How should the Saints have managed #dickileaks?
A few people have responded to my earlier post about St Kilda’s wildly misguided PR strategy by asking me what I would have done instead to try and manage the Dickileaks fallout. A fair question. So here goes — but, being Christmas Eve, I will keep it brief.
If the players are telling the truth and the pictures were stolen off Gilbert’s hard-drive and came from Miami holiday snaps, I would have recommended the following strategy:
Given the viral nature of the photos, I would have accepted they are out there and anyone who wants to see them will see them. My approach would have been to minimise the number of people who go out of their way to see them in the first place.
By depriving the story of oxygen where possible.
- Issue one clearly worded statement of regret and embarrassment, issuing a warning to young people about Internet privacy and doing things online that you’ll later regret.
- Allow one tightly-controlled 30-minute media conference with Riewoldt to read a version of the statement, and take a handful of questions. (This would have depended on Riewoldt’s state of mind and readiness to face such a grilling at the time).
- Send implicated players on holiday to face the scorn and of their families and friends.
- Allocate a club spokesperson (internal or external, depending on suitability) to manage ongoing media queries.
- Never once mention the girl.
- Defer any legal consideration “until the New Year”
This wouldn’t have killed the story, of course; nor would it spare the club considerable embarrassment. But this would have had a good chance of containing it to 2-3 news cycles, as opposed to this week-long saga which has now descended to the point where journalists have resorted to quoting dial-a-shrink, Michael Carr-Gregg.
The Ross Levin strategy of escalating the scandal into a full-blown conflict between civil society and a solitary, misguided teenage girl is not only cruel and unusual, it is exceedingly stupid.