By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
“I apologize to anyone offended, including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL.” Yes, that quote is from Janet Jackson, the Superbowl flasher two days after her controversial halftime show.
According to RollingStone.com’s Feb. 3 story, “Though much of the coverage of the halftime flash has focused on angry reactions, TiVo, creator of digital video recorders for television, claimed that the partial strip was met with some viewer enthusiasm.” (Surprise, surprise.) The story continues, “According to the company, the stunt prompted the largest spike in replays that the service has ever measured.”
On Feb. 11, the same publication reported that Janet Jackson, “…released a new single, ‘Just a Little While,’ on February 2nd, the day after the Super Bowl. More than 120 radio stations immediately picked it up. The same day, there were more Web searches for ‘Janet Jackson’ than anything else on a single day in Internet history…”
That was the upside. The downside was that the FCC reported receiving more than 200,000 complaints and according to RollingStone.com on Feb. 11, “The irony is that pop stars often don’t profit from publicity stunts. Recent round-the-clock coverage of Britney Spears’ Las Vegas wedding didn’t make a blockbuster of her latest album, In the Zone. Madonna’s smooch with Spears at last summer’s MTV Video Music Awards failed to make a hit out of American Life; the album didn’t crack SoundScan’s top-200-selling albums a week after the incident…’Expectations for Jackson’s album have been high,’ says Dave Alder, senior vice president of product and marketing for the Virgin Megastore chain. He adds that Jackson’s exposure could backfire if it’s seen as ‘an attempt to compensate for lack of quality. But at the end of the day,’ he says, ‘it’s the quality of the record that’s going to matter.’
Here, here. Once and for all, let’s quash the adage, “All publicity is good publicity.” If you are ever desperate for public exposure (no pun intended) and it occurs to you to do something a little “bad” in order to get big publicity instead of good publicity, think again. Whether Janet Jackson’s record sales boom because of her flash is yet to be seen, but our rule of thumb is always “quality over hype” and from that, good publicity will come.