Not all good publicity is good publicity, but with the right PR firm‘s support, any one can turn a scandal into success. Here, our boutique PR firm put our heads together to give you tips on how to have “Scandalous Success.”
With today’s technology, old news is ancient, current news is old and the only relevant fodder is finding a new and undiscovered scandal. Anytime a celebrity scandal breaks into the public eye, chances are a PR person somewhere is frantically running around trying to cover up the tracks of their client or themselves. Although no one wants these catastrophe’s to happen to them or their own clients there are always important lessons that any self-respecting PR should note and if you’re lucky enough you’ll be able to learn from the mistakes of another instead of your own.
Once you’ve had a discrepancy it’s usually pretty hard to regain the faith of your fans and the public eye since the internet makes it almost impossible to hide anything. However, if you are involved in a scandal there are a few ways to work towards changing your image in the public eye: Be Honest, Keep On Truckin’, and Don’t Be Stupid.
Example: David Letterman.
For all those who have been living under a rock, David Letterman was recently blackmailed for an affair with an intern. Although in this particular case, Letterman was TECHNICALLY the victim, he was still involved in some seedy behavior with women other than his wife. Never the less, he jumped on the story before it went public and was able to tell his story in way that only he could on CBS’ The Late Show. Despite his comedic twist, he told the story, the whole story. He admitted to his wrongs and was open with the public about his behavior and the situation in which he found himself. His show is still on the air and his reputation has been saved. The extortionist pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny.
Keep on Truckin’
Example: Kobe Bryant
Since this happened in 2003, I’ll brush you up on some of details. Kobe Bryant was accused of rape by a 19 year old girl. Bryant admitted to the sexual relationship but denied the charge of assault. The accusation was settled out of court but he released a public apology in which he apologized to her family and explained, “Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.” Sexual assault is not a charge that slides off your image like an egg on a teflon pan. This accusation will always be associated with this name but during this whole process, Bryant kept working. He stayed in the public eye and he kept playing for the Los Angeles Lakers going on to win back to back MVP awards in 2008 and 2009. He continued to love his family and wife. (He apologized to his wife with a $4 million, 8 carat purple diamond ring). And he earned the respect of his fans and eventually even regained some of his endorsements from Nike, Spalding, and Coca-Cola.
Don’t Be Stupid
Example: Tiger Woods.
I know that everyone is sick of hearing about Tiger Woods, including me, but there is an important lesson to be learned. In the previous two examples of Letterman and Bryant, they were both honest and they both continued to work through their allegations. Tiger Woods did the complete opposite. Back in November 2009, The National Enquirer published a story claiming that Woodss had an extramartial affair with a nightclub manager. After this story surfaced, Woods started acting strange. He crashed his car, refused to speak to the police, and announced that he wouldn’t play in or attend his own charity golf tournament or any other remaining tournaments in 2009. Soon after another woman, Jaimee Grubbs publicly claimed to having a 2 and a half year affairs with Woods and had voicemails and texts to prove it. That same day Woods released an apology for his “transgressions” and said “I have let my family down.” Although he apologized, he wasn’t specific about what those transgressions were and for good reason. With all the media attention, over a dozen women came forward claiming they all had relations with the married Tiger Woods. He later apologized for his infidelity and announced an indefinite hiatus from professional golf. Yet this scandal wasn’t over yet, in the UK a woman admitted to taking nude photographs of Woods on the pre-meditated premise that she would see them if they ever broke up. All of these “transgressions” not only cost him his personal life but, due to all this scandal he was dropped from his endorsement deals by Gilette, Accenture, AT&T, General Motors, and Gatorade estamating a shareholder loss between $5 and $12 billion. His monthly instructional articles in Golf Digest were also suspended. Since this scandal has been coming out in increments over the past 5 months it is hard to say what the reprecussions will be. His seclusion and avoidance of the truth has cost him way more than endorsements even though I’m sure even if he came out and admitted to having affairs with over a dozen women no one would applaud him for his bravery. This is just a classic case of a celebrity who thinks he’s entitled to the world and can do whatever he wants with whomever he wants. Sorry Tiger, but moral guidelines were made for everyone regardless how under par.