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New PR Crisis Strategy: Hide Behind the Milk
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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There are so many PR stories to discuss right now, and many of them would make you frown even worse than when you filled up your gas tank today. I wanted to feel good, smile and not regret my weekly tirade of smarminess on Flack Me, but was at a loss.

And then the sweet baby Jesus landed this jovial clip of har-har in my lap from St. Louis, Miss. and Belo-owned station, KMOV.

(NOTE: PLEASE visit that link. That is, after you've read this post. You won't be sorry.)

Meet Dick Fleming.

He's the President and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association (RCGA), a local Chamber of Commerce. And evidently, a man that really lives up to his name. It seems Richard here is making $1.8 million and is the proud owner of the moniker "Highest Paid President of any Chamber of Commerce in the Country." To wit, cagey investigative reporter Craig "Brass Ones" Cheatham set out to have this guy "explain the RCGA's mission and how he earned all that money."

To secure that explanation, Cheatham (my new buddy) followed Fleming to a speech at a local hotel and tried to ask him that very question. Much to my pleasure, the answer did not come about easily. Because of that inherent struggle, we find probably a novel approach to crisis public relations.

Amidst skirting the issue, looking like a curmudgeon and just about making fun of Cheatham's mama, Fleming is found attempting to camoflauge his corpulent frame behind a stack of milk crates in a hotel hallway. Keeping it classy in the Lou!

Obviously, anyone with a little moxie to stand up to this blowhard could have spent five minutes in Crisis 101 to tell him about the benefits of planning, speaking early, and taking control of the story. Fortunately, no one with the RCGA took public relations in college, so we are stuck with this gem. Good times.

MEMO to Dick Fleming: Eh, milk? It didn't do your body any good.

   

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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