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Is Any Publicity, Good Publicity?

We’ve all heard this phrase. Any publicity is good publicity. But is it true? It can be argued that simply having your business name out there is good for brand awareness. However, you definitely need to be careful with the associations developed.

A Ford dealership in Arkansas has found that out the hard way.

Jay Hodge Ford decided it would be great publicity to offer a free F150 at a local Golf Tournament if a golfer could achieve a hole-in-one on the 10th hole at Morrilton Country Club. If you have been to many of these tournaments or work in the business, this is a pretty common occurrence. The dealership or the country club would purchase some relatively inexpensive insurance to cover the unlikely event of a hole-in-one. Then, if someone was lucky enough to win, it would only have cost the dealership the price of the insurance. 

Unfortunately for Jay Hodge Ford, Austin Clagett was fortunate enough on that day to achieve this feat, and it appears the dealer was likely not smart enough to purchase the insurance.

Because what happened next was simply poor decision making. Both the dealership and the country club denied promising the truck despite numerous social media posts stating just that. Now Clagett is suing the dealer and the club for the price of the truck as well as attorney fees. Likely worse for the dealer, this story has made national headlines. So what should have been a small feel-good story and local publicity for the dealer has turned into a PR nightmare. This may well cost them sales for years. And it is hard to imagine Mr. Clagett won’t be successful in his suit, which makes this one of the costliest hole in one contests for a dealer in quite some time.

Sometimes we have to own our mistakes and eat the consequences or we end up paying far more. Hopefully Jay Hodge has learned this lesson well, and all dealers and businesses can take a free lesson as well.  So,if you need a partner agency who can help you steer clear of incidents like this and only have the RIGHT kind of publicity, give Miller a call at 972-243-2211