I swear that I'm not making this up. TASER's (Nasdaq: TASR ) PR department sent me this on Friday:
TASER International, Inc. ... announced today that ... a standard electrical discharge from a TASER brand device does not induce ventricular fibrillation, and that cocaine intoxication increases the safety margin even further.
In other words, if you snort the white powdery stuff before you get shocked, you're even less likely to die of a heart attack. How reassuring.
The science behind the claim comes from a study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic and sponsored by TASER, in which pigs were given high doses of cocaine prior to receiving TASER shocks. The so-called flying pigs were apparently able to withstand eight times the normal TASER discharge.
Frankly, I'm stunned that TASER sees the need to issue such a press release. Either the company has sunk to a new low in PR strategy, or perception on the street (and the Street) about the TASER devices really is that bad.
Perhaps it's both. TASER has suffered from numerous outlandish claims in years past, such as a USA Today story that claimed its stun guns delivered shocks equal to that of an electric chair. But should such preposterous stories give TASER free license to breach the borders of reasonable PR, as I think this press release does? Not in my book.
Bottom line: Good things are happening at TASER, but PR like this is just infuriating. Instead, why not keep issuing news releases on the successful legal strategy? (Today we learned of the dismissal of three more product-liability lawsuits.) That's all we need to know anyway, and such releases avoid opening the doors of ridicule to wisecracking Fools like me. TASER isn't a joke; it's got no need to act like one.
Prepare to be shocked by further Foolishness:
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Fool contributorTim Beyershas never been stunned by a TASER, and he doesn't plan to be, either. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out which stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.