13 Dec JESSICA SIMPSON: PR BLUNDER TO PR WONDER
By Jenny Fujita and Joy K. Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
This summer, MTV launched “Newlyweds,” a reality series documenting pop singer Jessica Simpson and her new husband Nick Lachey, member of the boy band 98 Degrees. Early episodes presented Simpson and Lachey settling into “holy matrimony” and working on their new albums. From an initial PR aspect, this was an innovative, yet trendy way to promote their music.
But as new episodes aired, Simpson began receiving criticism for being a spoiled brat and a dimwit. She mopes around her new luxury house not wanting to clean it. During one show, Simpson asks her husband if Chicken of the Sea tuna is chicken or fish. In another, she refuses to eat Buffalo wings because she thinks they are made with buffalo meat. Negative stories began circulating on Internet chat rooms and even “Saturday Night Live” poked fun at Simpson.
The reality series that seemed like a wonderful idea was becoming a potential threat to Simpson’s reputation, but the pop songstress didn’t miss a beat. Her newest music video features Simpson making light of herself by appearing with a tray of Buffalo wings and eating tuna. ABC News reported that she also visited the Chicken of the Sea headquarters where the company’s Senior VP of Marketing is considering making Simpson a company spokeswoman.
Simpson has illustrated a brilliant way to turn a PR blunder into a PR wonder. When it’s appropriate, making fun of yourself can help turn the tide so that people are laughing with you, not at you. This method can easily be applied to many situations. Just make sure to maintain tasteful humor and communicate your “self-deprecation” to the right publics in the best ways. Maybe you too can transform your fish (or is that chicken?) into filet mignon.