A hairy turn of events: Entrepreneur magazine features my Blagojevich haircut offer PR stunt

Nearly a week after closing arguments in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial, the jury is still out on whether he is bound for the slammer, a reality TV show, or somewhere in between.

But Entrepreneur.com, at least, has weighed in with a verdict on a Blago-inspired PR stunt that Inside Edge PR concocted for a hair salon client, Charo’s Hair Design and Day Spa of Elmwood Park, Ill.

The stunt came on the heels of Blago’s arrest some 20 months ago.

In a piece that appeared online Tuesday, freelance writer Geoff Williams deemed the stunt to be a flop, though he did note some up-side as well. He also covered nine other PR stunts and teased out lessons from each, making it relevant material for anyone in the public relations and marketing fields.

I really don’t mind the “flop” characterization.

As Williams rightly notes, “Blagojevich didn’t take the salon up on the offer; he likely didn’t see much of an upside to accepting. A smattering of local outlets reported on the gimmick, but the stunt went nowhere.”

On the positive side, Williams wrote, “It’s good practice to invent marketing stunts that won’t cost you much if they don’t go anywhere. Baron doesn’t think Charo got a lot of business from the stunt, but she didn’t lose any time or money, either. Try to avoid a marketing stunt that, if it fails, could cost you a lot of time and money that you can’t afford to lose.”

And here in August 2010, the hairy hijinks did get some more national publicity, with links to both the Inside Edge PR website and that of Charo’s Hair Design.

How fortuitous, too, that it comes at a time when Blago is very much on the collective public’s mind. Who knows? Maybe he will still take up Charo on her offer, which is good through January 2011.

If so, you can be sure that I’ll appeal to Entrepreneur.com to alter its “flop” verdict.

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Client Sets Sights–And Shears–On Blago

Public relations can get you into some hairy situations, but in the case of a new Inside Edge PR client, Theresa Charo, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

She has set her sights–and her shears–on former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and it’s triggered an immediate media reaction. More on that momentarily, but first, a recap about Blago:

Perhaps even more than his troubles with federal investigators, he is noted by Americans for his over-healthy crop of hair. For more than two months, his mop-top has been the butt of jokes, digs, jibes and snipes.

Seemingly unfazed and certainly unbowed, Blago has stared down his critics, all the while peering from beneath the thick, dark tresses that conceal his forehead as he declares his innocence.

So it was only a matter of time before someone tapped into widespread public sentiment that the ex-public official could benefit from a haircut–and possibly even a complete Kojak (for youngsters unfamiliar with the term, that’s the 1970s TV series starring bald actor Telly Savalas).

With that in mind, you can read an Inside Edge PR news release about Charo, owner of Charo’s Hair Design & Day Spa in Elmwood Park, Ill. The story, which received more than 1,000 views at TribLocal.com in less than 36 hours this weekend, relates how Charo has extended an offer to cut not only Blagojevich’s hair, but also his wife Patti’s and their two daughters’ hair.

As the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest noted on Friday afternoon, Charo has even pledged to donate $1,000 if Blago agrees to go Bald-o.

C’mon, admit it, you’d kick in a few bucks if it meant seeing his hair scattered on a salon floor, right?

To see Ms. Charo elaborating on her offer, visit a link to the letter she sent Blagojevich on Friday and/or click on the video below:

Political Pundit Proft Offers Unique Blago Blast

Four years ago, toward the end of my stint covering the storied town of Cicero for the Chicago Tribune, I first crossed paths with Dan Proft.

He was the campaign manager who helped engineer Larry Dominick’s upset victory over incumbent Ramiro Gonzalez as town president and since then he has served as the town’s spokesman, among other duties.

In basketball, I’ve come to appreciate Dan’s set-shot abilities from 22 feet and beyond, though he really does need to work on his drive to the hoop.

And in the arena of political commentary, he continually finds a fresh take on things, rife with historical context, pop culture references that span the generations and some well-justified cynicism (after all, in the wake of the Jack Ryan-for-U.S. Senate meltdown five years ago, Proft was stuck with Alan Keyes as the Republican nominee/sacrificial lamb against Barack Obama.)

Today’s Proft commentary, as part of his ongoing observations that air on the Don Wade & Roma Morning Show on WLS Radio AM-890, offered a hilarious take on the imminent departure of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In only a few minutes (see below), Proft weaves in Ted Kennedy driving off a cliff, a swipe at actor Dermot Mulroney, and the phrase “gaggle of middle-aged, man-hating shrews in sensible shoes” into his commentary, “The Circus Won’t Be The Same.”

It is just a matter of days now and yet I still have not reconciled my feelings about Rod Blagojevich’s removal from office.

I feel as I suspect I would if Ted Kennedy drove off a cliff in my brand new car–conflicted.

On the one hand, Blagojevich so richly deserves the fate about to befall him.

On the other hand, every day brings us a new and more entertaining Rod Blagojevich.

One day he is Rod the Poet-Warrior for the people.

The next day he is Rod the Persecuted, the manger boy from the Northwest Side who must endure the false witness of legislative Pharisees in order to provide everlasting free bus rides for seniors.

And the day after that, he is Gal Pal Rod, a simpering eunuch supplicating himself on The View before a gaggle of middle-aged, man-hating shrews in sensible shoes. I wasn’t sure if I was watching the governor of the nation’s fifth largest state or one of those horrifying Dermot Mulroney chick flicks.

But that’s why it is all such great reality television. If you don’t care for Blagojevich’s line of bulljive on a given day, just tune in the following day for a completely new hustle.

Any state can have some boring governor that follows the law, but I ask you, how many get treated to a showman of this caliber?

It is not like Illinois’ other constitutional officers or legislative leaders are interested in robust policy discussions. There will be plenty of time for their tax increases under Governor Pat Quinn.

You see, we are going to get the same bad policies with or without Blagojevich, but when it comes to the political circus he will have left some pretty big clown shoes to fill.

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Blah-Blah Blago Takes His Cue From Drew

Emperor Rod Blagojevich at this very moment, instead of defending himself before the Illinois Legislature as it proceeds with an impeachment hearing, is in the midst of making the national media rounds.

As Rex Huppke so ably noted in a story that appears in the Jan. 26 edition of the Chicago Tribune, Blah Blah Blago’s talk-show tour is much like the path blazed in November 2007 by that other notable Illinois creep, suspected murderer Drew Peterson, about whom I wrote a few months ago.

And though he is the Emperor Without Any Clues, Blah-Blah must surely know that he is simply the Freak Show of the moment, having just begun to tap into his 15 minutes of infamy.

He has even stated that he knows his days as Illinois governor are numbered (“the fix is in,” he self-pities). Left unsaid, but clearly understood, is that he only has so large of a window he can jump through before the media moves on to the next heel.

The Emperor’s PR team, which includes the same shameless publicity crew that is representing the aforementioned Peterson, may well be pleading with the staff of Oprah to let Rod on her show.

Of course, Blah-Blah today divulged what he surely knew would reap headline play across this celeb-obsessed land. While appearing for an interview on Good Morning America, he let slip a slight smile as he told Diane Sawyer that he considered approaching Oprah Winfrey to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

Maybe the Emperor’s supplicants and enablers could propose tying in his Oprah appearance with the talk show titan’s hoped-for weight loss–as in, the state will be shed of Blago’s 180-extremely-odd pounds when he moves from governor to prisoner.

We can only hope that, like Sawyer, other national media types will have the sense to ask Blah-Blah the same tough questions that he’s been ducking by local reporters for years.

Among them:

Do you know how to spell “narcissist”?

With a 13-percent approval rating before the feds charged you in December with, among other misdeeds, plotting to sell Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, did you really think you had a shot at the U.S. Presidency in 2016?

How long have you been quoting Rudyard Kipling poems?

In any event, Blagojevich will eventually have to answer to criminal charges.

As I forecast when he was elected to a second term as governor, even then under a cloud of federal investigation, he very likely faces some significant time behind prison bars. If that comes to pass, he will follow in the shameful footsteps of his gubernatorial predecessor, the chronically corrupt George Ryan.

Can a Drew Peterson bid for governor be far behind?

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Obama Addresses Emperor Blagojevich

Give President-elect Barack Obama credit a few minute ago for knowing how to address the elephant in the room.

At the start of a press conference on the national economy this morning, and mindful that reporters would be quizzing him on the issue, Obama shared some words about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s scandalous efforts to help his own personal economy.

As U.S. District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his staff revealed on Tuesday and as I touched on in yesterday’s Inside Edge PR blog post, Clothes-less Emperor Blagojevich had placed Obama’s recently vacated U.S. Senate seat on the auction block.
“I was as appalled and as disappointed as anybody by the revelations” about Emperor Blagojevich, Obama stated. He stressed that he is “confident no representatives of mine would have any part” of any deals brokered by Emperor Blagojevich, Obama added.

“This Senate seat does not belong to any politician to trade,” Obama intoned. “It belongs to the people of Illinois. They deserve the best possible representation.”