Joe Jackson-Public Relations Nightmare


Sometimes there are things that we really need to speak about with regard to how we ought to handle things. Often, current events can provide a ready classroom for study and analysis.  Such is the case with what appears to be an unfolding fiasco revolving around the death of singer Michael Jackson.
First, we all realize that Michael took a serious hit on his reputation here in the US in the wake of his molestation trial.  Even though he was acquitted, many questions lingered about him in light of his admission in a TV interview that he shared his bed with young boys at his Neverland ranch and that he viewed this activity as being innocent and “sweet”.  Most observers were repulsed by this and this clearly had an impact on his US record sales while he remained popular abroad.  This was the main reason his comeback tour was slated to be launched in London rather than here in the US.  The US market for a Michael Jackson tour and, to a lesser extent, his music had dramatically declined.   
His unfortunate and tragic death rekindled interest here in the US in his music and promises to make his estate far wealthier than he was in life.  At this point, his estate is poised to generate more wealth than Elvis’ as it rides on a true outpouring of genuine sympathy from the fan base and a swelling interest in all things Michael.
Of course managing all of this requires some degree of savvy and business skill on the part of the family if for nothing else other than to restore the image of Michael and the Jackson family. The recent press interview given by Joe Jackson at the BET awards affair was an absolute horror as far as public relations was concerned. Even if unbridled greed is Joe Jackson’s motivation, it would make far more sense to present a contrite and grieving image as opposed to money grubbing and self promoting one that turns everyone off.   People who are turned off won’t buy records and memorabilia mainly because it might wind up in Joe Jackson’s pocket, particularly if he winds up anywhere near the executor of the estate, which his wife is seeking to be appointed to be.  Moreover, his antics make the entire Jackson family look bad and that may translate to lost dollars for the rest of the family as well.
I don’t know who was advising the Jackson family and it’s possible that they got good advice, but weren’t receptive to it.  Here’s what I’d tell them:

  1. Let Janet Jackson, Randy or one of the other children speak on behalf of the family.  Put a complete muzzle on Joe Jackson and stick him in a corner somewhere where’s he only allowed to come out for a photo shoot.
  2. Tell Jesse and Al to head back to wherever they flew in from.  They have absolutely nothing to add to the situation other than the baggage and controversy they bring. And no guys, you don’t get any more chances for  photo shoots or appearances in the klieg lights with a microphone stuck in your face.  Do not go pass “go” except to go home!
  3. Let your attorney do the talking on legal matters (looks like they’re doing this one now).

That simple outline might go a long way towards undoing the damage wrought by Joe Jackson and shore up the badly tattered Jackson family image.

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