Why Quirky PR Doesn’t Always Work….

By Megan Morgan, Senior Account Executive

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the last few weeks, you’ll have clocked the storm brewing on social thanks to #bloggergate.

For those not so immersed in the Twittersphere – influencer and YouTuber Elle Darby put her shellacked and Louboutin-ed foot in it by sending a misinformed pitch to controversy-hungry Dublin hotel White Moose Café.

What started as an innocent, yet albeit unprofessional, collaboration request, and a bolshy response from White Moose owner Paul Stenson, quickly crept past the quirky line and became cruel.

Bloggers were banned, T shirts were made, and invoices were sent with both sides of the debate sharpening their pitchforks and baying for blood online.

There’s a fine line between making people laugh and launching a witch hunt, and blogger gate is an example of when a quirky PR response doesn’t know when to stop.

Being the right kind of edgy can work, but it’s like tending a bonfire. You can keep everyone happy and warm but add one too many logs and it’s out of control. But there are some who do it right.

Recently, Poundland has caused a stir with its ‘lewd’ toy elf. While its tea-bagging and hot tub antics resulted in a ban by the ASA – the public response was overwhelmingly positive with many praising the budget shops humour and wit.

US fast food chain Wendy’s regularly scores coverage for its tongue in cheek responses to customer queries on social, as does Old Spice.

And Bodyform came out on top in 2012 when its satirical video response to a Facebook rant went viral.

Quirky PR responses can, when done right, disperse crisis, win over critics and procure a few laughs. In White Moose’s case it can end up in International news coverage. But it can quickly turn sour and have lasting reputation-damaging effects. The bottom line: tread with caution. You can be edgy yet remain ethical. Don’t be quirky for quirky’s sake. If it’s on brand, great. If not, stick to what you know!