“Balk the enemy’s power; force him to reveal himself.” Sun Tzu

(this will take some rehearsal, but it will be totally worth it)

Step 1) During a live televised debate, while Trump is in mid-sentence, Jeb! slowly, painfully, dramatically turns toward Donald J. Trump and says, “is that a sexual euphemism?”. The twittersphere would start asking, “what did Trump say that Bush heard as a naughty innuendo, a filthy double entendre, a salacious foe paw? The press, who live and breath in Twitter ether, would pick it up and start asking the same question – “what perverted thing did Trump say that we missed that Jeb! got?” At the same time, live on stage, Trump would be, “wha? wtf? sexual euphemism? What kind of perverted mind do you have? euphemism? This Yale flunkie is using big words he doesn’t know the meaning of (translation: Trump doesn’t). etc.,” and the debate would continue because Trump will want to talk, talk, talk, talk… about himself.

Miss USA wins Miss Universe 2012
A handout picture provided by the Miss Universe Organization on 20 December 2012 shows the newly crowned Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo (R), posing with US business magnate and Miss Universe organizer Donald Trump (L) during the press conference after the 2012 Miss Universe Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 19 December 2012. EPA/VALERIE MACON / MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION

Step 2) An hour or so later, after the toss away “sexual euphemism” question had time to percolate in the partisans’ and pundits’ forever-questioning minds (with veiled tactical help from digital allies), when reporters finally have Jeb! cornered, at least ONE reporter will have to ask, “what sexual euphemism were you referring to, Governor Bush?” That’s when Jeb! gets Trumpesque and gives back cold what we’ve all been getting served piping hot for months.  Jeb! calmly lights up a political cheap shot fatty and takes a big, glowing hit of misdirection and spin like a boss:

“With all the scandals about women, his abusing them, the violence, the misogyny, the “beauty pageants” (Jeb! air quotes for emphasis), the bankruptcies, references to menstruation, shutting down the Internet – it’s hard to know what he means. Not even Al Gore knows what he means. He’ll kill entire families? Including grandparents and cousins? Just Muslim families or would he take out Mexican families, too? You know, it’s reported he’s a terrible cheater in golf. Uses the young boys like in Caddyshack. Just like in politics, he’s a hacker wannabe in a Rolls Royce golf cart. If he had to play an honest links game, Obama would humiliate him on the front and back nine – even his own casinos would give the President odds.  Okay – let’s call it a misunderstanding. But that’s the problem isn’t it?  Who can believe a word he says? (MIKE DROP – END INTERVIEW!).

Step 3) Jeb’s staff immediately supplies reporters with a five page list, single spaced and numbered just like a legal document so that reporters can reference the allegation easier, of all the lies he’s told that starts with a fucking “bone spur” in his fucking foot so he could get a fucking medical deferment – after already getting several education deferments to attend his daddy-payed-for private military prep school – so he wouldn’t be drafted to fight in Vietnam, the fucking pussyshit chickenhawk racist son-of-a-bitch. After denigrating a genuine war hero, a man who put his own life on the line in the skies of North Viet Nam fighting for his country, who made Americans proud in his conduct as a prisoner of war subject to inhuman tortue, Donald J. Trump would just as quickly leave his “buddies” in a rice paddy foxhole alone than even join the fucking U.S. Coast Guard. That’s our nation’s Republican Party today.  Tawdry.

candidates7 

If an American only needs one reason why Hillary is more qualified to be President of the United States and Commander-In-Chief, it’s Trump.

Here’s where The Donald and I agree. The Republican candidates for president are piles of putrefying American bald eagle guano if they can’t take him out and certainly don’t deserve to be their party’s nominee. While tough-talking former federal prosecutor Christy can shout down a political enemy in a news conference, he’s still not a heavy-enough hitter to shut down The Donald. I call that false advertising. It’s nice to see Fiorina get in some jabs, but everyone and their mother knows the failed corporate titan/senate candidate is no match for a Clinton. Like them or hate them, Clintons eat up little trolls like her for lunch. Rubio? He can’t even show up much less get in the ring. Cruz? Straw man walking! Do I even have to describe Dr. Carson? Okay – political malpractice, for God’s sake. A Surgeon General appointment if he’s lucky. Nobody else counts except the most qualified – Senator Graham. There, I said it. He can’t win, but he’d be the best president of the Hardy Boys and girl.

mark-bowden-playboy-donald-trump-1996
Donald J. Trump perched on a parrot sculpture in his Mar-a-Lago estate in May, 1996, by Brian Smith/Corbis.

No, Trump is going down uuuuuuuuuuuge but it won’t be by the Republicans. They don’t have a party left. Like so many badass rebel factions fighting al-Assad’s army, Republicans have plenty of guns but no real power, much less authority, to lead. Proof: they soundly criticize the Pentegon and the President and will debate bombing ISIS for two hours on cable TV, but can’t lift their index finger enough to vote in Congress to authorize the use of military force. Apparently, their responsibility hasn’t gotten out of committee, yet. That’s America’s definition of leadership? It’s like back-seat driving an Indy car – turn left, left, left. Go faster, faster, faster! Pit! Pit! Pit! 

hug from malia

I blame the Democrats. In specific, I blame Obama’s two campaigns against the Republicans that splintered them into fragments. This isn’t good for our nation’s political health. We are better with a viable two-party system that balances one another through compromise and patriotism. But, it’s the price we are paying for Democrats winning the White House.

It’s not like it doesn’t come with a few perks.

  • Osama bin Ladin is having caviar with Sponge Bob at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, for starters.
  • We aren’t in a global economic freefall. That’s something.
  • We argue tirelessly over how four Americans were murdered by terrorists in a distant outpost in North Africa instead of solemnly burying three thousands of our fellow citizens because we didn’t take a PDB titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike U.S” seriously enough.
  • We have an American automobile industry.
  • Nobody redecorated the White House in gold leaf. Yet.

That said, imagine if Romney were president and he had imposed on him (because even a Republican president can’t get bills through the Congress) Tea Party policies – again. War with somebody – anybody, really – and blithely carefree spending mostly made up of draconian social austerity and inflated defense budgets. Thank you, but no thank you – I’ll take my Obama medicine rather than catch neocon fever again. Clinton vs. Trump. It’ll be uuuuuuuuuuuuuge.

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Please note: Top photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images from SLATE article “On energy, Republican candidates sound a lot like Obama.” by Eric Holthaus.

The President Meets The Press

On the day of the “fiscal cliff/sequestration” deadline, President Obama chose to give a lengthy interview on Meet The Press with David Gregory.  One of the key features of Modern Publicity is timing.  This is a perfect example of the use of timing to send a message, generate buzz and shape public opinion.Meet the Press

 

 

 

 

 

For the rest of the day and beyond, Democratic and Republican Party spokespersons repeated the talking points on the amazingly insatiable cable news message machines as part of a premeditated, coordinated legislative battle plan.  Truth be told, we’re also  part of the game – especially the “most likely” (to vote) independent voters – who politicians seek to charm as if they’re all lonely girls at final call.

A fascinating read is the Meet The Press LiveBlog – essentially an NBC White House Reporters’ RSS feed.  Anyone (you don’t have to be a highly-paid network news blogger) can set up the same feed up by using #MTP Twitter search and following these personalities:

  • @davidgregory is David’s personal account.
  • @meetthepress is the show account. Follow for video, insights, behind the scenes photos, more.
  • @betsymtp is executive producer Betsy Fischer’s personal account.
  • @AdamVerdugo is senior producer Adam Verdugo”s personal account.
  • @MTPGuest is our account to send out the latest Sunday guest info.

Read the Press Pass Blog for an excellent comprehensive recap. I prefer Facebook comments; lots of good give-and-take.  The best roundtable comment for publicists was made by presidential historian and author Jon Mechem who reminded us of two key leadership communications venues: wholesale and retail.  This Meet The Press appearance is Obama selling ideas wholesale, appealing to the American People as a mass market (3.5 million influential viewers).  Mechem – and others – points out that President Obama notoriously forgets the retail communications needs, to make person-to-person contact.  Phone, text, skype, visit, etc.

Not surprisingly  this is PR advice we give to many clients. Integrated communications is both wholesale and retail.  Often, companies and personalities habitually rest on their advertising and marketing budgets rather than leveraging their personal power to not simply pursued, but to inspire.  And that’s precisely why integrating social media and video with our publicity and marketing campaigns is so powerful. It gives us the ability to interact, to discuss, to communicate on a retail level – to network, chat, shmooze.  Modern Publicity views technology as a tool to establish greater intimacy and client loyalty.

Rather than analyzing the entire interview transcript (Looked up “shambolic“), I simply jotted down the presidential statements that jumped out at me.  Please note how simple, yet powerful, each phrase is.  These are Obama all quotes:

“The pressure is on Congress to produce”

“up or down vote”

“dysfunction in Washington”

“$2 of spending cuts for every $1 of increased revenue”

“[the American people] made a clear decision”

“overriding unifying theme”

“[the fallacy that] deficit reduction is only about cutting”

“a balanced approach”

“shared sacrifice”

 

YouTube + WordPress

One of the most powerful ways to communicate is by using YouTube videos embedded into blog posts.  The process is simple.  Record the video.  Upload it to YouTube.  Copy the YouTube video URL into the wordpress blog post (without a hyperlink).  The result is a YouTube video embedded into your blog post.

“10 things PR pros do” – Claire Celsi

Claire Celsi, a self-described “Public Relations Princess,” is a publicist based in DeMoines, Iowa.  On her blog – which is, like mine, her website, she posted one of the most popular articles reposted by Ragan’s PR Daily, a very widely-read (famous to us insiders) PR blog.   There’s good reason.  She lists the ten most important tasks that a publicist does and describes how what they look like in real life.  PR Princess

1. They shape the debate. Ethanol is a mandated fuel mix in many states. But winning the hearts and minds of the American consumer was the goal. My job was to identify the knowledge level of the consumer, identify strengths and weaknesses, and to use public relations channels to inform the public through a variety of means.

2. They research. Its critical to be able to measure the impact of any communications campaign.  For a retail client for whom we staged their grand opening, we implemented social networking sites and documented calls to help us identify where targeted publicity is driving sales.

3. They write. After identifying key messages, we wrote the key messages into all kinds of documents. We wrote fact sheets, news releases, media pitches, position papers, PowerPoint presentations, op-ed pieces, Web copy, blog posts, and ad copy.  Once you have your core message, ride that pony ’till it drops.

4. They plan special events. The photo above was taken at an event at a Dallas 7-Eleven store. Our second driver, Jeff Simmons, took over behind the wheel after Paul Dana passed away. That event featured two more Indy car drivers, the Secretary of Energy, and ethanol advocates from all over the country. We gave away cheap ethanol and pitched reporters all over the state. It took a lot of time and planning, but it reaped benefits in the local media and taught Texas to pronounce ethanol “Eth-an-ol” rather than “eeeth-an-ol.”

5. They manage crisis situations. When Paul Dana died, the ethanol industry suffered a psychological blow. Not only was the circuit’s most passionate and visible advocate dead, but he died in a fiery crash in the ethanol “E” car. Not a great visual. Moving the organization past this loss and regrouping was part of my job.

6. They talk to the media. I formed relationships with media across the country while working on the ethanol account. It was my job to think of as many angles as possible, so my team worked hard on finding reporters from as many beats as we could. We ended up pitching energy reporters, business reporters, feature reporters, and trend reporters. The most memorable and creative pitch my team did ended up appearing as an AP story in more than 140 different media outlets.

7. They find advocates. There were many allies of ethanol, such as corn growers, industry groups, convenience stores, “Clean Cities” initiatives, and of course, the Indy Racing League. It was our job to reach out to them and form alliances for our client, and figure out ways we could work together.

8. They tell the truth. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, it’s tempting to skip steps, make assumptions, and push the button before the facts are checked. Sometimes the client is asking you to do things that push the boundary of the truth. Sometimes it’s your boss. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts that will undermine your credibility with your team, client, or employers.

9. They educate themselves. PR Professionals should be among the smartest people on the team. They’re articulate, well read, and care deeply about the subject matter they represent. They keep up on current events, read the newspaper, and know about what’s going on in the world.

10. They use new media tools. There has been much debate about the role of social media in the PR world. Moving forward, I can’t imagine a PR professional doing a thorough job in any industry without using all tools as their disposal.

Seven Publicity Tricks

Any business can generate publicity for themselves.  It takes creativity, diplomacy and patience.  It not “who you know” it’s “how you say it” that makes the difference.
We’ve included seven go-to publicity tips to help with the creativity.  These are very common business story angles that journalists look for when deciding what to report.  So, what does diplomacy and patience have to do with publicity?
It is very easy for us to get caught up in our own enthusiasm for our business.  This is a good thing.  Reporters like enthusiasm and passion.  In fact, if our clients aren’t passionate about what they do and how they do it, we don’t take the account.  Passion is key – if it’s combined with diplomacy.
Journalists are very busy workers.  They are under a tremendous amount of pressure from their editors and producers to generate compelling, newsworthy stories.  Moreover, they have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of story pitches and press releases being thrown their way by passionate advocates for their own cause.  Some of the people contacting them are more aggressive than others.   Diplomacy can help you rise to the top compared to amateurs who can become pushy when a journalist doesn’t call them back much less cover their story. Yes, it can be frustrating, but it’s all part of the process.  Be diplomatic.
Often, a journalist will be able to fit your story in later – not now.  So you also have to be patient and continue to feed the journalists story ideas month after month.  Soon enough – one will be the right topic at the right time.  This is why it’s important to be consistent with your publicity over time.  Help the journalist write about you when they have a demand for a story, not when you have a demand for a story to be written.
Here are some ideas:
  1. Be the first, newest, oldest, biggest, smallest, etc. and explain why this is important.
  2. Introduce something new or improved and focus on key benefits or problems it solves.
  3. Announce anniversaries and stage a special event to celebrate.
  4. Announce a new member of your team and how they will change the way you do business.
  5. Win an award. Of course, you have to find them and apply, but third-party recognition are great tools.
  6. Announce a new major client – the bigger the better. Another third-party endorsement.
  7. Offer to be an expert on a specific topic or event. Journalists always need quotes from experts. Help them out and they’ll put you in an article.