Ian Monk: 'Rogue captain' line could sink company

As a PR strategy, it hit the rocks in less time than it allegedly took 'Captain Coward' to abandon his stricken cruise liner.

Ian Monk: 'Rogue captain' line could sink company
Ian Monk: 'Rogue captain' line could sink company

The corporate blame game employed by the owners of the Costa Concordia of figuratively hanging Captain Francesco Schettino out to dry continues to turn disaster into reputational catastrophe.

It takes down with it not only the company’s good name but also the safe and fun-filled images of cruising.

It also sustains a frenzy of black humour centred on national stereotyping of Italians as big in the mouth and trouser department but short on valour in a crisis.

The challenge was, of course, immense. No thousand words of PR strategy and press statements can ever redress the balance imprinted on the consciousness by the image of the stricken ship half submerged.

But the authors of the strategy must have realised that the legend of the one ‘rogue captain’ was unsustainable. Who employed him? Who trained him? Who checked on his continuing competence?

What were his fellow crew members doing while he steered the ship close to land in a show-off manoeuvre before abandoning his passengers to their fate?

All these questions impact directly on the corporate culture of Costa Cruises. The PR strategy has still not addressed them.

The internet’s black humourists may feel that the inane line uttered by the caricature skipper that he ‘fell’ into the lifeboat rather than deliberately abandoning his passengers was worth the – fortunately relatively few – lives lost.

It wasn’t and should never have been allowed to have been uttered.

A basic PR strategy would have addressed the corporate responsibility as well as minding the pronouncements of the apparent halfwit the company had entrusted with 4,000 lives.

Maritime recovery of the ship will be easy compared with salvaging the sunken reputations of all concerned with wrecking her.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.