There are so many things that caught my eye as well as my ire from this past week, that I felt it’s time for another winners and losers listicle. Plus, I like saying “listicle.” (Rarely do I embrace made up words, but along with ginormous, listicle is fun to say.) Here is a small sample last week’s PR winners and losers.
NBC & Donald Trump
Trump’s appearance on Saturday Night Live gave SNL its largest audience since 2012, with close to 10 million viewers. Despite demonstrators and hecklers, the presidential candidate and the network were reaping mega-publicity afterwards. (If you Google “Trump, SNL, and NBC”, you get 10.2 million hits.) Added bonus for The Donald: he Trump-ed the ratings for SNL from the week that Hillary Clinton appeared in a brief sketch.
She’s a satellite archeologist. And now she’s the winner of the TED Foundation’s 2016 TED Prize, inspiring a whole generation of “Indiana Joneses” with her accomplishments. The $1 million prize will allow the Bangor, Maine native to pursue a project which will be announced next February.
Talk about your conspiracy theories! Starbucks alleged “War on Christmas,” in the form of its plain red cup, has brought so much publicity to Starbucks and so much ridicule to its accusers that I almost wondered if Starbucks wasn’t behind it from the start. (And what could warm the hearts of Starbucks base clientele more than a threatened boycott by Donald Trump?) Seriously, this is PR gold for Starbucks.
NBC & Donald Trump
The erratic quality control that makes SNL a crap-shoot regarding actual comedy was in evidence as this show was rarely funny, displaying neither intelligent wit nor clever integration of its famous host. With this Bevis & Butthead-level sexual blather, the demeaning of the U.S. Presidency continues. Why do candidates feel they must show what good sports they are by subjecting themselves to these puerile rituals? I know appearing on a comedy show is not a new campaign tactic: Richard Nixon said “Sock it to me?”, a Ray-Ban bedecked Bill Clinton played the saxophone on Arsenio, and Hillary Clinton recently tended bar with “herself.” But these appearances are increasingly embarrassing. (I know, so is presidential politics in general. Nope, didn’t even bother picking a winner or loser from last night’s debate.)
Russian Track Federation & International Association of Athletics Federation
The Cold War is hot again. The World Anti-Doping Association reported this week that Russia continues to uphold its traditional practice of doping athletes to assure a high medal count in world competition, including during the Olympics—thereby proving the inferiority of the Capitalist West. Russia apparently was aided and abetted by officials at the I.A.A.F. (Is it time to duck and cover yet?)
Comedy’s “It” girl irritated some fans during a double-header at Portland, Maine’s Cross Insurance Arena when she gave a shortened performance to the 7:30 audience citing the need for time to turn over the house to the 10:30 audience. It wasn’t a “train wreck” but her self-proclaimed “rookie mistake” generated three days of bad PR that could have been avoided by simply adjusting the schedule. (In her defense, she may have been bummed that she’s not, in fact, dating Bradley Cooper.)
No one on the “loser” list should feel too bad. As Oscar Wilde said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”