When A Statement Is Not a Statement?


This week looks like it is going to be PR week. We have absolutely no qualifications to talk about public relations other than our daily interactions with a wide variety of PR people in the sailing world. Some are good, some are bad, some ‘get’ new-media, some want to and some still use a device called a fax! Some are open and chatty and some live in terror of saying the wrong thing.  While some are extensions of the brands and organisations they represent, others are experts in the manipulation of public perception about a brand.

To kick things off, here is an example of a statement …

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the world governing body of the sport, and the Societe Nautique de Geneve (SNG), the trustee and holder of the America’s Cup, are pleased to announce that the 33rd America’s Cup Match will be conducted under the Deed of Gift provisions, the SNG rules, the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing and ISAF Regulations as required by the Deed of Gift.

Any changes to the ISAF Rules and Regulations not already covered by provisions within the ISAF Rules and Regulations will require sanction from ISAF.

The Principal Race Officer, International Jury members and International Umpires (if Appendix C is used), will be suitably qualified personnel and will be independently appointed by ISAF. The process of which has already begun.

Sir Humphrey Appleby is alive and well and teaching a class in PR it seems – here’s some lecture notes from his PR 101 class –

Any statement can represent one of six different levels of reality:

  1. What happened.
  2. What the writer believed happened.
  3. What the writer would have liked to have happened.
  4. What the writer wants to believe happened.
  5. What the writer wants other people to believe happened.
  6. What the writer wants other people to believe he believed happened.”

In this case, we think that one of Sir Humphrey”s other mantras should have been employed:

“As long as there is anything to be gained by saying nothing, it is always better to say nothing than anything.”