Laz’s lessons in learning how to avoid negative PR
Due to internet permanence and instantaneous feedback, it’s important for anyone online to think about what they’re posting before it’s broadcasted on the newsfeeds of thousands of people.
Adidas failed to consider this when sending out a newsletter to its Adidas Running subscribers on Tuesday, April 18 with an email subject line that read: “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”
While the intention was to encourage subscribers to purchase Adidas gear and apparel, it received some backlash online because of the Boston Marathon terror attack that occurred on April 15, 2013, where a double bombing 12 seconds apart near the finish line killed three people and injured 264.
The German brand quickly apologized and posted a statement on Twitter, which has helped mitigate a lot of the backlash that the company has received. Responses since the apology was issued have been relatively positive, forgiving Adidas’s subject line with many runners stating that ‘surviving’ is a running term commonly used in describing finishing a marathon or race.
Adidas’s PR mistake is a great example of how commiseration can be effectively utilized on proper social media channels to mitigate damage to a company’s reputation. For online users and PR practitioners who want to effectively utilize social media, the mistake also serves as a great lesson: think before you post. For a more detailed look into how to handle a PR crisis, check out my previous post regarding how the multinational oil and gas company BP should have handled its crisis situation.