Bad publicity can be a good thing … just not for our sector.

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About a month ago, I recall one of my colleagues uttering “well … there’s no such thing as bad publicity”.

I was shocked to hear this old school adage. Since the domination of social media and the escalation of brand ethics, there’s no way that this can be right, right?

Well, the weekend’s promotion of The Everest horse race on the Opera House did a great job of proving me wrong!

Between Alan Jones’s controversial interview with Opera House CEO, Louise Herron; the overruling of Opera House Management by NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian; 1,000 protesters and a quarter of a million people signing a petition opposing the projections — The Everest race dominated the news bulletins for almost a week. Even The New York Times covered the story.

Attendance to the event was up 20% on last year’s numbers and betting turnover was up 9%.

However, this doesn’t work for every sector and I certainly wouldn’t recommend taking the risk in ours. The retirement sector has received more publicity than ever over the past 18 months and it hasn’t done it any favours. See our article here on the impact to sales of Stockland and Aveo 12 months after Four Corners program on retirement villages.

The aged care sector is also already feeling the impact of the media attention from the Four Corners aged care program. See our article here about the decline of Regis, Japara and Estia’s share prices.

So why did The Everest get away with it and the retirement and aged care sectors didn’t?

It comes down to the primary focus of the bad publicity. Racing NSW may have been the initial target of the bad publicity, but it quickly transitioned to focus on the NSW Premier. Some people may be upset with Racing NSW but it’s likely that will soon be forgotten. The NSW Premier’s reputation may not cope as well.

My advice – don’t risk it.