words with friends

Another case of a celebrity behaving badly, and another opportunity for Publicity Hounds in a variety occupations to generate some PR by tying into this story.

This time, it’s Alec Baldwin who was kicked off an American Airlines plane on Tuesday for refusing to stop playing Zynga’s Words With Friends on his phone. The plane was parked at the gate and the seat belt light was still on.

When Baldwin was asked to turn off his phone, things got ugly. He stood up, took his phone into the plane’s lavatory, slammed the door and started yelling at the crew.

Here are 7 ways you could piggyback onto that story:

  1. Why are airline regulations so strict? This is a perfect time for flight instructors, pilots, and owners of aviation schools to explain why you can’t use a Kindle, cell phones, laptops or other electronic devices at certain times either in the air or on the ground.
  2. What makes this game so addictive? “Words With Friends” has 12.6 million active monthly users, according to tracking service AppData. If you’re an addict, let the media know. Where do you play it? When do you play it? How good are you? And what’s the big attraction?
  3. Is this game a teaching tool for kids? The game is intended for children 9 and older. Teachers, librarians, tutors and others who teach kids: Explain the benefits of this game for teaching children how to spell and read.
  4. What are the best ways to control your temper when you’re ready to explode? And if you do lose control, what’s the best way to apologize? Anger management experts, what a great opportunity for offering tips on how to behave nicely with others on a cramped airplane, and then say you’re sorry. Baldwin apologized to fellow passengers, but not to the airline.
  5. What are the worst behaviors exhibited by airline passengers? Baldwin is just one of hundreds of boors who make life difficult for airline crews and passengers. What are the Top 10 worst behaviors on airplanes? Frequent fliers, start making a list. And then explain how—or if—you get involved. Offer it as a guest blog post to bloggers who write about etiquette, electronics, human behavior or the airlines industry. Or pitch it to your local newspaper.
  6. How did American Airlines handle this from a PR standpoint? The airlines wrote about it on its Facebook page, but didin’t mention Baldwin by name.
  7. What does this kind of publicity mean for a product like Words With Friends? Bloggers have already written about the perfect timing because Zynga is about to go public. Experts in marketing, branding, investmentsw and the stock market should weigh in.

What other ways can you think of to piggyback PR onto this story? Have you ever generated great publicity for yourself or your PR client because you tied your story to Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” a celebrity’s drug or alcohol rehab, or any other less-than-flattering celebrity story? Tell us what you did, and the results. And then share this post on the social media sites.