Crisis, anyone?

It would be an understatement to say this has been a rough week on the PR front for Penn State, Chick-fil-A, and even the girl from Twilight whose name I don’t remember. Maybe it’s a case of when it rains, it pours. Maybe it’s just a slow news week. Whatever the case, I cannot think of a time in recent history when more PR crises have unfolded within such a short span of time.

Fortunately for those of us who are tired of hearing about it all, Olympics coverage begins tomorrow and a happier, more unifying mood should reign…at least on our TV screens.

All that said, I find it interesting that AIG, poster child for the beginning of the U.S. financial crisis, chose today to launch a rebranding effort aimed at repairing its image. The insurance company is using a series of YouTube videos to tell us they have changed, they have paid back their debt to the American taxpayers and then some, and they are going to do better. Here are two of the videos:

Maybe a release date of July 26 has been circled on their calendars for months to take advantage of the fact major media outlets will be focused on the Olympic Games. Maybe they considered the pro-American spirit that the Olympics always seems to bring out in our country and thought it could make us more receptive to the “we stand by our promise to the USA” themes in their messaging. For that matter, we may even see similar TV ads from AIG wedged between Rhythmic Gymnastics and Ping Pong.

If this date wasn’t carefully chosen, they are awfully lucky. At worst, AIG’s campaign may receive some public backlash in the Twitterverse, but it won’t make many headlines. And it isn’t just Michael Phelps they should thank. There is so much attention focused on other high profile reputation crises this week, not to mention a movie theater massacre, most Americans will hardly take notice. AIG, who?

Timing is everything.

What do you think? Was AIG’s YouTube campaign carefully timed to take advantage of the Olympics and minimize any negative response? Or are they just lucky to be one of many in a PR-challenged crowd this week?

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