What #askthicke taught us about how NOT to do PR


Now that the dust has settled the rest of the world can learn a lot from the hilariously disastrous #askthicke twitter campaign. Robin Thicke is back teaching us things again! First it was how not treat women with the “hit” blurred lines. Now Thicke and VH1 show us exactly how to NOT run a PR campaign.

Imagine you have a pitbull, and you’re a terrible person. You treat the dog poorly, abuse it, and train it to be aggressive. Then the dog bites you and you are SHOCKED that this happened. This is essentially how the #askthicke campaign went down. Whoever at VH1 thought this was a good idea either: A) had no idea who they were dealing with or B) had no idea how the internet works. The internet is a mean beast and if you kick it and then stick your hand out, don’t be surprised when it bites you. I think this is how they expected it to go. “#askthicke what is your favourite colour” “#askthicke when are you going on tour” “#askthicke omg will you marry me??”.

See the gallery to see how it really went:

Things we can learn about PR on Social Media from this

1) Know who you are working for! If you are working for someone who is loved by the masses than engaging with your audience is a given. They will be saying great thinks because they like who they are saying them to. This just further establishes that your client is a good person. People who did not know this before will certainly know now. If your client is not revered by the general public (ie. Robin Thicke) do not engage with the public in a way that they can respond as they so choose. Guess what? If people don’t like your client, they won’t be saying good things about your client. Much like a likable client, people who didn’t know your client before will be influenced by what the public is saying. So rule of thumb: If the public doesn’t like your client, don’t give the public a median to show this dislike.

2) Know your audience! When it comes to PR it helps to know who you’re sending campaigns out to. Had the #askthicke campaign been focused on frat boys for example, it probably would have done significantly better. Instead the campaign went out to the general public and spread like wildfire. When it comes to the typical frat boys 9 out of 10 probably think Thicke is awesome, but when it comes to the general public only about 1 out of 10000 think Thicke is great. Therefore expecting a positive response from a group that hates your client isn’t likely.

3) Be wary of the internet! The internet does not forget and the internet does not forgive. Ask me anythings or AMAs are a great way to engage with fans and help build up personal brands. However, if you are famous and have a skeleton in your closet than people will use this against you when given the opportunity. Numerous AMAs have went from casual to disastrous in seconds when an ‘asker’ outs the host for something in the past, exposing it to a large audience.  Therefore, if you have something to hide don’t stick your hand in the cage with the beast that is the internet.

With what Robin Thicke lacks in morals and character he makes up for in valuable lessons on how not to do things. It is one thing to learn how to do something right but it is equally important to learn how not to do it horribly wrong.


Thanks for reading,




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