The unintentionally public tazering at The University of Florida rippled around the world in a YouTube instant. It’s an interesting incident for PR folks.
First, I saw at least four versions. This reinforces the fact that at any given public event there will be many cameras. If something happens on your campus at an event, you will be almost guaranteed YouTube coverage whether you want it or not.
Second, this incident was the perfect storm for publicity. First you have a former presidential candidate speaking. You have an excitable student, Andrew Meyer, asking provocative but rambling questions. You have police confrontation and struggle and finally you have a really memorable plea, “Don’t Taze Me Bro,” interspersed by screams as they tazer him.
Third, it is great drama.
It created a massive surge of communication on the Web, generating, at last count, more than 360 videos on YouTube, ranging from rambling eye-witness accounts mixed with opinions, (he was a douche. . .it was really gay of the police to grab him. . . ) to humorous takeoffs and video mixes.
I also noticed a blogger complaining that he went to register Don’t Taze Me Bro and it was already taken. And then I found the guy who did successfully register it and now has a full line of Don’t Taze Me Bro merchandise. (I hate to link and thereby support the guy, but this in the interest of studying all angles). So when you have a situation like you get:
-people ready to comment on it on video and in blogs;
-people ready to stir it up even further to bolster their own agenda;
-people ready to satirize it; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDTkTAo_l2g&mode=related&search=
-experts ready to analyze it;
-entrepreneurs ready to monetize it.
If it happens to you, are you ready?