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How Companies Capitalize On Crises

Flickr Photo/Mr. Juicebox

As the partial government shutdown drags into its third week, some companies haven’t missed the opportunity to squeeze some publicity out of it. Last week, Starbucks gave away free cups of coffee to anyone who bought another person a beverage in its stores. The company also urged customers to sign a petition, asking lawmakers to end the shutdown.

All over the country, restaurants and retailers are offering customers furlough discounts. One video game company went so far as to offer seven free games to anyone who emailed a photo of his or herself posing with a furlough notice.

How effective is this type of PR? And do companies run the risk of alienating their customers? Cal McAllister is co-founder and CEO of Wexley School For Girls, an advertising agency in Seattle. He talked with Marcie Sillman.

Produced by Andy Hurst.