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29th March 2022 - By: Sam Wright

Where There’s A Will, There’s A… PR Crisis!

Will Smith PR crisis

Normally, we approach these blogs by giving you a bit of background on the wider story in which we’re commentating on, but this time there is absolutely no need. The whole world is fully aware of what went down between Will Smith and Chris Rock at this year’s Oscars, we just want to put our two pence in and look at it from a wider marketing and PR crisis perspective, because, well, we’re the experts.

Anybody working in the world of PR knows that on Sunday night Chris Rock wasn’t the only one receiving a big slap in the face. Will Smith’s team were also left with a huge, red, metaphoric handprint on their faces, thanks to the star’s incredible outburst.

You’d think an individual with the fame that Smith possesses would be able to keep his cool, particularly at one of the biggest events of the year, where anyone who’s anyone is in attendance, along with the millions of people watching around the world.

Now, this ‘crisis’ went how most do. The situation happened, the world reacted, and the individual posted an apology. However, as we’ve come to realise in the world of press and social media, the damage is already done and Smith’s reputation (which was gloriously squeaky clean when he woke up on Sunday morning) has undoubtedly taken a battering and has certainly not been swept under the red carpet. To initiate any form of violence is something that even the most loyal Will Smith fan may struggle to deal with.

I can just picture his PR team running around putting fire after fire out. Believe me, I’ve been there. It’s an experience every PR person will tell you that you must go through in order to earn your crust in this wonderful industry. It’s what we’re here for, and there’s no time you have to be more ‘on it’ than in the midst of a crisis.

However, on the flip side, as PR people we also love watching how a crisis unfolds in the public, and even more so how brands will look to profit from the very same crisis.

Endless memes are something we’ve come to expect now, but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining. It’s almost as if there’s a people out there waiting for this sort of thing to happen, so they can be the first to react. They’re either psychic or really good at what they do. Either way, kudos to them.

Here at Nifty we also noticed that by Monday morning one gift card manufacturer had launched their own Will Smith and Chris Rock cards, which, when you take into consideration the substantial time difference, is nothing short of incredible. Well played to them.

Oh, and there’s one person we haven’t really spoken about, CHRIS ROCK. Well, aside from a sore cheek, he’s actually doing very well out of all this. His upcoming tour has seen a huge spike in ticket sales following the fiasco. What’s that old saying, one man’s trash…?

Anyway, we’re going to leave it there for now as this crisis is still in its infancy so expect more fall out, and if there is we’ll pop another blog together for your perusal, because we’re nice like that.