In the public relations profession, knowing when to issue a press release is as important as knowing when not
to blast one out.
This is an example of the latter.
Allan Jones, founder of something called Check Into Cash, attended a charity auction benefiting Fisher House Foundation
and didn’t actually buy a tractor that once owned by Jay Leno. This fact alone should be a cue that no press release is needed.
And yet one was sent out, touting Jones’s chops as a philanthropist. Except here’s the release’s key phrase: “Jones eventually pushed up the bidding on the tractor to $535,000 before declining to move forward
.” (Our emphasis.)
Basically, Jones went to a fundraiser and made some large bids on the tractor. He didn’t buy the tractor; someone else did. According to the press release, Jones didn’t buy anything, or make any donation. He just made some bids and then backed out. And it’s something he’s done on more than one occasion, the press release said.
“Prior to his charity bid to aid the military in 2012, Jones drew attention at a Barrett-Jackson auction in 2005 that has become legendary among classic car collectors and fans of the auction.
“At the event, Jones bid on a rare Olds F-88 – a Chevrolet Corvette with Oldsmobile-style bodywork. Wearing his trademark Vols hat, Jones engaged in a dramatic bidding war for the concept car with collector Alan Lewenthal, curator for the Gateway Auto Museum who has also been called ‘Ferrari Hat Guy.’
“Jones felt he had the car secured for $550,000 but eventually pushed the bidding to $2.7 million until he decided to no longer pursue the F-88 he estimated was worth about $600,000. The car was eventually sold for $3.24 million.”
None of that is news. A press release is not necessary. It did, however, become news when the Gawker-owned blog Jalopnik
picked up the story and ran it under this headline: “Douchebag CEO of Douchebag Company Sends Out Douchebag Press Release Bragging About Being Douchebag
The only newsworthy items in this story are that money was raised for a good charity and some poor PR pro somewhere had to write this and distribute it—because we all love a story that makes us happy we’re not that guy.