This Week in PR: Debate Part II, Billy Bush and Covergirl’s Beautiful Boy

We started off the week going to bed with a debate that featured an over-the-top Donald that even Trump himself couldn’t believe. His spectacle with Hillary was entertainment at its best! Everyone was talking about the debate the next morning as well as his ability to dodge questions regarding last week’s leaked audio. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the reporter caught on tape; bye, bye, Billy Bush. Thankfully, Covergirl is always around to remind us that the world isn’t such a bad place. The brand is letting everyone know that men can be beautiful, too.

Debate 2016, Round 2: Hillary and Trump prove to be the perfect ‘It’ couple.


Photo: The Sun.

Now I’ve had the time of my life; no, I never felt like this before. Yes, I swear it’s the truth and I owe it all to you, Donald and Hillary. Yes, this debate can best be summed up in a meme. If you tuned in to watch Sunday’s debate for politics, you clearly wasted your time. Anyone who was actually expecting to learn anything about policies was clearly delusional. Debate 2016’s second presidential round was labeled from the start as a ‘reality-show debate.’ What could the viewers honestly expect?

The debate delivered to public expectations; the audience got what it wanted. We saw Donald be the best Donald he could be and Hillary was definitely present. There was no political-correctness; no reservations. If anyone thought that he would withdraw from the race after his leaked ‘locker-room banter,’ they were certainly mistaking. Hours before going live he held a press conference where he took a public jab at Hillary’s husband bringing forth alleged victims of his sexual abuse. Abuse of any manner is no laughing matter but with this move Donald clearly saw his ship sinking and he took on the strategy of ‘if my ships sinks, I’ll sink yours with me.’

He arrived fired up to the debate and Hillary did as well considering the recent conference. The lack of a handshake at the start was indicative that this debate was going to be one to remember. What was supposed to be a town-hall meeting was anything but. The moderators quickly went for Donald and the audio citing public interest as the cause of their interrogation. For a moment the debate did in fact seem a three-on-one as Donald suggested. Everyone wanted a piece of him, which was so obvious that you almost felt for the guy. I asked around the following morning and a few of my colleagues seem to have grown some empathy for him; a very surprising turn in public opinion. However, Clinton did appear by a long-shot to be the clear winner of the evening.


Photo: The Fader.

This election will not be decided on politics but rather along the basis of who does the public like or enjoy more. Donald’s best strategy is to keep playing up for the cameras; Hillary’s is to show emotion and seem like a human. Donald’s one-line zingers were trending topic all night and the morning after; Hillary was a physically-expressive voice of reason. The ‘because you’d be in jail’ line is one I’ll never forget. Talk about a burn; ouch! That’s what you need to keep doing, Donald! And Hill, step up your game and don’t be afraid to zing him back; we like that.

The key to this election for not only the nominees but for the public is to view it as a reality show. The public is watching it for entertainment; undecided voters will more likely vote for the best zinger of the debates rather than on policies. The public also needs to expect less from the candidates; if the network is calling it reality television, it’s probably time we view it the same way as well. If we want to learn about policies and positions it’s probably best to do research on the side than tune in to the debate for information.

When the Debate’s lasting takeaway is the below video, you know it’s anything but presidential. Having said such; it is phenomenal TV! I can’t remember the last time I was so glued to the television and hungry for every next word to be said. Whatever they’re doing is grabbing attention; everyone is reporting on it leaving everyone talking about it. Yes, for all the wrong reasons but at this point it is best to embrace it and use it for whatever benefit possible rather than try to rectify it. Decision 2016; the year of a reality election.

Also, can we just pause and relive the last question of the debate; the one where they had to say one nice thing about each other! You can’t make this stuff up!

Sorry Billy Bush, you’re not Trump; no pass for you.


Photo: E! News.

Trump may have been able to dodge questions about his lewd and misogynistic comments, however the same cannot be said for Today Show host Billy Bush who was placed on an indefinite leave after audio surfaced of the two having much to say about addressing women inappropriately. Let’s face it, Trump has been quite fortunate in getting away with attacks on several community groups and continuing on with more, however not everyone is Trump. Trump has built a persona that depicts him almost like the Simon Cowell of politics. The ‘tell it like it is’ attitude from The Apprentice carried over into the election and has been one of his most notable characteristics. We’ve grown to tag it as classic Trump. Bush or anyone else is no Trump and cannot get away with the same behavior. This all goes to the basic foundation of personal branding. Trump has built his perception upon years and years of public exposure as a cold and nasty but savvy business man. Most regular Joes haven’t built their reputation with the same strategy; quite the opposite. Common psychology has it that most of us like to be liked and fit in rather than face the fire and be disliked. Bush as any journalist has built a reputation of impartiality, or at least on cameras, which means that when something negative like this surfaces, they will most in deed not receive the same free pass as Trump. To be honest, Trump doesn’t even get a free ‘get out of jail’ card; he’s just really good about failing upwards and persuading the public to move on and continue as if nothing happened.

If you’re not an infamous douche-bag, foul behavior as depicted in the audio makes you publicly loathed. NBC’s decision to give Bush the boot was a smart choice made by the network. His axing sends the message that the organization will not support offensive or discriminatory behavior. Let’s remember that NBC once axed Trump as well by dropping his Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants after his remarks on Mexico and the Hispanic community. The network is staying loyal to its brand story and credibility; kudos on the no-tolerance policy, NBC. What is surprising is that Billy Bush is letting this opportunity flutter. I certainly do not condone his behavior; again this is a PR analysis of the situation. If I was Team Bush I would be setting up a media tour to apologize. Releasing a statement via press release is obvious and the defacto move all must make in these circumstances but it’s not loud enough. The public will hear about it once from each news source and then move on to the next details. What is making headlines is that he is on possible permanent suspension rather than sorry for his remarks. Let’s look at Lochte after Rio, he was sorry and very vocal about it. At a point I forgot what he was apologizing for and just thought about his remorse. By simply issuing an apology, Bush seems very insincere about his statement. NBC should be interviewing you right now. Logistics in the way and can’t make it to another network to share your story? Hit your social media, Billy! You haven’t even addressed it on your Facebook page! As of the publishing of this post it has been a full week since the audio leaked and Bush has yet to issue any statement via social to his fans. Give the people something to talk about, to share, to get your name out there with an apology associated to it. Lastly, why would you delete your Twitter account? Why? Are you guilty? Are you hiding any proof of possible past behavior? This came off as very shady. Your manager is doing you a very big disfavor; this a beautiful example of bad crisis and reputation management; very bad PR.

Is this enough for you to buy his apology?

“Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago—I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”

Easy, breezy, beautiful Cover-Boy.


Photo: Daily Mail.

Covergirl celebrated diversity in a loud way this week by naming its first male spokesperson. The cosmetics label revealed that they signed on make-up artist and influencer James Charles as its newest face. The 17-year-old became a viral sensation earlier in the year when he retook his senior portraits with his own lighting to ensure his ‘highlight would be poppin.’ His stunt and posts prove to be quite popular among his followers; currently he has 518,000 of them on his Instagram account.


Photo: Daily Mail.

Clearly, naming him as the first Coverboy is much more than a social advocacy move; the brand is tapping into his coveted and ever-growing following. Those are 136,000,000 eyes that will see the Covergirl name with each of his posts; smart advertising but an even smarter PR opportunity. The earned media on the news has been staggering since its release on Tuesday morning. Add Katy Perry announcing it; I don’t think the media will be writing about L’Oreal or Revlon this week.


Photo: Daily Mail.

By naming a Coverboy, the brand is taking on the brand story that men can also be beautiful. This is a very impactful message considering that times are on the cusp of changing from conservative to that of a more embracing era. This decision gives the make-up brand a corporate –social-responsible leg to stand on. Customers, men included, who would normally go for Maybelline may now be reconsidering the next time they pick a new foundation. This move makes the label much more relatable to untapped, often-ignored but very real demographic of men who use cosmetic products. This is one of the most brilliant business, social and promotional moves not only the brand has made but the industry has seen. My condolences go out to the competitors as they did not think about it first; what can I say? Missed opportunity.

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