What’s in an apology

As Darren has covered my favourite topic, social networking, I decided to return to my roots this week and the story that Sony has apologised to the Nigerian government for casting doubts on the honesty of its citizens.

In one of its recent PlayStation ads Sony used the phrase “You can’t believe everything you read on the internet, otherwise I’d be a Nigerian millionaire by now.” This follows on its backing of the film District 9 which depicts Nigerians as gangsters and cannibals. The Nigerian Government feels that Sony is out to get all Nigerians and has demanded an unconditional apology.  Sony has changed the ad and issued an apology adding that  the advert was not intended for broadcast outside the United States. niger-delta-militants

So it is okay to insult a whole nation so long as it doesn’t get to hear about it. Good PR savvy line there then.

We have all enjoyed getting copies of the Nigerian Banking Scam email and EML’s chairman used to collect them avidly. I was born in Nigeria and have once or twice replied to the emails with a smattering of the local language saying how much I enjoyed living there – strangely I never got a response.  My ex-banker husband used to have a few interesting stories about bank accounts held by Nigerians. However, all this has not lead to me thinking that all Nigerians are rogues.  Some are definitely, and often the educated ones.  Would I use that view for a media campaign?  I don’t think so.

In fact, stick to the straight and narrow and avoid race, colour, gender or creed and as a PR you will have a quieter life.

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