Competing for media attention at the same time as the Fail, but with a much better spin, was a deadly little cobra in the Bronx. When the story of the snake loose at the Bronx Zoo broke, it sounded much like a movie plot: “Poisonous Snake on the Loose in Major Metropolitan Area!” Unfortunately, a movie it was not. Whoever was in charge of damage control for this situation deserves a raise –or a job, if rumors about the famous Twitter account’s anonymous creator are true. Instead of creating pandemonium the cobra became a media sensation. With a cleverly utilized Twitter profile the cobra now known as Mia became an instant celebrity.
As someone who spends a lot of time focused on reputation management (and happens to be beyond terrified of snakes) I could not understand how the nation was not at all up in arms about this dangerous predator on the loose, but actually embracing the caricature that had been created. All phobias aside, I was following the story just as closely as everyone else. We were all hooked.
Ophidiophobics everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when the snake was found within the confines of the zoo’s reptile house and returned safely to her enclosure. Mia’s celebrity, however, has not waned. She currently has over 240,000 followers on Twitter, and was named as the result of an online contest. Mia, short for “Missing in Action” won over thousands of other submissions. The venomous vixen has become the inspiration countless promotions, and my guess is she’ll have a gig with the city’s tourism board in no time.
Kudos to you, Bronx Zoo and your mystery Tweeter, for turning a PR nightmare into a Reputation Management Win!