Dead Mayor Walking

deblasioI’ve always believed the best PR in the world cannot compensate for a flawed product, service, company or, in this case, politician.

In the latter case, I’m speaking of embattled New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who just made the most unusual and some say “unprecedented” decision to hire a Manhattan PR firm to provide counsel, pen press releases and, get this, craft commentary for city officials to use when defending Hizzoner’s controversial programs.

To further complicate this sordid tale, the PR firm in question, BerlinRosen, represents several other clients who conduct business with The Big Apple. Holy conflict, Batman.

When confronted by the ever tenacious Marcia Kramer of WCBS-TV the mayor was his usual haughty, dismissive self, poo-pooing Kramer’s suggestion he’d created a “shadow government” by hiring a whole new team of outside advisers when hundreds were already on the city’s payroll. The mayor sighed and said it “…was nothing unusual.” Yeah, right, and Donald Trump’s flag-burning Tweets are standard operating procedure for any president-elect.

There’s no doubt the de Blasio brand is in desperate shape. Since taking office, he has not only managed to antagonize virtually every key constituent audience, but has seemingly turned a blind eye to the city’s rapidly-deteriorating state.

Alas, neither BerlinRosen nor Edward Bernays himself can, or could, save de Blasio from losing his bid for re-election.

That’s because, despite what our hagiographic trade press may tell you to the contrary, the very best PR programs in the world can never compensate for a shoddy product or a horrible customer experience.

But, hey, maybe there’s a silver lining to this particularly grey cloud after all. Imagine the business they’d be able to attract if the PR firm in question can change its name to BerlinRosendeBlasio?  It does have a certain ring to it.



3 thoughts on “Dead Mayor Walking

  1. I actually wrote the blog, Peter, not Catharine. Typical Peppercomm quality control SNAFU.

    As far as proof that Big Bill will lose, I’ll give you the same response Trump did when reporters asked how he could possibly win. He said he felt the pain, sensed the desperation for change and played it to the hilt. In other words, he trusted his gut.

    My gut tells me there’s so much anger and desperation for change that someone will step forward, tap into that zeitgeist and blow Big Bill away.

    Keep your eye on Ed Moed. He’s looking for a new challenge.

    • I’d vote for Ed in a heartbeat. Does he have NYC residency?

      When it comes to most people I encounter about the State of the City, it’s more frustration, apathy and resignation than anger and desperation. As in “what could someone else do?”

      Comparatively speaking, NYC is in pretty good shape compared to 20-30 years ago. I think that’s more about the good job Bloomberg did overall than anything positive this guy has done. To upset the Big Apple cart, it would take someone with a compelling counter-story who isn’t a political hack. You know, a Trump.

      That’s why for now I disagree. Still, when a slate of real, viable mayoral candidates emerge in Spring 2017, I may be willing to make a friendly wager based on their caliber (or lack thereof).

  2. Catherine, the communicator in me agrees 100% that de Blasio is a miserable failure, a walking “Kick Me” sign who sees himself as the leader of a Progressive movement in his own mind. With the exception of Universal Pre-K, he has pretty much lied, misled and played favorites since Day One and is an inept administrator to boot. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Feds file charges against him for campaign finance misdeeds.

    BUT….the political pragmatist in me says that doesn’t matter. The Mayor’s substantial communications issues may not matter much with the voters as much as they do with the media, political junkies and strategists.

    The critical question I’d ask is what viable proof do you have that he’ll lose? In particular, what candidates have emerged to challenge him? Even de Blasio’s sworn enemy, the Governor “Dark Prince” Cuomo, cannot raise anyone with a pulse to take him on.

    I’m willing to predict that Big Bill will still manage to get re-elected by the 35% of the disaffected electorate that bother to vote. That is how he won last time. I agree that he has failed NYC on several fronts, I’d love to see a more practical alternative, but I don’t see a successor on either the Republican or Democratic side.