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The benefits of “Apology Tours”

May 28, 2010

What do Chris Brown, Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson, and Jesse James all have in common?  They’ve all had the opportunity to experience what’s now known as the “apology tour.”

Seems this is a new trend. Celebrity or otherwise famous person gets caught doing wrong. They not only admit to the wrongdoing, but then they launch a whole PR/Press campaign going ’round and telling their adoring public how sorry they were.

I dunno…this smacks more of another press opportunity and attempt at gaining visibility than a genuine effort to take responsibility and make up for one’s mistakes? After you’ve read the same speech (or variation thereof) carefully prepared by your PR machine for the 10th, 15th or 50th time, how personal and real does it seem?

I would like to believe that the remorse and need to take responsibility for one’s wrongdoings is authentic.  But it’s interesting to analyze what occurs as a result of these mega-media opps.  If you consider that celebrities are rated on an “appeal factor,” and watch what happens to this factor when the celeb blows it, you can see why an apology tour is so…appealing.

Tiger’s numbers plummeted 30 points when the parade of mistresses began.  When he provided his now-famous “falling on his sword” interview at Sawgrass, the free-fall of his appeal factor slowed. Interesting, it hasn’t recovered since then, but at least the hemorraghing was halted.

Chris Brown had a similar experience — there hasn’t been much bounceback after his public apology.  Jesse James?  Too soon to tell, but he wasn’t a hugely popular “positive” figure to begin with.

All this analysis of appeal factors and the impact of public apologies does lend more credibility to the idea that it’s more about “ratings” than it is about truly being sorry. It would seem to me that if you were truly sorry, you could express that from the bottom of your heart, rather than need an over-scripted speech. Now, I’m not saying they AREN’T sorry, but communicating that in a personal, heartfelt waywould go much farther to restoring the public’s faith in the celebrity than the glossiest press opp.

Instead of another fancy public outing, perhaps next time the celeb’s can save themselves a lot of cash and stress and do what most of us do: keep our personal business to ourselves, make our apologies to those we have wronged, and do what we can to make it up to them.

After all, actions speak much louder than words.

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