Editorial: PR Gone Wrong
Executive vice president Mary Ann Rivers then chimed in with a quote: "Valassis is a true one-stop shop. Our customers are trying to squeeze more time out of each business day. Our service allows them to do that. ... Lots of companies are only able to do one or two parts of the operation in-house and then have to go to a printer or another company to complete the project. ... We have it all under one roof." The company rounded out the release by quoting Rivers some more and detailing its services. It also mentioned where its printing and manufacturing facilities are located and -- don't forget -- its "status as Fortune Magazine's 29th Best Company to Work for in America."
What gives? Does Valassis have a quota to fill with the fee-based PR Newswire? Earlier this month, the company introduced its Shopper Connection product. That's news worth announcing, so it doesn't seem like Valassis is just looking for another headline or two. Here's a tip in getting some media coverage: Don't put out a release that says, "We have nothing new this week, but please write about us anyway." You'll only end up with wary reporters who put every word you say under a microscope. Instead, pick up the telephone and call a journalist ... and feed him some news.
Meanwhile, Abercrombie & Fitch continues to solidify its top spot as the Master of Bad PR with criticism over its decision to sell thong underwear -- with the words "eye candy" and "wink wink" -- to young girls. So far, the company's stance has been a lame statement that the underwear "was created with the intent to be lighthearted and cute. Any misrepresentation of that is purely in the eye of the beholder." This latest blip may be A&F's most damaging if parents have anything to say about it.