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Should Fisher & Paykel Be Hung Out To Dry?

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 12/01/2011

Appliance maker who celebrated its soaring dryer sales with reference to the devastating Queensland floods has been slammed by several media groups.

Dryer maker Fisher & Paykel who sent out a media release this week, with a headline screaming " F&P dryer dales soar in the wake of devastating floods" have landed themselves in hot water as a result.

Both the manufacturer and its PR company, Maxicom, are now fighting off accusations of capitalising on a tragedy that has devastated the Queensland area.

However, one must ask if it was PR disaster courtesy of its agency or an oversight at the F & P head office?

Maxicom, who hold the F&P account, however, insist the release was the work of both parties and refuted any suggestions of capitalising on the flooding disaster when contacted by Smarthouse.

"We had no intention to highlight the plight of the Queensland flood victims," insists Maxicom's Sandra  Renowen, despite clearly referring to floods and the disaster stricken state in the statement.

Peter Russell, Marketing Manager at F&P, also insists the release was "taken out of context and didn't refer to Queensland at all."

 "There has been a significant increase in dryer sales across Australia's Eastern states compared to the same period from the previous years," he was quoted in the statement, with the release going on to cite "130% growth in Queensland dryer sales in November and December 2010…100% in Victoria and 52% in NSW."  

Mr Russell also told Smarthouse the release was lead by Maxicom and had "stern words" with the company following the backlash, lamenting (it) "should never have gone into the public sphere" and was destined for trade only.

He also feels disappointed by the criticism voiced in certain media quarters, claiming he "pretty hard done by."

Both Maxicom and Fisher & & Paykel insist it was a trade release designed to inform retailers of the manufacturer's ability to fulfill trade orders in spite of the rush and their delight in being able to meet this demand.

"Fisher & Paykel in no way sought to capitalize on the plight of flood affected victims.," the company said in a statement.

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