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Gini Dietrich

Public Relations for Sharks

By: Gini Dietrich | August 22, 2011 | 
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A couple of weeks ago, I was driving to work and I heard an ad on the radio that the day marked the beginning of Shark Week.

Actually, I didn’t really pay attention to the ad; I’m sure I was flipping stations. But a few minutes later I heard THE BEST Shark Week PR.

I have no idea if Discovery Channel actually sent this to the radio stations. If they did, it seriously is the best PR ever.

There are 20 things that are more likely to kill you than sharks.

Are you ready?

  1. Obesity. Obesity kills 30,000 people every year.
  2. Lightning.Lightning kills 10,000 people every year.
  3. Texting. Texting kills 6,000 people every year.
  4. Hippos. Hippos kill 2,900 people every year.
  5. Airplanes. Airplanes kill 1,200 people every year.
  6. Volcanoes. Volcanoes kill 845 people every year.
  7. Autoerotic asphyxiation. Autoerotic asphyxiation (please don’t ask me to tell you what this is) kills 600 people every year.
  8. Shopping. Shopping on Black Friday kills 550 people every year (crazy freaking women).
  9. Falling. Falling out of bed kills 450 people every year.
  10. Bathtubs. Bathtubs kill 340 people every year.
  11. Deer. Deer kill 130 people every year.
  12. Icicles. Icicles kill 100 people every year…but only in Russia. No place else.
  13. Hot dogs. Hot dogs kill 70 people every year.
  14. Tornadoes. Tornadoes kill 60 people every year.
  15. Jellyfish. Jellyfish kill 40 people every year.
  16. Dogs. Dogs kill 30 people every year…but only in the United States.
  17. Ants. Ants kill 30 people every year. I believe this one because I’m deathly allergic to insect bites/stings…and fire ants sting.
  18. Football. High school football kills 20 people every year.
  19. Vending machines. Vending machines kill 13 people every year. Dead. Serious.
  20. Roller coasters. Roller coasters kill six people every year.

And sharks? Well, sharks kill only five people every year. And, according to the Discovery Channel, they’re always provoked by humans.

JAWS did poor sharks a serious injustice. This was very much needed PR. Respect.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

149 comments
TheBookWheel
TheBookWheel

I'm in the middle of a 6-month shark policy and conservation study and the effects of the declining shark populations are massive! I wish more people understood the importance they play in our ecosystem and stopped thinking of them as such horrible creatures!

Leon
Leon

G'Day Gini,

Thanks for this wonderful list. Makes me wonder; how many spelling mistakes does it take to kill a blogger? How many Sales Lions die from extreme answerinism each year? How many Mavs does it take to kill a Heat? How many PR releases kill an advert each year? How much bad drumming does it take to kill a musician?

And naturally, how many creative writing programs kill off aspiring novelists annually?

Look forward to your announcing an appropriate contest.

RegardsLeon

Collectual
Collectual

Gosh, if we applied the same level of energy, vigil and concern we do regarding shark sightings to obesity our nation would be a far healthier place. When I was in San Diego, Mission Beach to be exact, a single shark sighting brought out 6 camera crews, 2 helicopters, a life guard boat and several warnings signs. We simply walked a mile to the open beach and went swimming. I wonder if the difference in attitude is because things like health or lifestyle changes require time and commitment and rare and unexpected events (like a shark sighting) only require an emotional investment of a day.

Thanks for the great post!

rideboulderco
rideboulderco

@ginidietrich yes, but did I mention the Hippos?! Seemed somewhat crazy to close part of the beach as if the sharks would know to stay put

alyssanation
alyssanation

Awesome PR #justthefacts RT @ucfadpr Sharks need some positive PR too. bit.ly/rpnUhf

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

Hippos kill more people than airplanes. Good to know when I'm having my regular flying anxiety.

Levi Wardell
Levi Wardell

I wonder if there is an actual scientific name for those people who have a phobia of vending machines. I mean hey, if they are on this list, I'm sure there is someone out there with night terrors of a coke machine following them around town.

MimiMeredith
MimiMeredith

I LOVE this! Here's my favorite part...it's seriously stellar PR and it's just facts. The truth told well. Brilliant!

Thanks for sharing Gini. Fire ants are absolutely the worst!

LisaMarieMary
LisaMarieMary

Love, love, love this! And the sharks thank you. The check's in the mail, I'm sure! ;)

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

Too funny! I love it and it's so true. And Shark Week is my favorite!!

lauraclick
lauraclick

Black Friday shopping??? Really? I mean, I knew there was a reason I avoid Black Friday like the plague, but now, it's clear. I can't go because I might DIE. That's just insane! And who knew that hippos were such a problem?! Sheesh. Sharks really do get a bad rap.

Fun post and love the idea. Those folks at Shark Week really know what they're doing. It's amazing the fan base that they've drummed up.

Tia Peterson
Tia Peterson

Hot dogs. Unbelievable.

This gives me a ton of good ideas going forward. Not that it hasn't been done before, but there's something to be said for pulling together facts like this.

This is also a testament to radio: it's not dead. Long live it. It's always useful for things like this!

Narciso17
Narciso17

Ohh...My...Goodness...With This Kind of Support, I Can See People Having a Million-Gallon Shark Tank March in DC...With Supporters Lugging Em' Along...Demanding for More Comprehensive Dental Plans...Could Happen....Seeing How It Is, By Far, Their Best Asset...

Krista
Krista

Much respect! As a shark advocate, I am happy to hear that they are getting much-needed PR. I remember when I was little that the statistic that stuck with me was how bee stings kill more people a year than sharks. I think the fear factor of a shark attack often over-rules the reality of how many other things in our everyday lives are just as dangerous. It would be nice if sharks could get this kind of PR year-round, but I'll hand it to the Discovery Channel for raising awareness at least during Shark Week. And want to know how much I love sharks? I bought a new white car today and named it "C.C." which is short for carcharadon carcharias, the great white! Yeah, I'm that nerdy ;)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@StephLough I don't make up the facts. I just report them. And come on! You KNOW some guy had a vending machine fall on him.

marianne.worley
marianne.worley

My parents took me to see Jaws when I was 5. Yes, you read that correctly, 5! Eventually (after I stopped taking baths for 3 years) I overcame this trauma and developed a (healthy) shark obsession. When someone tells me how afraid they are of sharks, I typically cite the same kinds of statistics you've included in your post!

Interesting facts about the movie: Peter Benchley, who wrote the novel and co-wrote the screenplay, eventually became a shark conservationist. Jaws won 3 Academy Awards (editing, score, and sound), AND was nominated for Best Picture.

vitalyvt
vitalyvt

What a fun post Gini. Thanks for sharing it. Well, I can't say that it was fun for all involved in those outrageous deaths. Nevertheless, thanks for sharing as I never would have thought about some of these crazy "Final Destination" types of deaths.

Al Smith
Al Smith

What about the heart attacks or other injuries the sharks cause, when they scare the livin SH*T out of people ? Hum ?

How are the quads feelin ?

Al

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

Not to mention the constant comparison to lawyers. Excluding, of course any readers/posters of Spinsucks that are lawyers. And of course the lawyers that are known and loved by any readers/posters to Spinsucks. Still leaves many lawyers to make fun of.

Hajra
Hajra

Poor sharks really... all bad mouthed already... maybe they do need a cool PR.

Ok, now for the list... how did hot dogs kill people...were they already obese or having that in bed... and fell out...or they were having it when lightning struck? I mean, is there is a correlation among the items in the group?

Roller coasters... I am never getting on one again; and really how bad can a fall from bed be... or maybe it was while indulging in number 7! Do crazy things and see what happens ;)

TheJackB
TheJackB

Number 8 made me laugh, particularly this part "(crazy freaking women)." That should be put on a t-shirt. ;)

I love the Animal Planet, Nat/Geo/Discovery/TLC shows about "creatures." I saw one about hippos and how nasty they are. Apparently they are mean, ornery and happy to chomp on those who get in their way.

Always find that sort of thing fascinating. But my favorite are those goofy scenes where they "relive attacks." "Jack was out cleaning his laundry in the river. He didn't have a clue that his dirty pants just happened to be in the same place as the Giant Hippo of Angeleno nor did he know that in a moment said Hippo would try to eat him....."

StephLough
StephLough

@ginidietrich I wasn't second guessing you! Then I'd believe it no question :) but I'm curious how many are direct causes, like lightening.

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

@marianne.worley I was right there with you Marianne, and since it came out in 75, I must have been 5 as well. I thought I had to be older; that's called wishful thinking. I actually loved the movie and as I mentioned below, did get over my fear of the deep water. Too funny.

Erin F.
Erin F.

@marianne.worley Heehee. I remember going to see Jurassic Park when I was nine or ten. My younger brothers came, too, and the youngest one - he would have been five or six - hid behind the movie seats for almost the entire movie. Poor guy.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@vitalyvt Well, someone has to take the risk so we have something to laugh about.

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

@TheJackB My son loves those shows...Dangerous Encounters, I think? It's where they determine who would win in a battle: a hippo (and yes, they are nasty creatures) or a shark! After much simulation and orchestration of mechanical animals, the battle begins! :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TheJackB They seriously are insane, right? Anytime a friend or family member wants to me to shop, period, let alone on Black Friday, I look at them as if they are insane.

Levi Wardell
Levi Wardell

@Erin F. I could most definitely see my fav. comic character (Calvin) running from a soda machine!

barryrsilver
barryrsilver

@ginidietrich I think your statistics may be a bit skewed. Vending machines probably kill more than 13 people annually, just not immediately.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@ginidietrich I find the idea of getting a colonoscopy or lobotomy more inviting than hitting the malls during the holidays.

Erin F.
Erin F.

@trontastic Nice! I actually used a Calvin and Hobbes comic with the post I wrote today. :)

glenn_ferrell
glenn_ferrell

@ginidietrich@barryrsilverVery good - calories, sugar, food additives. A long slow death is definitely an option.

Of course vending machines save lives too. That stuff they call coffee has probably saved my life on more than one long roadtrip. Now PR for vending machines -- you could get paid for that, whereas the sharks are definitely a pro bono affair.

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