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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 7:25am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 3:09am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 3:09am

Hits and misses along the PR trail

I don't know why people have nicknamed Leung Chun-ying "the wolf" for his alleged cunning and deviousness, when these are precisely the qualities he doesn't seem to have. Our chief executive is rather the opposite, forever slow on the learning curve in a way that is just embarrassing at times. It's especially painful to watch him lunge from one political mishap to another while his public relations minders seem to be even more clueless than their master.

Take last weekend, when protesters threw eggs at Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah (hit) and Lufsig, the Ikea stuffed-toy wolf, at Leung (missed).

Tsang won kudos in the blogosphere for brushing off the mess, quite literally, and then quipped his doctor had advised him to stay off eggs and other dairy products.

Leung put on a stern face on the advice of a PR official heard within earshot of nearby reporters, and denounced the egg and doll throwers, who were from the League of Social Democrats. Police took their cue and arrested them. Lufsig was taken as evidence. Instantly, the doll, which looks like the wolf in the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, became the best-selling - and now sold-out - item in Ikea stores. One reason for its popularity, besides being an instrument of protest, has to do with Lufsig's Putonghua translation, which sounds a lot like a very rude phrase in Cantonese.

Now even Leung has a Lufsig, to be renamed by Ikea to avoid any more controversy, on his office desk. Having screwed up last time, his PR people have advised him to embrace the doll. Well, if you can't beat them, join them.

Who knows, may be people will stop throwing Lufsig at him. Some blogs and Facebook pages have even praised him for finally showing a sense of humour.

Nice try, but there are always new things that protesters will find to throw at him. If I were a constant target, life could be much worse than being hit by a fluffy little stuffed doll. But here's a question. If Lufsig has been sold out, how did Leung manage to get one so quickly?

Is this another case of government-business collusion, where senior executives at Ikea went out of their way to find a Lufsig for Leung to help reverse his PR disaster after agreeing to change its name?


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This article is now closed to comments

A picture is worth a thousand words. Let us hope this picture marks the day CY Leung changes history. CY is now a politician who must lead.
It will be a big mistake for Ikea otherwise, a socially responsible company to force upon itself with the risk to be accused of colluding with government. I am more than happy to lend my Lufsid out for the photo shoot.
The picture is another big miss.

1. PR rule #1: You don't let yourself be photographed with an object/person bearing a negative association for you. Sense of humour or not (what funny bit am I missing?) - the nickname 'wolf' and the stuffed animal itself are not positive connotations for the Chief Nitwit. From a PR perspective, he should avoid being found in the same frame.

2. The photo is an implicit admission that he is a 'wolf' indeed. And an open invitation to throw more things at him, as Mr Lo has already pointed out. Not a smart move. At all.

3. The rest of the photo is another missed opportunity. Do we see a Chief Nitwit who is busy? Do we see an office of somebody who is working tirelessly for the 'betterment' of Hong Kong? No, he makes an idle impression, apparently having time to play with a stuff toy. Is that computer even operational? I don't see a keyboard. The papers he is holding are apparently related to a report about an Australian scandal involving another (yes) mayor. And the Chief Nitwit is grinning at it (!). At least he could have made an effort to look busy, and be reading something more relevant to Hong Kong's problems.

Conclusion: big, big miss. His PR advisors are amateurs, just like almost all of his administration.

PS. That IKEA wolf toy is only sold out in Hong Kong. There is plenty available right across the border, where CY has plenty of connections as we all know. No need for a conspiracy theory there.
To jve,
Unusual time calls for unusual means for unusual value. Let the convention be convention for convention value. Not all PR should be valued especially when it is seen in the work.


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