So, remember that time that Beyonce (aka Sasha Fierce) brought a ton of energy and passion to her Super Bowl halftime performance?
You probably do, since the game is the #3 most-viewed TV program ever.
Well, Beyonce’s set was full of motion and action.
Buzzfeed, a website with a college degree in snark, posted The 33 Fiercest Moments from Beyonce’s Halftime Show, featuring the entertainer in a variety of images taken from the mini-concert.
Obviously, as one would expect, the piece had some lovingly-mocking moments, as Beyonce contorted and flexed and grimaced her way through some of her greatest hits.
And then it got fun!
A member of Beyonce’s PR team called and emailed Buzzfeed asking them to take down several of the “unflattering” photos – and even, in her email, cited the ones she found most offensive.
Naturally, Buzzfeed jumped all over this and posted the email request…along with all of the images in question!
Be Careful What You Ask For
In PR, you provide access, information and resources for a reporter trying to tell their own story. It’s one thing to contact the reporter and ask for a factual question when something is blatantly wrong. Even the most skilled and talented reporters miss a fact here and there.
But when you ask that legitimate photos that actually fit the theme of the article (as snarky as it may be) be removed, then you are opening up a world of trouble.
Putting that request in writing creates a paper trail that makes you look desperate to control your image at any cost.
Did Buzzfeed Overreact?
Honestly, I was a bit shocked to see the publicist’s email and company included in the second piece, linked above.
That seems to be slightly over the line, as I’m sure that misguided professional will be hounded by people for the next several days…and will likely never hear the end of it.
The move was definitely mean – they could have printed just the text of the request without implicating a specific person or agency. But it does serve as a learning lesson to all PR professionals – if the publicist is part of the story, you messed up. Big time.