| News |

PR advice for the Balloon Boy family

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

With even defense lawyer David Lane acknowledging that charges are likely to be issued soon in the Balloon Boy saga, Richard Heene and the rest of his clan have stopped saying "yes" to every media interview request -- and that's probably for the best given the mistakes the family made before zipping their lips. A blog from SE2, Eric Sondermann's Denver-based PR firm, points out some basic mistakes in the Heenes' first attempts at communicating their message by way of six tips they clearly didn't follow:

1. Credibility matters. If this whole embarrassing debacle was truly not a publicity stunt, don't spend your first 24 hours being interviewed on every possible national news program.

2. Emergency calls first. Then media calls. (9-1-1 before 9News.)

3. Pick the right spokesperson. In 99 percent of cases, this should not be a six year old. They have an unfortunate tendency to tell the truth.

4. Appearances matter. When your parenting skills are under scrutiny, put your puking son to bed... not on the Today show.

5. Practice, practice, practice. The "I'm Sorry I Yelled at Him" moment must appear heartfelt. Reality TV only works when it looks real.

6. Know any vulnerability that might make you appear batshit crazy (i.e. Wife Swap appearances, You Tube videos, 20-foot flying saucer balloon "crafts".)

Yes, appearing batshit crazy is bad, Mr. Heene. Nice haircut, though.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.