I let our dog out into the backyard last night and twenty minutes later, the unmistakable smell of skunk barged in through the windows and doors and seemingly the walls themselves. If you’ve never smelled a skunk, it can only be described as a three dimensional odor of hammering disgust: intense, intolerable and inescapable. The large-hearted among us may be inclined to excuse the skunk since its low status on the food chain bestows such a nauseating means of self-defense, but no one with even modest olfactory capabilities can–the stink is just too strong. And so I spent three hours staining Jack’s bounteous ruff with tomato juice, trying to cut the stench from horrific to merely awful. In the end, Jack still had to spend the night outside, his hangdog expression clearly communicating that this excretion offended even his adventurous nose.
When you get hit by a skunk, you have to act immediately to clean up and then…wait. There’s not a lot you can do other than try to address the issue as best you can and then…endure. More than anything else, time diminishes the odor.
Dominos got hit by a skunk a few weeks back in the form of two bonehead employees with a video camera. Their CEO went on YouTube reasonably quickly, showed his disgust and disdain, and then…waited. And despite how those disgusting images sear into the synapses, time helps the image fade, particularly once you realize this was a rogue act of a skunk. Our home state got hit by a skunk in the form of Rod “Pay to Play” Blagojevich. Actually, Illinois has a history of living in a cloud of stench from skunks that go by the title of ‘governor’ or ‘senator.’ Someone like Michael Vick didn’t get hit by a skunk, he was the skunk for the Atlanta Falcons, and they too had to scramble to determine a response that would be strong enough, before stepping back and waiting it out.
When brands are opinions and opinions enjoy the mass distribution channels of social networks, the once separate worlds of advertising and public relations. must converge. And nothing makes that more obvious than those unfortunate moments when you’re sprayed by a skunk.