Posts Tagged ‘E-TRADE’

Litigation PR: Lindsay Lawsuit Is the Best Press Possible for E*TRADE

March 9th, 2010

“Never interrupt your enemy when [she] is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

“Bizarre Media Aesthetic” seems a more appropriate category than “Litigation Public Relations” for this blog article: today delusional personality celebrity Lindsay Lohan sued E*TRADE, the online financial transaction powerhouse, for $100 million in damages.  Here’s the miserable play-by-play:

E*TRADE’s current ad campaign showcases its mascot, a wise-cracking baby who brags about the company in simulated video chats.  In the most recent ad the E*TRADE baby chats with a girl his age, who accuses him of flirting with another baby girl named “Lindsay” who has a compulsive milk-drinking habit.  As the E*TRADE baby attempts to deny this, baby Lindsay’s face appears and interrupts the chat.  Hilarity ensues.

Lohan’s lawsuit claims that E*TRADE purposely included her “name, characterization and personality” in the ad, that she has not “given her consent” for such usage, thus violating her “right of privacy … causing injury” and entitling her to $100 million.  Hilarity ensues.

• Um, wow…

Normally when a company is involved in a high-stakes lawsuit, they seek litigation public relations support.  A common step such companies often forget (or ignore) is placing a prominent statement on their website to stop the press and others from drawing any conclusions.  As of today, E*TRADE hasn’t taken that step.  But, maybe this is the best move by E*TRADE.

First, we don’t even need to get into the merits of the lawsuit.  The Blog Aesthetic will go out on a limb and predict outright dismissal, not to mention the possibility of ethics sanctions against Lohan’s lawyers for filing frivolous litigation.  The more important thing is that celebrity media is probably the loudest, highest-profile, social-media saturated platform that exists.  As Lohan’s antics frequently vault her to the bottom top of this heap, the lawsuit will shove E*TRADE into glaring headlines for at least the next few days.

However, given the absurdity of the lawsuit, E*TRADE should simply heed Napoleon’s advice as Lohan’s own statements will likely destroy any shred of credibility behind her allegations.  This will direct any and all sympathy toward E*TRADE as the sensible party, and the company then can relax and bask in the glow of millions of dollars of free publicity, courtesy of an errant actress and ethically-compromised attorneys.