When a bad day at the office turns into bad PR

Next time punch a cashion

I have just seen a most fabulous example of bad PR on a website. It’s so bad I thought I’d share it with you as it illustrates how important it is for a company to regularly check their internet profile. I’m talking about more than just indiscrete photos on Facebook here.

I was browsing this morning on the Birds on the Blog site, checking how my latest gardening post was going when I stumbled across this. An internet Bingo company had approached Sarah the site owner and suggested that they would be a good match for advertising. Now, anyone who has ever looked at this blog would know immediately that a site aimed at ‘business women of opinion’ is unlikely to have that many bingo fans. Sarah politely declined the offer and was sent the following email in return.

“We are of the opinion that women thick enough to read your mundane blog posts would surely love bingo. Your dimwit readership and our exciting bingo games would be a perfect match. Would you reconsider?”

Bitchy or what? The company is called Overture Interactive and their saleswoman, Ewelina, has done them no favours. She’s insulted not only the site but her own product users too.

As we go through our working and personal lives we all get frustrated when things don’t go our way. It’s often tempting, and sometimes happens, that a jokey reply is drafted as a response. But only an idiot would send it.

I would imagine Ewelina’s job is one where she experiences frequent declines for her advertising packages as it’s a similar approach to cold calling – it just happens to be on the internet.

And that’s the issue. While her response to being turned down might have made her feel better when she sent it, how’s she going to react when her boss realises that her comments have gone global? Things have changed in the way companies now operate and how they attempt to reach their clients. Small mistakes can’t be hidden as easily in-house as once an errant slip up in the marketing department might have been.

If she thought yesterday was a bad day at the office, I’ve a feeling that today will be a whole lot worse.

Internet marketing does work – for good or bad. Just make sure that you leave the correct impression.


We’d love to know of any other really bad examples of internet marketing as they always make for interesting reading. If you have any send them into us and we’ll highlight them.

The press are only interested in bad news……

This is a mantra I hear frequently when people talk about the traditional media and it always shows me how little we consider where news comes from.


News comes from human beings who are doing things – journalists have no magic wands, their job is not rocket science, it’s about dealing with and spreading information – and that’s all.


It’s so easy to blame things on the ‘press’ or increasingly on ‘social media’ as a convenient get-out clause without considering how news gets to us journalists.


The truth is bad news reaches the public domain very quickly in the UK and it’s easily accessible.

Often a bad news story will involve a public body at some point – public bodies are publicly accountable, spending our money and they have to be seen to be doing their job. So bad news comes via the police, the ambulance service, the local authority, industrial tribunals, courts, etc etc.


Bad news is also quite unusual and that can make it appealing. If you look at a newspaper, for example, how many of the lead stories are negative rather than positive?

Good news is much harder to sell because it’s so commonplace. There are good news stories all around us. Did someone smile at you today? Were babies born at the local hospital today? Was it someone’s birthday today? Do you expect all of these ‘good news’ stories to make headlines? The truth is a lot of good news is so common in any village, town or city that it’s mundane. You cannot full a newspaper with stories about people’s birthdays – who would read it?


So if you are building a brand, publicizing an event, you have to make it stand out from the crowd, make it easy for the journalist to use your story and trust the information. Like anything else it needs to be packaged correctly to have a chance of making it out there.


That involves not only the story but timing – if it’s a slow news day you might stand a better chance of publicity. Timing is as important as anything else. We can’t control what goes on in the world on any given day  but we can play the odds – it’s likely that a local newspaper will not have a big news story every day of the week. And with social media, get the news out there, several times if necessary.


cafe in Ireland with words 'come on in, the kettle's on the boil'

Why do the press seem to like 'bad news'?

Tip: There are no guarantees with PR – it’s about playing the odds, knowing the individuals, hitting the right note at the right time and acting quickly when opportunities arise.

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