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February 13, 2013
How Not To Promote An Electric Car
 
Jim Horton on Online Public Relations Thoughts provides a wonderfully sad example of the folly of attacking "the fellow who buys ink by the barrel", in this case, The New York Times. The critique is aimed at Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. Tesla lent one of its Model S electric cars to a Times reporter, who ran out of power between charging stations in bitterly cold weather. Whereupon Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, charged that the Times report was faked. Oh dear...

Musk has reason to be proud of the Model S in that, no doubt among other praiseworthy things, it was named Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year. But The Times doesn't make up stories, and it's folly for any corporate CEO to suggest that it does. Why not consider how a battery-powered car might, indeed, react in cold weather and do something about it? Or at least nurse your media anxieties quietly?

It's a cardinal PR principle that getting in a tussle with the press is to be avoided. It simply doesn't make sense. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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