When a Page Six headline calls you “appalling”, it may be time to think about what you’ve done.
Unfortunately, fashion PR is to blame for the most classless response to Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s death; not one but two big-name brands used the actor’s recent New York wake as an chance to promote their own products.
We hoped Gawker‘s “Fashion Label Uses Wake As PR Opp” headline was just more clickbait, but a “celebrity relations manager” at Valentino did indeed spam journalists with pictures of Amy Adams carrying one of the brand’s bags to Hoffman’s ceremony last week in Manhattan (along with an official promo for the bag).
The email in question read:
“We are pleased to announce Amy Adams carrying the Valentino Garavany Rockstud Duble bag from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection on Feb. 6 in New York”
While Valentino had no good explanation for the misspelling and weird phrasing, a senior spokeswoman dismissed the spam by telling the newly classy New York Post* that it was “an innocent mistake” despite the fact that the captions on the photos from Getty and Zumapress clearly stated where they were taken. While pleading ignorance, the spokeswoman did, at least, add “…we apologize to Ms. Adams who was not aware, or a part of, our PR efforts”. Adams’ rep was not convinced, and she provided the key adjective in the Post headline.
For even more spinning, see UGG Australia, whose spokespeople first confirmed and then denied that they’d sent boots to some of Hoffman’s actor friends before the wake. Why? Because, as a rep told the Post, they knew these people would be in the city and “did gifting in the hopes that” they’d be spotted wearing the boots in the very same sort of “candid” snaps mentioned above.
During the follow-up, a senior spokeswoman for UGG denied the earlier statement, claiming:
“UGG Australia has received a number of requests this week…UGG does not know nor would we presume to ask what our consumers or fans are doing in New York, or for what event or purpose they need the product. That is none of our business. UGG does not request photo opps from those to whom we gift product.”
If that’s true, then why would the first rep even make such a claim? Looks like unintentional honesty in advertising.
In case you couldn’t tell, everything about this story pisses us off.