Wednesday, June 29

Swimming with the Sharks

How do you fend off a shark attack?

Forget hitting it on the nose... apparently, you spin it to death.

An article in the Tallahassee Democrat features a swarm of tourism officials trying to undo the damage of shark attack headlines.

Here's a summary of what they have to say:
"We'll be beefing up (beach) patrols because we've got this big festival coming up," -- Paula Pickett, Gulf County Director of Tourism.
That's reassuring.
"We've got a strong volunteer fire department and beach and rescue (members) with jet skis and boats." -- Pickett
At least I won't bleed for very long.
"Instead of looking for kids misbehaving, we'll have an extra eye of caution in case of additional shark attacks." -- Pickett
You're more likely to drown, or get caught in an undertow.
"You're going to see sharks, but we were looking for swarms of shark," -- Gulf County Sheriff Dalton Upchurch, commenting on an aerial view.
How many does it take to bite me, exactly...?

"It's so rare for something like this to happen. I don't think it's going to hurt (business) at all." -- Lizzette Dearinger, property manager.
No siree... (whistling past the graveyard)
"I think what it will do is help raise awareness that, when swimming in the ocean, you need to be cautious," -- Vanessa Welter, PR director for Visit Florida.
You don't have anything to worry about, except far all the things responsible people ought to worry about.
"It's not a public swimming pool. It's an environment with large animals." -- Welter
Stay home, or go to the "Y", you pansies.
"They are very rare in the state of Florida," -- Pat Smith, corporate communications director for Visit Florida
In Florida, your chances of becoming shark-bait are very low...
"We basically want to remind people to take safety precautions, but Florida remains a safe and secure destination." -- Smith
...but out in the ocean, you need to be careful.

See how ridiculous things can get after awhile? Pat answers and reassurances don't soothe any nerves when they are in conflict with each other. All of these spokespeople have similar goals, but their messaging doesn't reflect that. I'll say this... your reputation is at a much greater risk of being damaged by mixed signals than by a Great White.


At 7/08/2005 11:38:00 PM, Anonymous Eric Eggertson said...

It all reminds me of Toronto worrying about tourism while they had a health crisis to deal with during the SARS outbreak. Just as they got their messages all lined up, the World Health Organization announced it didn't recommend travel to that city. Hmmmm. It's hard to generate tourism traffic under that kind of advisory...


Your two cents...

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