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JOUR 330 - Research Paper Example

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Jour 330: Assignment #3: Research Paper In 2011, the CEO of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons, committed what has been called one of the biggest social media blunders of all time. This occurred when Parsons posted a video on his personal blog of himself killing an elephant in Africa…
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Download file to see previous pages The video (viewer discretion advised due to graphic content) shows the CEO and his hunting party looking over a farmer's damaged crops, shooting at elephants at night, and Parsons posing with the dead bull. It also shows crowds of villagers field dressing the carcass the next morning.” (Burgess, 2011) Perhaps because the image recalled African safaris of the robber barons of late 19th century capitalism and the archaic, out of touch, and even barbaric behavior of the “super-rich,” bloggers around the world wrote articles protesting this, and thousands of customers cancelled accounts with GoDaddy. The company’s competitors took advantage of this, issuing free transfer and discount coupons for people who wanted to switch their business away from GoDaddy. This situation can be regarded as a case example in public relations because Bob Parsons illustrates exactly what not to do when media problems occur for a company. His actions, statements, and behavior in response to the first controversy arguably made the situation even worse for him and his company in the public relations context. While the company claims it has not lost much business from this, the story will undoubtedly remain linked to the brand and competitors will continue to take advantage of this. To some degree, Parsons may have been overdue for a PR breakdown, because his company is known for a particular marketing campaign that is based on a certain amount of “sleaze”. Yet, for a company that once hoped to go public through an IPO, having the CEO of the company labeled this way in the mainstream press is very problematic. Consider that major media publications such as CNN, Salon, the New York Times, The Guardian, etc. all ran major articles on the story, and kept it active with update reports. In PR, the goal is for the problem to be out of the news cycle and out of discussion as soon as possible. When mainstream media repeat a story such as this over and over, it does continual damage to the brand and its credibility. For most people, the killing of an elephant is really a blatant act of stupidity, cruelty, and arrogance. That Bob Parsons defended his behavior immediately inflamed the situation. For example, instead of apologizing publicly, Parson conducted media interviews where he said: "These people have literally nothing and when an elephant is killed it's a big event for them, they are going to be able to eat some protein. This is no different than you or I eating beef. All these people that are complaining that this shouldn't happen, that these people who are starving to death otherwise shouldn't eat these elephants, you probably see them driving through at McDonald's or cutting a steak." (McCarthy, 2011) What Parsons did not critically understand is the fact that indeed millions of people do think and care deeply about issues such as environmental protection, endangered species, as well as the social justices issues related to hunger and global poverty. To compare eating an elephant to a problem for African starvation is simply a ridiculous justification. Salon critically notes that the original video Parsons posted included “captions to the nighttime scene that read ‘Bob Parsons fires first’ and ‘Bob Parsons fir ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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