Thursday, October 28, 2010

Formal statement from FINA, et al., which helps a little ...

... but is evidence of the need for media training for these FINA executives. They should not be speculating or doing anything beyond these statements, until they have solid information.  The clumsy and unfeeling statements that are featured in the post below this one will be remembered. 

At the end of this article from Swimming World Magazine is a list of statements from various swimming organizations, including FINA.,-26---FINA,-USA-Swimming-Release-Statements

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FINA's inexplicable response to swimming death
The FINA response to a swimming death Sunday in Dubai, UAE, is a typical, knee-jerk defensive statement in a crisis. One of their own "family" died during a meet, and yet the president of FINA used a typical response of blaming the victim: "What we know initially is that he exerted himself more than he could, that's what we know," said FINA President Julio Maglione in an AP news story.

The organization's mission, from its website, is, at least in theory:
  • to promote and encourage the development of swimming in all possible manifestations throughout the world
  • to promote and encourage the development of international relations
  • to adopt necessary uniform rules and regulations to hold competitions in swimming, open water swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and masters
  • to organise World Championships and FINA events
  • to increase the number of facilities for swimming throughout the world
The group falls short on the third mission, since obviously the rules and regulations didn't protect swimmers on Sunday, and indirectly, how will the group promote swimming when people in its competitions drown?  More importantly, how an an organization thrive and conduct itself ethically when the group does not express sadness, condolences, and other expressions of emotion, and when the executive director of the organization says, "We have to wait for the investigation and then we will come up with our position on this."  What other "position" could the organization come up with, other than "We are so sorry that a competitor died during our event, and we will be doing everything we can to find out what happened and to keep ensuring that our events are as safe as possible."  Why do organizations find it so hard to say words like these, and even more important, actually to feel these emotions, which are part of an ethical response?

Of course, the answer is "liability."  However, the above statements make sense because not only should they be true, but also, defensive statements don't protect you in a court of law.  Expressive and kind statements will protect you in the court of public opinion, and FINA needs that "court" to be successful.

Check out the silence about this death on the organization's web site at  Note on the "family" page that a death of an older swimmer is reported from last spring, but not a word about U.S. swimmer Fran Crippen.

Here's another story about at least one other swimmer who had trouble during this past weekend's meet:


Monday, October 25, 2010

Publicity stunts ...

... that are definitely in the dumb category, courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines. And Ad Age isn't offering much of a critique ... where's Bob Garfield when you need him?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fake PR and Chevron

An AdAge article about a fake website, fake news releases and advertising, and a challenge for Chevron.  There was even a website made to look like AdAge, reporting on these fake PR/advertising pieces. Note the comments from readers at the end of the article:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Product placement as a strategy in a company's PR plan

Tactic would be working with this particular filmmaker and hosting parts of the production, from AdAge:

Friday, October 08, 2010

Gap's announcement for new logo, on Facebook

An Ad Age story about whether this was a social media experiment, mistake, or something else entirely: an intentional, misguided effort.