ishmaels corner

Category: Bad Stuff


What’s The Story With Netflix?

Let’s start with the positive side. Netflix customers passionately care about the service. Every time Kellogg’s raises the price of Pop-Tarts, you don’t even hear a whimper. But the Netflix customer base responded with the emotional fervor of a South American futbol match. Why? Take a look at the blog post announcing the pricing change. After laying out …more

Georgia Chooses Numbers Over Narrative

Advertising, not public relations, embraces storytelling techniques. Usually. I came across an ad for the country of Georgia with the headline: Georgia, The World’s number 1 in fighting corruption. While not a fan of Styrofoam-finger advertising, this sounded promising. Anytime you have good fighting evil, a potential story lurks around the corner. Unfortunately, the people …more

BP Crisis Brings Exxon Along for the Ride

The BP oil rig explosion just hit the two-month milestone. At last count, I was one of 10,332 writers (my horseshoe-far number) who weighed in with a perspective or two on BP’s crisis communications. Make that 10,333, with the BBC highlighting BP boss Tony Hayward’s gaffes. A byproduct of BP’s PR nightmare involves the resurrection of the Exxon Valdez …more

BP Letter On Crisis Shows Common Sense (In Stark Contrast To Toyota Approach)

The communications controlled by a company during a crisis – not the media coverage – provide the best indicator of competency (or lack thereof). If you can’t get the communications under your control right, you have zero chance of winning over others to carry your story forward. That’s why I characterized Toyota’s crisis communications as amateur hour. The company’s first open …more

Toyota Crisis: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Car Maker Scorned

Scorn makes for good storytelling. It brings out emotion and ultimately unscripted drama. Look no further than the bevy of reality TV shows cranking out the profits to understand the appeal of NOT knowing how the story will turn out. With this in mind, I suspect we’re going to see and read a helluva story …more

Toyota Crisis PR: Customer Letter No. 4 Loses Its Way

When it comes to a crisis, everyone tends to fixate on the “bad press.” I think it’s more revealing to zero in on the communications controlled by the offending company. How are they telling their story within their control? That’s why I find the Toyota open letters to customers so fascinating. Just because you control …more