Heat’s on!

In the aftermath of the NBA playoffs, one would imagine that the most talked about rivalry was between the Miami Heat and the victorious San Antonio Spurs! However, when a broken air conditioning system resulted in Game #1 taking place during 90-plus degree temperatures, it caused Basketball star Lebron James’ leg to cramp. That is when an unexpected battle between well-known energy drink rivals Gatorade and Powerade emerged!

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After Mr. James had to be carried off the court, tweeters all over the country who were watching the game saw an opportunity to mock Gatorade, which is the NBA’s official drink. But Gatorade had a lot to say about the situation too. Tweeters for the company made it very clear that they did not sponsor Lebron James and assured followers that drinking Gatorade would have certainly prevented Lebron’s cramp. Comments like, “The person cramping wasn’t our client. Our athletes can take the heat” and “We’ve been hydrating all day. We never cramp” were made on Twitter by Gatorade in response to fans’ accusations. And other Gatorade remarks made fun of Mr. James, the Powerade endorser.

Cooler heads at Gatorade later apologized claiming they “got caught up in the heat of the battle” and stated,“ as a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team.”

READY FOR MEDIA is not here to take sides, but to emphasize the power of social media. Our question is, who is tweeting for your company? In many cases, the wrong employees have posted the wrong things creating many problems for their companies. Social media is a big part of business today. Used incorrectly, it can cause severe damage to a reputation. Therefore, our Ready advice to companies is to spend some time and resources to provide employees with social media training for the proper etiquette of live coverage tweeting.

A Rose By Any Other Name

 

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ABC’s newest Bachelor,  Juan Pablo Galavis seemed to be homophobic with his remark that gay people are more “pervert in a sense.” And ABC did not give a rose to Mr. Galavis for his comment. Instead they stated that his,

comments were careless, thoughtless and insensitive, and in no way reflect the views of the network, the show’s producers or studio.”

During the interview, Bachelor Galavis said in response to there being a gay bachelor,

“I don’t think it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV. It would be too hard for TV.”

Since then,  Mr. Galavis has apologized on his own Facebook page saying that it was an issue of  the language barrier, that “pervert” was not the word that he meant to use. He also was in touch with a gay rights organization, GLAAD, where he expressed:

“I have heard from many gay Latinos today who are hurt because of what I said and I apologize. I know gay parents and I support them and their families. They are good parents and loving families. I am a father and I know the feel of being a father, why wouldn’t I want my gay friends to also be happy parents?

I also want gay and lesbian youth to know that it is fine to be who you are. Gay or straight, Black or White, Latin or American, what matters here is to respect who we are.

Gay and lesbian people, and the children they are raising, wrongfully face discrimination and I want them to know that I’m on their side.”

Although Mr. Galavis  blames his vocabulary and language barrier, his portrayal in the limelight could have been saved with a few media interview techniques. His struggle for a response shows he also did not receive media coaching in either English or Spanish in order to understand what he should or should not say.

In the media, as in sports, the best defense is a good offense. Having Ready answers to bridge to when the media blindsides you with difficult questions is the answer!

 

Action Speaks Louder than Words

 

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In mid-February, residents of Bobtown, Pennsylvania were awakened by the sound of a massive blast in the town’s Chevron-owned fracking well. The blast killed one worker and injured another. And although the fire is out, residents are still concerned about the gas and heat being emitted into the atmosphere.

In response, Chevron’s Community Outreach Team compensated residents by distributing some 100 coupons for a free pizza and a 2-liter bottle of soda, accompanied by a statement:

Chevron recognizes the effect this had on the community. We value being a responsible member of this community and will continue to strive to achieve incident-free operations. We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors, our employees, our contractors, and the environment.

The letter also included a “toll-free community hotline” that led the caller to the voicemail of an unidentified person.

In making light of this very serious and tragic event, the oil giant turned it into a PR disaster, too. The apology was greeted with social media backlash from Bobtown residents and people around the country.

One blog even opined, “I see a possible new marketing campaign for Chevron: ‘We guarantee your fracking rig won’t explode, or your pizza is free!’”

Chevron would have benefitted more from their pledge striving “to achieve incident-free operations” with a more strategic and thoughtful plan, rather than seeming to buy off the community with pizza and pop.

Residents should have been addressed about the accident head on through a press conference held by Chevron executives and followed through with an investigation.

Moral: Every public relations response should be respectful and appropriate for the situation.