Public relations, aside from everything else, is about connectivity. Yes, you want to get a message out, and yes, you want your product or service to get attention. But, when it comes down to it, the real goal needs to be about making real connections. And this story captures that dynamic better than just about anything out there today.
This is a connection within a connection. The story of Connor “The Crusher” Michalek is simply a touching, heartbreaking story which allowed a dying boy to connect with his heroes, and that allowed other fans to see the superstars of WWE in a different, more personal and more human way. They may never connect the same way that Connor did, but they are able to deepen their connection with the brand in a way they could not otherwise.
Anyone who watches the video is touched, and it is clear that WWE did not set this up for a publicity stunt. Still, you don’t video something and throw it up on YouTube for no one to see it. But, what was revealed when you watch the video below?
It may very well be the most heart-warming thing you will watch this year. However, it is also an incredible example of highly connective PR and expert marketing. The WWE has been working hard to put its newest champion, Daniel Bryan “over,” to borrow wrestling parlance. Connor’s love for wrestling, and for Bryan in particular, gave the WWE an incredible opportunity. They could have exploited it.
They could have turned it into work and bled the tragic situation for every drop of emotion. But, they didn’t. They simply made a dying child incredibly happy and gave a grieving father the most priceless gift possible, more time with his son.
In doing so, a big entertainment company with a history of not exactly being warm and fuzzy in business practices, bared its heart to the world. And who knew how big that heart would be?
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.