The recipe to turn bad PR into something sweet

An old story about Neiman Marcus’ cookie recipe shows how what seems like a bad PR move can help boost a brand.

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They say there is no such thing as “bad” publicity. Sometimes the best way to capture the attention of your audience is to bypass traditional communications methods and shock your target audiences with a story they’ll never forget. Neiman Marcus provides a good example of that strategy.

For years, Neiman Marcus artfully has maintained the myth about its exclusive, and notoriously expensive, chocolate chip cookie recipe. Whether the legend was created by its marketing department, or simply by one woman who caused a timeless stir, we may never know. Regardless, we now are lucky to have our cookies and eat them too.

The story, according to Neiman Marcus, goes something like this:

A woman and her daughter had just finished a salad at Neiman Marcus Cafe in Dallas and decided to have a small dessert. Because the two had such a love for cookies, they decided to try the “Neiman Marcus Cookie.” It was so excellent that the customer asked if the store would share the recipe. The waitress said with a small frown, “I’m afraid not.” The customer then asked if she could buy the recipe. With a smile, the waitress replied, “yes” and said the recipe would cost “two fifty.” The customer requested that it be added to her tab.

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