First, let me start by saying I don’t care that Beyonce lip-synced to her pre-recorded track of the national anthem at last week’s inauguration ceremony, a fact she confirmed at today’s Super Bowl XLVII press conference. I think the fact that debate over whether or not she did in fact lip sync garnered major media coverage is more egregious. Nevertheless, Beyonce’s camp knew questions about the inauguration were inevitable. So, in a stroke of PR brilliance, Instead of sitting behind a table and fumbling over an overly nuanced statement, the familiar post-scandal scene we have all witnessed far too many times, she let her talent do the talking.
Before Beyonce fielded a single question from reporters on Thursday, she invited them to stand and she proceeded to sing the Star Spangled Banner live and perfectly. View the performance here
As they say in show business, “she killed it.” After the “big finish,” the press corps erupted in applause and after a laugh, she simply turned to reporters and asked “any questions?” Reporters did, of course, have follow up questions, but her flawless performance deemed the inquiries pretty irrelevant and promptly diffused much of the controversy.
In a typical “crisis,” solid PR advice is to tell the truth and tell it quickly. Beyonce clearly didn’t heed this counsel, taking more than a week to address questions about the authenticity of her inauguration performance. However, this wasn’t your typical “crisis” now, was it?
Yesterday’s stunt was not only a skillful way to dash doubts that the singer had the capability to sing the national anthem live, but she expertly deflated the inaugural discussion and redirected attention to this weekend’s Super Bowl performance.
Overall, she served her client (the NFL) well by redirecting focus to the forthcoming half time show. We may never know if this approach was hatched by NFL public relations staff or by Beyonce insiders, but nonetheless it was a creative way of putting the “crisis” to bed and moving on to the task at hand. Now we all know that Beyonce can sing, but who knew she was so PR savvy?