PR Fallout from Recent Ads

February 15, 2019

Let’s face it, not everyone is a die-hard football fanatic. Everyone watches the Super Bowl, but not necessarily for the same reasons. Some watch for the game itself, others watch for the halftime show or the commercials. Regardless, Super Bowl commercials, and the public relations fallout that might have come from those, are always a trending topic for weeks following the game.

Get People Talking

Some interesting ads include Bud Light criticizing its competitors for using corn syrup, which is them seemingly taking a health and wellness nutrition position. Gillette used the old phrase “boys will be boys” to challenge manhood, and a Jeep crushed a Gladiator which led to some attacking sustainability on social media. What can we learn from these? In order to get the audience’s attention, you have to be provocative and get people talking. The old phrase “all publicity is good publicity” is not necessarily true, but it is interesting and thought-provoking.

Social Responsibility and Corporate Activism

Brands are constantly increasing their focus on corporate social responsibility and taking activist positions. Even though it can backfire, it shows that the brand has a heart and is concerned about solving some of society’s biggest problems. It also increases relatability and allows consumers to feel more connected to a brand. Shared values are a great way to increase brand loyalty.

Are They Memorable?

Getting people talking is one thing, but doing something memorable is another. Several years ago, another car company used Paul Harvey’s “God Made a Farmer” voice-over for their commercial. The problem was, no one remembered what the commercial was for or why it was significant. The main lesson from a PR perspective is that, as brands, we have to think about what is being sent out. We can’t be tone-deaf to sensitive issues, and we can’t inadvertently shoot ourselves in the foot by creating a social media crisis while trying to tell our story.

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