By Sarah Bonewits-Feldner and Tom Isaacson
For practitioners working in corporate communication and public relations, an ongoing concern is the impact of negative publicity on relevant target audiences. The old adage “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” – frequently cited by business journalists and alternately credited to either P. T. Barnum or an ambiguous “they” – deserves a closer look.
Unequal, a sport-equipment manufacturer, recently decided to use the controversial Michael Vick to promote its products. In a story described in the Wall Street Journal, company executives and consultants debated if the move would help the relatively unknown company or if it would be ‘business suicide.’ Apparently, it was the former.
According to the article’s author, Lee Hawkins, after the endorsement deal was announced the high number of hits on Unequal’s website crashed the site and sales initially went up 1,000 percent before settling “at about triple what they were a year ago.”
However, we know a single example rarely settles an argument. For every organization that benefits from negative publicity, counter examples exist as well. Continue reading ‘Is Negative PR Bad for Business?’