By Ayo Alaba Ido
After the raging hullabaloo over TeeBillz’s bombshell, the superstar-brand-ambassador expectedly felt it was necessary to clear her part and protect her career in what could have been a major doom. It would be believed that she consulted her PR team for ‘professional’ advice on the best way to manage the looming crisis, and guess the ‘presumably brilliant piece’ they all came up with… a seemingly ‘staged’ video where she supposedly granted an interview with what was to be believed by fans and stakeholders as some off-the-cuff candor.
The interview was meant to be seen as being purely unprecedented with credit of hard-work given to the interviewer’s platform. Perhaps, many took it just as that… Whatever was said in the interview wouldn’t be so much of my concern, but taking the PR profession for granted and insulting the innocence of people and essence of the PR practice is what I might not be able to stomach in this situation.
Tiwa is no doubt a big brand in Africa’s entertainment scene, and whatever professional display done by her or her team may instantly become a model for others to follow. The video (or interview) was not just an error; it was a huge professional blunder capable of garnering adverse ripple effect that may be largely counter-productive for her career, and quite misleading for upcoming stars and PR professionals. Below are 5 blunders in the video.
Granting a Camera-Light-Action interview in a space of 24 hours
Since when did we start granting a controlled video interview to ‘immediately’ respond to snowballing crisis in the entertainment scene in Nigeria? In this part of the world, everything under camera, light, and action is believed to be staged and obviously pre-arranged. I’m sure this is one of the reasons Charles Novia earlier called Tiwa a Beyonce-clone. Perhaps, Tiwa and her team failed to realize that it wouldn’t be easy to completely be a Beyonce clone in the Nigerian environment. Her PR team should have known better to simply set up a single camera video with a head-on shot somewhere in the corner of her room or her living room and give possible impression of staged drama a very wide berth. This is if at all a video is found necessary (oh! I understand her team really wanted to show the Nollywood sober mood in her costume with the repentant scarfing, and the largely exaggerated teary part with an obviously poor art director. If not, why a video?).
What!!! A 44-minute long video? (The shorter the merrier, my dear)
If her PR team were qualified professionals, they should have known that too much talk was one of the biggest threats to crisis communication. In fact, I would have wondered why even a 5-minute long video if at all it must be a video! In a sane country with a sane system, her too much talk in the bid to further exonerate herself and make TeeBillz the bad guy has landed her career in a massive doom. To bring back TeeBillz’s drinking habit and the alleged cocaine use is a ground of mere unreasonableness. Are brands and fans meant to congratulate ‘you’ for condoning, conniving and colluding with a partner who had been on the illegal side of the law for many years? Not to even say that connivance and collusion is a crime on the part of the law within marital issues. Yes, TeeBillz was unreasonable and also guilty for bringing back Tiwa’s alleged affairs with the three music stars since the law suggests that once you had condoned the action, it should not form basis for any further allegation. But, what Tiwa’s PR team failed to realize was that TeeBillz wasn’t a brand ambassador. Now, our supposed brand ambassador is also known as someone who condoned, connived and colluded with an alleged cocaine addict. What a shame! Hopefully, TeeBillz will not charge her for maligning his character, and then a part of the career and emotional distraction begins. Hopefully again, she is still a responsible brand ambassador after covering one of the world’s biggest criminal acts. What an insensitive charlatans called professional PR team.
The Nollywood Costume Stunt
If her PR team must create a Camera-Light-Action scene, why take away the Tiwa brand since we already know that the interview is a controlled one. The beginning of the failure of the video was the Nollywood’s repentant-born-again-Christian style. My conclusion was that the PR team had more of Nollywood movies than the real essence of PR practice.
The Artistic Tears
If anyone wonders again why such long video, this part should be an obvious answer. Hey, if there was no such display of tears, how would the PR team succeed at bouncing the Tiwa brand back to dominate and have a controlling influence on people’s emotions? There was urgent need to create sympathy and leverage it to survive the lingering storm. But the tears rather came like they had been pre-planned, and there was either a written or unwritten script that suggested that “this must be done at so so line… we need you to break the tears; it’s the high point of the video.” Tiwa didn’t really need to break the tears, and if she must, silent tears would have been more penetrating than the loud and seemingly staged ones.
The Disappointing Interviewer
If there must be a great staged play, the actors must be carefully selected! Kunle Afolayan is a great man to consult here… I wonder how the interviewer (Treating her as just an interviewer here) planned to substantiate the veracity of the video with her tacky and completely unprofessional display. She clearly showed how pre-ratified the interview questions were with her conservative and carefully selected conduct. It was really my first time of seeing such supposedly high profile interview with little or nothing coming from the interviewer; all her questions were clearly ratified and her spontaneity was complete zero… No expressions, no reactions, no further queries, nothing! That was very poor, my dear!!
While there could be more to say, I have decided to, as much as practicable, avoid talking about the family and whatever they could be pooling through; my concern is more about the increasing abuse of the practice of Public Relations that is even more rampant in the entertainment industry. I hope Tiwa’s supposed video rejoinder will not snowball into even bigger crisis for herself, her family and her career.
What a PR-damage-control stunt; probably the biggest PR goof of the decade.
Ayo Alaba Idowu