Agencies Risk PR Fiasco When Using Executives in Ads

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. An advertising campaign themed “Strong Bank, Powerful Leaders” was created to demonstrate Associated Bank’s strength and security in uncertain economic times. The campaign blitzed the Milwaukee area with images of Lisa Binder, the bank’s president.

Unfortunately, the bank conveyed the exact opposite message when it abruptly announced that Ms. Binder was leaving for unspecified reasons, and then declined to answer questions about her departure.

While putting a face on a company can be an effective strategy, it also can backfire when that face suddenly disappears. Ms. Binder’s abrupt departure would have generated publicity anyway, but when coupled with her being prominently featured in an ad campaign the story became bigger – and reinforced the uncertainty of the times in which we live.

Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.


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