Thursday, February 05, 2015


After a tragic accident caused by your employees, which displaced 1000 people, is it smart to recommend to a government executive that he praise you in a press conference?  This is what happened after a fire burned an apartment complex in Edgewater, NJ.  The public  relations firm sent an advisory e-mail to the county executive suggesting he cite the company for "stepping up" for the homeless individuals.  Predictably, the county leader did not use the talking points and someone leaked the e-mail to the press.  Now the owner of the complex is looking uncaring and dumb.  Should the PR firm have contacted the county executive in the first place?  Yes, but with a list of facts without suggestions for what to say about them.  This wasn't a time for spin and in any event, no matter what the company had done for the victims, it was hardly enough.  Its employees, unlicensed plumbers, were using a torch to fix a pipe in a complex built largely out of wood.  That was an accident waiting to happen, and the company is going to deal with lawsuits as a result.  There are times and places in which to highlight a company's good deeds, but this wasn't one of them.

Hat tip to Karen Horton for finding this.


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