In a classic case of why you should always be prepared in PR, Tony Stewart completely blasted Goodyear after his second place finish at Atlanta yesterday. You can view his rant in its entirety above, but to summarize, he was a PR pro’s worst nightmare as he:
1. Called you out on a national stage
2. Called the product quality into question
3. Singlehandedly hurt your credibility by attacking the very thing you are known for
4. Mentioned two of your competitors as being able to provide superior products
Goodyear’s response afterward? Nothing. They completely glossed over it at the press conference, waiting a whole day to issue a statement. This gave ESPN (and other sports reporting programs) the chance to play it several times. So, what will people remember – Stewart’s rant or Goodyear’s reply that their tires are tested in accordance to NASCAR regulations and exceed every standard?
Maybe Goodyear wasn’t prepared; maybe this was their plan. I’m willing to bet it was the latter given that they didn’t even have a statement or media release on their racing site (come on people, be relevant; you know Tony Stewart, Goodyear tires, etc. ranked high in SE today).
But never give the media and the public the power to wholly pass judgement.