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What Paperchase's stream of bad PR looks like

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11 February 2010
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When illustrator Hidden Eloise wrote a blogpost yesterday about how she felt her work was copied by paper and stationery shop Paperchase, the Twitter masses picked up on it and it has become a trending topic as we speak.

At this moment, it’s not even clear whether they or their PR agency actually know that this is happening. But even if they did, they don’t have the (Social Media) tools to respond.
Paperchase doesn’t have a blog nor a Twitter account, so they can’t immediately react. Needless to say that’s a mistake.

To make a point, I thought it would be interesting to visualise a little crisis like that. So below is a screengrab of Twitter Trends half an hour ago. Quite powerful actually: to see what such a stream of bad PR looks like.


Today if you search for ‘paperchase’ this is what you get. That just goes to show that even though paperchase has responded via a press release and on their site (see below), their is still a very damaging link just below their own site.

Paperchase's search engine problem - Hidden Eloise - not so hidden

Paperchase claims they did respond to Hidden Eloise:

“The illustrator who is making the allegation made us aware of her concerns in November 2009 and we duly responded to her in early December, since when we had heard nothing … until today. Back in November 2009, we spoke at length to the design studio in question and they categorically denied any plagiarism.”

“It is worrying that such an allegation can create such reaction and again, Paperchase apologises for any ill-feeling caused.”

Regardless of the sequence of events, Paperchase should have been monitoring what’s being said about it online. Most free tools would have done the trick. And since the allegation was public, they needed to respond online and in public to it. That is where it matters. My bet is if they had, the story would have gone nowhere.

Now that the damage is done, Paperchase has tried to communicate by adapting their site’s contact page (see below). Once again, if they had some blogging functionality, they could at least have had a separate link. That would have shown their version of the story more prominently if somebody searched for them. They could have left a comment in Hidden Eloise blog and have had a track back.

The Paperchase contact page after crisis

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