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So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Case studies from famous public shamings and insight into how the affect the psyche.
Great insights into public relations pickles and strategies; fascinating case studies and learnable warnings to always think before speaking... or tweeting.
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Sunny Co. Red Swimmer in Hot Water
Sunny Co Red Hot Swimmer is in some Hot Water.
You may have seen a Baywatch style swimsuit clogging up your Insta feed this week. Sunny Co posted this photo and encouraged their fans to share the image with the promise of a free swimsuit… for EVERYONE who participated. Hours later, they had more than 50,000 reposts- unfortunately more than they actually had product for.
Thousands of excited young girls eagerly hopped over to the Sunny Co website to send for their free swimsuit only to find they were being charged full price. A full day later, the company posted a clarifying image with contest rules and reserving the right to cap the freebies when they deemed necessary. And the next day they posted an apology letter.
What can we learn from this?
- Always, always, always be mindful of what you put out there publicly. Words matter. If you’re new in business, hire a lawyer to review content, or do a small friends and family focus group.
- Prepare for success. Sunny Co is run by two entrepreneurs who admittedly did not anticipate success. When they were handed success, they weren’t prepared to receive it. Not every post or campaign will go viral, but you should always plan as if it could.
- Know what you’re willing to give away. By honoring every repost, Sunny Co could well go out of business. They have an option to take that risk, or take the risk of peeving off their customers by squelching on their promise. Not a fun position to be in.
- Honesty is the best policy. There are a few different known tactics to approaching a public apology. A) Deny, B) Ignore, C) Spin (aka blame game), D) Own it. Ultimately, these things tend to blow over. In our opinion, Sunny Co did they best they could, and with some follow up PR and marketing, they will probably turn out ok.
- Being boss doesn’t mean you have to run everything. The basics of marketing are simple, and we won’t deny that in this modern day with social media and technology, pretty much anyone can do it. But not everyone is meant to manage marketing. Running a business is tough. There are a lot of things to manage and balance without having to also worry about advertising and PR. If Sunny Co had worked with a PR professional, they could have avoided the unclear post from the get-go, or they could have realized its success and posted a clarifying photo in less than 24 hours. There is value in letting someone else do what they are really good at so you can focus on what you’re really good at.