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bad publicity

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Doing the right thing - a smart PR move

It’s always great to see when a sensible business gets their PR so right in a proactive manner.

For anyone that ever spent 5 minutes in a car in Southern California, they are (without doubt) bound to have heard the rather dodgy sounding radio commercial for 1-800-GET THIN and their revolutionary lap-band procedures that will have you dropping 125 lbs and whizzing around shopping malls in no time. Oh, and your insurance will cover it. But hurry – this offer won’t be around forever.

OK – so the commercial is really, really tacky and their jingle sounds no better when my 9 year old suddenly starts humming it.  You listen to this advert and you know, instinctively, that something is wrong. Somehow you visualize yourself walking into a very dirty and smelly waiting room and being helped by personal that don’t look qualified to take your temperature – let alone open your stomach up.

California has some very large people, and when you live in a city that chooses to wear sweat-pants and do yoga on the beach, you know you got to look good. It therefore stands to reason that there is some very serious amount of business here.  And as any savvy businessperson has probably already worked out, 1-800-GET-THIN is really only a marketing company – that in turn provides leads to independent clinics that in turn provide surgery using Allergan’s Lap-Band weight-loss device.

What do you do when you provide the devise that according to lawsuits is central to five Southern California patients whom have died since 2009 following Lap-Band surgeries at clinics affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN?  You do the right thing.

Allergan today announce that they will no longer sell its Lap-Band weight-loss device to companies affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing company. In a business where everyone is chasing the dollar and making their next quarterly goals for financial pundits, this is the right thing to do. From a business perspective, while it’s never easy to turn down sales, in this instance the PR team is handling what could be a PR crisis very well.

Good luck to Allergan Inc – smart PR move.

Now hopfully my 9-year-old can stop humming that stupidly anoying jingle.

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There is no such thing as bad publicity...

...except your own obituary - according to the Irish author & dramatist Brendan Behan.

It might seem contradictory that any kind of success might follow from scandal: but scandal attracts attention, and this attention (whether gossip or bad press or any other kind) is sometimes the beginning of notoriety and/or other successes. Today, the often-used cynical phrase "no such thing as bad publicity" is indicative of the extent to which "success by scandal" is a part of modern culture.

BP used to be British Petroleum. Then it reinvented itself as Beyond Petroleum, extending the enterprise beyond black gold and becoming a major investor in new energy technologies.

All that counts for little now that the full extent of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is becoming clear. BP is now the acronym for Bad Publicity.

No doubt, like in many crisis situations, within the first few frightening hours, BP's lawyers and public relations teams presented to BP's board their views on how the company should respond. It's clear that the lawyers won. "Shift the blame onto someone else." And that is indeed what BP did in the immediate aftermath of the story breaking. BP blamed their contractors.

So, the continued interest/disgust in BP, their actions and their disaster-prone crisis communications begs the question, when does bad publicity become detrimental?

The cost so far:
* BP has agreed to create a $20 billion fund to compensate those affected
* An alleged $50 million on a television advertising campaign
* About $1 billion off their brand value according to some studies
* More than $100 billion in market value
* Stock is worth less than half the $60 or so it was selling for on the day of the explosion
* Oh, and who knows what on-the ground cleanup and PR support is costing?

Three years after the cleanup operation has completed its work - what will be the perception of BP?

When will BP (or will it ever) break even from the costs occurred and the missed opportunity cost? We will probably never know.

Maybe there is such a thing as bad publicity or at least a cost for bad publicity.

How do you value bad publicity?

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