ACLU’s Simple PR Stunt Reveals How to Engage and Disrupt

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In the history of marketing and PR there has never been a time with access to tools and methods that put more eyes on your brand and engage more people in meaningful ways. Every single day, brand managers disrupt the standard consumer news cycle and demand attention in impactful ways. Suddenly, a “who is that again” becomes a household name.

ACLUThe American Civil Liberties Union rarely takes the moderate road. If it involves perceived authoritarian overreach, they land on it with both feet as often and with as much force as possible. This history of excellence creates context for the release of “Mobile Justice.” This smartphone app is currently released in ten states and records “alleged police misconduct.” The app automatically records footage and uploads it to a state ACLU website. The immediacy of the process promises that, even if someone destroys the phone or deletes the video, it’s already safe on the ACLU servers.

But, the app takes the scenario one step further. In the event of a police encounter, Mobile Justice can send an alert to other nearby users so that, “community members can move toward the location and document the interaction.”

Some say this function takes personal protection and turns it into mob justice. A cop on the scene just wants to do his job and the perp radios for backup.

That argument goes far beyond any initial fears that this particular app creates the potential to further derail the conversation about law enforcement excess in the United States. Already, public opinion, even of good cops, continues to fall … and everyone seems to be on the lookout for their 15 minutes of fame on camera.

Proponents say the app levels the playing fields. Cops use similar tech, why not civilians? Opponents fire back that cops also receive training and, in general, serve and protect Civilians, on the other hand, could be up to anything … or nothing at all. Does this app have the potential to reduce police brutality and unreasonable violations of privacy? Absolutely. But LEOs say the app could further escalate already tense situations.

App proponents call that overreaching authoritarian fear-mongering. So the debate continues.

ACLU wants that to happen. They want to discuss these issues, and they need hot topics to ignite that discussion. An app this polarizing guarantees to stir up endless debate, constant bantering and exchanges of “what if” scenarios.

The operative words, of course, are “constant,” “endless” and “guaranteed.”Do you want PR that builds on itself? Find an issue and drop something right in the middle that disrupts the entire conversation, shifts the focus and lets you decide the central message.

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