Feature: Soapbox Musings

How Not to Manage a PR Stunt in a Social World

Author: Marc Girolimetti
Published: February 08, 2012 at 5:19 am

By now, many of you have heard about the little stunt that online pawn shop, Pawngo, and their PR firm, 5wpr, pulled today in Boston's Copley Square. 5wpr is run by Gawker's favorite whipping boy, Ronn Torossian, who I'm convinced has the country's largest collection of white sneakers and mauve tracksuits.

There already has been plenty of discussion regarding the stunt itself and yes Pawngo, you most definitely underestimated how provincial Boston is and well your name is floating in the Muddy River. Pawngo's CEO, Todd Hills, might want to think twice about visiting the Freedom Trail.

However, in today's rapidly moving social environment, it's one thing to pull off a stunt that gets everyone talking about you. It's another to use a fake account to manage the chatter and effectively act like a complete ass while doing it. Somebody, most likely the one intern at 5wpr, who was pissed they couldn't go to the Super Bowl parade today, jumped all over everyone who mentioned Pawngo on Twitter.

Look at this image. It's just a bunch of Mr T endorsed jibba jabba that only the brightest C student could bring to the table. What's even more nefarious is using the fake account of a former NFL QB and current ESPN on-air personality.

Within an hour I had heard from @dougH, @holtmurray, @jimstorer and Technorati's own, @BigGuyD, that they had been "Dilfered". All of them mentioned Pawngo. All of them received a frat party's worth of stupidity in return.

Given 5wpr's reputation this isn't a surprise, but if you're Pawngo and your goal is to draw attention to yourself, why would the "person" responsible for getting out in front of it be not only be fake, but a fake idiot? It makes no sense that you would risk your reputation like that. If you visit @TrentDilferQB you'll see a variety of copy and paste jobs regarding never hearing about Pawngo, sprinkled in with cheap insults, a fair amount of drug talk and some creepy obsession with Tom Brady. 

It's just another case of a company that was ill-prepared for a stunt. However, they chose to hide behind a fake account to deal with it, opposed to, you know, being professionals and owning it.


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Article Author: Marc Girolimetti

Hey it's Marc G. I'm the founder of video game start-up, Red Raider Studios. Whatever you see from me here usually will be marinated for at least three days in humor and sarcasm. I try not to take things seriously. …

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