Kid Rock Performs A Rare PR “Never”

There are very fewer “nevers” in the PR business. One of them, at least for you, should be “never deny media credentials out of spite.”

Kid Rock, scheduled to open the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with a string of concerts didn’t like a column in the Detroit Free Press, so he and/or his publicist banned the Free Press from the event credential list.

This action has no media relations merit whatsoever.

Our firm handles PR for many big events. I have written media credential policies. What the Free Press did, running an opinion column by its editorial page editor, even a scathing one, does not violate any of them.

I grant event credentials on a weekly basis for one of our clients. I have denied credentials, like when a non-journalist tried to use his contributor status to a weekly community publications to seek autographs at a sports award ceremony. I have revoked credentials, like when an online news crew ate food intended for paid event attendees. I have recommended reinstated credentials, like when a big ego CEO denied them to a journalists whose coverage he didn’t like, making the coverage much worse, not better.

There is no argument to be made that denying credentials to the Free Press could possibly motivate the Free Press to write more positively about Kid Rock. In fact, it is very likely to have the opposite effect. But this isn’t about improving or even creating a relationship with the Free Press or any outlet.

This is about feeding the ego of a superstar. It makes powerful people feel even more powerful when they can gain what feels to them like control over the media. Exhibit A of that phenomenon is living in the White House now. This is also about maintaining whatever kind of “outlaw” brand Kid Rock seems to enjoy, helping him to draw crowds. He gets to “stick it to the establishment” and rally for his cause (selling tickets, t-shirts and beer, for starters).

Locals here who know Robert Richie say his Kid Rock persona doesn’t reflect the real him. Well, this PR decision reflects the Kid Rock character, which apparently is siding with the “enemy of the state” mindset.