When A PR Move Goes Wrong

This business meant well when it seized two opportunities to spread the word about its  after school program. Volunteers placed fliers on car windshields parked for the Lakeland Christmas Parade and downtown Lakeland’s monthly First Friday celebration.

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But when your advertisement becomes litter in an area that is beloved by those who live, play and work there, this does nothing to build and maintain a positive public image for your business.

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Our advice: think your idea through and consider every eventuality. In this case, it would’ve been wise to check with the local police department or code enforcement office to determine whether this type of promotion is legal in this city. A search of city ordinances also would have been a good idea. Some cities don’t allow it because of the litter issue.
The rest of the story: complaints were made to this business via Facebook because their fliers littered the streets for days after being placed on windshields. The business owner apologized. It was privately suggested that the business, as a good faith gesture, pick up the littered fliers. It did not. When you have a public relations misstep, it’s always a good idea to do what you can to rectify the situation. This business owner could’ve turned this misstep into a public relations opportunity by stating publicly that he was going to rectify the situation, and sending out a few volunteers to pick up the litter. He could’ve taken photos of his volunteers at work and posted them to his business’s Facebook page. We feel certain this would’ve generated likes and favorable comments. We feel as though this business passed up that opportunity.