Is There Really No Such Thing As Bad Press?

You know the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad press?” Only to a certain extent do I believe this. The phrase would be more accurate if tempered with two qualifiers:

Potentially, eventually.

Lady Gaga, Oscar Wilde

Lady Gaga, Oscar Wilde.
Both adept at capturing press attention.

This is because in the event of bad press, it can be manageable to varying degrees – but it always takes deliberate, meaningful effort, and it definitely takes time.

I absolutely don’t believe, “hey, there’s no such thing as bad press, so let’s just go for it all…” is wise PR strategy, unless the goal is simple notoriety along the lines of Paris Hilton or Lady Gaga. In these cases, I’m reminded of what could be the inspiration for this concept: Oscar Wilde’s quote, “There is only one thing in the world that is worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

The problem with the idea of no bad press is that with today’s A.D.D. news cycle and the everlasting searchability of the Internet, missteps can take an extraordinary effort to overcome, although it can be done. National Strategies Public Relations CEO Jennifer Vickery sums up the concept: “While there is such a thing as bad press, the main take away should be that good press can come out of it, provided the situation is handled properly.”

Proper handling would mean execution with transparency, honesty and consistency over an interval long enough to shift focus to the present and future more so than the past. In this way, and if done right, bad press can become a real opportunity and cataylst, not just in terms of spin, but also toward doing the right thing.

What do you think? Is there truly no such thing as bad press? What are some examples of bad press being handled properly? Let us hear from you in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Is There Really No Such Thing As Bad Press?

  1. Photobooth Journal

    I suppose it depends who you are. For Oscar, bad press ruined his life even though he ceratinly got talked about. For people who step out to tell the world about corruption or malpractise and who are then labelled “whistle-blowers”, that can ruin their lives, too. There are amny other instances. Maybe it is only applicable if you have a spin doc handling the press on your behalf. Then one could say there is no such thing as bad press. (I love the way you invite comments on this blog. I wish I was well enough to put in my tuppence worth more often!)

    Reply
    1. rsmithing

      Your tuppence is always welcome here. :) Comments are one of the best things about blogging, in my opinion. And you make a good point about whistleblowers — even if they’re on the “right” side of history, they risk upheaval by pursuing the wrongdoers.

      Reply

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