Someone once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” This school of thought believes that regardless of the negative backlash that’s sure to follow, crises, promiscuity and blatantly controversial circumstances can result in overwhelmingly positive outcomes.
After all, Donald Trump’s provocative remark to Rolling Stone about fellow republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s appearance was widely criticized by men and women alike. Trump’s earlier “blood” comment in response to being “grilled” by Fox TV host Megyn Kelly was another point of outrage. These and other seemingly deliberate negative statements by Trump have been publicized and discussed at length throughout the race.
In the face of such scrutiny over these distasteful comments, Trump has maintained popularity in the polls and continues to lead the Republican field. Will these controversies continue to build a broader platform for his run to the White House, or will the negative publicity resonate with the female voting population and haunt him down the line?
Ashley Madison, a site that promises discreet indiscretions for married people, sustained a massive cyber attack in July. The so-called hacktivists’ subsequent data dump in August revealed the personal information of the site’s 37 million users, leaked the company’s intellectual property and resulted in countless affairs being brought to light in the fallout.
Even after the well-publicized scandal, the company has reported boosted membership and signs of continued growth. But the news of Ashley Madison’s CEO “stepping down” and the fact that the company’s website source code has been made public doesn’t exactly scream that all is well in the land of extramarital dating services. Will this disastrous attack and the resulting media buzz continue to help the company bring in new users, or is a swift end for a company built on privacy just around the corner?
While scandals, gaffes and controversy may bring short-lived attention from top-tier news publications, social media outlets and around water coolers throughout the nation, overall brand integrity is what’s at stake. The negative effects to a person or company’s reputation can sting long after the initial surge of attention.
Most would agree that taking a chance on short-lived virality and boosted attention is not worth the long-term consequences. Some might believe that the immediate benefits of media buzz are more than worth the backlash. What do you think?