Archives for August 2014

Minding Your Own Business

Practicing what you preach is good advice. But even those who are accustomed to helping others can themselves mishandle the media. Edelman Public Relations, the largest independent public relations firm in the world by revenue, specializes in crisis control. However, Edelman has run into a few media predicaments of their own lately.

The Guardian recently reported on a survey by the Climate Investigations Center (C.I.C.) regarding those clients who do not believe in climate change. Edelman made the statement that they “do not explicitly rule out taking on climate change deniers as clients.”

The first mistake came when their initial response to the C.I.C. inadvertently included an internal email from Edelman’s U.S. president and chief executive, Mark Hass. It read, “I don’t believe we are obligated in any way to respond. There are only wrong answers for this guy.”


Mr. Hass has since stepped down from his position, and while this mistake was damaging, the real media mishap came next.

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In an article for Vice Magazine’s Motherboard, reporter Brian Merchant recapped a follow-up phone call with Edelman president and chief executive, Richard Edelman. Presumably intending to do damage control, Mr. Edelman merely added fuel to the controversy. According to Motherboard, Mr. Edelman stated that the company has “fired” Mr. Hass, “the ham-head who filled out the questionnaire, in part because of that stupid note he wrote.”

The editor-in-chief of PR Weekly, Steve Barrett, said of Mr. Edelman’s comments, “It certainly wouldn’t be in line with the media training they give their clients.”

In light of this controversy, most recently escalated to the New York TIMES, Edelman has implemented a global-wide strategy for dealing with internal issues. Hopefully, their global-wide strategy will include what we teach at READY FOR MEDIA. Every issue needs its own 1/2 day  to day-long media coaching session, complete with messaging and soundbites that work for, not against, the company.



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Bridge Over Troubled Waters

In their classic hit, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Simon and Garfunkel offer a message to Cameron Diaz: Take the high road, not the bait!

Acknowledge the interview question then bridge to the answer you’ve come to give.

Anyone can fall prey to media mistakes if she hasn’t had media coaching, and the typically well-mannered romcom actress, Cameron Diaz, is no exception. Making the rounds to promote her new movie, Sony Pictures’ Sex Tape, the A-list star recently called into the popular Australian radio talk show, hosted by Kyle and Jackie O.


Cameron Diaz

But when Kyle made a snide comment about Drew Barrymore, the actress’ best friend, Ms. Diaz lost sight of her goal. Kyle said, “Let’s hope she (Ms. Diaz’s daughter in the movie) misses out on the Drew Barrymore drug years, because those were a great thing to watch, but not so good to be in, I’d imagine.” Instead of acknowledging the comment with a simple, “I’d imagine” and bridging back to her movie, Ms. Diaz reacted and replied defensively, “I’m sure, Kyle, you’ve never been through a drug phase, have you? Or alcoholism or anything like that? Pretty clean; always did it right? Congratulations.”

When Kyle went on to say, “But I’m friends with Benji,” referring to Benji Madden, the rumored boyfriend of the notoriously-private Ms. Diaz, she decided to cut the radio interview short, hanging up on the broadcasters and their listeners.

With expert media training, stars and executives alike discover the answers to bridge to and practice bridging. Letting the cheeky interviewer bait her to anger, became the story instead of the movie, which was Ms. Diaz’s purpose in accepting the promotional media opportunity.