We break today from critique and analysis to recount a fun story about smart PR. It’s the best PR because it’s genuine. And we have EMA executive creative director Tom Merrick to thank for the flagging.
The story begins with an 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, James Groccia, saving $100 over two years to buy a favored LEGO set, only to discover it discontinued. He wrote a letter to the company and received a brief form letter in return. Discontinued LEGO sets become collectibles and the price was out of his range at $250 and up.
Somewhere in the process a smart LEGO PR person saw an opportunity and six weeks later — two days before the lad’s birthday — he received the set he wanted, gratis, from the kind people at LEGO.
In retrospect this seems a no brainer. And, I know scores of PR people who would have reacted exactly the same way the LEGO person did. But I also know of thousands of consumer relations people who for whatever reason would have just stopped at the first letter. ‘Sorry, dude, we don’t have those anymore. Maybe you can find one on e-Bay.’
As this is December, we’ll vanquish any cynicism. Who knew James’ parents would videotape the key moment and post it to YouTube? I’ve never tasted a sugar-plum, nor seen a red-nosed reindeer, but this moment has to be right up there with experiencing those treats. How blessedly wonderful.
Joy to the World, indeed. Thank you LEGO. You deserve to reap the goodness you sow.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.