In the movie “Wanderlust,” a TV reporter is covering a groundbreaking. Alan Alda’s character, speaking through a bullhorn, asks her to stay to report the real story of a land dispute. She declines, citing time constraints.
Jennifer Aniston’s character asks the reporter, “You want a news story?” and then takes off her top. The reporter returns to cover the story. Other men and women also start taking off their shirts. Aniston’s character and her friends later watch the news, smiling in pride at the coverage they generated.
Would going topless really grab an otherwise uninterested media? Absolutely. TV newsrooms like few things better than to blur out something. I even recall an example of a newsroom obscuring out something that, in my opinion, did not need blurring, making the content more interesting and mysterious.
But going topless brings risks and questions:
- How would taking off shirts affect your brand? Would going topless to obtain news coverage be worth breaking with a brand which otherwise promotes people wearing clothing?
- Would your spokespeople be able to speak smoothly to the media and keep on key messages without wearing a top?
- Would your representatives speak passionately or allow the adrenaline rush to drastically change their tones?
- How would a business ensure the stunt did not backfire? It’s one thing for glamous Hollywood actors to pretend to protest in the nude. Would you be ready to see real life co-workers take on this task?
- Would the company itelf take its own photos to post on social media?
- How about citizen journalists covering the event who decide to post video without blurring it?
- And how would a business handle employee communications, ensuring everyone understands the strategy and can come forward with concerns?
The movies can inspire us and reflect reality more than we wish to acknowledge. But before trying topless, consider how the concept fits into the overall communications plan. Most likely, the end will bring more than simply rolling credits.