Climate Change: Emerging Front in Crisis Comms

Mad Men, the hit AMC series about a 1960s ad agency, evokes a workplace culture where outrageous sexism—behavior which even hinted at today would unleash a firestorm of litigation—is standard operating procedure. In contrasting then and now, the show’s writers invite reflection about our profession and the real world. Public relations crises often occur when what was tolerable “then” suddenly becomes unacceptable “now,” such as the use of corporate jets by the auto industry, or distributing fat bonus checks to investment bankers. The next crisis to blind-side companies in this respect may well concern the environment. This is an issue where public opinion has rapidly evolved and where the outcome is still uncertain.

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