Kylie Jenner, Ronaldo, Elon Musk -
what do all these people have in common ?
Other than being super famous, their ‘small’ actions have got scandal to the doorstep of some of the biggest brands, due to their immense influence.
‘Influencers’ are trending nowadays- standing up for what they believe in and voicing their opinion. While this helps them support brands, many times they have also been the face behind the biggest brand PR calamities.
Let's revisit the best of Celebrity Calamity:
#1 RAHUL BOSE AND JW MARRIOTT
Luxury hotels are used to celebrities staying with them, but they aren't accustomed to getting a fine over a pair of Bananas!
YES, you read that right. Actor, Rahul Bose who was staying at JW Marriott Chandigarh, had ordered two bananas post his workout at the hotel's gym and was handed with a bill of Rs 442.50 (including GST), which pretty much made him go bananas!
He took this matter to Twitter and Instagram via a tongue-in-cheek video, which garnered a whole lot of negative publicity for JW Marriott and a fine of Rs. 25,000 for over-charging by the Excise and Taxation Department.
#2 ELON MUSK AND BITCOIN
“Erratic, unstable, reckless”- These are the adjectives that have been used to describe Musk’s tweeting style.
Musk and Bitcoin have had an uneasy relationship. Initially, he said on social media that he supported Bitcoin and that Tesla was even going to accept cryptocurrency for payments, making bitcoin touch all time highs.
However, in the next few months in another tweet he mentioned suspending all Bitcoin payments.
His abrupt and impulsive tweets always send shocks in the crypto market, which end up costing Bitcoin and the customers heavily.
#3 LEBRON JAMES AND SAMSUNG
When you're the spokesman for tech giant Samsung, you’d better be careful what you tweet from the phone you’re being paid to promote.
Samsung was delighted to secure the services of LeBron James to promote their new Samsung Galaxy Note III in 2014.
James was the perfect celebrity influencer for Samsung to win market share away from Apple. Sadly for them, when Lebron’s Samsung phone had a meltdown he decided to tweet about it to his 12 million followers.
Samsung faced a lot of flack and it turned out to be one of the biggest embarrassments for Samsung’s promotional efforts to pose celebrities next to its products.
#4 KYLIE JENNER AND SNAPCHAT
Influencers have an ‘affect transfer’. I like Kylie Jenner. Kylie Jenner likes a particular brand. So I like the brand, and it sums up the affect transfer process.
This is exactly what Snapchat fell prey to in 2018, when Kylie Jenner tweeted about disliking Snapchat’s latest redesign making it difficult to navigate through the app.
Without even being an official influencer of the brand, her one tweet made the app lose $1.3 billion of its market valuation in a split second.
This occurred due to Jenner's extraordinary influence on the platform, especially amongst the app’s main demographics- GenZ and Millennials.
#5 RONALDO AND COCA COLA
The great Ronaldo- coca cola fiasco is on everyone’s mind today.
Cristiano Ronaldo created a stir worldwide when he removed two bottles of Coca-Cola, asking everyone to drink water rather than consuming the soft drink during the recent press conference in Euro 2020.
This move did not only cost Coca cola a $4 billion loss in its valuation but brands like Heineken also felt the pinch as other football players started following in Ronaldo’s footsteps.
“One man's loss is another man's gain” and this cannot be further from the truth. Brands tend to capitalize on the current hot topics and leverage the negative publicity received by other brands to their advantage, thus giving rise to ‘MOMENT MARKETING’
THE BEST TOPICAL ADS CAPTURING THE ESSENCE OF MOMENT MARKETING
#RAHULBOSEMOMENT - It wasn't only the hospitality players but also the big e-commerce platforms and FMCGs, who hopped onto this moment marketing brandwagon.
#RONALDOCOCACOLA - From skin care brands to food delivery apps, every brand took the opportunity to promote their own products in a witty way referring to the viral Ronaldo moment at Euro Cup 2020.
While everyone talks about the Fevicol ad, here are some other stellar examples of brands picking up on the Ronaldo- Coca Cola moment.
#ELONANDBITCOIN - Finally we cannot forget Elon Musk and his impulsive tweets that often lead to a whole series of creative topical posts curated by different brands.
TURNING NEGATIVE BRAND PR TO AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SELF- REFLECTION AND IMPROVEMENT
Listening to ‘badvocates’ can offer brands a lot of fodder for self-reflection along with helping improve their communication efforts and product offers for the future.
The Speed with which a brand responds to such negative publicity is what makes all the difference.
A proactive and direct approach should be adopted by brands. Today, as long as brands focus on safeguarding their customers and actively fix problems, they are likely to prevent too much of a PR-storm and come out of the negative publicity wave much sooner!
Author: Jennifer Jagose