There are so many who spend millions on creating a product and then mince money on marketing budgets and public relations programs to build buzz and attention around the product. In the category of amazing failure, let’s put Anthony Weiner in the category of foolishness for the two press conferences he hosted when dealing with his sexting crisis.
Both of his press conferences were poorly organised and clearly amateur hour, organised without the help of professional PR folks, or a PR agency, and clearly exhibited yet more poor Public Relations judgment from Anthony Weiner.
At his first press conference, a conservative blogger took control of the podium at the hotel, where Weiner rented a room, and spoke against Weiner from the podium. The basics of a press conference would involve PR staffers checking people into the room, and presumably controlling the stage before Weiner’s entrance, coordinating with hotel security and the like – especially if we are discussing a major press conference with a lot of projected media attendance. Moreover, did no one think that the blogger (who had been releasing images of Weiner all day), or another Weiner opponent may want to attend and disrupt ? Was there a plan for it ? That press conference ended with a writer from the Howard Stern show yelling at Weiner an inappropriate question. Clearly, it was Weiner not hiring a firm and it was a disaster to not have professionals organise.
So, you’d think he learned his lesson ? Clearly not, in what had to be a very painful and embarrassing press conference held at a senior centre, the same Howard Stern employee heckled Weiner throughout the speech (complete with a Yeah ! Bye Bye Pervert heard loudly and clearly the second Weiner said he’d resign). Once again, no one must have checked the crowd, handled media registration, and throughout the speech, Weiner was heckled. Had the event been professionally organised, with an organised check-in process, pre-registration for reporters, someone organising and managing the podium and a number of other basics, this disruption and embarrassing event would have looked much different. It was really almost a scene from a movie.
Weiner was a media darling – in many ways a PR guru – until this crisis erupted, and it was amazing to watch the parade of PR mistakes Weiner from beginning until the very end of this affair. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see Weiner employed at a PR firm when the dust settles, certainly he made a tremendous mistake not hiring PR pros to represent him during this crisis – and even for the press conference.
Weiner’s career as a politician, at least for now, is over – and a talented crisis PR agency could have made a real difference. And I’d guarantee any PR pro would have ensured the press conferences – which will have many years of replaying in the digital media world would have looked quite different. Weiner reminds me of the companies who spend millions preparing products and then pennies in the marketing and PR of the launch.
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