Friday, December 4, 2009

VERITAS: TOUCHDOWN - VIRGIN MOBILE SLITHERS OUT OF CRISIS

There are a number of things which scare me, and snakes are high on the list. You couldn’t pay me enough to participate in a challenge where I’d be forced to face that fear. But it didn’t faze ‘Star Spider,’ a Toronto event planner who competed in National Fearless Day – an event put on by Virgin Mobile and hosted by its fearless leader, Sir Richard Branson. She willingly and calmly put her hands into containers filled with waxworms, was covered in snakes and walked a tightrope over a large crowd of people – all for a chance to win $5,000 and the title of Canada’s Most Fearless Person. None of that scared Ms. Spider, but she says what did frighten her was the way the snakes and worms were treated at the event. Offended, she left the competition without finishing the challenges. ‘Star Spider’ posted a video online outlining her disappointment with Branson and Virgin Mobile, stating that she believes "every creature is unique, beautiful, and worthy of respect." The video shows Branson throwing handfuls of worms into the crowd; worms, which she says, were trampled. Within two hours, Virgin Mobile’s head of PR, Chris Baines, contacted ‘Star Spider’ to apologize and listen to her concerns and the company has made a donation to the Toronto Wildlife Centre. ‘Star Spider’ posted a second video online to credit the company for its swift response, “We were thrilled to hear that our voices were heard and Virgin was taking positive action because of our efforts.” The lesson: when faced with a communications crisis, take accountability for your actions and steps to right a wrong, and do it FAST – now, that’s fearless.

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