Food Network personality Sandra Lee is trying to balance out public appearances for her various endorsement deals, while avoiding — or downplaying — talk about her boyfriend, New York Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo.
The New York Times attended one of Lee’s events for her gig as a Starkist Tuna spokesperson, and not surprisingly, the PR team did their best to deny interviews from the media altogether, and when they did allow them, reporters were instructed to ask about tuna, not politics.
A food blog was given the “exclusive” on the tuna news. It represents a longtime, but evolving strategy in PR: give the exclusives to those who will treat you best.
In this case, the Foodinasta NYC blog wrote in their post, “To say that my day was exciting would be an understatement, as I can’t express in words how incredible it was.”
Who wouldn’t take that over some probing questions from a Times reporter? Of course, trying to tell reporters what they can and can’t ask is a fruitless effort. The Times story that was published focuses mostly on how they were denied an interview, and mentions all of the PR handling around Ms. Lee.
As one agency CEO quipped to PRNewser, the move by Starkist PR “defies logic.”
“Why hire a PR firm for a media personality to have a media event but then shut out the media?” the CEO asked.