Santa's checked his list; now he's going out for a jog
One of the funnier holiday-related posts I've read this season came from the Scholarly Kitchen blog. It's contention that "being naughty has a network effect" swung its sites around to Jolly Saint Nick himself who may be judging naughty or nice, but isn't setting a great example himself for the children he visits.
"Santa is out of step with the times. Does he even realize what his own obesity, smoking, and break-ins represent within the community built around him? His self-awareness is limited, indicating that he too has fallen prey to a social network effect — a plump wife, fat little elves, pipe smoking, sneaking through chimneys, and the images of himself reinforcing that obesity, smoking, and crime are acceptable."
This got me thinking about that naughty versus nice list vis a vis communications. San Francisco agency Fineman published their 14th annual PR Blunders of the year list last week and it included some real beauties -- a couple of which I had been thinking would have made Santa's list for sure, including the Automakers private jetting to D.C. with their begging bowls in hand. But I think there are a few more that Santa probably has tacked up over the fireplace next to Mrs. Claus' knitting basket.
We'll start with the "Nice Communications List" first, with the full disclosure that I am not including any of our agency's campaigns or clients on either list (to quote the character Tex in the movie Charade, "My mama didn't raise any stupid children."):
John McCain defending his campaign nemesis, Barack Obama, from charges he is a terrorist voters should be frightened of was a nice PR moment and reminded me of the McCain I had always respected.
Ray Ozzie Takes to the Clouds (Cloud Computing, that is) was a successful PR move, well-executed and a great platform for the elusive genius. Can't you just hear angels singing in the background?
The creation of Joe the Plumber during the election. This one can fit under both categories. At first it was "nice" and got people talking, which is good PR, but then it turned naughty when Joe's background was fully revealed and he began morphing into a bit of a PR monster to control.
Yes, I had to scratch through the election to find these. Santa's Nice list is a lot shorter this year.
But his Naughty List of Communications Moves could be a lot longer. Here are just a couple:
As the Yahoo Turns, starring Jerry Yang, with guest villain Steve Ballmer. Like my favorite soaps, it was predictable and ultimately became fast forward material, particularly when Yang's character was killed off and came back as his identical twin in a different role.
The Morbid and Inaccurate Swirl of Reports that Steve Jobs was gravely ill because he looked too thin at an Apple event. It forced Apple and Jobs to practically do their version of Cary Grant's famous response to the telegram asking "How old Cary Grant?" -- "Old Cary Grant fine, thank you."
Red Sox Sometimes-Slugger Manny Ramirez's successful, but baffling, campaign to run himself out of town on a rail well padded by a big contract that Sox management gladly ate to have Manny be Manny in Dodger Blue.
Plaxico Burress. Enough said.
We need to build out that Nice list more in 2009. Let's start things off right by leaving raisins and pomegranate juice for the Big Man this year to give him a head start on his New Year's resolution.