Shiny objects and made-up comments fuel PR controversy

lisa fd image

This photo from a recent Vanity Fair article (2013) shows the glare from a building, that has resulted in a PR controversy.

By Lisa Faulkner-Dunne, Lisa Faulkner-Dunne and Associates Public Relations

It certainly seems like common sense, and basic ethics, to avoid making up names and  posting rash and inflammatory comments on your client’s digital media pages, or even worse, on their adversary’s or competitor’s  pages.

Yet this ridiculous junior high type behavior happens. In Dallas, a former NBC anchor-turned-PR-specialist (hired, no doubt because he had “good media contacts,”) recently disgraced himself, the law firm that hired him and a high profile client at the City of Dallas, by resorting to such tactics. The client, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund,  owns a high- rise glass building whose reflection is allegedly burning and ruining exhibits at the adjacent Nasher Sculpture Garden.  Much discussion has taken place including possible solutions, name- calling and fault-finding.

The PR guy made the equivalent of prank phone calls, only with higher stakes, as he posted arrogant puffery behind made-up names to make his client look better, and inflame discussion on a variety of blogs and comment strings.

When the house of cards tumbled, he resigned; saying the law firm and his client had no idea what he was doing. Hard to believe, hard to prove, and the client took a definite hit in the ensuing detailed coverage.

The Dallas Chapter of PRSA chastised the so-called PR specialist in a letter to the  editor, in carefully chosen words. But, my favorite letter to the editor came from long-time Dallas PR guru Martha Tiller, who warned that journalists are not trained public relations specialists-and may not have the same grasp of issues. I applaud her honesty.

Sad story of our city

I appreciate your coverage of this story. My heart aches for the Nasher, our police and firefighters, and the city. With all due respect to our media friends who get into public relations, real PR is so much more than trying to manage the news.

Alas, many of them simply do not have the background and training to give proper counsel. Neither do law firms.

Martha Tiller

The take-away?  Something I think we already know…Don’t make things up!

Author Bio:

Lisa Faulkner-Dunne’s has more than 25 years of experience in public relations including several years with the City of Dallas Mayor’s office. In 1992 she created her own agency, where clients have included a variety of retail and non- profit brands. They include Dunkin’ Donuts, Red Mango Frozen Yogurt, MADD, Parkland  Hospital Foundation, Richardson School District Foundation,  March of Dimes; Blockbuster, 7-Eleven, JCPenney, Olive Garden, and Southern Living Plant Collection. Through Citizen Paine PR she has handled projects for: Levi’s, Dockers, Duracell, Hilton Garden Inn, XM Radio, ENOVA, Lipton Tea, Polaroid, Cover Girl, Pampers, Hoover and Old Spice.

Lisa is a charter member and former director of PRCG (PR Consultants’ Group). She volunteers with Ronald McDonald House, and serves as publicity chair for several community organizations.

Lisa is a graduate of Leadership Dallas and is the recipient of numerous awards including a Women in Communications Matrix Award, two Silver Anvils from PRSA, and a Lifetime PTA Membership award. Lisa holds a B.A. from The University of Kentucky and an M.P.A from Southern Methodist University. She lives in Dallas with her husband and too many dogs.  She has never made up a name, ridiculous or otherwise, in order to garner more comments on a story.

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