Archive for November 27th, 2006

Michael Richards’ PR expert

November 27, 2006

If you were wondering who Kramer would turn to for help during his attempt to rescue his career from almost certain destruction, here is the answer. The “apology” on Letterman was pitiful. The attempt on Jesse Jackson’s radio show was improved but only heightened the opinion that wherever a camera shows up or attention is focused briefly, Mr Jackson will be close at hand. Mr. Rubenstein has perhaps his greatest reputation crisis challenge. Will see what magic he can conjure to restore poor Mr. Richards.

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A word to local TV “investigative” reporters: knock of the chases

November 27, 2006

I’m a faithful watcher of KING5 tv news in Seattle. They have pleasant tv personalities, some quirky reporters, and do a generally good job of the formulaic process we know of as local tv news. But they frequently feature an “Investigative Reports” segment that, quite frankly, makes me cringe in as much pain as George Costanza of Seinfeld used to create. It is embarrassing. Susanna Frame is the reporter and I don’t know if it is her, her producer or editor, or the general manager with his eye on the ratings meter that makes her do these things. But every one of her “investigative” reports features an “ambush journalism” sequence of her and her camera crew chasing down some poor soul who is trying to escape from the ambush while she yells at them, “Why are you lying to people.” (See video clips)

Come on, please! This was new and intriguing when Mike Wallace did it about a hundred years ago on 60 Minutes. But is more than passe, it is a cliche and a sad and uncomfortable one at that. Especially when the “gotcha” clip is repeated endlessly on the teasers leading up to the news show.

If this doesn’t show that tv news has devolved to formulaic and trite entertainment, I don’t know what does. KING5 is a great organization, with a storied history here in the Northwest. I hate to see them embarrass themselves in this way. Bullitt sisters, where are you when we need you?

Could it be a reputation problem leading to Wal-Mart sales woes?

November 27, 2006

Wal-Mart has a reputation crisis on its hands (see previous posts on this). One question executives have to struggle with is, does it really matter? They tend to only get nervous about critics (especially online critics) when they see an impact on sales. And sales decreases tends to be a lagging indicator of a reputation crisis. Is this why Wal-Mart sales are weak this Christmas? Goodness they have done everything they can to lure in customers with even lower prices. (When businesses only have low prices to lure customers in, sooner or later they find diminishing returns along with diminishing margins).

Clearly, the lustre is gone, and the juggernaut that is/was Wal-Mart has been threatened. Advertising more low prices will not solve this problem. Sooner or later they are going to have to come to grips with the violations of societal values that lies at the heart of their reputation problems. Change, or begin to die.