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Edelman PR gets bad PR this week

20th August 2014


Bad PR

Edelman PR attempts to fix the fallout of its comments on Robin Williams’ death and the suggestion of taking on clients that deny climate change

In today’s connected world, it just takes one example of bad public judgement to become a running story. And that is what has happened to Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR firm, in August. It’s an agency’s worst nightmare, to become the subject of news.

The company put out an unfortunate blog, titled ‘Carpe Diem’, that describes Williams’ suicide as an “opportunity to engage in a national conversation. His death yesterday created a carpe diem moment for mental health professionals and those people who have suffered with depression and want to make a point about the condition and the system that treats it.”

The resulting outcry forced Edelman to apologise for the comment. This incident came off the back of a story in the Guardian on the 4th of August that said that Edelman PR “did not explicitly rule out taking on climate deniers as clients.” The story included an early internal email that was inadvertently forwarded by Edelman that said that, “I don’t believe we are obligated in any way to respond. There are only wrong answers for this guy.”

The two incidents together have prompted an article in The New York Times about measures the firm now plans to take to prevent such public gaffes.

Good PR

Colgate creates a story around the launch of its charcoal toothbrush with #WhatTheBlack

Few people associate the colour charcoal with a toothbrush. To get around this challenge, Colgate created a story around the colour black using #WhatTheBlack, earning a strong media buzz.

According to Campaign India Colgate reached out to key online influencers by building a narrative around the colour black. Influencers were sent surprises such as a black newspaper and a black egg, followed by a black tissue and a black cup:


The final product was of course a toothbrush:

The campaign was created by Red Fuse Communications and executed by Candid Marketing.

Maybelline uses #ColossalCab at colleges to publicise its Kolossal Kajal range

Maybelline is using free cab rides at colleges to connect with their young consumers.

First an invite from current young Bollywood rage Alia Bhatt:

Consumers who spot the Colossal Cab get a free cab for the weekend and a chance to win gifts:



Have you seen any good and bad PR?

Write to Paarul Chand at paarul@prmoment.in or tweet @PaarulC or @PRmomentIndia throughout the week and we’ll happily credit you for your trouble.

Written by Paarul Chand+, PRmoment.in


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