CBS mocks ABC in fake press release. Good PR move?

CBS takes a jab at its competitor in a sarcastic press release after losing in court last week. Is it winning the PR war?


Did you hear that CBS sued ABC over its new show, “The Glass House“?

Apparently CBS thinks it’s a direct rip-off of “Big Brother,” the reality show that follows a group of strangers who live together in a house and films them 24/7.

To be fair, “The Glass House” also follows a group of strangers who live together in a completely wired and state-of-the-art house. The only difference? The audience gets to vote on who stays and goes.

CBS lost a battle last week when a judge denied the restraining order which would prevent ABC from airing the show.

The fake news release

But CBS wasn’t finished. It issued a news release announcing the development of a new show called “Dancing on the Stars.”

See for yourself:

“Subsequent to recent developments in the creative and legal community, CBS Television today felt it was appropriate to reveal the upcoming launch of an exciting, ground-breaking and completely original new reality program for the CBS Television Network. Moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen.”

And in follow-up interviews, a CBS spokesperson added:

“This very creative enterprise will bring a new sense of energy and fun that’s totally unlike anything anywhere else, honest. Given the current creative and legal environment in the reality programming business, we’re sure nobody will have any problem with ‘Dancing on the Stars’ or our upcoming half-hour comedy for prime time, ‘Postmodern Family.’ After all, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

I personally like “honest” at the end of the first sentence. The sarcasm gives me great joy!

Too far?

But did CBS take this too far?

I know there have been situations where I’ve wanted to do the same. Heck, we have a former client we haven’t worked with for nearly two years that Istill want to call out in writing—maybe even in my weekly “Crain’s Chicago Business” column.

But I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do this. (In the case of the former client, I clearly don’t.)

My take? Bravo, CBS! After all, CBS is right. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

What do you think?

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro, blogger at Spin Sucks, and co-author of “Marketing in the Round.”

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Topics: PR

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