Archives for July 2013

Struck Out Swinging


Baseball fans may have believed that steroid use was “a thing of the past.”  But Milwaukee Brewers’ Left Fielder Ryan Braun threw them a curve ball when he accepted his 65-game suspension for violating the drug program, forfeiting “nearly half of his $8.5 million salary.”

After a failed drug test in 2011, Mr. Braun was linked to an anti-aging clinic in South Florida that was believed to be distributing “performance enhancement drugs.”  This alleged scandal brings other talented and idolized players into question as well, such as the Yankees’ Third Baseman Alex Rodriguez.

In 2012, Mr. Braun flaunted his innocence after winning his appeal with the explanation that “the truth is always relevant, and the truth prevails.” This time, however, the truth knocked the Milwaukee Brewer right out of the park.

Although Mr. Braun neither accepted nor denied the claim, he left fans with this statement:  “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect.  I realize now that I have made some mistakes.”

While no longer batting a thousand, Mr. Braun’s experience offers a valuable media training lesson: never lie, mislead, or try to bluff.   The media is always watching!


Going by the Book

new spoking

Why would the heir to a tobacco company fortune (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco) turn his back on cigarette smoking?

“Because I watched my father die from cigarettes,” comments Patrick Reynolds.

But why write a book about the family history?

“I didn’t know my father and I really wanted to know him. I had a lot of anger toward him because he never paid much attention to his sons.”

These were just two of the concise soundbites Mr. Reynolds developed in his Los Angeles media training to answer interviewers’ obvious and redundant questions.

As Mr. Reynolds, the creator of The Foundation for a Smokefree America, recently recalled, “My publisher hired the media training firm, READY FOR MEDIA to coach me. Afterwards, my book, The Gilded Leaf, about my family history generated the biggest day of sales as a result of a single talk show appearance in Little Brown’s history.”

Here, Mr. Reynolds succeeds in avoiding the most commonly-made media mistake: forgetting to brand… the book title, the company, the publisher, the cause, etc., by name.

Clean Up Your Act

clorox father


Comparing new dads to dogs may not have been Clorox’s best idea. The published essay went on to explain that “while dads, dogs and other household pets are filled with good intentions, they lack the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well.”

Lacking judgment of their own, Clorox broke the #1 Rule of Public Speaking: Know your audience.

After hearing feedback from parents and others who were disgusted with the comparison, Clorox quickly removed the essay.

But this is not the first time Clorox has bashed fatherhood and lived to regret it. In past years, the company used the very sexist Feckless Father/Martyred  Mother approach in an advertisement showing a “father and daughter making a huge, juvenile mess and Mom sighing and cleaning up.” Following that, there was one with the image of fathers at the park, more or less ignoring the kids to talk about cars.

And Clorox is not alone.  Kimberly-Clark’s brand Huggies commercial showed dads so consumed by sports on TV that they neglected to tend to the full diapers of their babies.

A more judicious media strategy for Clorox, Kimberly Clark and other consumer-oriented companies would be to put not only their products, but also their consumers, in the best possible light.

Stay tuned.