Macy’s and Broadway get out ahead of controversy in healthy ways


My hiatus the last few weeks — due to vacation, some inner roilings and Thanksgiving week — did not take place, alas, due to lack of crises worth noting.

The best event in crisis management in recent days came out of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In case you were hunting a turkey or peeling potatoes, it evolved around a current Tony Award-winning Broadway hit. Featuring the star power of Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots  is a musical tale of collaboration and tolerance.

As HuffPost reported, however:

Despite the show’s wholesome themes of cooperation, tolerance and friendship, Twitter and Facebook quickly lit up with Americans decrying the performance of the musical’s flashy finale “Raise You Up/Just Be” as unwholesome and unfit for the holiday parade broadcast.

You may judge that for yourself through the video link above, but what’s worth noting here is the reaction of the show’s cast and Macy’s.

The cast, flashing signature thigh-high red patent leather boots, shopped at Macy’s on Black Friday, putting themselves out there for all to see.

As Fierstein commented to The New York Post’s Page Six:

“You have to start a dialogue. And you can’t have a dialogue unless someone says something first. It takes actual work to open up [people’s] minds.”

Macy’s, for it’s part, also jumped in proactively and effectively, issuing the following statement:

“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has always spotlighted the best of Broadway since the ’60′s, and this year is no exception … As 2013′s Tony award-winning best musical, ‘Kinky Boots’ is not only a hit with Broadway fans, but Black Friday shoppers… Please have them call us and we’ll set them up with our personal shoppers.”

Smart, effective and proactive. Surely some social media angst did not rise to the level of a crisis. But the cast and Macy’s made sure it stayed that way.

The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.

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About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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