PR Lessons From Robin Thicke’s Swift Fall from the Top

Weren't we happily humming "Blurred Lines" not too long ago?

At one time, Robin Thicke was riding a tidal wave of success. “Blurred Lines” was everywhere. He was performing on all the awards stages. It was Robin Thicke wherever you turned.  Then he broke up with Paula Patton and tried to get her back with a record,”Paula,” that he wrote on his own in three weeks. It belly flopped onto the charts, selling a fraction of what his previous album sold in the US and only 530 copies its first week in the UK.

First off, the album has some weird lyrics, so yeah, maybe he shouldn’t be allowed to put pen to paper without consulting with Pharrell first. But his problems run deeper than that and point to some basic PR mistakes.

Billboard points out the big ones. First there was some leftover anger over the lyrics to his most famous tune, which Thicke already had to defend on a few occasions. Then there was his performance with Miley Cyrus whilst wearing the Beetlejuice suit. And then all of this was followed by the now-infamous pic of him pulling a butt grab with a blonde at an after party. Shortly after, Paula was out.

All of it is tacky and questionable. But he refused to go away. So then we had the “Paula” album and his #AskThicke Twitter chat with VH1, that spawned questions such as: “How many naked women did it take before you stopped seeing them as people & instead saw them as YouTube hits? ” Yikes.

“If an artist is going through a difficult time, that’s not the moment to make yourself available for more difficulty,” publicist Diana Baron told Billboard. She reps popular acts like Avicii. Thicke’s personal life was falling apart and he decided to take it public and invited more scrutiny, criticism and controversy.  The world loves a good romance, but that’s not what this was, no matter how many times Thicke crooned about his love for Paula. In fact, the whole “I’m gonna get her back” thing seemed more like a stunt to steal our hearts since Paula never responded and seemed to show no interest in his advances.

Baron suggests he stay quiet for a bit. Good advice. But he should also actively use this time out of the spotlight to get his personal life sorted and make an album worth listening to with a proper campaign to promote it. Most things that Thicke has done since “Blurred Lines” became a super hit has been a miss. It’s almost as though he wasn’t prepared to be famous after so many years of operating without quite as much attention. He needs professionals around him to guide him out of this mess.