With a string of sausages draped around his neck, Boris Johnson posed for pictures at Heck’s Yorkshire factory; holding two packs of ‘Boris Bangers’ made in his honour.
While the pro-Brexit conservative party leadership contender saw this as a great PR opportunity, the stunt was a complete failure; with Remainers now using the hashtag #BoycottHeck on Twitter.
But why did the stunt end so badly and how can your brand avoid this in the future? VerriBerri, Essex PR agency, reveals all.
Heck sausages are one of the UK’s biggest sausage manufacturers. But despite their strong reputation, their photo-op with Boris Johnson was a PR disaster due to the sausage makers largely Eastern European workforce.
With Boris Johnson being a Pro-Brexit leader candidate for the Conservative Party, people were quick to question if this PR stunt was endorsing a political candidate that conflicted with their business model.
Heck were quick to respond to the negative media presence by releasing a statement claiming they “do not specifically endorse any candidate”. However, this too proved fruitless by the company, whose statement was branded as a ‘desperate ramble’ by angry Twitter followers.
How Brands Can Avoid A PR Disaster
In light of Heck’s recent PR disaster, it’s important for brands to have a strong crisis management strategy in place; should a PR stunt go wrong. While Heck did attempt to manage the public outcries on Twitter, it failed to address the clear political endorsements through its creation of ‘Boris Bangers’.
Brands should also be quick to respond to consumer concerns on social media, while taking responsibility for their mistakes. In addition to this, brands should also craft a press release that can be customised and distributed in the midst of a PR crisis; to ensure Heck stays at the forefront of people’s mind in the most positive way possible.
Crisis Management Essex
As a Food and Drink PR Agency, we believe it’s vital for hospitality brands to have a plan in place, should negative press put your reputation on the line. VerriBerri aims to defend, protect and enhance brand values when issues threaten the reputation of a company. If you would like more information about our services, get in touch with our Essex PR team today.