Thursday, February 12, 2004

Slow To Report But Still Amazed 

I was late to report the Ad Age story below, but I am still amazed by it. It is a perfect justification of the "end justifies the means." Stunts are a legitimate and creative way to gain attention for a person, product, service or brand. But there are limits beyond which one damages the person, product, service or brand.

The response I've always used to those who say any publicity is good pubicity is this. "Here's a pistol. Go down to the street and gun down everyone you see. You will get all the publicity you want. It might not be the right kind of publicity, but you'll get it."

The PR practitioners who praised Janet Jackson's stunt have confused the end and means. Or, they have so little understanding that they don't know there is an end and means. Perhaps they missed Ethics 101.

To those who would say that "it was just a boob," I agree that it was, and there are far more salacious things to worry about, especially on the Internet. But, the "boob" was out of context much like the couple who performed a sex act in a cathedral last year while it describing it to two 'shock-jock" radio DJs as a gag. Civilization depends on civility. There are self-imposed limits for the good of all. Freedom does not mean one is free to do anything.


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