It is not uncommon, in an effort to be topical and edgy, for advertisers to say things they regret. It takes PR savvy to quickly recover from such a mistake.
One of our readers alerted us to a surprising example of how NOT to recover — and the most interesting part is that the mistake was made by PR News, an outfit that publishes newsletters, blogs, guidebooks and other resources which they say hone PR practitioners skills in things like media relations and crisis management.
It seems PR News sent out a blast email this week trying to get businesses to buy some of their products. The email talked about how to “score big” in business and carried the subject line: “Don’t be like Wichita State.”
Apparently the theory was that the subject might catch the eye of folks following the NCAA basketball championships. What PR News failed to understand is that it would offend supporters of the Wichita State basketball team which had just lost in the tournament following a 35-0 start to the season.
According to the Wichita Eagle, Barth Hague, the school’s associate vice president for university relations and chief marketing officer, sent an email to PR News objecting and requesting a “full and formal apology.”
PR News’s VP for marketing, Amy Jefferies responded in a note saying:
“Hi Beth – I am truly sorry for this oversight on our part and any stress this has caused you…”
In an effort to make good Jefferies added: “Are there any PR News products I can offer you and your team free of charge – Guidebooks, a PR News subscription or conference attendance?”t lesson has been learned by my team for future promotions.”