Transforming bad PR into good PR

Kyle Sandlilands has never strayed
far from controversy
If you’re Australian and you haven’t been living under a rock this week, you’ve probably heard about Kyle Sandilands’ latest run-in with trouble.

A brief rundown: the radio host hosted a TV show earlier this week which rated very poorly. A journalist wrote a fairly unflattering review of the show which led to Sandilands unleashing a torrent of abuse on the journalist on his TV show.

The fallout was fast with journalists all over the country falling over each other to take pot shots at Sandilands in a fast race to the bottom of the ‘respect’ pile.

In their haste to condemn Kyle, a number of journalists resorted to abusing him. In other words, they stooped to his level. While they were trying to further public outrage against Kyle, all they really ended up doing was turning the whole saga into a very public slanging match.

Then, Holden stepped into proceedings. As sponsors of Sandilands’ show they were among the first to be cornered by media who repeatedly asked, “How can you sponsor such a boar as Kyle?”

Holden took a breath, announced on Twitter they were reviewing their sponsorship, and then in less than six hours’ time, they posted a short, sharp and downright good statement announcing their withdrawal of sponsorship:

"Recent comments made on the Kyle and Jackie O Breakfast Show do not in any way reflect the views or opinions of Holden and we are very disappointed to hear Kyle's personal attack on a journalist," the company said this afternoon in a statement.

"We believe the show is no longer in line with Holden's core values and as a result we have taken action to withdraw our sponsorship of the program, effective immediately."
It was a classic example of a company turning a potentially damaging PR situation (being associated with a loudmouth and abusive radio presenter) into a positive one, in which they essentially took the high ground.

The statement did not resort to abusing Sandlilands, but clearly implied that Holden’s core values are of a much higher standard than those of Sandilands.

As soon as Holden announced their sponsorship withdrawal, Twitter went into overdrive with users everywhere falling over eaqch other to applaud the company’s decision. Suddenly, Holden was being hailed as a great company.

Eight hours earlier, Holden were staring into a PR nightmare given their association with the show. All it took was two short paragraphs and the disaster had been transformed into a triumph.

Take note, people. Sometimes the best course of action is simply to do the right thing.


ahunter said…
Amen brother. And good to see some other sponsors followed suit. I wonder what it will take to get Austereo to sack him, if it wasn't the teenage sex stunt, would it be removal of sponsors??
Dylan Malloch said…
Good question. The other question though is: surely these sponsors knew he was a douche BEFORE this happened, yet they get this groundswell of public goodwill when they finally jump ship.
Thanks ffor sharing