Bimbo Banter

A Frog in a Sock

  • Crisis
  • April 19, 2016
  • by Laura Barnett


Monday, we reported on the stiff, unrehearsed apology Johnny Depp and Amber Heard gave to the Australian government for not declaring their dogs “Boo” and “Pistol” to Customs when they arrived in the country in the spring of 2015.

We weren’t the only ones disappointed in the forced-looking apology. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce added his voice to the chorus of critics, saying that Depp looked like he was auditioning for a role in “The Godfather.” While it’s wise to take an apology seriously, Depp’s tone was so morose he was hard to understand.

The good news is Joyce remains focused on the opportunity at hand, and is capitalizing on the message behind the error. Australia has very stringent biosecurity laws. Non-Australians who want to bring their pets on vacation with them need to know how to follow these laws. In Joyce’s words, the message about biosecurity is “going off like a frog in a sock.” Another uniquely Australian lesson – a term meaning something is highly successful and that the topic has so much energy it’s hard to contain.

Of course, there are lessons for the rest of us to learn.

- Be adaptable. It’s unlikely Joyce ever dreamed of a poor performance out of one of the world’s leading actors. While it’s often the case with celebrities, the attention quickly shifted from “what” the message was to “who” was delivering it. Since the ball got dropped on the “what”, Joyce is now the one to run with it. Nevertheless, he’s staying on message and the enhanced spotlight carries it even farther. Which brings us to the next lesson.

- Stay laser-focused. Regardless of how well or poorly Depp and Heard apologized, Joyce’s goal is to educate the public (especially those of us 6,000 miles away) about these laws and how to follow them. After a quick reaction to the video, Joyce refocused on his message and used his time to accomplish his goal.

In all honesty, it’s even better that the apology didn’t go well because the fallout is generating mass interest in the topic.

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