Monday, November 2, 2009

The Second Easiest Way to Get Press

... or: Of Latvian Craters and Aqua Teen Brite Lites

When people reported a bright light falling from the sky and the sound of an explosion led authorities to a large (and apparently geometrically perfect) crater near Mazsalaca, Latvia last week, skeptics were quick to point out the unlikelihood of it being a meteor strike. Still, the lure of the unknown and the desire to report the news first – whether in traditional journalism or new! media took precedence and we were off on yet nother brand new multi-news-cycle whodunit for a couple of days.

Like the Aqua Teen Hunger Force fiasco in Boston, Tele2’s Latvian meteor adventure turned for the worse on its organizers’ overzealousness. There are lots of ways to get your name or your brand in print or to start people chattering about on the intertoobs. That’s the easy part. A cute rodent or an ugly dog gets two days of fame almost every week.

The Easiest Way to Get Your Name in the Paper

Or at least simplest? Shoot somebody. That’s probably too blunt, but generally if all you want is your name spelled right, you’ve got a whole menu of options to cause outrage. You will get noticed and people likely will remember who you are. Unfortunately for these tacticians, notoriety does not always translate efficiently into success. (see: Kaelin, Brian)

Translating that attention into something constructive … that is something that’s in alignment with your brand or message is the hard part.

Both events point out what happens when publicists get greedy. When your promotion, however clever, starts generating concern or even fear; when public or third-party resources start being expended … that’s not the time to think maybe you should have had a fail-safe plan.

In both cases, people were angered, embarrassed or financially harmed, rightly or wrongly. Rarely is that constructive.

Which brings us to …

The Second Easiest Way to Get Your Name in the Paper

Demand an apology.