ishmaels corner

Category: Bad Stuff


How a Personal Touch in Communications Failed Big Time

I have this theory that as our world increasingly tilts toward the digital side, the human touch, the personal touch, becomes more valuable. It’s only a matter of time before a newly minted Stanford MBA makes the rounds on Sand Hill Road trying to raise venture capital for the radical idea of bringing back the …more

J. C. Penney Apology Ad: How Not to Fall on Your Sword

Americans love a good apology. Show even a modicum of sincerity, and all is forgiven. J. C. Penney and its apology ad is certainly banking on this dynamic. Unfortunately, the strategy is flawed, and the execution is worse. We’ve simplified the chain of events in the aerial view below: Did I miss something? I thought …more

TV Report Triggers Burger Crisis at McDonalds in China

Chris Tang, our Asia Pacific managing director based in Beijing, has years of experience in advising clients during times of crisis. The crisis a few months ago involving McDonald’s caught her attention. Here, she shares a mini case study on the episode and what McDonald’s did right to avoid a long-term disaster. By Chris Tang …more

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