Life interrupted

September 28th, 2007


I know I said I was going away. I’ve swept the tea house, I’ve walked the dog, I’ve scooped the poop. Later, I’ll go to Target and you know what that means.

But right now, I need to pipe up and call a spade a spade. This is a lie. A deception. Nickelodeon network is going “dark” for three hours this Saturday and advising kids to go out and play. Not. Get in shape. Sure. And then come back inside before the day is done and watch a kid’s reality show about not watching TV. On TV. Cripes.

And look! The news media gives it a pass. They wave a flag at it!

This is called “getting in front of an issue.” This is called public relations. I give myself permission to sneer because this was once my chosen profession. By the time I left it I was jumping up and down, waving my arms and hollering, “Don’t believe a thing you read in the paper or see on TV!”

I liken this TV-network-on-an-anti-obesity-crusade to my experience doing PR for a beer company. You read that right. The big daddy of brewers. We spent a lot of PR time and dollars trying to convince the media that we cared about people drinking responsibly. We had a catchy slogan for it. We wrote speeches and talking points. Then one morning the regional vice president called me at home, before work, because he was watching the early morning local TV news report of an overnight, fatal car accident in which alcohol was implicated. The news report showed footage of the police officer at the grisly scene lining up a dozen empty cans of our preferred product, all retrieved from the mangled wreckage. The VP, my client, wanted to know why I didn’t have enough clout to keep the local station from showing pictures of our brand in such an unfavorable way.

I resigned from the job that day. Soon, I resigned from everything else. After that, I began to have a life. My own ultimate reality show. The money isn’t as good but the beer is much better.

In real life, there’s a place to put Nickelodeon and this stunt that really is dark. Where the sun don’t shine. Then go out and play and don’t come back in.

6 Comments »

  1. well said! i’m clapping right now.

    Comment by Wendy — September 28, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

  2. We always somehow know that these things are going on, but to hear this kind of account from someone (formerly) on “the inside” is both validating and disturbing. yikes!

    Comment by Ginger — September 29, 2007 @ 1:43 am

  3. It’s moments like these when I feel small, like a puppet on a stage.

    Of course, I lived on the other dark side — the news media side.

    And, since then, I’ve gotten a life. A real life. And, I could not agree more that it is better, and so is the beer.

    Good for you for doing what is right.

    Comment by Shawn — September 30, 2007 @ 12:08 am

  4. sometimes it makes you all want to scream, doesn’t it?

    Comment by phyllis — September 30, 2007 @ 4:31 am

  5. Exactly.

    Comment by denise — October 1, 2007 @ 2:17 am

  6. Bravo!!

    Comment by shauna — October 1, 2007 @ 4:28 am

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