PR Fallout from Recent Ads

February 15, 2019


Hi everyone! Crayton Webb here – Owner and CEO of Sunwest Communications with Two Minutes of Insight. Always interesting, a couple weeks after the Super Bowl to look at the Super Bowl ads and the public relations fallout that might have come from those. Several interesting ads this year. We saw Bud Light criticize its competitors over the use of corn syrup, kind of taking a health and wellness nutrition bent, if you will. We saw Gillette attacking the old term “boys will be boys” and looking at what manhood is all about. And then another one that ended up being somewhat controversial on social media, we saw Jeep crush an old Gladiator, and several folks on social media attacking them for not thinking about sustainability. So what are the lessons here? What are the takeaways? Well first and foremost, always great for a brand to be provocative, right? To get people thinking and talking. You remember the old adage, “all publicity is good publicity” – not necessarily true anymore in the world of social media, but still interesting to be thought-provoking and get people talking. Second, more and more brands, as we’ve discussed before, are focusing on being socially responsible and taking a more activist position. Sometimes that can backfire, but also it can show that a brand has heart and is thinking about solving some of society’s biggest problems. Third is, are they memorable? There was just a couple of years ago that another car company used Paul Harvey’s “God Made a Farmer” voice over for their commercial. It was very interesting but nobody remembered who the commercial was for or what they were advertising. Overall, the lesson from the PR perspective is that we, as brands, when we’re marketing, have to think about when our marketing materials are going out and not being tone-deaf to some of the sensitive issues that are going on in the news right now and we have to be able to pivot quickly enough to make sure that we’re not inadvertently shooting ourselves in the foot and creating a social media crisis as we try to tell our story. And that’s Two Minutes of Insight from Sunwest Communications.

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