We're not in the polling business, but we're a little surprised to note that, when we checked this morning, more than twice as many viewers had agreed that McDonald's tweeting of plaudits to Charles Ramsey, who rescued the three kidnapped Ohio women, was "the right thing to do." Ramsey, notes USA Today, "was 'eating my McDonald's' when he saw kidnap victim Amanda Berry trying to get out of the house — and helped her escape."
McDonald's (presuming it actually was McDonald's) tweeted: "We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey - we'll be in touch." To us that either trivializes or exploits the 10-year kidnapping horror, something a commercial enterprise should be avoiding. Ramsey could have been eating anything at that moment, so long as he was in a position to note a neighbor's cries, but no matter...for McDonald's to involve itself directly (whomever in the burger chain may have been responsible) was just a gross association, not exemplary PR.
There are some situations you don't rush in to exploit, just regret they occurred.
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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