Friday, June 19, 2009

Worthy Award- for June 19

If you have been reading this blog on a regular basis, you'll know I've been ranting about marketing, communications and public relations items that have rubbed me the wrong way. All that negativity does something to a person, to use impersonal language, so I've decided that I want to be positive for a change. Not only that, on a sustained basis.

So today, I'm starting something new - the Worthy Award. There's no real award per se - we're a frugal organization here at the Words' Worth lab - but what I offer is a shout out to organizations and individuals who are exemplifying or engaged in progressive, ethical, commendable or downright amusing PR, Marketing or Communications practices or campaigns.

Today, I'm giving the first Worthy Award to Pixar. Why? Because, and you'll need a hankie for this - the company fulfilled the dying wish of a 10-year-old-girl. It arranged a private DVD showing of its latest film Up for her. Seven hours later, the girl passed away. If that doesn't move you, you either have no pulse or no heart.

I don't know much about Pixar beyond what I see and read in the media, but it has always struck me as a company that is very committed to producing only the highest quality entertainment - entertainment that can be enjoyed by every member of the family. It has also seemed to me to be a company that sees its employees and their families as part of a big Pixar family. One Pixar tradition is to list the names of all the babies born to employees during the production of a particular film in the closing credits.

By responding to a call from a mother wanting to make her daughter's wish come true, Pixar reinforced the positive brand attributes I associate with the company. But here's what impresses me most about Pixar as regards this story: they declined to comment for the news story.

Normally, I'd say no comment is the wrong approach to take. In this context, any comment by Pixar might have come off as a canned self-congratulatory, opportunistic or self-promotional tract. That kind of false modesty where a company really wants to bask in the media spotlight for its own benefit. By design or inadvertently, Pixar let the family tell its tragic, yet touching, story without hijacking it.

Sure, the company may not have wanted to encourage more such incidents - it couldn't fulfill every such request - but I like to think it realized that this was not the time or place to solicit attention for a good deed. Besides, anything the company could have said would not have had the impact or appeal as the family describing just what that one act of kindness meant for a little girl. You couldn't ask, pay, or create a better endorsement.

So, let me wipe that pesky tear from my eye and say that, Pixar, you are truly Words' Worthy.

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