Thursday, July 15, 2010

Using Rankings And Stigmas As Blackmail!

Insight Pharmaceuticals , marketers of Boil-Ease and Sucrets may well get sued and deserves it.NewInsightLogo

In a cheap publicity stunt, officials at the company using a boneheaded idea from its PR agency labeled ten destinations as the most bedbug infested in North America.

No independent or scientific analysis, just regional sales data for their product and randomly cruising the web for stories.

They picked up on a 5 year old case involving one problematic hotel in Durham out of more than 60, then pieced it together with TV interview over in Raleigh with a professor there noting an uptick in a large multi-county area then arbitrarily decided to stigmatize Durham.

Puzzling, this is a polycentric region, with two MSA’s and no one dominant city at its center but when the news is positive the bias including the media is to center it around Raleigh anyway regardless of the location where the news occurred but when negative it gets centered around Durham?  Hmmm? Nah… I’m sure that’s all in my head.

Not clear if Insight and its agency used sales data of just their product sales to individual businesses or exterminators and then generalized that to stigmatize entire communities.  Of course is isn’t clear if they libeled communities when not not enough of its product is aggregately purchased or the reverse when too much is purchased…kind of a damned if you do and damned if you don’t approach and hardly objective either way nor a reasonable basis for generalizations.

And what about hotels located in one community but in its wisdom somehow given a mailing address in another by the US Postal Service.  Several hotels using Durham for mail delivery are actually physically located in other communities and some given a delivery address as another community are actually in Durham.  I know, I know, what genius though that wouldn’t be cruel and unusual punishment to unsuspecting travelers?

Nearly all rankings are independently and scientifically-derived these days and granted, publications may commission the evaluations in part to generate increased distribution.  Obviously, Insight Pharmaceutical appears to be using rankings as a weapon, a form of blackmail.  “Buy our product and only our product or else be stigmatized.”

Kudos to Durham, North Carolina’s destination marketing organization for immediately digging out details and insisting on a retraction.  A couple of bigger DMO’s or their agencies took the chicken S*#& uh, I mean “old school” approach of “pulling the covers over their heads” and hope it goes away. Pardon the expression.

How’d that work for BP?   Don’t believe that Pollyanna approach has worked since the 1920’s and radio became the first mass medium and it definitely hasn’t worked for two decades or more.

The Durham CVB, forged during the Internet age, took leadership for two reasons.  It knows that in today’s world, you either respond and clear up the record or the information lives forever on the web and is assumed to be true because you didn’t.  Also, one of its stated core values is to “confront injustice” and not only on Durham’s behalf.  And it has research to document this approach works.

But Insight’s decision is not only very misleading, it is totally self-serving and extremely libelous.  Who knows what officials there were thinking, but they are going to definitely be in need soon of another of its products, Anacin!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We were told about this at work in the context that DCVB was 'on it'...huge sigh of relief! Lenore