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PR People Behaving Badly

July 16, 2011

Public Relations, We Are the World, USA For Africa, EmergingMedia

A critique of the Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida PR Association’s attempt to “remake” “We Are the World”

PR People Behaving Badly

For some unknown reason the Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida PR Association made this horrendous video that has since leaked out onto YouTube. (perhaps one of them will see this post and shed some light on the inspiration for it)

This is my first attempt at calling out bad moves by the people who should know better. Please note that in order to write this blog post I actually had to force myself to sit through this entire video – when I first saw it I had to turn it off after 30 seconds from complete disgust – so hopefully my sacrifice will spare you the pain of having to watch the full video if you choose.

Where should I start?

1. Don’t mess with a song written to help relieve famine in Africa! Sampling is one thing, even comical parodies are ok most of the time, but taking a song like “We Are the World” and using it for such shallow means is pop-culture blasphemy. What’s next, BP remakes “Feed the World” to show that seafood from the gulf isn’t contaminated with oil?

2. Don’t make yourself the center of attention: I got the distinct impression that these people would be happier as celebrity publicists than working for corporations. Ironic that they would make a video about corporate PR that depicts themselves such a vapid way.

3. Would you trust these people with your PR? As a PR professionals, (I assume they are since this video was made for the Florida PR Association) they should be acutely aware that perception is critical. Show up late and unorganized to an analyst or reporter call and you risk leaving that impression with the person, no matter how powerful your message may be. As a potential client, I would have reason to pause.

4. Really?? Central West Coast Chapter of the FPRA, Really?? (Credit to SNL’s Really, Really with Seth and Amy for that one) Did you really think this wouldn’t get out on YouTube? At least give me something and tell me you posted it!

Perhaps I am a little over the top in my criticism of these “PR professionals”, (it could be fueled by the fact that they ripped off a song that is near and dear to my heart) – but I really (really) feel that our industry as a whole should be putting forward better examples of the positive work we can do. Be an asset to your clients, not a liability, do good work and you will be rewarded!

One last comment: why didn’t the CWC give credit to Quincy Jones or USA For Africa for use of the song?? hmmmm….

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