Clip Critique: ‘You Can’t Use That’ Oh, Yes, He Can

Jerry Doyle, principal of CommCore Consulting, deconstructs the PR elements of a video interview with the CEO. It's not pretty.


In our second edition of Clip Critique, we see the CEO of RIM Inc., Mike Lazaridis, telling a BBC reporter what he can and cannot ask. He goes on to explain that the issue the reporter raised is not an issue at all, but then explains that he will not answer because it involves a national security issue. So, which is it? There are actually some seemingly valid and reasonable messages spoken during the course of this short interview, but they will surely be lost under the presumption that RIM is not managing its issue well and the company’s CEO doesn’t want to admit it.

 And finally, when he doesn’t get his way, Lazaridis ends the interview and tells the reporter he “can’t use” this video. Whining and telling a reporter his job is a no-win situation. This strategy—if you can call it that— seldom works, particularly on video.

  • The Result: Lazaridis has communicated mistrust and suspicion that RIM is not able or willing to manage complex issues and guarantee their customers’ uninterrupted service.
  • The Lesson: Remember that every issue is “on the table” and you cannot call foul and expect the reporter to obey.  There are credible ways to explain when there are details you cannot divulge.  Then communicate action and bridge to a message.

Telling a reporter he can’t use video only encourages him to do so. Views on YouTube are now clocked in at 22,000, and counting. But viewers may be checking out the video for all the wrong reasons.

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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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