Bad News Releases: Yokohama Tire Gets a Flat

by PR Coach on June 9, 2011

Flat

Yokohama Tire news release was a flat

Yesterday, Yokohama Tire Corporation issued a news release about its “All New ‘Customer First’ Web Site.” Unfortunately, it’s now a member of our Bad News Release club. Here are eight reasons why…

First, this news release was not “news.” A revised website is marketing, not real news. With all the shortness of breath and hyperbole, you’d think they had just invented the first round wheel. It should have been handled differently. Never mix marketing with news.

According to Theresa Palang, Yokohama manager of public relations and digital marketing:

“With the new site, we have now provided those customers with new means by which to express their needs and on a platform that is increasingly becoming their choice – digital. Whether a beginner at the tire selection process or a seasoned enthusiast, male or female, performance aficionado or daily driver, the new site walks the user through according to their preferences and on a centralized hub that integrates all social media channels, tools and resources – a first in the tire industry.”

Second, it’s a news release with unnecessary bafflegab and tech speak:

“built for engagement, interactivity, education, empowerment”
“a first in the tire industry”
“Informs on the technologies that go into the design and manufacture of Yokohama tires, including water evacuation, tread wear, rolling resistance and aerodynamics simulations”
“user-centric website with integrated social media channels”

Third, the benefits are not clear enough to consumers looking for safe tire performance, value and useful information. The real benefits of the website are not shared until too late in the news release.

Fourth, it’s filled with overblown prose and hyperbole. See #1 above.

Fifth, it should be a social media release with direct links to the new website pages and features described. The news release on the website had no active links whatsoever. None! Hard to comprehend.

Sixth, watch your grammar. The lead has a grammar mistake and I counted at least four other spelling or grammar mistakes including the headline. You must pay attention to the details.

Seventh, you need a PR contact name, phone number and e-mail in the news release for better media relations results. No other recent news releases had contact info either.

Finally, have a bit of fun with your announcement and your new website. Tell an interesting story and speak your audience’s language.  Yokohama’s Know Thy Tires feature in its newsroom, ironically issued the same day, was quite well done and much more consumer-friendly. Approached this way, this announcement could have been  much more effective.

After my news release critique, did the new website features work as promised? While it wasn’t overly engaging, it did help me choose the best tire for my driving style – the Geolander H/T – S. Perfect for all season, SUV on and off-road driving in the mountains and rainforests on the northwest coast.

But the new website didn’t convince me to “integrate all social media channels, tools and resources” nor could I find the promised 300 bookmarking and sharing tools to make instant connections with others.

A final suggestion? Yokohama, your online newsroom badly needs basic media information including media contacts with e-mail and direct phone number, company and corporate backgrounder and easy to use visuals and video.

The goal of our ongoing Bad News Release series is to share news release best practices and learn by looking at real life press releases. Let’s hope Yokohama Tire’s next news release is not another flat.

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Photo credit: Jason L Parks via Flickr

Author: Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach

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