Now that's flackery.
PR people wishing to take advantage of major tragedies, natural disasters, and the deaths of large numbers of people are serving a useful business function -- who among us didn't think, in the aftermath of the Blacksburg massacre, "I wonder what this means for critical real-time mobile messaging services at the nation's institutions of higher learning?" (Nathaniel Eberle, of the Racepoint Group in Waltham, Mass., did -- and he began his pitch with the classic, "Today we are as a nation looking for answers to Monday's events.")
But if you're trying to exploit a tragedy for free publicity, there are a few simple rules to follow:
- Don't be obvious. Wait until at least the second paragraph to mention the connection to the late unpleasantness.
- At least be touting a product that has some connection to the events at hand, however tangential.
- Don't insult your audience. Trying to push a blatant exploitation pitch as important news related to this week's disaster doesn't work. Trust me.
- Avoid fake gravitas (see Mr. Eberle, above).
- Better yet: Don't do it. Hit erase. You'll feel better for it.