Tuesday, May 17

Bad news can slowly slither around the globe...

By now, you've probably heard about the British boy who found a snake in his cereal box. (No doubt, this story got more attention after the month-long "Fingergate" that Wendy's so valiantly fought.)

While many agencies and PR professionals will advocate a quick response, some miss the boat by not complementing it with a slow one.

Check out this Google News search done on the words "snake cereal box", on May 17th. (I preserved it, just in case a few links change order.) You'll see a lot of the coverage hit within a day of the incident, May 4th. Look at the outlets: ABC Online (Australia), CNN Internaional, Reuters, MSNBC...

Now sort by date, and see what you get. The online edition of India's "The Hindu" didn't pick up the original story until the 13th, nine days later. Now, if you don't have a customer base in India, you might not care. But your quick response won't show up on this page at all, and those who are curious about your actions in this matter will have to dig to find it (and most aren't inclined to do so.)

There's a fine line to cross here, where you might be "giving the snake story more legs" by pushing your denials and mea culpae. You don't want to over-apologize. Just do your due diligence, and continue to monitor what's being said after the initial venom wears off.