Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Goldman Loses It's Mind: Blankfein on Oprah?

The PR department at Goldman Sachs is apparently still reading EPJ.

After I wrote that instead of directly allowing Lloyd Blankfein to talk to the media that Goldman  should leak Blankfein voicemails to employees as a way of getting his message out. Tah da, we had Lloyd's voicemail messages to employees leaked.

And yes, I did advise that Goldman go to non-financial venues to tell their story, and they seem to be following this advice, since NyPo is out with a story that Goldman was considering putting Blankfein on Oprah.

But these guys are really, really tone deaf if they were considering Oprah as their non-financial outlet.

NyPo reports:
Beset by civil fraud charges, a criminal investigation, a sagging stock price and a severely tarnished image, Wall Street's most profitable firm has weighed putting its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, on the famed talker's couch in an attempt to humanize the company and buff its image.

The out-of-left-field idea -- which was considered months ago but now deemed unlikely -- would have been part of the 141-year-old partnership's first-ever mass advertising campaign.

"There are [Goldman executives] who think we should go on 'Oprah,'" Goldman Sachs European media chief Fiona Laffan told a meeting of communications industry professionals in London. "I'm not one of them."
Oprah would eat Blankfein alive. This is not what I had in mind when I was thinking non-financial.

In fact, the more I think about it, Blankfein is such a klutz when handling the media, the only safe place to put him might be on ESPN if he is, say, a baseball fan, or basketball or football. This would make sense. Get the beer drinking couch potato type to view Blankfein as a regular guy.

As for a new advertising campaign they are attempting to launch, what they should do is riff off the ad they put on the backpage of Politico every day. The ad is there to influence D.C. politicians (and maybe Politico, itself, though, ahem, I'm sure it was totally coincidental that when they did leak one of Blankfein's voicemail messages they leaked it to Politico, instead of EPJ.)

What they have on the back of Politico, the entire f'ing back page of every issue (I'm thinking Goldman is Politico's biggest advertiser) is an ad about Goldman helping 10,000 small businesses.

I'm thinking a television ad where you have an older gentleman in what appears to be a chance meeting with an up and coming store owner type that the older man appears to know. The older man asks, how business is going. The store owner replies, "It's really great. All the hard work has really paid off. In fact, I think it would be a great time to expand, but I can't get any bank to loan me the money."

The older man replies, "I'm going to give you the name of my investment banker at Goldman Sachs."

The business owner replies with a confused look, "Goldman Sachs?"

The older man, "Yes, it's not well known but Goldman has a program to help 10,000 small businesses."

And then the older man should continue with what should be a Goldman tag line, "When you need business financial advice, always talk to Goldman Sachs. They know how to help business."

On another point, if I were Blankfein, I would fire Goldman Sachs European media chief Fiona Laffan. You don't reveal inside discussions like the one about Oprah at a conference. This is a media chief revealing confidential information that makes Goldman and Blankfein look like buffoons. In fact, it is so absurd that NyPo and EPJ pick up the story. Got that? Where is the media getting its most absurd Goldman stories these days? From Goldman's media department, who blast the news at a conference. Which really suggests that outside of sucking up to government employees (that probably once worked for Goldman) and getting the government to turn taxpayer money over to Goldman, Goldman has lost the ability to do anything right.

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