Beverly B. Media and Communications

Is Sensitivity Lost in PR?


Recently three women were rescued from a house of horrors in Cleveland, and among all the excitment one man has emerged as a hero and a possible branding tool—Charles Ramsey is the man of the hour.  After helping Amanda Berry and her daughter, along with two other women, escape a home in which they had been held captive for a decade Ramsey’s heroism did not go unnoticed and neither did his comments. In his call to 911 and in a number of interviews Ramsey mentions that he was eating McDonald’s when he heard Berry’s screams. That comment is all that was needed to get the wheels turning for McDonald executives.  But is this really the time to start envisioning Ramsey wearing a cap while eating a Big Mac? I ask has sensitivity been lost in PR?  Note the image mentioned is not an actual commercial proposed by McDonald’s.

Before reaching out to Charles Ramsey privately McDonald’s reached out via Twitter:

McDonalds Tweet

I truly understand that when you are in full on pr mode you see opportunities in everything especially when your client has been suffering bad publicity like McDonald’s has for the past couple of weeks.  When one views a glimmer of hope of positive press on the horizon you must move quickly for the client before the moment is lost, however by adding “we’ll be in touch” at the end of their encouraging words to the victims and to Ramsey  McDonald’s clearly showed their desperation to seize the moment. In a crisis situation timing and wording is everything,  just ask Conde Naste.

The morning after the Boston Marathon bombings Epicurious, the food web site owned by Conde Nast, saw this as an occasion to push cranberry scones and energy cereal to Boston residents.


Needless to say after heavy backlash apologies quickly followed along with deleted tweets.

Epicorious apology

Faith and trust in a brand is a very delicate thing, customers and clients must be made to feel as though they are more than a dollar sign.  Customers are more than arm candy to be trotted out to make competitors jealous.  Want to hear a secret? Customers are actually people.


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