Working to enhance a client’s reputation and avoid embarrassment is essential in PR. So what if a mistake seems so unbelievable that some think it was planned?
A PR ‘stunt’ that goes down well with the public, generating some free publicity and perhaps future profits, may very well be remembered as a brilliant move. The downside is when something comes off as obviously gimmicky or worse. Sometimes it can be hard to discover true intentions…
Twice in recent months, some observers found the boundaries blurring for one airline. While typos have unfortunately become more common in today’s information-laden world, they rarely appear on the sides of airplanes. Which is why when one plane was spotted bearing the wording “CATHAY PACIIC” after a paint job with the “F” gone missing, some suspected a PR ruse. The company said that it was an honest mistake. But then just a few weeks later, several premium seats on Cathay Pacific flights from Asia to North America were spotted online going for closer to $1,000 then the tens of thousands of dollars they were supposed to be sold for. In both cases, the airline responded with a brave face – and honored transactions made on tickets sold at the vastly lower fares in the latter case – and the public read about it.
While the tradeoff between profits lost and publicity generated may have differed in these two cases, what’s true in both of them and all instances is that integrity matters. So be careful what bold PR moves you be considering: the clean-up shouldn’t be pricier than the publicity generated.
The Human & Digital Communications Agency
Our award-winning communications team blends human interactions & digital engagement seamlessly to produce results for brands.