A leading branding expert believes there’s only one way former Aussie ‘quick’ and part-time big game hunter Glenn McGrath can redeem himself from his current social media maladies and that’s go back to Africa and fly the flag for the anti-poaching movement. That’s the opinion of branding expert Jonathan Pease from Sydney ideas agency Tongue.
McGrath made headlines nationally over the weekend when photos of him surfaced posing alongside dead animals – including a bull elephant – while on an African hunting safari in 2008.
“Sure, he can tell everyone how sorry he is but I think what this needs are actions,” Pease told B&T. “He should now go to Africa and help the anti-poachers over there. He needs to go over, put his celebrity to use and actually do something about it rather than just the empty apology we’ve had so far.”
Pease describes McGrath’s retraction as “something a bad PR would tell him to say and I don’t really believe he means any of it”.
Such has been the fallout from the images, there have been calls on social media to boycott his breast cancer charity – the McGrath Foundation – and products behind the ‘pink label’ campaign. B&T contacted the McGrath Foundation for comment but as yet have not received a reply.
Social media expert, Ryan Shelley of Pepper IT, said it was traditional media that broke the story but the backlash had been via social media.
Shelley’s advice when Twitter attacks is “don’t ignore it, don’t panic or make excuses”.
“Social Media is a two way conversation, so Glenn needs to very clearly respond in a systematic, professional and timely manner. He needs to acknowledge his mistake and sincerely apologise for it. Next he needs to explain what he will do to right his wrongs and redeem himself. Lastly, he needs to show the proof of his redeeming actions,” he said.
Shelley, however, warned McGrath against a sudden transformation to wildlife campaigner believing it would be seen as “cliché and knee-jerk”.
“Perhaps he needs to be more resourceful and support a men’s depression charity as he was experiencing ‘an extremely difficult time’ at the time of the incident. Or, he may be able to personally support the McGrath Foundation to provide breast cancer support to women in need from Africa,” Shelley said.
But whatever he does it can’t be insincere, added Pease. “What we’ve had so far is an empty apology,” he said. “That just doesn’t carry any weight anymore, people don’t respond to that, it doesn’t change anything. His legacy and his charity are really going to suffer from this in the long term and that’s the crying shame in all this.
“Imagine if he did go to Africa, he started taking action on the issue and doing something, he could turn the whole conversation around and even make it into a positive. Often lots of positives come out of a negative beginning. He’s probably thinking it’ll all blow over but that often doesn’t happen these days,” Pease said.