PR pros for a pair of major sports brands were put on cleanup duty this week because of some high-profile screw-ups.
StubHub felt the Internet’s ire after a seller reneged on a transaction that would have put Lakers fan Jesse Sandler and three friends at Kobe Bryant’s final game for the bargain price of roughly $900.
Sandler wisely bought the tickets before Bryant announced his retirement. After the superstar made his announcement, Sandler received an email that the order had been canceled because the “tickets were listed below market value at $195.89.” The seller had decided the price was incorrect—probably when he or she noticed that ticket prices for that game had shot up to nearly $1,500 per ticket.
Though Sandler received several vouchers from StubHub totaling $250 as compensation, that wasn’t the point. After several tries and a number of StubHub employees telling him their hands were tied, Sandler took his story to The Lead Sports, which published his account. A Reddit thread brought the story to the masses.
That’s about the time that brand managers started to take note.
StubHub publicly acknowledged its blunder:
Budweiser offered him free tickets to the game (along with a brew):
RELATED: Sharpen your PR prowess with pros from CNN Digital, The New York Times and more.
Tickets for Less—a StubHub rival—also offered Sandler some free tickets. By the looks of the Tickets for Less Twitter feed, Sandler accepted:
Though that problem seems to have reached a positive solution, the future is less certain for ESPN and a few of its reporters who sent some promotional tweets that weren’t properly labeled. If you read PR Daily regularly, you know that this is a huge no-no, and the FCC tends to salivate over such oversight.
Take a look at these tweets from ESPN reporters Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, which were sent prior to the college football playoff games:
Under federal law, these types of tweets should have had either the #ad or #spon hashtag included in it to communicate the fact that they are, in fact, paid promotions. According to Deadspin, “ESPN says this is all a mistake and that future tweets associated with Domino’s ad buy with the network will be compliant with federal law.”
That’s fine—except it happened again.
This time, Kaylee Hartun tweeted, “If you’re in Phoenix for #CFBPlayoff, look for me at the @Buick tent. #ThatsABuick.” Either Hartung is really enthusiastic about the auto line, or that was a promotion.
It seems like the latter was the case, as Hartung deleted her original tweet and posted the following:
There’s no official word on whether the FTC is investigating.