Behind all brands are human beings, and all human beings are fallible. So when a respected auto brand like Toyota announces a recall, the public shakes its head but sympathizes. “I can see how that could happen,” we say to ourselves–and we’re ready to congratulate the brand when it emerges from the wilderness with a new hot pink outfit.
But when Rolls Royce announces a recall, we drop whatever we’re holding, gasp and ask ourselves “How in the world could this happen?”
It’s true. Due to a potential fire hazard, Rolls Royce is recalling 27 of its 2013 phantom vehicles, each of which cost between $399,000 and $470,000. For a revered luxury brand like Rolls Royce, this hurts. This really hurts.
Rolls Royce has maintained a nearly impeccable brand for decades and earned a spot in our culture as being the signature mark of wealth, class and success in the auto category. And did we mention that it’s products are ridiculously expensive? A recall of this nature is tragic for the brand, but also comes with a bit of Schadenfreude on the public’s behalf. It’s like when the smart kid in class got a “C” on a test–we’re all waiting for him to freak out.
But Rolls Royce shouldn’t freak out at all. In terms of damage control, the brand is contacting all owners impacted by the recall, which shouldn’t be difficult considering they all probably belong to the same polo league. This is an opportunity for Rolls Royce. For a brand that has built much of its reputation on exclusivity, nothing illustrates that point more than having to recall a mere 27 vehicles.
So Rolls Royce should embrace this problem as a PR gift. It’s public relations gold–though it may not add up to quite enough gold to purchase one of the brand’s cars.