Image credit: @phigits.
Public relations is difficult, but here is a very basic lesson. If you’re thinking about using the recent kidnapping and murder of a baby to advertise your products, don’t. Seriously. Don’t.
As the sad events in Changchun, in which a car was stolen with a baby inside who was subsequently murdered, were unfolding, some bright spark at a Buick dealership in Liaoning thought it would be a good idea to post the following on Weibo (since deleted, obviously):
A few thoughts following the Changchun stolen car incident: When buying a car it’s completely okay to choose higher technology. Tianhe Buicks carry the OnStar GPS system, allowing the lockdown of a stolen vehicle at any time and place. An easy heart, a piece of mind, likewise why not buy a completely safe Buick!!!!! Sales Hotline: 024-86547880 86547881 QQ:521279389 2523275273 www.inthbuick.com.
Weibo users were unsurprisingly incensed, and the company swiftly apologised:
A solemn apology: At 11:45 pm on March 5 Liaoning Tianhe Buick improperly posted to its Weibo. To the family of the victims and to the public, we very deeply apologize for any emotional damage and hurt feelings.
This didn’t stop ‘Liaoning Tianhe Buick’ being the second highest trending topic on Wednesday, a fact that was made worse by Weibo’s contextual advertising which showed Buick ads next to posts excoriating the company.
[Via: Brand Channel, Beijing Cream]