SUCCÈS DE SCANDALE and PR
“No such thing as bad publicity.”
These are the words some PR professionals swear by. No matter how sinister this proposition sounds, one can hardly deny the fact that ‘negative’ stories can catapult your fortune right into the ‘exclusive’ club of the filthy-rich. Reality TV’s beloved star Kim Kardashian is probably the best example of such a success story one can cite here. Basically, anything that can trigger interest, sells. And in the era of tabloid journalism, it usually works well for the entertainment industry.
Succès de scandale (success from scandals) found its first takers in Paris in the 20th century. Artists in Paris found a catalyst in controversies to propel their careers. Lately, we have also seen how even Indian celebrities are excelling at the art of creating news-worthy stories, which may not necessarily be about their work. The driving force behind such coverage being their PR agencies and agents. Entertainment celebrities take their branding and image management very seriously. Thus, PR professionals who manage celebrity-profiles have to make a very perplexing choice between what goes out to the media and what aspect of their client’s life stays private.
Some amount of negative coverage (not particularly damaging news) assures longevity as far as visibility in media is concerned. For instance, SRK-Salman’s public spat was allowed to simmer in the media for all the right publicity reasons. Facts released to the media in this regard were controlled and contrived, in fact, just about the right to keep fans’ interests intact.
But, this is the only short-lived advantage of negative coverage. It may pave way for short-term flux of incessant coverage, but at the risk of damaging what PR industry dreads- brand value and image. If the news spirals out of control, even the best crisis management consultants may find it hard to undo damage. Thus, one can ‘safely’ assume that negative publicity is as risky as playing with fire. There are no hard-and-fast rules that demarcate the ‘safe zone’ within the purview of negative publicity.
As lucrative as instant media glare and limelight sounds in the world of entertainment industry, it can at times have cataclysmic repercussions as well. Time and again, entertainment PR agencies and specialists have to evaluate how public reacts to the media narrative they generate for the audience. Every story creates an opinion in the minds of the readers. Therefore, PR professionals have to delineate a very level-headed publicity and promotions plan, keeping in mind that whatever generates interests also leaves a lasting impression on the mind of audience.