Monday, June 7, 2010

Futile Gestures Waste Time and Credibility

In the wake of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a minor league baseball team in Florida has announced it will no longer conduct "BP" (a common name for batting practice) before its games. Instead the team will have "batting rehearsal," so that they won't be forced to utter the now-shunned "BP" name.

Ridiculous. Almost as silly as renaming french fries as "freedom fries" following September 11th. Or calling illegal aliens "undocumented workers."

Everybody with half a brain knows the truth behind these transparent covers. Trying to foist these whitewash jobs on the public is a waste of valuable credibility. The PR geniuses who thought up these stunts should be fired. Or at least sentenced to reading their own press releases for a month.

If you want to take advantage of a public crisis or highly visible event, take the time to do something with meaning. The Florida baseball team might have organized a community effort (in advance) to clean up local beaches that become contaminated. Such a move would certainly have more value and credibility.

Don't succumb to the temptation to cash in on public sentiment with a cheap stunt or meaningless gesture. It will only damage your public image in the long run.

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