PR Faux Pas Leads to Xiaomi Embarrassment

By Rajneesh De

Well, we have often seen faux pas; in fact, in media & PR industry, it’s quite a common occurrence. But sometimes we see the mother of all faux pas.

Recently in China, Xiaomi PR prepared a cheatsheet for executives on HOW TO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS from the media at the listing ceremony. And then accidentally gave it to the media. OUCH….that really hurts….and must have led to some heads rolling….and some people blacklisted for life from PR jobs.

To be clear, Xiaomi’s PR agency just placed these at the reception and also handed some to journalists that they assumed to be Xiaomi execs. Incidentally, one of them was a Reuters journalist. You can very well assume the mayhem that followed.

So, what were some of the content of these cheatsheet? “Do not answer your employee number etc. to prevent the media making irresponsible guesses at your wealth, harm your privacy, and even cause unnecessary trouble to your family.” – so this is the opinion Xiaomi PR holds about journalists.

A more glimpse at the “exalted” view they have of journalists: “STAY CALM. DO NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS DIRECTLY. DO NOT GIVE ANY PERSONAL INFO…….MAY EVEN LEAD TO UNNECESSARY TROUBLE FOR YOUR FAMILY“. Plus a bonus warning for execs: NOT TO EXCHANGE WECHAT with journalists.

PR even included tips for what to say if asked about the boss Lei Jun: say he is far-sighted and hard-working. A role model.

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