What Would Bill Do? Media Coach Bill McGowan Takes on the Week’s News

In this week’s edition of our regular column by Clarity Media Group founder and media coach Bill McGowan, Bill addresses public speaking shortcomings at the Golden Globes, Hannah Storm’s makeup flub, and Play-Doh’s phallic disaster.

Pic via Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Cue the Music — Get the Hook

When you analyze and critique people’s public speaking for a living, award shows, like Sunday’s Golden Globes, are the all-you-can-eat buffet table of oratory. It always amazes me how professionals who need good memorization skills often pull out a crumpled piece of typing paper to read their acceptance speeches (yes, you Patricia Arquette.)

Every nominee who is incapable of memorizing 45 seconds of content should have their agent send them a stack of index cards two weeks before the big night. And please don’t get up there and claim you’re totally unprepared (Amy Adams) because we know that can’t possibly be true if you’re an A-lister. False modesty is oh-so-yucky. The winner who put on a clinic for great award speeches was Maggie Gyllenhaal: Sincere, thoughtful and articulate. Clooney’s speech, in which he professed his love for his wife, wins the “hopeless romantic award” (he nailed it) and Owen Wilson wins the John Travolta “pronunciation mangling award” for messing up on a word we know that every celebrity knows: “concierge.”

Storm Packs a Punch

If you subscribe to the notion that you can tell a lot about on air talent by the way they treat their support staff, then Hannah Storm’s Q rating got rained on this week.

A make-up artist, bearing a poorly timed lip gloss touch-up, got a Ray Rice-caliber stiff arm when Storm realized the primping was about to be caught on camera.  Sure, you never want a mistake like that to occur on air, but did it really require a shove that, had it happened on the field, any NFL referee would have thrown a penalty flag for illegal hands to the face?

Viewers have been tracking Storm on social media lately for the raw emotion she’s been flashing on-air, crying over both her essay on “what do I tell my daughter about the Ray Rice debacle” and the announcement of Stuart Scott’s death.  In this blooper, however, viewers got a glimpse of how those emotions can change direction quicker than Dez Bryant in the open field: one second it’s a WTF glare at a make-up woman, the next she’s looking sweeter than a real estate agent at an open house.

Lesson? Even during a video clip, always behave as if the viewer can see you.

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

An iconic toy manufacturer, in its quest to build a wholesome brand image, has encountered some dysfunction in the erecting process.  Play Doh execs are undoubtedly in crisis comms mode after angry parents objected to the resemblance the new Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain icing applicator bears to… well… I’m sure the connection won’t be lost on you:

Looks more like contraband smuggled into the Litchfield Correctional Facility on Orange is the New Black.

Parental anger spilled over onto Play-Doh’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, where social media managers couldn’t erase the hostile posts fast enough. (That didn’t go over so well on social either.)

Play-Doh eventually offered to replace the offending piece for customers, but it’s hard to believe that throughout the entire design and development process, that no one raised a red flag over this one.