Friday, May 28, 2010

Bad PR move: A "touchy" subject

From time to time I come across an example of how not to do PR and think to myself, yikes, that's not a good way to handle (fill in the blank). The key being that I just think about it and move on to other things in my head.

However, this one just bothered me and is worth pointing out as just a bad public relations move.

A hospital's community relations director uses a ridiculous touching tactic to try to get rid of a TV reporter that showed up prior to the start of a community meeting. The reporter was working on a story about a hospital's gift fund. Here's the bizarre exchange:

The story making the rounds in the social-sphere being called hilarious, creepy, best local news video of the year, and more.

Personally, I think it's just stupid and sad. Stupid because it should never have gotten that far. It's one thing to attempt to run interference in order to get the meeting started and try to schedule a more appropriate interview time. It's just poor form to not come up with anything else besides the reporter's apparent phobia for being touched (For the record, the reporter uses the overly aggressive ambush-style interview approach which is questionable as well.) It's just sad because it further perpetuates the caricature image of a smarmy PR persona.

I like this comment from someone on the SF Weekly blog:
"... I understand that reporters like to antagonize individuals to provoke an unpleasant response, but a professional communications director should know to keep his cool and not get drawn into a confrontation."

What do you think? The comments are yours.