PR lessons in email

If you are having a bad day, check out the stupidity of the PR person at Labatt’s in Canada who managed to email a journalist an attachment containing a background note on his request for an interview: Putting suds through the spin cycle  (Thanks to Judy Gombita for this one)

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

3 thoughts on “PR lessons in email”

  1. Everyone’s got one of these email horror stories in their closet. At least Gwendoline a. acted on the enquiry and responded and b. seemed to have given some very sensible advice to her bosses on the topic.

    Just a shame she hit Forward and not Reply…

  2. Just to clarify (to both Heather and Phil), the original attachment containing the strategy was written by the Labatt’s communication person (Hunter), but it was (presumably inadvertently) *forwarded* to the journalist by the Belgian-based Ornigge…but it was left to Hunter to try to make amends. (Ergo, I wouldn’t be so quick to give “Gwendoline” credit.)


    “More intriguing, however, was the fact Ornigge’s email contained an attachment outlining Hunter’s strategy for dealing with my request for an interview….The memo outlined what kind of story I said I was planning to write, along with a risks/opportunities assessment….Risk: I might try to focus on the decline of the Blue Brand. Opportunity: I (or more likely the Star) is seen as a key influencer in an important market for Labatt…. But most revealing was Hunter’s suggestion the company offer up someone below the vice-president level who would be unable to answer certain questions I might ask….Several days after a panicky Hunter called to say I shouldn’t have received the attachment, the interview did take place – though under such tainted circumstances the story was never written.”

    And the outcome for all of this? A rather critical look at the beer industry in Ontario (basically a duopoly), in the Star’s three-part series. And Labatt wasn’t the only company under the microscope, Molson and Sleeman’s were lumped in, too.

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