Peter Coors, the CEO of Coors beer lost his drivers license on Friday after a court hearing on charges of driving while intoxicated in May. Now here’s the PR spin to that story. Mr. Coors is quoted from a Coors statement in the CNN story as saying, “”I made a mistake. I should have planned ahead for a ride,” Coors said in a statement. “For years, I’ve advocated the responsible use of our company’s products.”
That is a well-crafted statement and good for PR. He seemed contrite, and acknowledged his mistake.
Coors should have left the statement at that.
But here’s where Coors messed up. After a perfectly crafted statement to the press, he let his spokesperson talk to the press. BAD!
Here’s what the spokesperson Kabira Hatland had to say about Coors DRUNKEN driving as quoted from the CNN story.
“Hatland said that Coors rolled through a stop sign a block from his home in Golden and that an officer stopped him in his driveway.”
Coors was coming home from a wedding. The wedding was not a block from his home. He just got stopped after he rolled through a stop sign a block from his home. But that block isn’t where he drank too much. It was at the wedding and then he got behind the wheel and drove.
Later in the story Hatland is again quoted and says, “Peter Coors has never even had a moving violation.”
This is PR Stupid 101.
Because if you roll through a stop sign and you’re drunk, then you’re still a drunk driver, plus Coors already admitted to his mistake in the company statement. And as a “spokesperson” to highlight for reporters that he’s “never even had a moving violation” is not wise and it’s a bit incendiary. It’s not wise because it sounds like the spokesperson is making excuses for something that there is no excuse for. And it’s incendiary because today there are probably a few journalists who are trying to get a copy of Coors driving record, just to make sure “he’s never even had a moving violation.”
The spokesperson in effect, has given the story a little longer shelf life and interest by trying to make excuses for drunk driving when no matter what, it is inexcusable.
My advice to you no matter what the size of your company is to be your own best spokesperson! Speak for yourself and if a reporter calls, then take the call directly. Don’t let a “spokesperson” field reporter queries for you in situations where they can do more harm then good.
And of course, don’t drive drunk,