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The Public Relations Dilemma

Posted by Media Relations on Tuesday, September 20th, 2005 - Comments »

Is it ever appropriate to use someone’s personal tragedy to promote a company’s name and brand?

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many companies are eager to piggy back off this news item to gain media coverage of their own. Indeed, PR specialists are quick to announce that their company or client has made a generous donation to the hurricane relief efforts.

It is, however, a win-win situation. The Red Cross receives more and more donations and those companies donating, in turn receive media exposure.

Perhaps, then, we cannot even criticize people’s motivations when PR is actually contributing to the relief effort. If the fight for media coverage is encouraging people to donate, at least the outcome can only be positive for those people in desperate need of financial aid.

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