When it comes to PR disasters, few look worse than this. Then again, when you use a carjacking/kidnapping-turned-murder to try to push products out of your showroom, you deserve all the bad karma you get.
Abe Sauer of Brand Channel has this story:
Liaoning Tianhe Buick, a dealership in Jilin’s neighbor province, posted the following (now deleted) on its Weibo page:
A few thoughts following the Changchun stolen car incident: When buying a car it’s completely okay to choose higher technology. Tianhe Buicks carry the OnStar GPS system, allowing the lockdown of a stolen vehicle at any time and place. An easy heart, a piece of mind, likewise why not buy a completely safe Buick!!!!! Sales Hotline: 024-86547880 86547881 QQ:521279389 2523275273 www.inthbuick.com.
More incredibly, the dealership posted a picture of the two-month-old baby who was sleeping in the back of the SUV that was stolen in Changchun. The carjacker eventually turned himself in and admitted to strangling and burying the toddler in the snow.
Needless to say, Weibo users are incensed. Some called the Buick dealership “virtueless.” Others called for the account to be suspended while others used curses. One said simply, “Go die.”
Liaoning Tianhe Buick has posted an apology, but the damage may have already been done. Or does all publicity remain “good”?
A solemn apology: At 11:45 pm on March 5 Liaoning Tianhe Buick improperly posted to its Weibo. To the family of the victims and to the public, we very deeply apologize for any emotional damage and hurt feelings.
China Buick PR Disaster as Dealer Uses Deceased Baby in Ad (Brand Channel)