For decades, nurses and firefighters have been the spokespeople of choice when you need to convey trust in your product or service. Perceptions are that doctors are greedy and cops are crooked, but nurses and firefighters have a halo of authenticity and trust that few other professions have.
The Denver Fire Department is testing those perceptions. though. For the second straight year, firefighters are apologizing for crude sexual jokes and the presence of sex toys at their Annual Gala. And this year, the consequence includes Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade resigning. Perhaps most disconcerting, their behavior resulted in Coloradans having to hear Brian Maass utter the phrase “sex toy” three times in his two-minute report.
If you follow anyone from 9News on Facebook or Twitter, you have probably noticed that the on-air talent all got updated photos over the past few weeks. Not everyone had a great experience, though, as Lori Lizarraga noted on Twitter. Credit Lori for speaking up about the issue and using it as an opportunity to educate the photographer, and credit 9News for immediately addressing it.
Because she’s about as modest and unassuming as television personalities get, Denver7’s Anne Trujillo isn’t one to crow about her accomplishments. But she’s quietly become a Mile High City icon owing to one of the longest runs at a single station in the market’s history: 35 years and counting. In addition, she’s served as lead anchor for the outlet’s main weekday newscasts since 1999, a two-decades-plus stint that makes her the present local title holder in that category, too.
One of the cardinal rules of crisis communications is to do everything you can not to become the face of a negative issue that affects multiple people or companies. That is a lesson Delta CEO Ed Bastian apparently doesn’t fully appreciate.
By now, almost everyone has seen the viral “Recline-gate” video featuring two American Airlines passengers:
The first 24 hours of the debate centered on who was in the wrong – the women who reclined her seat or the man behind her who repeatedly pushed her seat in protest. That debate quickly changed, however, as people began to realize it was the airlines who created this Stanford Prison Experiment-esque scenario. The airlines are the bad guys here.
American Airlines no doubt was preparing to manage the negative publicity, but then they were given a gift. Delta’s CEO appeared on CNBC and was asked who was right. He weighed in and said that he thought reclining was reasonable, but that you should ask permission first. That answer reignited a new debate. Instantly, Delta became the face of the issue. Even though the viral video was of American Airlines passengers, the general public will associate Delta with the lack of knee room on airplanes.
Meanwhile, you can bet American Airlines CEO Doug Parker will be hiding out for a week or two. He’s more than happy to let media and social media replay the clip of Delta’s CEO over and over again. To paraphrase Napoleon, never get in the way of a competitor who is making a mistake.
Colorado Rockies GM Jeff Bridich: Did you see the way I refused to answer the media’s questions? I actually stopped to answer their questions, then refused to answer the questions they wanted to ask, and then lobbed both a “no comment” and a “next question” at them. I own the award for worst off-season press conference!
Houston Astros Owner Jim Crane: You’re cute, Jeff. Hold my beer.
This Houston Astros video will be used for years as a media training tool for what not to do in a press conference (and as proof that a press conference is not always a good idea). How was it received? ESPN’s Dan Le Batard said it best:
What a %$#& show. You thought that this team was good at baseball – and it is. And good at cheating – and it was. How can it be this bad at public relations? This was insincere. They had months to prepare for this. And then their owner is out there making a fool of himself because he’s combative and arrogant, and he won’t acknowledge that they got a competitive advantage form one of the great cheating scandals of our time.
Mel Tucker spent most of yesterday telling the world he was staying in Boulder as CU’s head football coach because he had “#UnfinishedBusiness.” It turns out his only unfinished business was his signature on a Michigan State University coaching contract.
No reasonable person begrudges a coach for changing jobs, but doing it after only a year at the school is pretty weak. Weaker still is waiting until February when you have lured an entire class of freshman to sign with the school. Tucker gets to leave clean. Those kids he tricked have to sit out for a year if they want to transfer somewhere else.
One grandparent of a Buff recruit went public with his anger, and unfortunately for Tucker it was former Dallas Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson:
Howard also explained the conditions that led to those lengthy lift lines, saying that 38 inches of snow in a 48-hour period created operational challenges that slowed Vail’s ability to carry skiers and dramatically increased the number of skiers looking to take advantage of the powder.
“I know we could have done a much better job anticipating these situations and communicating with our guests,” Howard wrote (in a statement). “I am well aware that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I truly hope my words here help provide context for what happened.
Give Howard (and her PR staff) credit for actually using the phrase, “I apologize” in her statement, and for clearly explaining what went wrong. While it might have been a couple of days late, it was a human response to a situation that is understandable.
PR and advertising firm Egg Strategy is the latest firm to make the move from Boulder to Denver to escape exorbitant rents and long commutes for employees who would rather live in (comparatively) affordable Denver. Egg, which also has offices in Chicago and New York, will relocate to the SugarCube Building at 15th & Blake. Said Egg Strategy President Matthew Singer:
“We’re going to where the growth is to make it easy to attract top talent and to put us in closer reach to the consumers at the heart of our human-centered process as well as the clients we serve.”
Put through the PR-to-English translator:
“Boulder is expensive as %$^#. Until we figure out how to AI our way out of having employees, it’s off the table. So, Denver.”
In January – one month after Dunkin’ Donuts’ CMO resigned to pursue “the next opportunity” – the coffee chain launched a national ad campaign featuring Snoop Dogg. Now, less than a month later, it has to make a decision about whether to suspend the campaign entirely.
Those of us old enough to have owned The Chronic on CD marveled at the idea that Snoop Dogg had evolved to the point that he would be the star of a mainstream advertising campaign. And it turns out maybe we were right. I think Snoop himself said it best on Gin & Juice: “With so much drama in the L-B-C, It’s kinda hard bein’ Snoop D-O-double-G.”