Whole Foods halal headache; diamonds have it rough
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Whole Foods halal headache; diamonds have it rough

Paul Holmes

• I would have thought that when your company finds itself embroiled in a controversy in which the two choices are (a) reaching out in a way designed to be inclusive of a growing demographic or (b) appeasing a bunch of bigoted thugs, the choice would be pretty simple. But the reality of America today is that the latter group has a great deal of influence, its own media channels, and no compunction about wielding its influence in vindictive ways, so kudos to Whole Foods for making it clear that “We are still carrying and promoting halal products for those that are celebrating #Ramadan this month.” • The diamond industry has clearly not put all of its public relations issues behind it, with the latest allegations linking diamonds to torture camps in Zimbabwe. • The robotics industry, meanwhile, is looking to stave off a potential crisis, stemming from the fact that “its products [are] no longer just seen as cool novelties, but as ‘killer drones.’” So the industry is reportedly planning a “public relations offensive” that will “talk about the warm and fuzzy side of robotic machines.” Sounds like a cool gig for somebody. • There’s a legal battle going on between AIG and Bank of America. Hard to know who to root for. • The FT profiles Roland Rudd, founder and chief executive of WPP’s UK financial communications specialist Finsbury, recently merged with US sister agency Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, and Rudd offers some advice on crisis management for James Murdoch (a guest at Rudd’s recent 50th birthday party)and other CEOs in crisis: “When you’ve got a major crisis of any kind, the most important thing is to recognize the enormity of it. It’s sometimes better to exaggerate it to yourself. Never try and suppress it. Never try and blame anybody else. Never try and pretend that you’re the victim.” • The International Business Times, meanwhile, profiles Ford Motor Company, and is emergence as a leader in the social media space. The publication credits “chief executive Alan Mulally and social media wizard Scott Monty” with “helping restore the brand through a new means of direct connectivity with customers.” Ford has done a great job, and the only quibble I have is that I think the entire public relations department, led by Ray Day, has played a pretty significant role. We recognized Ray at our awards dinner in New York earlier this year, and Mulally was on hand to add his applause to that of Ray’s peers. • The English Premier League season got under way this weekend, and once again I find myself puzzled by the sports determination to make its product inaccessible to fans. Five EPL games kicked off at 3pm on Saturday, and not one was available on Live TV. It’s impossible to imagine the NFL or any major sporting body in the US allowing such a state of affairs. In a social media world, this seems indefensible and unsustainable. (For example, I have a Slingbox, which allowed me to see one of these games via my US cable box.)
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