Lance Armstrong- What a Dope!

Lance has taken quite a spill and chances are really good he won’t be getting up from the ground anytime soon.

It’s amazing how much wool this guy pulled over everyone’s eyes. Not sure there are any sheep left. And it’s great that his early tattlers now have major street cred.

It’s true the guy had cancer and beat it, but that’s the only thing he honestly ever beat.  He’s been totally stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles and banished from the NY and Boston marathon books, too.

The guy is just a cheat, along with lots of his biker buddies.

I used to watch the Tour de France amazed at these ironmen with legs of steel able to pedal to a medal. But, now the entire world knows it was all a fake. His pedal-power was fueled by just the right amount of steroids to become superman without showing up on a blood test.  This was one cagey biker.

In the PR profession we’d probably counsel Lance to lay low for a long time and then spend the rest of his life doing charity work.  Oh, wait a minute…Lance already has a charity!  And he didn’t do LIVESTRONG any favors by ruining his good name.  And that name is being erased from the sides of bikes, helmets, jerseys and energy bars (so I just made that one up) even as I blog.

What was he thinkin’? Guess is he just wanted to be a winner and was willing to do whatever it took to get him to the medal stand. What a dope!

Lance not only gave pro cycling a black eye, but he also spoiled the sport for all the weekend warriors who strap on their helmets and ride 10 or 20 miles.

If I were Lance?  I’d grow a beard, grab my passport and leave town for a long time. It’s time for Lance to ride into the sunset and never show his smug mug again.

Ruffled Feathers

Who wudda thunk it?  That Big Bird would become a political hot potato in the home stretch of presidential election season?  Only in America could that big, feathery, loveable symbol of childhood get caught in the crossfire.

There’s no debating it, ever since Big Bird was named as a target for cost-cutting by Romney last week, the yellow guy has never seen this much ink.

It all started when Mitt took the mitts off and ran over poor Jim Lehrer while he was asleep at the moderator chair.  Hard-hearted Mitt told the global audience that he would actually cut PBS, Big Bird and poor Jim if he’s elected the next prez.  (I got very nervous about my Masterpiece Mystery! addiction).  But, hey, folks, that’s at least one cut he’s telling us he’ll make.  When it comes right down to it, Mitt is showing us he can make the tough choices.

So, what did Big Bird do?  He goes on a media tour and appears on SNL with Seth Meyers.  Quite a coup for the bird on the street.

But, now the candidates are flippin’ the bird all over the place.  Obama is now using Big Bird in an Anti-Romney ad and in stump speeches, and Romney countered with none other than the Count to show that 2 can play the same game!!  It’s obvious these guys are playing hardball.

This might sound funny, but Sesame Street is NOT laughing.  They do not want to be seen as endorsing either party and want all Sesame-Street-related ads pulled. The Obama Campaign is thinkin’ about it.

Guess that means Big Bird is down for the Count.

Big Love

So, Ann Romney set out to make us comfy with hubby, Mitt. Her speech was about love, and the love that started when she met the tall, funny guy at a high school dance a long time ago. And it was about the love and bond that women have for women and the strength we all share.

Ann is a good presenter who sure knows her way around a teleprompter. She’s slim, attractive and a natural. That said, I’m not sure she was able to convince undecided voters that Mitt is just a “regular guy.” And ya gotta remember that Ann is not a “regular gal,” either. Sure she’s had medical issues and five kids, but she’s also been pampered since she was a kid, had lots of help throughout the years, horses, (two) Cadillacs and the best docs money can buy. She is not the single mom working two jobs to make ends meet and has zero idea what that’s like.

But, she did an admirable job on a stage that was beamed to millions of watchers.

Then Chris Christie took the spotlight. At first I thought I accidentally sat on my remote and was watching an episode of “The Biggest Loser.” Boy is that guy big. I recently saw him on TV on a NJ boardwalk eating an ice cream cone. Good one, Chris.

But, he’s a good speaker, too. Though, Chris talked about choosing between “love” and “respect” and he chose “respect.” Wonder how Ann felt at that moment? After all, her speech was all about love. Doesn’t anyone go through these speeches to check ‘em out before hand?

And for the first 20 minutes of Christie’s speech, I thought HE was running for President. Not one mention of Mitt Romney. What’s up with that?

I get that Christie is a regular guy who talks like a regular guy whose job it was to introduce Mitt Romney as a regular guy, but when he finally got to the Mitt Romney part of the speech, Mitt was squirming in his seat and Christie was snarling. I thought the guy was going to have a heart attack and hoped there was a doc nearby with a portable defibrillator. CLEAR!!

So, it’s up to Mitt to show the country that he’s a regular guy who can fix all our problems like a plumber and show up on time.

Can an uber-privileged guy who panders to the far right, doesn’t spill his taxes, and refuses to talk specifics fix all that needs fixin’? I don’t see it. But, maybe his magic underwear will help.

Riptide Hero

Stands to reason a guy who’s devoted his life to caring for kids, gets to do just that in his final act.

Dr. Donald Liu, chief of pediatric surgery at U of Chicago Children’s Hospital was at Lake Michigan with his family and friends when two boys, part of his entourage, got caught in rough water.  Without listening to his frantic children who warned Liu not to go in, he plunged into the water to grab the kids.  The kids made it back to shore.  Liu got caught in the swells and currents.

When rescuers grabbed Liu and brought him back to shore, his doc wife performed mouth-to-mouth, but it was too late and he was gone.

Quite an irony, that this hero doc, who lived to save kids’ lives in the operating room, was faced with the chance to save lives in the open water.  His colleagues said he was just that kind of guy and they know he would have done it again in an instant.

What would you do?  I’m a pretty good swimmer and I’d like to think if I saw a couple of kids in danger I’d dive in, unless someone restrained me or there were a nearby lifeguard.

Sad part of the story is that Liu has three beautiful kids and a lovely wife who are heartbroken.  And countless kids he would have saved over the coming years.

His wife said, “He wore scrubs all the time.  He would have gotten married in scrubs if he could.”  And then she went on to say, “It was meant to be.”

I know the Olympians are champs, but to me, Dr. Donald Liu deserves even more gold than Michael Phelps.  He’s the ultimate American hero.  Hats off to you, doc.

Don’t Spoil my Winner

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the 2012 Summer Olympics and the spoilers.

It used to be easy to avoid hearing about the ending of your favorite TV show or the result of the game you recorded but haven’t yet gotten to watch.  Most of the spoilers came verbally and face-to-face. I’d prefer it to stay that way, because usually you can figure out what they’re about to say and stop them before they do. But now, information is being thrown about everywhere, and it’s essentially impossible to avoid.

The Olympics started a week and a half ago, and there has already been public criticism about the way event results are handled due to the time difference. Usually when something big happens, it’s publicized right away, not withheld until the majority of people are able to watch it.

However, with this year’s Olympics things are much different. Most of us don’t find out about the results until the taping of the event is aired during prime time television.  This is exactly how NBC wants it to be, yet they’re among the biggest culprits. Last Monday NBC aired a promo for the “Today” show about Missy Franklin and her first Olympic gold medal before they aired her medal-winning 100 meter backstroke. Their poor planning spoiled the race for viewers.

In addition to the accidental television spoilers, some are also worried about what they’ll see on social media. I’ve had issues in the past with people tweeting who did and did not get a rose on the Bachelor, so I know how annoying a spoiler can be. On the other hand, I think the case with the Olympics is a bit different. The outcomes of the events are genuinely newsworthy. We don’t keep the outcome of the Super Bowl a secret because the game often ends after a lot of people like to go to bed. Why should we do it with the Olympics?

If all of the events were shown live, those who truly care about them would probably work around their sleep schedule to see them. For example, just last year more than 22 million Americans tuned into the Royal Wedding coverage, which started around 4 a.m. EST. At the same time, if events were aired at all hours of the night, people would complain about knowing the results before they’ve been given a chance to watch them. I’m sure viewership would go down as well.

Truthfully, I don’t think there is a way to deal with the time difference that will make everyone happy. My advice? If you really want to avoid hearing about the outcome of an event before you’ve seen it, stay off social media. NBC promised they will not have any more spoiler slip-ups, but it’s not like they planned to ruin the outcome of Missy Franklin’s race, so cross your fingers while watching TV. For more advice on avoiding Olympic spoilers, check out CNN’s list of tips. Good luck!

Ride Sally Ride

Sally had the ride of her life.  The first woman in space went where no woman had gone before.

Sally Ride died this week of pancreatic cancer.  Too young.

What a trailblazer – a woman growing up in the 50s and 60s to become a scientist, space traveler and, as the world has just learned, a lesbian.

So now pundits are coming out of the woodwork taking potshots over whether Sally should have come out sooner to show the world “it’s OK to be gay.”  Kinda like Anderson Cooper did.

For me, it was Sally’s choice.  No one else was in Sally Ride’s skin as she grew up and made a career and life choices.  If she wanted to keep her relationship on the down low for professional or personal reasons, who has the right to dispute her decision?  No one.

And when Anderson came out because he felt it was the right thing to do, slam dunk for Anderson.  He, too, did what he needed to do at the time that was right for him.

Every one of us has issues and each of us has to deal with them in the way that works best for us.

To me, Sally Ride was a brave astronaut who must have plowed through some heavy duty politics to become a national hero.  And she died as bravely as she lived, with the understanding that her private life would finally be in the spotlight.  It was Sally’s last call.

Young Guns Take on PR

The Washington Women in PR Emerging Leaders Awards is at the National Press Club and it’ll be one crowded event, and deserves to be.  It’s fantastic that WWPR takes the time and energy to salute up-and-comers in the industry.  Without kids passionate about PR earning their stripes, where would our industry be going?

The terrain has drastically changed over the past few years and will continue to shimmer and shift as everyone scrambles to learn more about the changing technology and how to integrate it into our communications practices.  No, not every new app, platform or blog site is right for marcomm, nor will every new app or platform survive, but it sure helps the industry to have youngsters come aboard who have been spending the last few years soaking up the new stuff and applying it whenever it makes sense.

It was the younger crowd in my agency that suggested we work with Pandora, Pinterest, QR codes and She Speaks on behalf of clients, and also know the exact online video hosts to reel in the right audience.  And if I ever have any question about what 20- and 30-somethings are plugging into, I just ask them in a meeting and we bat around new and juicy ideas.  Talk about off the grid.  Without emerging leaders, we wouldn’t have the freshest most innovative thinking.

And when we fold the new ideas into our proposals and programs they not only sizzle, but also provide new channels for an industry that has its roots in radio, print and online.  Why not leverage the video and audio and place it on key blog sites, partner with blog networks, catch active consumers in fitness clubs, grocery stores, even bars?  Let’s touch our audiences at home, on laptops, on tablets, on smartphones, while they work out, in airports, when they shop and when they go to the doctor.

So a big thanks to WWPR for putting on the event and props to the young guns who are smokin’ and propelling PR to new heights.