The three scariest words in PR

Today’s guest post is by Peppercommer Matt Purdue.

What are three most terrifying words in public relations?
a)    the client’s upset
b)    schedule a brainstorm
c)    write a blog
d)    none of the above
The correct answer is (d). Why? Because the three most terrifying words in public relations are these: out of touch. The moment your agency or your client falls out of touch with your most important audiences is the moment that everything begins to go pear shaped.

queen-of-hearts-60Case in point: New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is running for mayor of America’s largest burg. If you don’t live here, you might not realize that the Big Apple is baking. The heat index has been near 100 degrees for what seems like three months…with no end in sight.

At an outdoor press conference yesterday, one of the city council’s 18-year-old interns collapsed. So what did our wannabe mayor do? Her staff called 911, of course. According to news reports, when no help arrived after about 10 minutes…her staff called the mayor’s office. Finding no love there, they called the police commissioner, who also called 911. Her staff also called a volunteer ambulance service, which showed up about 30 minutes after the initial 911 call. The intern was in the hospital for a couple of hours, and reportedly is doing fine.

For their part, New York’s first responders say their reaction was right in line with proper procedure. When the initial 911 calls were made, the intern was conscious and alert…and there was a trained EMT on the scene as part of Quinn’s entourage. So their calls were prioritized somewhere in the middle of the emergency list.

Did Quinn let the matter drop? No way. She met with the fire commissioner and other civic poobahs to review the incident. Now Queen Quinn is trying to argue that her mini-crisis is a sign that New York’s emergency response system is broken…not only for high-powered doyennes, but for everyone else.
Nice try, Queen. But your Quinn spin is falling on deaf ears. We’re all suffering in various ways from this eye-roasting heat wave. But very, very few of us can call the mayor’s office and the top cop when we have a problem, let alone schedule a sit-down with the fire commish. Talk about being out of touch.
(And let’s not even consider the fact that the intern appeared to be wearing long pants and a light sweater…a sweater!…on a scorching summer day.)

A friend of mine was at work yesterday with no air conditioning. Did she call 911? No. She and her colleagues toughed it out. By the middle of the day, they were all nauseous and soaked in sweat. But they didn’t call the mayor’s office.

My only hope is that Queen Quinn does ascend to the throne in the next election. Then the next time I feel dizzy, I can call her office for help.