Really bad (and dumb) PR

A couple of recent items in my Twitter stream showcased some really bad PR moves by a couple of companies. So let’s read, watch and learn.


Exhibit A: Insurance company behaves like insurance company, voids incredible charity hockey shot. Deadspin reports (with accompanying video):

Richard Marsh was randomly selected from the crowd at an Indiana Ice home game last Saturday. His challenge: to hit a hockey puck, which is about three inches wide, the length of the rink and into a target slightly larger than three inches wide. AllState Insurance, the promotion’s sponsors, pledged to donate $50,000 to St. Vincent’s Cardiovascular of Indiana and the American Heart Association in the extremely unlikely event that someone would make the shot. But Marsh did, the crowd went wild, and then a third-party insurance company covering the event fulfilled the prevailing sense that insurance companies are mostly awful by refusing to pay the charity bill — because Marsh wasn’t standing behind the far goal line.

The “you’re in good hands” insurance company ought to be put in the penalty box for that one. Thanks to David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) for pointing this out as a “Real Time Marketing study in a negative way.”)

Exhibit B: Dell Promotional Stunt Goes Terribly Wrong.

An in-house promotional stunt at Dell campus in Round Rock, Texas completely backfired yesterday as cops responded to numerous 911 calls reporting that a masked gunman was inside the computer giant’s offices. Clad completely in black, the biker-looking bloke was carrying two metallic objects and telling people on the campus’s sales floor to “go to the lobby.”

Well, it turns out that a sales manager set up the stunt as an internal promotional event to celebrate the release of the new Dell Streak tablet, and the “gunman” wasn’t actually carrying any weapons at all, just simply urging folks to head to the lobby for the Streak unveiling. Too bad police didn’t find the funny in it all as they arrested the masked man, Bryan Chester, and his supervisor, Daniel Rawson, and both face misdemeanor charges of interfering with public duties and deadly conduct. We concur with a tipster who says that sometimes, corporate folks should just leave it to the professionals.

Hat tip to Bob LeDrew (@bobledrew) for this gem.


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

3 thoughts on “Really bad (and dumb) PR”

  1. The “good hands people” may need a rebrand after that one. The old line from “where have all the flowers gone?” comes to mind: “When will we ever learn? When will we ev-er learn?”

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