PR Nightmare

Last night, we watched the episode of Arrested Development where Michael hires a PR agent. Hilarity ensues, of course.

Reading about AIG today, though, I started thinking about Public Relations crises and how to survive them. I'm not sure AIG can spin their "bonus" story in a positive light at this point. Perhaps they shouldn't have called these "bonuses" in the first place. Back pay? Employee debts? Anything but bonuses.

The American people are looking for someone to blame. The last thing you want to do is be a behemoth company who is taking taxpayers money and giving it to the rich. You either want to be a victim or a Robin Hood. AIG can't really be the company in tights, but they could paint a picture of employees who have been working for nothing for months, just to get the company back on track.

They say there is no way to retain such talented employees but to pay them this high. But what about the rest of the country? A lot of people are taking pay cuts just to have a job. If no companies were paying these huge bonuses, I feel like the talent would fall in line.

As someone in advertising, a field where talent is often an excuse for a large paycheck, I don't like the sound of this either. (However, we do have the advantage of working for the sake of the art.) But this is not really a time to argue. It's a time to buckle down, get realistic and wait it out. Your bonuses will be back, you jerks. If the American people don't storm your building, looking for blood, first.

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