By Alan Graner
You’ve heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” the idea being that any public mention of your name, product or company adds awareness in prospects’ minds.
The ploy may work for Hollywood wannabes, but it doesn’t play well in the business world. Consider:
SeaWorld was a family favorite attraction, highlighted by the killer whale show featuring Shamu and other orcas.
Then CNN aired it’s “Blackfish” documentary centering on Tilikum, a wild orca that was captured at two years old to perform at SeaWorld. The killer whale spent the next 20 years in isolation, finally lashing out in frustration to kill three humans and trashing SeaWorld’s public image.
Attendance fell, SeaWorld stock plummeted by a third, and activists demanded all orcas be set free.
In 2010 BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 men and producing the largest accidental marine oil spill in history—some 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed into the sea for 87 days. The Gulf Coast tourist industry was in shambles, and long-term effects on the environment still haven’t been determined,
To date BP has spent $54 billion for litigation, government penalties, clean up costs and economic damages.
Years of successful efforts to portray the company as a responsible corporation sensitive to social and environmental issues were replaced by worldwide condemnation of reckless conduct and gross negligence. BP’s reputation became one of lacking compassion, shirking social responsibilities and refusal to accept responsibility.
Next: Part 2 http://www.dsprel.com/sometimes-bad-publicity-just-plain-bad-part-2/
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.