Insights Serra Balls

Shooting the messengers

Replaying organisational responses and injecting a more human response. This week’s dispatch: The Florida shooting and the KFC Chicken Crisis.

Replaying organisational responses and injecting a more human approach


The debasement of public discourse in the United States has an apparently limitless capacity to disappoint. This week it truly passed through the looking glass as reaction to last week’s massacre of 17 people in a Florida high school met the fault line in American politics.

Response? A pre-baked ‘made for TV’ audience between President Trump and a hand-picked selection of politically sympathetic relatives and friends of the Florida victims, boiled over in front of White House TV cameras. Confronted with the raw emotion and understandable anger surrounding the tragedy, President Trump’s laboured responses were explained in part by cue cards revealing an astoundingly superficial level of preparation and empathy for the situation.

In contrast, the emotional appeal of the teenagers in Florida schools and then a groundswell of others across the country inspired an emerging youth-led protest movement which has signs that it will continue to grow.

And The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been very successfully ratcheting up its rhetoric against the ‘fake news media’.  Last year the NRA launched NRA TV (strapline – Take Back the Truth), as a vehicle for its lobbying. Now broadcasting 24/7, it included this week gun rights activist Colion Noir, who in an NRA TV clip on Wednesday identified the “mass media” as the real culprit in last week’s shootings. According to Noir: ‘..all my years of watching these events play out have led me to one conclusion: The mainstream media love mass shootings.’  Their use of video and content have also been revealing in illustrating the dramatic disintermediation of the traditional news media.

Who made an emotional connection this week? 

Police forces across the country pleaded with the public to stop calling them about the KFC chicken shortage due to a logistics problem with its delivery of chicken that resulted in the fast food chain closing half of its 900 outlets. KFC’s comeback was finger lickin’ good: Hashtag#KFCCrisis trended for a week, with memes galore. KFC UK’s landing page gave live updates on the re-opening of the stores. As its full page advert today demonstrated, instead of getting defensive, the company made a potential crisis a resounding, crispy and flavoursome triumph.