Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance Armstrong, The Dad, Delivers


“The Truth Shall Set You Free”
Yesterday, I wrote about message delivery and how LanceArmstrong did not deliver that appropriately for the gravity of the situation he was discussing: doping, lying, cheating, bullying. I even said he failed. And he did.

After watching the second part of his interview with OprahWinfrey, I have to say that while the disgraced cyclist did not deliver his message well, the man who loves LiveStrong, the dad who loves his kids…he delivered his messages very well.
The brash, ruthless, defiant competitor didn’t show up much in the second part of the interview. For the sake of the LiveStrong Foundation he couldn’t. For the sake of the five Armstrong children, he couldn’t.  Watching Lance talk about stepping down from the foundation he founded and the conversation he had with his children, the people and thing he cares about the most, was painful to watch.  But, as I said yesterday, the truth is always the best way to go, especially when you can deliver the message with feeling. Lance did that well.
Lance has always been savvy when it comes to the media. I’ve often used him as an example of someone who used social tools to reach his audience and actually control the message during his come back. He was brilliant at it. Last night he talked about his kids seeing what he couldn’t control: Twitter, Instagram. He knows that, “Dumb tweet with the yellow jerseyslives forever.” He’s right. And, to his credit, he hasn’t removed it from his Twitter stream.
Lance Armstrong showed much emotion last night, in all the right places, and delivered his message, spot on. I was roped in and felt for the guy. Yes, me. If you follow The Spokesmen Podcast you’ll know how hard that statement was for me to make. Yet, after digesting a bit, I realized something….Lance Armstrong is still the master at controlling the messaging and being extremely calculating in what he says in public. He worked that interview for all it was worth – started out as the guy you still wanted to “hate” and then built to the guy you could, almost, root for again…not on a bike (never!), but in life.
Now, Lance had help. Oprah either asked her questions in a logical order for that to happen or edited the piece for that to happen. Either way, it was a brilliant message delivery vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, while I’m not as taken in by it all now and see it for what it is….it doesn’t make it wrong. Lance had a job to do during that interview. He had to say some ugly, painful, shameful things to get to a place where he could talk about what is truly in his heart (kids and foundation). A place where people may start to see him as less calculating, less brash – more human….to get to the next phase of his life, whatever that may be.
Make no mistake about it….from a PR standpoint, Lance delivered flawlessly. 

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