Category: Media Relations

The haste of organisations to avoid criticism has been spotted by journalists, who now use the PR industry’s thoughtless “apologise and dump” strategy to create even more public criticism. This appears to be what happened with the New Zealand Herald’s ‘sexist Santa’ story. The Auckland Santa parade organisers unceremoniously dumped their long-term Santa provider who…

On RNZ’s Checkpoint this week, John Campbell ridiculed comments by Genesis Energy CEO Marc England on the basis that he “could hear the media training” in them.   Campbell meant that the England’s message about Genesis becoming an energy management company was boring and unnatural.   His frustration revealed that a lot of what CEOs…

Within minutes of a power outage in Wellington today, punters were speculating on the reasons.   Power began being restored after two hours, along with a reason for the outage – a substation equipment failure.   But rumours about the outage had already spread rapidly on the streets where office workers unshackled from dead computers…

When people communicate, we often use words we know other people like. But this causes trouble when our meaning of the word is different to theirs.   For example, it’s de rigueur to talk about “vulnerable” people. But what we mean by using this word is extremely variable. Is it poor, aged, adolescent, female…? And…

New research reveals that New Zealand institutions are failing to deliver effective public communication about imminent natural hazards.   Most of us know the story of the boy who cried wolf. In the versions popularized in the 1500s, the tale-telling boy is not believed when a wolf does appear. In some versions of the story…

If you insist on making an unpopular decision then at least have the courage to stick by it.   Sky TV broke into its coverage of the All Blacks test to play an advertisement after the haka. Within 24 hours of the resulting viewer criticism they backed down, promising the ads wont air in the…

When public safety is threatened people seek reassurance in the simple answers, even though they may be the wrong ones.  Organisations can use this to their advantage.   In the weeks following the Grenfell fire a particular type of cladding has been singled out as the cause.   Of course, the cause of the fire…

Many self-inflicted publicity wounds are the fault of your marketing department.   We’ve seen some notable examples within a past few weeks. Pepsi was mocked for an absurd “attitude” advert about people dancing and protesting for peace and diversity while drinking the fizzy stuff.   Cadbury was pilloried for removing the word “Easter” from a…

Some days, especially on LinkedIn, the sheer weight of corporate marketing about “doing good” is depressing.   Heart-sleeves point-scoring is made worse for knowing it has zero impact on sales.   This was demonstrated in a series of revealing studies outlined in The Myth of the Ethical Consumer. They revealed that while consumers profess social…

Three brothers were part of a team that invented a portable medical diagnosis device for an innovation competition.   Which of the two photos above is the best one to help tell the story about their technology? The one of the three brothers dressed up as Star Trek figures holding their Dr McCoy version of…