You might sometimes hear that often touted phrase that ‘no publicity is bad publicity’.
Well, we suspect that wasn’t the way the CEO’s or brand managers of Lush and Mastercard were feeling last week.
The campaign disasters of both these major brands go way beyond the ‘oops’ and way more into the ‘out of order’.
I’m the first to tell my clients that I want them to think about ‘having a voice’, considering what story it is they ‘really’ have to tell, and what side of the fence they sit on this topic, that global issue, or another charitable need. But I’m always clear, that having a political or ethical intention, and even a strongly held opinion in their smallest of local community, must only be part of communication activity if it’s thought-through, appropriate, and articulated well.
Lush has long been a brand which has jumped on the soapbox to campaign about political and ethical issues.
No doubt that’s what’s secured them a loyal consumer following over the years (it reminds me of how Anita Roddick’s brand-storytelling ‘back in the day’ had us schoolgirls deeply dedicated to only ever purchasing our beauty goods from good old Body Shop). But there are ways and means of getting any message across – and this was sorely misguided.
On the one hand, the policing body and its supporters were left livid at seemingly being ridiculed in a broad-brush manner, but beyond those connected with the force, other consumers were just left ‘utterly confused’. The creative alignment took such explanation, that it ultimately ended up appearing like nothing more than publicity-grabbing and attention seeking.
Which brings us on neatly to Mastercard…
Again, one could argue that the brand wanted to reinforce its ethical commitment and its support of global charitable issues. Nonetheless, what ACTUALLY came across, was crass stupidity at associating the prospect of a child eating (and being prevented from ultimate death) with whether some guy scores a goal in a football game.
As with Lush, you wonder whether the creative conception exercise lost all sight of any ethical or CSR stance, and became only about whether more column inches would be gained.
Perhaps all these brands are so worried about losing regular daily contact through the implications of GDPR that they’re doing whatever ill-judged ‘notice me’ activities they can, just to make sure their brand name is not forgotten!
Whatever the motivation, both certainly got their share of headlines this week…ones which have served neither party any good at all in terms of brand respect and reputation.
Here at Lexia, we’re experts in dealing with crisis communications and reputation management, so if require some assistance in this area, or would like some training to help avoid a PR fail, please get in touch with us today.
- Posted by deborah
- On 10th June 2018
- 0 Comments