This is not a case for the “goofy awards” – we “offer” those to correct some small mistakes or blunders that, if corrected, can only benefit the reputation of the “awarded.” This is a more likely a case for “PR horror stories” than anything else.
The Orlando Sentinel and a few other high profile news sites report that Showbiz Promotions, based in Jacksonville, had planned to sell its Caylee Sunshine doll for $29.99. This doll was apparently meant to represent “a tribute” to Caylee Marie Anthony a little girl who disappeared on July 15, 2008. Her remains were found five months later, on December 11.
The public reaction was evidently against the release of the Caylee Sunshine doll. Many considered the product a morbid and twisted tribute to … greed. In various press releases Showbiz Productions states that the profits generated from the sale of the doll will be donated to charity, but the public cannot be easily fooled: the original intention of Jamie Salcedo, CEO of Showbiz Productions, was to donate up to $3 per doll to a charity.
On January 27 The Orlando Sentinel writes:
“Showbiz Promotions, based in Jacksonville, had planned to sell its Caylee Sunshine doll for $29.99. But on its Web site Tuesday the company’s president announced the suspension of the launch plan. Jaime Salcedo says the company reversed course after reviewing public response to the doll.”
We visited the site, but instead of finding an announcement about the “suspension of the launch plan” we found an active product page (please click on the image for a larger view) – actually we found a whole series of Caylee Sunshine products.
Salcedo has no intention whatsoever to suspend this product. Testimony to this is the actual “store front” of the Showbiz Productions website, where Caylee products are featured as the most popular and they are even included as “teasers” for free shipping:
Our feeling is that Salcedo uses this opportunity to generate noise and links back to his site. We all know, there are enough ignorant people who would buy the doll and all other items. This is one of those unfortunate situations when bad PR is better than no PR. Almost everyone is against these dolls, yet the negative press just made them popular.
Update: Showbiz Productions ended up pulling the product, after public outcry of claims the doll being in poor taste. We applaud their decision.