The Oscars may come around only once a year for film’s biggest stars, but the media chatter in the days and weeks following the Oscars can be especially telling for the rest of us–especially PR professionals. What PR lessons can we take away from this year’s Academy Awards? Let’s take a look at what people will remember long after they’ve forgotten who took home the little golden men.
Anne Hathaway’s dress. Despite landing her on many a “Worst Dressed” list, Anne’s dress debacle has much deeper PR implications. Apparently, Anne changed her wardrobe plans at the last minute and decided to wear the Prada gown only hours before the show. This decision was so last minute that Valentino’s team was still under the impression that Anne would be wearing their dress, and issued a press release stating so before Anne actually appeared on TV. This caused some press outlets to misreport her designer credit. Anne has since issued an apology to Valentino for the “miscommunication.”
Lesson: Valentino’s team should have never issued the press release when there was a chance Anne would wear a different dress. It’s important to get the news out there quickly, but never at the expensive of spreading misinformation and damaging your brand’s credibility. For B2B marketers, this situation can be likened to issuing press releases on new customer wins or offering customers to talk to the press about the successes they’ve experienced with your product or service. You’ve got to make sure customers are willing to talk in the first place and then keep the lines of communication open should any issues arise.
Jennifer Lawrence’s fall. Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence took the fall seen round the world as she climbed the stairs to collect her award on Sunday night. PR nightmare, right? Well, actually to the contrary. The tumble inspired a spoof Dior advertisement, because even during the most ungraceful of moments, Jennifer still manages to look stunning–Dior couldn’t have dreamt of a better marketing campaign and people are still talking about that dress. Not to mention, the stumble has further endeared Jennifer to a public that welcomes celebrities who are also human and occasionally take a tumble, just like the rest of us.
Lesson: Consumers want to connect with a human brand, not a sterile, impersonal, over-polished image of your brand. While it’s important to maintain professionalism, it’s ok to allow consumers to see the human element, which isn’t always perfect. This makes it easier for people to connect with your business emotionally–a key component to lasting relationships.
Seth MacFarlane’s song. During host Seth MacFarlane’s opening monologue, viewers were treated to a very Family Guy-esque ditty in which Seth called out those female actresses who have appeared topless in films. The camera cut to stars Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron during the performance, and both women looked displeased and disgusted at the song’s subject matter. However, considering both women were wearing different gowns, it was clear that the clip was prerecorded and that the actresses were in on the joke. But this didn’t stop some news outlets from jumping the gun and incorrectly reporting that Charlize and Naomi were actually upset by the song.
Lesson: The world of journalism has shifted to a 24-hour news cycle. With the rise of social media, journalists are constantly competing to be the first source to break a story as news becomes obsolete more quickly than ever before. This means that sometimes, in an effort to be the first to break a story, fact checking can go out the window. As PR professionals, it is our job to disseminate accurate information to the press on behalf of our clients before they ask for it. There’s also a perpetual need for content creation to keep news fresh and the press interested in what your business or brand has to say–and a solid PR and marketing strategy will accomplish just that.