PR Debate: Is McDonald’s Exploiting the Charles Ramsay Situation?

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By James F. Thompson Comment

McDonald’s is giving Charles Ramsay free food for a year.

You know the situation: Charles Ramsay helped rescue three Cleveland women from the monstrous confines of kidnapper Ariel Castro, a heroic deed that landed Mr. Ramsay on national television where he instantly became famous for his candid remarks which included a reference to McDonald’s.

Since then, McDonald’s has been in the center of a public relations conundrum.

Much of the public wanted McDonald’s to step up, do the right thing, and reward Mr. Ramsay for being a hero. Many industry experts agreed that this was a golden opportunity for the Golden Arches to capitalize on free PR.

However, some of the public and industry experts strongly believe that McDonald’s should never exploit a scenario that involves the pain and suffering of fellow human beings. Leveraging this event to gain free publicity is a crass and unforgivable.

By giving Mr. Ramsay free food for a year is McDonald’s indulging in savvy or despicable public relations? Let us know what you think.