And now Billy Mays is dead. Hours later, I received, yes, a press release associated with what we can legitimately call a tragedy. He was 50 years old and seemingly in good health, and leaves behind a wife and kids.
But this press release wasn’t opportunistic at all: it’s from an agency representing the CEO of TeleBrands, who knew and worked with Mays for more than 15 years. It struck me as sweet and thoughtful. The family has indicated a desire to grieve in private and this press release comes across as a desire to help relieve some of the family’s burdens as media outlets prepare their coverage and try to gain a better knowledge of the man. There’s not a single mention of the accomplishments of the CEO or his company. Just a simple notice that he knew Mays well and is making himself available to comment on the story.
It’d be unprofessional and awkward for me to reply this way to a press release, so I’ll say it here: this release is PR done exactly right.