Michael Rasmussen. A PR primer.
On one hand you have to appreciate the efforts Michael Rasmussen has made to try to get himself back on a ProTour team.
He tried to curtail his generally bizarre, vindictive and angry comments about killing people and suicide. He’a also stopped his “I’ve been black-balled by the UCI” routine.
A fine start and public relations 101. Sponsors don’t mind a rider who generated some attention through controversy but dead bodies aren’t appreciated. Too much of a Pantani and Vandenbroucke vibe.
Then in a bold stroke, he tried to recast himself as the outgoing, fun loving guy with appearance on a Danish show called Vild Med Dans or Wild With Dance. It’s a dance step in the right direction and maybe now a cooking reality show or home make-over program would finally score him a new contract to ride.
Wouldn’t that be great? The Chicken prepares his favorite chicken dish, then takes us inside his Mexican casa for a designer makeover. Rasmussen should leave no stone unturned, no crazy idea overlooked in his quest to ride in the big pro races again.
The real blindspot in Rasmussen’s approach is the charity angle. That’s where you score the love and forgiveness. What about starting a fund for some children’s disease or just do the Armstrong thing and find a cancer that needs a front man? Twisted Spoke thinks the emaciated Dane should be raising euros for eating disorders. Anything that says, hey, look at me, I’m a swell guy, I have a warm and fuzzy heart to go with my climbing legs.
And while we’re at it, how about some hair? The scary shaved head has got to go — save that for after you’ve signed a contract. Right now is the time to improve your personal package. The key is losing the “just got out of the Nazi prison camp” look and brightening things up.
Finally, how about a new nickname? After all, a new life is a new name. If Riccardo Ricco says the Cobra is dead, maybe it’s time to kill the Chicken. How about Michael “Raspberry” Rasmussen? Sounds friendly and fun, right? What if he really gets into Jazz and wants to be called Jazzmussen. That’s cool. And why Michael when he could be Mik? Lighten things up.
Twisted Spoke thinks Michael Rasmussen is on the right track but needs to take his PR game to the next level. Plus, and this is extremely vital, he should never, ever take his shirt off again.