Michigan Governor Hires PR Firm to Help Flint Water Crisis (Finally)

Already leading for biggest #PRFail of 2016.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been under a #PRFail cloud that makes Winter Storm Jonas look  like a cottony, billowy cloud of nothing.

The water has more lead in it than the lead in the behinds of Congress. And it’s been that way, with toxic water leaking into the City of Flint, Michigan’s supply from rusted pipes and fixtures, since April of 2014.

The entire state wants Snyder to resign because public health and a desire to wash, bathe, and drink is a thing. But, since he won’t, he figures he has to do something about this brown-water ballyhoo.

And so, he did what most people do when it’s too late –he hired a notable crisis communications and public affairs firm. Enter into the very icky and baneful fray, Mercury Public Affairs.


“Due to the intense media demand and severity of this issue, we are assisting the Governor’s team so that they are able to dedicate their focus and resources to helping the people of Flint,” Mercury said in an email.

ICYMI: That’s spin for “The governor called us freaking the hell out so we are playing catch up to help him save his gig.”

Also, the spark may have been when the Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator responsible for the area that includes Flint lost her job. When the walls seem to cave in, one tends to consider different options.

However, two things that stand out to most PR professionals about this hire:

1. Mercury Public Affairs has 19 offices (17 in the states, 2 internationally) and not one in Michigan. The state is already shopping for bottled water out of state. Now, PR.

2. What is it with the deluge of minerals here? Lead (in the water) and Mercury (on the ground). Just a little iron-y there. Okay, should have stopped with one.


IMAGE: Mercury Public Affairs via Canal Branding