The #Piegate publicity stunt has been labelled as "car-crash PR" by comms experts, although brands are looking to cash in on beleaguered Sutton goalkeeper Wayne Shaw.
Shaw resigned after he was seen eating what appeared to be a pie during the second half of the non-league side's fifth-round FA Cup clash with Arsenal on Monday night (20 February).
Before the game the club's shirt sponsor, Sun Bets, was offering odds of 8-1 against him doing so, which Shaw reportedly knew about. He is now under investigation by the FA and the Gambling Commission.
However, with Shaw well into the twilight of his playing career, the #Piegate stunt looks to many like an attempt to get celebrity status.
Sun Bets, which reportedly devised the stunt, is now offering odds on Shaw appearing in reality TV shows, as well as winning Sports Personality of the Year:
However, the PR industry has been quick to point out how ill-conceived the stunt was.
David Alexander, managing director at Calacus PR, said the "poorly thought-out" stunt draws attention to the PR industry for the wrong reasons.
"The gaming industry is characterised by clever publicity stunts and witty banter, which draws in millions of punters and their cash.
"When Sun Bets were named as Sutton United’s shirt sponsor, it was vital for their newly appointed PR agency to put a robust communications plan in place, which took into account the very real risks of linking novelty bets to the club and its staff."
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