PR Gone Wrong?

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church billboard
church billboard – Brilliant PR or terrible mistake?

At St Matthew’s Church in Auckland, New Zealand, staff are wondering what all the fuss is about.  A humorous poster intended to “provoke debate and get people thinking about the Christmas story” – has attracted global media attention and put the Church leaders under intense pressure to discontinue the campaign.

The poster depicts a dejected-looking Joseph lying in bed next to Mary under the caption, “Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow”.

The global media attention has taken many of the people involved by surprise, but it’s unknown whether they feel this much attention is a good or bad thing – after all, it was always intended to spark debate.  The media has had a field day with the latest developments in the story – the defacing of the poster by a protester, and “thousands of emails, phone calls and letters” flooding in.

St Matthew’s is no stranger to controversy!  The church often displays “edgy” billboards and communications manager, Clay Nelson says “about 50% said they loved it, and about 50% said it was terribly offensive”.

Image and story courtesy of BBC:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8417963.stm

Regardless of your personal views on such matters, one thing is clear and obvious: global media attention – can be a rather double edged sword.  Whether wanted or not – it is certainly unpredictable.  It can be a “once-in-a-lifetime” event and it can make or break you!

So how do you run your PR & marketing campaign to ensure that you get the right results? What are the pros and cons of various strategies?  We are not suggesting we’ll be able to get you global media attention!  However, for some friendly advice, we’d be happy to talk to you about your ideas and we’d love to help shape your next communications project.

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