I’ve upset too many people recently (sorry again Jason) to keep making calls on these things, but its a relevant question given that helping Katrina victims should be about helping them, not garnering publicity.
I wont print it here, but by all means read the release then comment.
Bloggator Donates Ad Revenue to Hurricane Katrina Relief
As a practitioner of PR, I can whole-heartedly say that it is indeed in bad taste to do something like this. I can see why they’d want to do it, but writing a press release like that would have made me physically ill.
People try hide behind bs reasons like “we’re doing it to challenge others to raise money” but at the end of the day, it is nothing but an attempt to get cheap publicity off the back of someone else’s pain and suffering. If it was all about “challenging others” why would you bother with the big spiel about how great your company is?
There are other ways to get your message out if you really do have honourable intentions and want to communicate with others. You don’t have to do everything through the media.
When the tsunami hit at the end of last year, clients of mine (a large professional association) were dontaing money to ther ed cross for tsunami relief. Because they made this decision on behalf of their members, they toyed with issuing a media release to keep their members informed. They were convinced to do otherwise – because really, it would look like it was in poor taste. Instead they just sent out an email communication to their members informing them of what they were doing. Much more tasteful, and hit who the information was targetted at.
Sorry, I’ll end the rant now.
This is why I have only presented the possibilities of donating for Katrina evacuees on my website. As my boss always says “Giving to charity is a personal thing.”