You’ve probably seen the news about how a promotional photo taken of Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty in the background (and a fighter jet at the wing) has caused fury and backlash with politicians and New Yorkers, and has people all over the world scratching their heads wondering why someone didn’t think this little photo opportunity through a bit more thoroughly. If you’ve not seen the story, read about it here.
The gist: the promotional photo was a jumbo jet, with a fighter jet alongside, flying low – really low – near the NYC skyline – causing panic, with folks evacuating skyscrapers with Sept. 11 on their minds.
This snafu is now being described as “Felony Stupidity.” (Not to make light of the situation, but I totally plan to use that term in the future.)
Just last post I wrote about crisis communications, and how important it is to have a plan in place for “just in case.” Call it ESP (okay, sheer coincidence) but when you are developing any sort of publicity plan – and in that I’ll include photo shoots– you must look at it from all sides. Even when you’re pitching a positive story, put on your devil’s advocate hat and look at all the parts of the plan from all potential angles – good and bad.
It’s easy to get caught up in an exciting story, but not thinking of potential negative angles to any story is risky at best – and a negative international news story at worst.