All this weighty “wherefore, whither and whence PR?” analysis has been getting me down over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to continue in this vein because another issue – with serious ramifications for the conduct of the entire industry – has now arisen.
I refer, of course, to the Farting Shatner incident.
My friend Akin is a clinically diagnosed supergeek and a certifiable Trekkie.
In a state of near dementia, he contacted me with the news an upcoming Star Trek video release features an interview with William Shatner, during the course of which there is the clear sound of someone breaking wind.
Shatner vehemently denies he was the culprit. He says it was Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy says it was the sound man. The sound man says it was a passing truck.
This story was disseminated in silent-but-deadly viral form, via e-mail.
Trekkies also tend to be techies and both these lifeforms have an anal obsession with detail.
The idea an interview with a TV icon may be corrupted by inadvertent flatulence presents infinite possibilities for sonic anlaysis, debate, decoding and discussion.
And the fact this tale has bum, fart, poo, bottom, rude bits, naughty connotations makes it a sure-fire, pass-it-on sensation, which neatly communicates news of the video release to every enthusiastic Trekkie and Clingon this side of the final frontier.
The ridiculous story even found its way into the supermarket tabloids in the US (“Shatner denies trumped up allegation: it’s all guff”).
Word of web was enough to make it happen.
The source of the story was the video company’s publicist, who applied a nifty bit of creativity to one of the most intractable problems in entertainment PR.
Getting coverage for a video release is well nigh impossible because the stars have already done the circuit and everything’s already been said.
Nicole Kidman will hardly put up with the indignity of Frank Skinner’s company just to plug the fact Moulin Rouge is now available to buy in a box.
When there are celebrity angles, inspired invention takes over and, in this case, whoever generated the story hit all the right buttons.
Incidentally, when you meet a geek, how can you tell whether he’s an extrovert?
Simple. An extrovert geek looks at your shoes.
Other stunts this week that may be worthy of investigation include the Windsor meets Windsor/Queen at Queen Vic/Cilla looking silly saga, which is hardly worth unravelling except to say that everyone lost out.
When it comes to a good story, geeks and botty burps beat Babs in a basque hands down.