Public relations professionals typically spend their days doing one of two things: forming relationships with the media and pitching them ideas, or strategically responding to “bad press”. The past week has provided the perfect case study for the question that keeps us PR professionals up at night; is “bad” press better than no press?
We know you have probably had your fill of Apple media coverage for the time being, but can we point out that the amount of coverage is simply amazing? They were featured in major newspapers, popular blogs, local news stations, viral YouTube videos and much more. Here is a timeline of headlines to recap their tumultuous month for you:
September 9th: Apple Announces iPhone 6 & iPHone 6 Plus—The Biggest Advancements in iPhone History (Apple)
September 17th: 8: The Biggest iOS Release Ever (Apple)
September 22th: Apple Announces Opening Weekend iPhone 6 Sales Were over 10 Million (Business Insider)
September 22th: Apple’s iOS 8 Is Brimming with Bugs (Business Insider)
September 23rd: iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test (Unibox Therapy)
September 25th: Apple has a fix for that faulty iOS 8 update (Washington Post)
September 25th: #BendGate: How did a tech giant like Apple get it so wrong with the iPhone 6?(the independent)
September 26th: How Much Could Bendgate Cost Apple? (Forbes)
September 26th: Apple’s #Bendgate Response Holds Lesson PR Pros Should Keep in Back Pocket (PR News)
September 29th: Apple is Already Working on the Next Three Major Updates to iOS 8 (Business Insider)
The articles and videos above just skim the surface of the buzz surrounding bendable iPhones and faulty Apple software these past few weeks. Apple largely chose to ignore most of the “bad” media, and when they did respond their comments were quickly buried in the ever-changing social media scene. They were able to fix the software in a timely manner and worked to reassure fans that few people had complained about the bendable iPhone 6.
“With normal use a bend in iPhone is extremely rare and through our first six days of sale, a total of nine customers have contacted Apple with a bent iPhone 6 Plus. As with any Apple product, if you have questions please contact Apple.” (Forbes)
So where does all of this leave Apple now?
With a strong opening weekend for the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple sold over 10 million models. It is unclear as whether Bendgate and the faulty software have had a negative impact on sales. What we can tell you is that public opinion is once again shifting positively after the Consumer Reports article linked above. There is also a movement to discredit those who have claimed to bend their phones.
The phrase “there is no such thing as bad publicity” may carry some weight, but the issue cannot be entirely simplified. Apple’s reputation has been questioned in the past few days, but their strong following will ultimately best the Bengate scandal.
The coverage of Apple over the past few weeks has thrust the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus onto the list of hottest trending online topics. Both negative and positive articles have informed the majority of Americans that the iPhone 6 has been released. Whether or not you buy one? Well, that is up to you and how tightly you wear your skinny jeans.