Tom receives an apology from the team who handle Cillit Bang, although he wasn’t sure at first as the email domain is different. But then the first commenter pointed out it is from a PR agency specialising in handling PR crisis. Marvellous!.
He posts in full on his blog. Let me count the ways that raise my heckles about it.
The posting on 30th September was unplanned and an error of judgement and we unequivocally apologise for this. We recognise that it was inappropriate in context.
So the ‘posting’ was unplanned. Does that mean that every posting a brand would use on its blog (fictional or real) has to be planned?! Whatever happened to markets are conversation… And in any case, the ‘error of judgement’ happened in a comment on Tom’s blog, not in a posting. But let’s not dwell on detail when we have bigger fish to fry.
The Barry Scott character has appeared in a number of spoof websites and weblogs, created by people unconnected to the Reckitt Benckiser brand. The weblog posting on your site was not endorsed by Reckitt Benckiser or any of the advertising agencies that are mentioned and was a one off error from which lessons have been learnt. We are sorry for any offence it has unwittingly caused.
Oh dear. So to quote, Jamie, another commenter (some good stuff in Tom’s comments section):
The say it was an error of judgement, it wasn’t done by them, and they’ve learnt lessons.
We recognise that it was inappropriate in context.
I’d ask them to explain in which context it would be appropriate - and for a years supply of cleaning products.
I think I can follow Jamie’s logic just fine - this seems like an old PR habit of never saying sorry, with the new mantra ‘admit you are wrong’ and the world will forgive you. Or something. Either way, it’s not pretty communicated in a robot-like style.
And finally, they offer a personal apology, which is good, so why is the email signed by “Cillit Bang Team”, not by a name of the person writing the apology?
And really finally, let’s not forget the whole issue with fake blog characters and clumsy attempts by advertising/marketing/branding/PR companies trying to control this ‘blog thing’, shall we?