PR Campaigns – The blog

February 16, 2009

Chris Brown- PR Nightmare?

Filed under: Step Up Communications,Uncategorized — Nancy Flores @ 7:53 pm
Tags: , ,

By now I am sure that everyone has heard about the incident that allegedly took place between singers Chris Brown and Rihanna.  Was anyone else as shocked as I was when all we heard for a week after the incident was nothing?  In every article that was written there was a ‘no comment’ somehow tied in from Chris Brown’s spokespeople and no sight of the singer himself.

Eonline posted a blog before Chris Brown released his apology where the writer reached out to PR professionals who specialize in crisis PR and the only thing they disagreed on was terms that described Brown’s career: ” finished, over or merely done.”  Where was his apology?

Well, it came, a week to late.  Yesterday, ran a story talking about how Brown was “sorry and saddened” about what happened.   After reading the story I decided to google “Chris Brown and PR” and the top search results contained the sentence “Chris Brown’s PR team working overtime.”  You search “Chris Brown” and more results about the incident, his abusive past and the fact that all his sponsors and invites to sing at major events (including this past weekend’s AllStar events) are backing out. 

I learned early on that the worst thing you can do is say ‘no comment’ when you have a crisis on your hand.  I highly doubt his publisist was not given enough time to return media phone calls since we didn’t hear anything for a full week.

I decided to look up mistakes in a PR crisis and come across one that I really on   Cyber Alert: “Only Start Work on a Potential PR Crisis Situation after It’s Public.”  I really wonder what was behind the reason for not commenting right after the rumors started.  Was there a strategic reasoning behind it or did the PR person make a mistake and that is why they are “working overtime” now?



  1. You are right, waiting a week to release a statement about the incident occuring between Chris Brown and Rihanna was a bad idea. It only led people to speculate more of his where abouts and violent past. If his PR team had acted quicker, we would have all gotten the apology that we needed to hear and would’ve moved on. Instead, the media was forced to come up with different angles to the story to keep interest high until he released a statement.

    I also didn’t like the content of his statement. It focused on him too much and how this has effected his life. He didn’t even acknowledge Rihanna or apologize. All in all, I am not impressed by the crisis management of his PR team that is “working overtime.”

    Comment by lmdavis2 — February 16, 2009 @ 8:09 pm | Reply

  2. Hello Nancy 🙂
    I completely agree with your thoughts here. Crisis management can be tricky, especially when the client has the status of Chris Brown. I do know that there may have been legal agreements with this situation that prevented both Chris Brown and his team from releasing any details about the incident. Still, it probably would have been in his best interest to immediately release some sort of apology. Perhaps he’s nuts and isn’t necessarily sorry to Rihanna, but he could have considered his position as a role model/celebrity and the obligations that holds. Not to mention the fact that he has a career to save. It’s a sticky situation and I’d be surprised to find ANYONE who has agreed with the way he has handled it.

    Comment by viancavv — February 16, 2009 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  3. I remember learning about the Exxon-Valdez crisis in Intro to PR. Basically, Exxon had an oil spill near Valdez, Alaska. The President/CEO of Exxon-Mobile did not address the issue for more than a week. When he did, he tried to shift blame away from Exxon and on to the drunk ship captain (that worked for Exxon). How much positive brand equity does Mobile have nearly 20 years later? Fortunately for Brown, and unfortunately for the world, he is not the first nor will he be the last superstar to have a violent PR crisis. I don’t know if he career is over. I do know I really liked his duet with Jordin Sparks…

    Comment by mgjersvi — February 16, 2009 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  4. Great write-up on the situation Nancy. Chris Brown’s publicist was definitely a little late in releasing a statement regarding the incident. I also agree with the PR practitioners who say that it is ridiculous to call Chris Brown’s career “over.” There have been many instances where famous couples have been through domestic abuse and (sadly enough) the man still continues to have a successful career. David Justice, Bobby Brown and Ike Turner all showed that they could have success after some spousal abuse. It is not something to think of proudly, but Chris Brown will get through this when this blows over in the coming months.

    Comment by Mickey Siegel — February 16, 2009 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  5. I agree with your “no comment” opinion Nancy. When something so public and mainstream like this occurs (two major pop stars in an alleged abuse dispute)”no comment” just seems like there is comething to be hidden.

    At the same token, what would have been the best thing for Chirs Brown and his PR professionals to have said? Do you think the public would have been satisfied with a few bare minimum sentences. That would leave some so hungry for more that giving a crumb from a loaf of bread could attract just as much negative attention as “no comment”.

    I have yet to form a fully developed opinion on this matter.

    Great topic. Very relevant.

    Comment by haleypetersonasu — February 16, 2009 @ 11:58 pm | Reply

  6. I definitely agree that “no comment” isn’t an effective way to handle a crisis situation. I was also very curious about the Chris Brown incident right after word came around after the Grammys. However, everywhere I looked, I couldn’t find any news articles about what had actually gone one between him and Rhianna. I think the best approach would have been a sincere apology and what Brown plans on doing to fix the situation. I really hope that he gets the appropriate punishment and no one just lets it blow over because domestic abuse is very serious- even if you are famous!!

    Comment by kmmorten — February 17, 2009 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

  7. I think that Chris Brown waited far too long to make a comment. If his PR people were actually “working overtime” wouldn’t they have made a statement by the next morning or afternoon at the latest. Rihanna has had a few people make comments (her parents, her PR people,etc). Chris Brown hasn’t only lost endorsements and appearances–a majority of radio stations across the nation have pulled his songs and won’t play them, which is what artists thrive on. Other artists who are friends of Chris and Rihanna have also had to develop their own way of commenting on the situation. I appreciated T.I.’s response to the situation say that he can’t speak for the two of them and he wishes them the both. It seems like friends of Chris and Rihanna need their own PR team on this as well!

    Comment by lindsaylynch — February 17, 2009 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

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