What It Takes

What It Takes

The Right Thing

By Callie Oettinger | Published: December 21, 2012

I’ve reread Bob Garfields article “Suffer in Silence” a few times since it was posted.

Short version: Garfield’s piece is a call to brands, cautioning them to restrain from inserting themselves into news stories about the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Within the piece, he offers examples of a few brands that have hijacked other tragedies, to garner press for themselves.

The following is one of the comments posted in response to Garfield’s piece:

“Let’s take a break and focus on the people who do good deeds, maybe just for a week or so, if we can, please.”

Rather than reading more examples of brands doing the wrong thing, the commenter wanted stories of brands doing the right thing.

Those good deeds? They’re often paired with tight lips. If actions are taken to help others, they go unpublicized.

The brands/individuals act on their own, because it is the right thing to do, not because they’ll get a spread in People magazine.

And you know what? The brands/individuals keeping their mouths shut end up with stronger consumer relationships than do the ones taking out full-page ads in the New York Times, to share how wonderful they are. There’s a special respect given to those willing to help without guaranteed recognition in return.

For 2013 (and for however long the Mayans continue to be wrong about the end of the world…): If you decide to take action, do as Garfield suggested, and “Please, not a word.”  If you want to send supplies, money, books, whatever it is, do it, but restrain from sending out a press release. Do it because it is the right thing to do, and not because it is the thing that will garner you a ton of good press.

Posted in What It Takes

5 Responses to “The Right Thing”

  1. Basilis
    December 21, 2012 at 7:45 am

    A small and strong article.

    And since the word “Mayans” is mentioned: the industry seems to have tried it’s best to sell the “disaster product”.

    No wonder that the world didn’t end today, but it’s already mentioned that there was a miscalculation and that the end will happen on January 2013, or May, (or whenever! :-).

  2. December 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

    The reason we trust brands isn’t because of the restraint or whatever that they showed in Sandy Hook, it’s because of their character before that.

    • December 22, 2012 at 11:04 am

      I agree with Chris on this one. A brand is like someone we have come to know well and like. We don’t usually abandon them for a misstep, for we all make mistakes at times.

  3. Roger Ellman
    December 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Thank you for making this point.
    I agree.
    Best wishes, Roger.

  4. December 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    This reminds me why there’s magic in an anonymous gift. It turns everyone in your orbit into the possible source of comfort.