The phrase that "any publicity is good publicity" does
not always apply.
Luxury brand Rolex faced this matter when they were
associated with demonstrations in Milan.
The Italian government hoped the Milan Expo
global trade fair would hit the headlines for positive reasons,
focussing on the benefits of investing in this Mediterranean
country's industries after several years of economic downturn. "In
these coming months, the world will be able to taste Italy, its
specialities but especially the profound desire it has to write a
new chapter of hope," said Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
However, the headlines instead highlighted the apparent chaos at
the event itself, and then violent clashes between protesters and
The Guardian reported:
"The protesters have been angered by Expo's reliance on volunteer
workers, the involvement of corporations like McDonald's and
Coca-Cola and a perception that much of the public money ploughed
into the project has been lost to corruption."
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano referred to the demonstrators
as "spoilt brats with Rolexes" after one was photographed wearing
what looks to be a £5,000 watch. The luxury brand was less than
impressed with the sullying of their image, even going so far as to
take out adverts in the Italian press
distancing themselves from the violence and indicating it wasn't
clear from the photographic evidence whether or not the
rioter's Rolex was the genuine article.
The BBC looked at Rolex's reaction, and asked
Dr. Ben Voyer, ESCP Europe
Associate Professor of Marketing, to comment:
"But was this the right reaction? Dr Ben Voyer said firms risk
overreacting when responding to events beyond their control."
'Replying is not necessarily a good thing,' he said. 'It is very
difficult to dispel negative stereotypes - a quiet press release
might have been better for Rolex.'"
To read the full article and reveal other brand-event connections
that have proven tricky for marketing teams by click here.