Stand up Arnold Schwarzenegger! But don’t sit down Dasha Zhukova!
23rd January 2014
My name's Sam (Samantha if/when I'm in trouble) and this is my first time writing good and bad PR for you fine folks. I'm no Andy Barr, but I hope you like it! If you do, feel free to follow me on Twitter @SamSummersPR
Good PR of the week
Arnold Schwarzenegger has recently gone undercover at Gold's Gym, California, to prank those using the gym, to promote health and fitness and to raise awareness (and a whole lot of money) for a great cause – After-School All-Stars.
After-School All-Stars is an organisation that provides free after-school programs throughout much of America to keep children safe, off the streets and help them get through school. Over 90,000 children from poverty-stricken families benefit from this each year. I love this! And I love that Arnie has chosen to back this organisation.
While undercover, Howard (aka a long-haired, moustachioed Arnie) stands at reception to greet customers, wipes beads of sweat off a man's head, makes a young lady drink water ten times from a water fountain (apparently the bending is really good, he probably just liked the view), tells people they aren't in a baby gym and to man up, and helps others out with their workouts.
Most people recognised Arnie which is great – it wouldn't be much of a prank if they didn't (or would it?). My favourite was the lady who wasn't sure if she knew who he was or not.
Lady: "You look so familiar to me."
Arnie: "Maybe you saw me on the FBI's most wanted list."
Me (screaming at my computer screen): "He looks familiar? LOOKS FAMILIAR?!
It's Arnold freakin' Schwarzenegger, lady!" I wonder if he told her, or she figured it out. I bet she's kicking herself now if not.
The end of the video directs you to the site where you can find out more about how you can a) donate money to After-Schools All-Stars, and b) be in the running to spend a day IN A TANK with Arnie himself! Yep, in a tank, smoking cigars (if that's your kind of thing), not to mention flights and accommodation for two in LA. A great part of this campaign is that it is open to international entrants, not limited to just Americans – score!
Oh, and Arnie is going to personally match all of the donations made! What a man! Although, let's be fair, it still won't make a dent in his fortune. Great PR for the cause, and one that's successfully caught the press's attention.
Bad PR of the week
On national Martin Luther King Day the last thing you'd expect to see is a photo released of Dasha Zhukova (Roman Abramovich's girlfriend) sat on a “black-woman chair“. Yes, you read that correctly. The lady is led on the floor, in very little clothing, in a position that allows for Dasha to use her as a chair.
Why, you may ask? For an article in her upcoming magazine, Garage, that "reinterprets art historical works from artist Allen Jones as a commentary on gender and racial politics", according to her spokesman. Similarly, Zhukova herself was quoted as saying the photograph was "published completely out of context" and is "a commentary on gender and racial politics."
While I understand this is a modern interpretation of historical art for an article, why on earth was it released on Martin Luther King Day? How else was it supposed to be interpreted? Although, to be honest, that photo could've been released on absolutely any day and it would've been considered as shocking and potentially racist.
Let's not place all of the blame on Zhukova though – she sat on the “chair” for a photoshoot, and there's a pretty good chance it wasn't her idea (even if she didn’t see anything wrong with it and went ahead). Nevertheless, some pretty hefty bad PR is coming her way.
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