SITUATION: On Friday, October 1, 2010, during live coverage of the Ryder Cup, Mike Tirico from ESPN made reference to the malfunction of the U.S. Team’s rainwear, calling the incident “GORE-TEX GATE”. However, the U.S. team was wearing uniforms that did not contain GORE-TEX. Mr. Tirico’s comments began to take on a life of their own with the phrase GORE-TEXT GATE being repeated in blogs, Twitter and throughout the Internet. Shortly after he made those comments, Gore associates from around the globe felt it was important to address ESPN’s comments and set the facts straight.
TACTICS: CGPR immediately began to investigate the story and, acting in concert with Gore and Gore Europe, CGPR drafted a short statement addressing the facts. Next, CGPR reached out to the PGA (to address a statement they made on the wires) and ESPN (regarding the comments of the announcer) media relation teams to discuss the gear malfunction and clarify Gore’s role in the issue. CGPR then distributed a statement on PR Newswire. Finally, contact was made with the PGA liaison onsite in Wales to keep the media at the event tuned to the facts.
RESULTS: In the end, this was about taking quick action to protect the integrity of the Gore brand. Gore had no choice but to clarify the facts, as the original ESPN statement ran on live TV (the only station covering the Ryder Cup that morning), and this was a global sporting event. By acting quickly, Gore was able to present the true facts of the situation in the same news cycle and mitigate any damage to brand.