I the only one felt like Madonna was passing the pop crown to Britney with a quick smooch? Either way I was shocked, but intrigued.

Back to the Present…

Miley is now learning how to successfully use the “shock factor” as Madonna, Spears and Aguilera did a little over ten years ago. As a public relations major, future publicist and avid entertainment consumer, I cannot ignore how well the shock factor works. The shock factor lets entertainers break through the clutter. There are more than 100 entertainers, but we are constantly talking about the ones who grab our attention. An entertainer must have more than talent to keep us interested. The shock factor provides us with the question, “What will they do next?”  Lets look at Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus. They are both young, talented and have emerged from popular Disney television shows, but Miley Cyrus has sold more records than Selena Gomez. Miley Cyrus has sold 2.5 million tracks and Selena Gomez has sold 645,000 tracks.  Big difference right?  I believe that the huge gap in sales does not have to with who is the most talented or has the catchiest tune, but who is able to be more than entertainer.  What do you think about the shock factor?

Halftime: A Gift or a Curse?

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

The Super Bowl is a night full of great football, expensive commercials and of course the anticipated halftime show. I have to admit that I am not an avid football watcher so most of my attention goes to Budweiser commercials and the halftime show. I was surprised Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were this year’s performers.

Most Super Bowl halftime performers were seasoned veterans with more than two albums under their belt. I did not think Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers could deliver a show jam packed with excitement, but I was pleasantly surprised. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a great show with 115.3 millions tuning in, topping Beyonce and Madonna’s viewers from previous halftime shows. 

Putting on a great a halftime show or a really bad one can affect an entertainer’s career. It can propel them to mega superstar status or take them back to the drawing board.  I think Bruno Mars is witnessing this first hand since his performance at the Super Bowl. His second album, Unorthodox Jukebox has sprung from 18 to 7 on Billboard 200.  He has been featured in USA Today, Radio.com, the Los Angeles Times and other countless blogs and publications. These articles praise Mars for his charming and fresh style he brings to his music and performances. This is a public relations dream.

What public relations professional do not want to see their client getting media coverage, but POSITIVE media coverage?  We saw how bad things could get with negative media coverage when Janet Jackson had a “wardrobe malfunction” in her half time performance in 2004.  Jackson’s fall out ranged from poor album sales to being disinvited to the Grammy’s.

Janet Jackson performing at the Super Bowl in 2004. Courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine

Janet Jackson performing at the Super Bowl in 2004. Courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine

Janet Jackson is not the only pop diva who has been at the mercy of the Super Bowl halftime performance. Much was riding on Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance because the singer came under fire for her lip-syncing scandal. Luckily, Beyonce delivered a magnificent performance that made believers out of non-believers, won the hearts of her fans and silenced critics.

Madonna’s 2012 performance had mixed reviews. The younger demographic did not see the relevance of her performance (since most of us were still in diapers when she had her biggest hits), and even current musical acts like Nicki Minaj, Cee-Lo, LMFAO and M.I.A could not add relevance. Madonna, who is famous for pushing boundaries, got backlash for the gimmicky performance. Madonna’s brand did not suffer long term, but it did make you wonder if Madonna’s reign was over.

The most important aspect of Public Relations and a spectacular Super Bowl performance is being able to connect with your publics. Grant it, the super bowl has many different publics ranging from kids to grandparents, but the performer must be able to deliver a timeless performance that all can enjoy.  If the performer can achieve this in 12 minutes then they can walk away with positive buzz surrounding their career, new fans and increased album sales. Sounds like some good objectives  to accomplish.