Lawyers never ask questions they don’t already know the answer to, and PR people never send CEOs to fancy award events if they don’t already know the CEO is the winner. Why? Because unless you are a kid, surprises almost always suck. Why risk your political capital or credibility when the upside is so small compared to what the downside could be?
I note this because of President Barack Obama’s trip this week to lobby for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics. After sticking his political capital on the line to lobby in person for Chicago, he was stiffed in the first round of voting by the IOC today. Seriously, did Air Force One even land back in Washington before they rejected Chicago? Tokyo – where the 50M swim events would probably require 60 laps in a pool the size of a hot tub – made it farther than Chicago in the balloting process. Ouch.
Remember Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (a.k.a Baghdad Bob)? He achieved new heights in propoganda during and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, proclaiming on TV that no American troops were in Baghdad and that American soldiers instead were “committing suicide by the hundreds at the city’s gates.” For about a week, he had more face time on CNN than Wolf Blitzer.
“We have a strong, high-quality mobile broadband network. It is the nation’s fastest 3G network, now in 350 major metropolitan areas.”
Here’s a free PR tip to all of you starting out in the business: Don’t – repeat, DO NOT – grab the nearest brochure and start reading from it when an unexpected question from a reporter causes you to panic. Instead, do what GBSM’s Steve Silvers does: pretend your building’s fire alarm is going off and tell the reporter you’ll have to call them back in a few minutes.
T-Mobile wins the “Ad of the Week” award for its commercial featuring both Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens), who called for author Salman Rushdie’s death for writing The Satanic Verses, and Whoopi Goldberg, who argued that director Roman Polanski’s guilty plea to statutory rape charges shouldn’t be pursued because the then-44-year-old Polanksi’s sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl wasn’t really “rape-rape.”