18 Nov Geldof flak proof there’s no such thing as bad publicity
The Irish playwright Brendan Behan was famous for saying there’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary. There’s a good chance his thoughts will be echoed this week by his fellow countryman Bob Geldof.
As you are no doubt aware, the public relations machine that is the Band Aid 30 campaign has been in full motion since its inception last week, and after all the initial fluffiness around the good it will do there has now been a more unpalatable flipside.
From a PR point of view, and also a viewpoint of someone of the original Live Aid generation there has been some major observations.
Firstly, now some 10 years after the last Band Aid incarnation we‘ve had the birth of social media, and that has helped fuel the discussion in a way unimaginable only a few years ago, and secondly it shows how it takes strong character to survive the caustic age of social media.
I refer of course to the tirade of abuse about Bob Geldof infiltrating Facebook and many other forums, abuse that the articulate Dubliner will no-doubt take in his stride fighting fire with another ‘f ‘word.
It’s all a far cry from those days when as a tall skinny teenager I along with 3 million or so others bought Do They Know Its Christmas, knowing that my money was helping the starving in Africa.
At the time, with Live Aid coming a few months later, Geldof could do no wrong. He insulted the Ethiopian despot leader to his face, and had Mrs Thatcher floundering as he tore her foreign aid policy on Africa to bits.
At the time he was hailed a leader of a generation, a man who did something we wish we could all do all from his own good heart. He embodied the very best in humanity.
However, in this nastier social media era, rather than focusing on the good the millions raised will do for the fight against ebola, a small section of the media have chosen to focus instead on the absence of the singer Adele from the song, Geldof’s own wealth, and any other negative angle they can find.
My opinion from a PR view is Geldof is having what many more sensitive souls would call a campaign of cyber-bullying, others may just call it strong criticism, but the focus only will help keep the story in the headlines- thereby doing good for the cause.
From a personal view as a chap somewhat older than I was in 1984, I think the criticism of Geldof and the Band Aid 30 project just goes to prove that no matter how much good you do in the world there will always be people there to take pot shots at you. Sadly it’s part of what is called human nature.