Bad Publicity Stunts

bad_publicity_and_the_pressHold Your Wee for a Wii. Unfortunately there have been times when publicity stunts are not only foolish, but entirely irresponsible. This is just one such example. In 2007, the Sacramento radio station KDND 107.9 held a competition to see who could drink the most water without visiting the bathroom. The individual who drank the most was to be the winner of a Nintendo Wii. The event, though apparently comical and danger free, went terribly wrong when one of the contestants was later found dead in her home of water intoxication. The woman, Jennifer Strange, had consumed significantly more than a safe quantity of water, and died as a result. While it can be said that she should not have had so much water, it is not the way of the world for people to act rationally – especially when free things are involved.

Free Speeding Tickets for a day. Prior to the 2002 launch of “Burnout 2: Point of Impact”, game publisher Acclaim decided to listen to the idiot in marketing who suggested they pay off all speeding tickets issued in the UK on the day the game was released. The company was immediately slammed with promoting reckless driving. The police soon got involved, and thankfully the idea never became a reality. If you have a marketing person that comes up with this jewel, you may have hired the wrong firm. (Or, tell them to avoid Hwy 50 at East Bidwell at the beginning of the month.)

Consumer Deaths Save the Government Money. In 2001, a Philip Morris study conducted in the Czech Republic, published findings which stated that smoking saves the government money. Most people already believe that smoking provides the government with cash flow through tax revenue, but this study had something even better to offer. It stated that 24-30 million dollars are saved by the government each year, thanks to decreased lifespan as a result of smoking. All of this seems fairly logical: smoking does have the unfortunate side effect of reducing life span, and this does save the government money – albeit in a rather unpleasant way. Here’s where the relevance to this newsletter comes in: the company who published the findings was a tobacco giant. It seems to me that discussing the benefits of your consumers’ or clients’ deaths is probably not a smart business move.

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