Why some smart PR pros love trouble

Deliberately bad press adds heat — and garners gobs of attention.

Deliberately bad press adds heat — and garners gobs of attention

It would almost seem a given that corporations want to keep their noses clean, appear politically correct, and have positive articles written about them.

For 95 percent of PR outreach, this is the norm.

However, there is no law that says you have to swim with the rest of the school. Sometimes it is a perfectly sound PR tactic to stir the waters on purpose, as long as it does not involve lying.

I liken it to the long-in-the-tooth media habit of tallying up “best” lists. “Best of” lists are a dime a dozen and often have the “so what?” factor built right into them.

When music magazine Blender ranks its best songs of the year, they include the same records we see on everybody else’s list. Press-wise, it’s a non-starter.

But when you devise “worst” lists, the buzz becomes more heightened and interesting.

When Blender ranked their worst songs of the last 30 years, radio DJ’s argued, blog posts became flame wars, and USA Today picked it up. (FYI, Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City” topped the list.)

Why do you think the late Mr. Blackwell became a cultural icon by releasing his annual “Worst Dressed List?”

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