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The apology business

“Brands such as Wells Fargo Co., Facebook Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. are spending millions of dollars on advertising campaigns to apologize for a range of corporate missteps and to win back consumers’ trust. The pitches blanketing media channels in recent weeks show how the latest wave of atonement tours has become more sophisticated, as customers themselves increasingly tap multiple forums to express their dissatisfaction with a brand.

Facebook has been airing a TV ad pledging to address fake news and data misuse and to return the social-media network to its roots of connecting people. Wells Fargo, which has been embroiled in controversies including bank employees’ opening accounts without customers’ knowledge, is airing a spot acknowledging that it lost consumers’ trust and vowing to fix its issues.

Many of the apology campaigns include digital, print, billboard and TV ads, with television commercials airing during expensive programming like the NBA playoffs and “The Voice.””

The more elaborate the apology, the less believable.

“We live in an age of rage, and companies are now compelled to engage and apologize,” said Harlan Loeb, global chair of crisis at Edelman, which advises Wells Fargo on corporate reputation. 

Edelman should tell his client that the “age of rage” had nothing to do with their problem.  How that company still has customers is beyond me. 

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