Marco Rubio, Poland Spring and the Importance of Interview Prep

No matter who’s in the Oval Office, State of the Union speeches always amount to a mishmash of bland platitudes and vague proposals for legislation that will never come to pass.

But they do address very serious matters, so we’re a little disappointed to report that the most buzzed-about moment of last night’s State of the Union events among pundits and legitimate journalists alike was the awkward water grab/sip in the middle of Sen. Marco Rubio‘s SOTU response speech. Still, this meme gives us a great excuse to bring up the importance of prepping clients for interviews and other live, unedited media appearances where they can’t ask for a re-take.

Of course your research must be thorough and the client’s speech must be flawless. He or she must be prepared to respond to any potential question, no matter how tough it might be (even if the response is a confident “no comment”). Finally, your client must be comfortable! A great, camera-friendly outfit won’t mean much if he or she is visibly nervous or jittery–or if a trusty water bottle is not comfortably within reach.

Seriously, who put the bottle so far away from the senator? Details matter! Now how did everyone deal with this little hiccup?

The Democratic Party saw it as a moment ripe for mockery:

Meh. Can’t say we’re too impressed, especially since Rubio totally gets it:

He didn’t even need to write anything; he was just being a good sport. (Note to PR pros: the media loves this kind of thing! We probably shouldn’t tell you to encourage clients to make light of their own slip-ups, but the whole “not taking yourself too seriously” deal almost always goes over well.)

Last question: why didn’t Poland Spring turn this into an “Oreo moment“? The company seems to have abandoned Twitter altogether, but we’ve got some taglines ready! How about:

  • “Poland Spring: The One You Reach For”
  • “Poland Spring: Curing Dry Mouth Since 1845”

Lame, we know. We’ll do better next time–and so will Marco Rubio.