Posts Tagged ‘bad PR’

If the iPhone 4 Drops a Call in the Forest, Will Anyone Notice?

July 12th, 2010

In the wake of Consumer Report’s recommendation to not buy the iPhone 4, Apple is in a rare predicament – backed into a corner by a trusted product-review entity.  Instead of repeated cycles of fawning tech-relevant press, Apple has played defense to the massive chorus of complaints about the iPhone 4’s antenna woes.

Who knows what miracle Apple will attempt to pull when it releases the much-anticipated iPhone 4 software update.  No doubt Apple’s stakeholders desperately want the update to fix the reception problem – or, at a minimum, stems the tidal wave of bad PR.

With the strongest rumors yet of the iPhone leaving its GSM cage, other wireless providers are understandably loathe to disturb the beast, given that they may have the chance to carry Apple’s products in the future.

That being said… to Apple’s hardware competitors, we’re wondering – where the hell are you?

Why aren’t Motorola, Google, and RIM, which all manufacture alternative smartphones, running 24/7 PR and media operations to reinforce the bad reaction to the iPhone 4’s (current) fatal flaw?  Can you imagine the viral buzz that would generate from an aggressive campaign with a smart and witty ad at its core, one that pokes fun at the iPhone 4’s problematic reception?  Maybe a twist on the “I’m a Mac” ads, where the iPhone 4 keeps dropping calls while the rival Droid/Nexus One/Blackberry works just fine?

Simply put, a reliable tech behemoth like Apple is rarely going to have a product fail on this scale.  When it does, the competition must jump fast and go for the kill.  And, that’s effectively what a PR strategy is all about.

If you think that doesn’t matter, consider the recent obituary of the Microsoft Kin.  Had Apple stumbled closer to the death knell of the Kin, who knows what, ahem, reception that phone would be getting now?

Politician + Backing out of Debate = PR Disaster

June 28th, 2010

The Washington Post reports today that DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has backed out of a mayoral election debate with his top challenger.  So, so, so many things wrong with this move from the PR perspective:

“The Fenty campaign has not responded to e-mails requesting comment.” If you commit to doing a political debate, which Fenty did, then you better have a really solid reason for standing up your date.  This last sentence from the Post’s article is probably the most damning in the eyes of voters and the media.

Big steps require clear explanation. Fenty’s campaign website has no explanation as to his unexcused absence. Whenever your organization is about to take big steps, know that consequences come out of that, and that your stakeholders — this time the voters and the media — are entitled to know why. If there’s a legitimate and honest explanation, then say so.  Otherwise, don’t complain after the fact about the bad PR you’re getting.

• Remedies require 100% accuracy.  To build on the previous point, there may be an innocent reason why Fenty is skipping the debate. But smart PR requires you to explain why and do so immediately. In other words, a great excuse has a very short shelf-life. If you don’t get the word out fast, any attempt to remedy your missteps will already be lost in the news cycle.

The image is terrible. Fenty has been the target of several bad Post headlines lately, so this misstep only adds to the miserable PR pattern.

It’s been a hot start to the DC summer, but at this rate, Fenty’s campaign could soon be put on ice.