when a PR stunt goes bad

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations.

This week we were reminded of why a ‘PR stunt’ needs to be thought through from every angle before releasing it into the wild – literally.

under the dome PR stunt disaster

In a moment of madness, a Sydney PR firm, sent live butterflies to journalists to promote the DVD release of  Under the Dome. Yes, really.

Now, whilst technically ‘on brand’ (butterflies form a major theme of the show), sending a journalist a live butterfly in an envelope is not cool. Even if “great care was taken” to ensure their safety.

There is such a thing as a bad PR stunt

It certainly gained some publicity, but not the good kind. It also didn’t help that the PR firm managed a clanger of a typo in their pre-release. Asking if the journalist would be in office to “except” the delivery caused more than a few gasps.

Cut-through is one thing, but sensitivity to how your idea might be received cannot be overlooked.
(nor can spell-check).

And, given this is actually not a new idea (another PR firm did this back in August), it begs the question ‘what were they thinking?’ There’s some serious damage-control going on now in the agency and I suspect some lament they didn’t run with a ‘snow dome’ option instead.

PR is a tricky and fickle thing. Get it right and you can have media stories galore about your product and brand. Get it wrong and well, the opportunity flies out the door.

If you need some PR ideas to get your product noticed (that don’t involve sending live animals in the mail), we’d be happy to help.



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