A strange illness is devastating bat populations throughout the Northeast, and few people seem to care. Some wildlife experts believe the lack of research dollars going toward the problem is due to the fact that, well, people generally don’t like bats.
In a recent Boston Globe article, Beth Daley writes:
Despairing bat biologists want to hire a publicist – a kind of public relations batman – to give bats an image makeover and educate people about the night creatures’ ecological benefits. If they could get people to care even half as much as they do about polar bears, these researchers say, desperately needed dollars and attention may follow to save the misunderstood animals.
“We’re talking about the need for a full-time publicist, and talks on CNN and David Letterman,” said [Boston University bat researcher] Tom Kunz.
But while bats are widely loathed and feared, why do some other animals of questionable repute get a free pass? I did some investigating and found that many species are in fact represented by major PR agencies. A quick sampling …
- Image: Cute little nut-storing balls of fur.
- Reality: Rats with bushy tails.
- PR agency of record: APCO Worldwide, Washington, D.C.
- Quote from PR flak: “From Rocky the Flying Squirrel to Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel, America has long had a love affair with the squirrel.”
- Image: Cuddly, sedate creatures who munch on leaves and birth adorable cubs.
- Reality: Vicious killers who often terrorize innocent bystanders just for giggles.
- PR agency of record: ICR, Westport, Conn.
- Quote from PR flak: “I think we can all agree that General Gau’s chicken and panda bears are China’s greatest exports.”
- Image: Benign, benevolent sources of milk and beef.
- Reality: Methane-producing global warmers.
- PR agency of record: Edelman, New York, N.Y.
- Quote from PR flak: “The Hindus have it right: We should treat cows with the same respect we give our own mothers. Now excuse me while I finish my Double Big Mac.”
So the next time you see a bat, don’t shriek in terror. Instead, put him in touch with a good PR agency.<-->