Andrew Touhy, Account Executive
Crisis is often self-inflicted. There are countless examples of companies bringing a media storm upon themselves, and a recent casting call issued by Cadillac was no different.
Per an image posted by Reuters news service, the luxury car company issued a casting call notice that said their filming agency was looking for “any and all real alt-right thinkers/believers,” to be in a commercial that will “capture all walks of life of America.” The notice continued with a message that read, “This is not meant to be offensive in any way. Just a representation of all sides.”
The image received heavy criticism as it was relayed across social media platforms, and incited vast public denouncement of the company. Acting quickly, Cadillac issued a statement on Facebook vehemently condemning the notice, denying any responsibility in issuing it. The company’s casting agency, The Cast Station, admitted fault and issued this statement hoping to clear Cadillac of any involvement:
“A casting notice for an “alt-right” role in a Cadillac commercial was issued by mistake on Friday, Dec 9th. The notice was drafted by an employee, who was immediately terminated for her actions. Additionally, an outside third party further altered the breakdown without our knowledge and posted it on social media. Cadillac unequivocally did not authorize this notice or anything like it, and we apologize to Cadillac for the ex-employee’s actions.”
Though Cadillac used sound crisis-management strategy to quell the storm, some issues are too contentious. The current political climate of the United States does not allow for mishaps bearing this weight; it is going to bring a storm of consequences. The damage here may be done. Their public image may be unsalvageable – at least until people forget. Should it be the case that consumers do not associate Cadillac with divisiveness, it is still painfully clear that the company needs better oversight of their business partners. A mistake of this degree is inexcusable, and no crisis management strategy can wipe it clean. The only way to avoid this problem is to not let it happen in the first place. Period.