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You can’t make this stuff up.

Raking through my storytelling and PR posts, I’ve curated a list of seven “life is stranger than fiction” moments.

1. Media Squeeze — and Watermelon Explosion — Described by the NY Times Presents an Opportunity for PR

BuzzFeed proved what everyone has always believed in theory. If you stretch enough rubber bands across a watermelon, it will eventually succumb to the pressure in one glorious Kodak moment. Lest you say, “but that’s a BF thing,” The New York Times got in the act: “Traditional journalists everywhere saw themselves as the seeds, flying out of the frame. How do we compete with that? And if that’s the future of news and information, what’s next for our democracy? President Kardashian?”

Well, not quite … but close.

2. Post-Thanksgiving Humor in the Form of a Word Visual

There’s something comforting in knowing that holidays have brought out the dysfunctionality of families for generations. This timeline created by Scott Bateman captures his family at Thanksgiving. Step by painful step, we witness the erosion of football bliss that culminates with Dad pining for a checker girl at Walmart.

3. The 12 Weirdest “National Days” Reveal Potential PR Strategy

Before writing this off as PR losing it in pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of awareness, consider that services like one from the National Day Calendar allow you to create your very own national day … for a fee. For example, yesterday was “National Drinking Straw Day,” and you can look forward to celebrations ranging from “Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day” to “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” For roughly $1,500, I’m thinking it’s time to bring attention to those introverted souls who toil in the public relations business.

got spilled milk?

4. Now This Takes “Less Is More” to a New Level in News Release Writing

Most news releases carry the bloat of a loaf of bread left overnight in a swimming pool. Yet, the San Francisco 49ers exercised restraint in communicating their news in a tidy 16 words. I think this falls under the adage, “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say it at all.”

5. Business Insider is OK with Flawed Dot-connecting in the Name of Click Bait

There’s a formula to much of the bad journalism that doubles as click bait. Take a high-profile news item trending upward, dig out inconsequential information related to the news item and magnify the hell out of that inconsequential information so it appears meaningful. For Exhibit A, check out the Business Insider story, “Theranos wants to hire a writer who can ‘solve problems through the power of excellent storytelling’” that tries to make the case that Theranos was resorting to “storytelling” to turn around the company.

6. Granddaughter Brings an Edge to Her Hallmark Card Writing (and birthday wishes)

The words on the card offer yet another proof point that life is better than fiction.

birthday card handwritten

7. What Happens to Journalism When It’s All About the “Bass”

Again, Business Insider serves up an example of click bait, this time a story that promises to enlighten readers on how Chick-fil-A’s restaurants dominate its market selling three times as much as KFC. I would say I don’t want to spoil the ending, but there is no ending. Let’s put it this way. You won’t be seeing a case study on Chick-fil-A in Harvard Business Review any time soon.

The unimaginable happens all the time in the wacky world of business communications and life in general.

And that can be a good thing.

I came across a comment from Risto Siilasmaa, chairman of Nokia, in the McKinsey Quarterly: “Any meeting where we don’t laugh out loud is a dismal failure.”

Here’s wishing everyone a healthy 2017 with the type of  life-is-stranger-than-fiction moments that trigger smiles … or better yet, laughter.


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