Tag Archives: press

Is Bad Advertising a Good Thing?

For years, many ad execs and PR reps have held to the old adage that bad publicity is a good thing: it keeps a company (or person) in the spotlight. Even if the news making the rounds is bad, people are talking about it. Celebrities will often have well-placed “rumors” published in order to make sure the rest of us are keeping their names in our minds. These dodgy methods worked in the old days, but I’m not so sure they hold water in what I like to call the “social media times.” With seemingly everyone on the planet using sites such as Twitter and Facebook to discuss what we do and do not like, is it really a smart idea to cast yourself in a negative light to get your name on our tongues – or the tips of our fingers?

Indiana-based Hacienda restaurants recently launched a billboard campaign which took pot-shots at the 1978 Jonestown cult massacre, in which more than 900 people died after drinking poisoned kool-aid. Upon seeing the offending signage, one local patron informed the company that “the very notion that a local restaurant would trivialize such a worldwide tragedy to simply increase their sales of cocktails is outrageous to me, and it offended me to the core.”

Hacienda removed the billboards just two weeks after spending the money to erect the messages. Jeff Leslie, vice president of sales and marketing at Hacienda, acknowledged that the billboards were a mistake. “Our role is not to be controversial or even edgy. We want to be noticed — and there’s a difference,” he stated in a press release… and therein lies the problem.

During the Super Bowl this year, Groupon aired a commercial which ticked off people across the country. The masses were offended by the company’s apparent “lack of respect” in poking fun at world problems such as dwindling whale populations and deforestation. The company didn’t do so to be “mean.” They were using those as impetus for you to visit their Save the Money site. Doing so would allow you to donate money to help these causes. The trouble here is that this wasn’t made clear to many people who saw the ad and were simply outraged at the images shown.

This is where we begin to take a look at whether or not bad advertising is a good thing these days. Sure, we talked about both issues ad nauseum. There was a hell of a lot of press generated for both companies. But – and this is a big one – did that PR turn into increased revenue for the companies as it may have in the olden days of advertising? I’m thinking this is a definite no.

Social media fanatics are a finicky bunch. We take the recommendations of our friends and peers seriously. We look to them to figure out whether or not we want to dine at a particular restaurant, shop at a certain store or check out the latest flick at the theater. It stands to reason, then, that we also listen up when they tell us not to visit a particular website. When a business – or person – ticks us off, we tend to shout about it fairly loudly within our Tweet stream and on our Facebook wall. Our friends reiterate the message to their friends, perhaps adding that there’s no way in hell they’d stop by anytime soon after reading this… and we’re off!

It would be interesting to see some type of statistics showing whether or not traffic through Groupon declined or grew after the ad fiasco. I’d also be interested in knowing if anyone has eaten at Hacienda since their infamous billboards showed their faces across the Hoosier State.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that marketing personnel need to be more careful these days to never cross that line into “bad press?” Is it a good idea anymore to make sure your name gets “out there” – no matter what type of talk people are doing?

Are Bloggers Journalists: Are Blogs New Journalism?

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Is blogging the new form of journalism? Should bloggers be held to the same standards as the media? Those questions were asked of me recently in an email, and raise a lot of food for thought.

I don’t know that I’d say blogging is a new form of journalism, no. Blogging is certainly a newer type of writing style. Blogging and journalism aren’t exactly the same, but they achieve the same results. A blogger writes out of passion, out of an extreme interest for a particular topic. Should a blogger then be held to the same standards as the media? I don’t think so, necessarily. I guess it depends on what your definition of a journalist is, as opposed to a blogger. The only difference I can see between the two is content. They’re both there to produce content. Bloggers write because they want to. Journalists write to get paid, because it is their job.

How many times have you had this happen? I’ll get a phone call from someone who wants to interview me, or include me in a story. They’ll take up a few hours of my time, asking tons of questions. Then, of course, they use only one thing I said or the story/comments aren’t used correctly. How many times have you been watching television, and the reporter just totally gets it wrong. You’re yelling at the TV, telling the person on the program that they are wrong! It happens all the time.

This is the main difference I see between bloggers and journalists. Bloggers tend to write what they know, think and feel. Journalists are supposed to give facts, and unfortunately don’t always get them correct.

In many ways, the Blogosphere is like this huge editorial board. If a blogger comes out with something excellent, it will spread like wildfire. It will be validated. Many people feel that bloggers should be held to the same standards as the media. But… what makes “the media?” Heck, I am the media as much as anyone else is. So who draws the line? Who decides what is journalism, and what is merely blogging? Who is the boss when it comes to standards for sets of people?

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This is why the Mainstream Press is DOA

I get misquoted all the time, but… I’m pretty sure I’ve never said the following. An article on SDA Asia Magazine’s Web site (Zune Fails to Crack Top 10 in Sales) contains:

Chris Pirillo, a technology pundit said, “Clearly all the data isn’t in yet, but this definitely pushes the MP3 player out of the pocket and into the realm of social networking. The question, obviously, is what is Apple going to do about this and, as a corollary, how low Apple and Creative shares are selling as we speak? Perhaps MS could create a ‘Zune Inside’ logo for those guys? Or maybe fund a halfway house for under connected MP3 players?”

Are there any other technology pundits named Chris Pirillo out there!? I’m kinda frightened about this, actually. Have you ever had a quote attributed to you without you ever actually giving that quote in the first place? They say any publicity is good publicity, but…