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Hollywood PR in Real Life

The most shopworn Hollywood image of “PR Men” and publicists is that they whore themselves out for money or proximity to fame–no matter what ethical issues are at stake. I won’t stoop to dignifying those kinds of stereotypes with an argument other than to point out that money isn’t enough for a PR pro with a shred of self-respect and professional dignity.

Case in point is ironically from Hollywood. Charlie Sheen’s long-time, long-suffering publicist has decided that he can’t take two-and-a-half more seconds with the “bad boy” TV star:

Charlie Sheen’s publicist, Stan Rosenfield, has quit his long-time job, citing Sheen’s increasingly erratic and bizarre behavior and public statements. The final straw seemed to be Sheen’s appearances Monday on “The Today Show,” in which he vowed to battle CBS violently and demanded a raise for his postponed show, “Two and a Half Men,” and then his long, unwieldy backyard appearance with TMZ.

“I worked with Charlie Sheen for a long time and I care about him very much, however, at this time, I’m unable to work effectively as his publicist and have respectfully resigned,” Rosenfield said in a statement to TMZ.

via Charlie Sheen’s ‘Today Show’ & TMZ Interviews Lead To Publicist Stan Rosenfield Quitting.

As in any business, sometimes you get to a point where a client–no matter how much money they pay–isn’t worth aggravation or loss of self-respect. Also, it would be unethical to take Sheen’s money because the bizarre star obviously isn’t taking advice from his public relations consultant. I applaud the man for walking away.

And that’s a wrap.

It's the Truth. It's Actual.

Quick writing tip:

It’s a fact of life that people get confused about the contraction for “it is” and/or “it has.” Just remember the apostrophe in “it’s” represents the “i” of “it is” and/or the “ha” of “it has.”

It’s the truth. (It is the truth.)

Its, on the other hand, is a possessive pronoun–signifying ownership or belonging.

The monster bared its teeth in anger, and I nearly lost my nerve. (The teeth belong to the monster.)

So, that’s it. It’s a simple rule, and you are responsible for its proper use.

Meet T Whiz, the Iron Man of Hot Tea

You know, you try to live your life in a mild-mannered way…unassuming…normal. Then fate has its way with you and the next thing you know you’re a superhero.

I’ll spare you most of the gory details, but as part of my membership in a fantastic group of Public Relations practitioners, I attended a conference in the magnificently southern city of Charleston, S.C. A capstone of the conference was dinner at a lovely restaurant a mile or two from the hotel. As is my custom when I find myself in a strange city, I decided to walk by myself. As is also my custom, I only had a vague notion of where I was going and took little care to ask if my foot route was safe after dark. (Yes, I have unwittingly taken my life in my own hands many times due to this idiotic predilection for wandering. To spare a dose of the stink eye from my bride I’ll refrain from listing the places; suffice it to say I should be more careful.)

Before I embarked on my stroll I passed through the hotel lobby where complimentary hot herbal tea was available. Waving at a couple of our conference speakers camped out on comfy couches in the lobby–no doubt waiting for a taxi or at the very least a large group of companions with whom to sensibly walk to the restaurant– I took my hot tea in a paper cup and struck out to explore before dinner.

Besides the usual shops, hotels and banking institutions I discovered a lovely, decrepit old church cemetery and lingered a moment in the shadows–Moon Over Bourbon Street playing on my mental jukebox. A few persons unknown passed by, taking my odd behavior in from the corners of their eyes. I rejoined my route to dinner.

I had just passed an entire block of closed upscale shops when a man in a hooded sweatshirt approached me. He wasn’t belligerent in an overt way. Instead he seemed to be going for “menacing without obvious intent.” That is, when he asked me for my money, he didn’t produce a weapon or lunge at me; but his tone of voice told me he wasn’t asking me to donate. He was telling me to without actually saying “Give me your money or else.”

I raised an eyebrow, took a step back and said. “I’m not carrying any cash,” and fell silent. I’m no action hero, but I have been known to stare down trouble. (Once, I sent back my eggs at a certain national breakfast food chain knowing full well they might not come back spit-free. That’s how I roll.) So in the silence, it occurred to me that what I was carrying was a hot cup of herbal berry something-or-other. Yes, if the man made any sudden moves, he would get the Celestial Seasoning of his Life. I held the tea to my lips, conspicuously blowing the steam off the lip of the cup.

The face underneath the hood grunted, “You sure you don’t got any money for me?”

I replied that all I had was a cup of tea. Very hot tea. My eyebrow–sensing a need–raised itself again.

The menacing man grunted again and walked away, muttering.

I quickened my pace and walked a few more blocks. I’ll reiterate: I have a wife and daughter who depend on me for smart-aleck remarks and the occasional home repair. This sort of meandering in the dark was not a good idea–even in the gentile South. Still, I felt pretty good–I got out of it with my money and my life–almost like a superhero without the cape.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, I related the details of my run-in to my colleagues. My pal Barb Harris (who is quite the wit and one of my favorite people) found the entire story hilarious. I guess it is a little ridiculous, but really, it’s what transpired. I fought off a mugger with herbal tea.

Barb also finds my distinctly Spockian eyebrow raise–which I initiate without significant provocation–amusing. She has more than once made reference to it and the fact that after a couple of drinks at the hotel bar I was unnerved by the unrelenting gaze from a painting of a horse (that is another tail, er, tale).

So, imagine my delight when I received an email from Barb with this image and description:

T-Whiz is a mild-mannered superhero that can take down a potentially accosting criminal with just one cup of tea. His green super hero suit is quite fetching, and he can stun anyone just by raising his eyebrow. He rides a horse that he has a portrait of hanging in some bar somewhere in Charleston, South Carolina. When not fighting crime with hot beverages, he is partying hard and drinking vodka and Sprites. Of course, he never drinks and rides…

(Artwork courtesy of Barb’s talented cousin John Aardema/inkyboy)

So, G Whiz readers, let the word go forth on the mean streets of whatever city you dwell…if criminals meet a man riding a trusty steed while enjoying a steaming paper cup of hot tea, they’re gonna get burned–and not just by a raised eyebrow. Some think T Whiz is whistling past the graveyard…but it’s actually a tea kettle.

Or something.

Move over, Iron Man. T Whiz is in town.

Thanks Barb!

A Watched Blog Never Boils?

Every now and then people tell me they don’t like blogging because they tried it–that is they wrote entries “at least twice a week for a month” and got only a few hits and even fewer comments.

I respond that blogging is about building up a lot of high quality entries, promoting them and bringing the buzz to a “boil.” If you’re into immediate gratification, then starting a blog (unless you’re a famous person or company) is probably going to frustrate you. It takes time, persistence and good content to build readership. Click here for some good advice on that.

And lest you think that just because nobody comments that nobody is reading, well, check your analytics. You may find that people read (“watch” your blog) but don’t feel engaged enough to comment. Change that–ask questions, make provocative assertions. You may find that your blog will start to boil.

They say a watched pot never boils, but I prove that old saying wrong in the video I made below. Same with a “watched” blog–if you have the right mix of content, persistence and longevity–most certainly will start to “boil.”

Domino's Pizza Driver Caught Doing Good–Saves A Life

Domino’s Pizza has had its share of bad press, most notoriously for the infamous booger pizza YouTube incident. On the rebound, they’ve made a comeback with a fairly ingenious ad campaign that basically admitted their pizza needed an overhaul. However, this latest action by a Domino’s employee takes the cake (or pie, as it were):

A Memphis pizza delivery driver credited with saving a customer who’d fallen at home says she suspected something was wrong in part because her own mother had twice fallen and been stuck on the floor.

Speaking Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show, Domino’s delivery driver Susan Guy said she became concerned when she found out Jean Wilson had gone three days without ordering her daily pizza.Guy said her own mother had cancer and twice fell while living with her and spent hours on the floor, so she knew it was a possibility in Wilson’s case.

Guy went to Wilson’s home Monday and then called 911. Police later broke the door down and found Wilson on the floor, where she’d fallen Saturday.

Guy said she’s spoken to Wilson in the hospital and she’s doing well.

via Pizza driver who saved woman talks of mom’s falls – Nation Wires – MiamiHerald.com.

Saving a life is an extreme example of what we talked about in a recent post “Three Easy Things You Can Do to Get Your Business Noticed,” where we recommended: “Do the right thing, even when nobody’s looking. I assure you that even if you don’t get caught doing the right thing eventually somebody’s going to notice.” Of course this Domino’s employee didn’t do this to market the pizza chain, she did it out of human decency and concern for others. But she felt empowered to do it.

You can’t buy that kind of publicity. It generally gets delivered (sorry for the pun!) most to companies and organizations that don’t check their humanity at the door.

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