Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

PR Lessons from Charlie Sheen: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted by Hopeton on March 4, 2011

This may be a shameless attempt to get more people to come to my blog, but you have to admit Charlie Sheen has captured the attentions of millions.  Whether I’m listening to a podcast of the Dan Lebatard Show with Stugotz from 790 The Ticket in Miami or watching Pardon the Interruption on ESPN, I can’t escape from discussion about Sheen’s latest antics and pronouncements.  Here are some of his publicity “accomplishments”:

Charlie Sheen

  • 1 million followers on Twitter 1 day after setting up his twitter account, the fastest ever
  • 327,236 “likes” on his facebook page
  • Sheen’s guest appearance on Piers Morgan Live on CNN generated the highest ratings ever for Larry King’s replacement, higher than his interview with Oprah Winfrey
  • ABC’s 20/20 garnered its highest ratings in 2 years with Sheen’s guest appearance

Clearly the public loves train wrecks and I’m not suggesting that you engage in the Dionysian lifestyle of Sheen simply to get publicity.  So what are the lessons you can learn from Sheen’s recent publicity run:

The Good: Ride The Wave of Hot Topics

If there is a lot of media coverage of a topic that can relate to your business then build a marketing and publicity campaign around it as long as the tie between the topic and your business or your belief in it is authentic.  Reporters and news and talk show producers are always looking for people to interview on current topics. Clearly Sheen is the hot topic and has decided to take advantage of it by his whirlwind talk show tour.

The Bad: Self Inflicted Wounds

Charlie Sheen is on the talk show circuit because his show was postponed indefinitely and he wants it to get back on the air.  Of course the show was put on hiatus because of his actions and lifestyle.  He created his problem and now he is trying to fix it. So the lesson for the entrepreneur is protect your image.

The Ugly: Arrogance is Off Putting

The ugly truth is Sheen sounds like an unhinged egomaniac in his interviews.  The lesson for the entrepreneur is modesty is usually preferable to arrogance when promoting your business.


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