How not to do PR: part of a continuing series

Sometimes we wonder if PR campaigns are born more of desperation as a company blindly scrambles for a catchy or cute idea, any idea to hang a promotion on -- never mind that the end result can often make the company look like complete buffoons.

Sometimes we wonder if PR campaigns are born more of desperation as a company blindly scrambles for a catchy or cute idea, any idea to hang a promotion on -- never mind that the end result can often make the company look like complete buffoons.

We recently received a PR package from adidas, promoting the company's new ClimaCool Adventure footwear. The shoes look like they will be super and could have stood on their own merit. But were good shoes enough for the PR machine? Nooooo, the pr flackery had to insert the following:

"But while the ClimaCool Adventure takes the place of two or three shoes and conquers almost any terrain, water, environment or weather the adventure athlete encounters, there's one thing we haven't figured out how to protect against -- snakes. So we've included an adidas Snake Bite Kit. So throw the kit in your gear pack and let us know when you're ready for samples of the ClimaCool Adventure shoe for your next gear review."

And there it is, a tiny, yellow "made in China" snake bite kit with an adidas logo emblazoned on it. The kind of kit that includes a scalpel-like blade, a string for constriction and rubber cups to suck out the poison -- sometimes called a "slice and dice kit." It's the kind of kit that virtually every reputable first-aid book and instructor has spoken out against for years. The kind of kit when used that will land a victim in an emergency room far more quickly than from the effects of the snake bite itself.

The only snake bite kit that medical experts will even recommend is the Sawyer, and the Sawyer is also the only kit sold by reputable retailers.

So how on earth did the PR team at adidas, a company experienced in selling into the outdoor marketplace, one staffed with experienced outdoor veterans, and a company that owns preeminent outdoor brands Salomon and Arc'Teryx manage to allow a promotion this clueless and unresearched to see the light of day?


PR: The way not to do it (part of a continuing series)

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