"Les Nessman" with my infant son James and me (1990)

[Updated from a similar post in June 2010.]

As we start wrapping up our spring semester in Public Relations Applications class, it’s time to end the semester in my traditional way: by watching a classic episode of the classic late ’70s / early ’80s TV show “WKRP in Cincinnati” :: “Turkeys Away.”

According to the Internet Movie Database:

“[Station manager] Mr. Carlson is beginning to feel useless at the new formatted rock station so he decides to create a big Thanksgiving Day promotion. His idea? Get a helicopter, with a banner attached to it saying “Happy Thanksgiving From WKRP…” Then, based on a botched promotion from a radio station in Arkansas, live turkeys are dropped from a helicopter. Chaos ensues.”

Take 20 or so minutes to watch the episode below, keeping in mind what you’ve learned in COMM 2322 during the semester.

So what can public relations students learn about how NOT to do a promotion from Mr. Carlson’s fiasco? I’ll get the list started:

  1. Communicate with your entire team before launching a promotional campaign (or a turkey).
  2. Do your research! It’s best to learn ahead of time that turkeys don’t fly.
  3. Get permission before doing a stunt.

What would you add to this list? Add your thoughts in the comments below.


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