Sometimes, even if you plan your public relations campaign very carefully, someone can spoil your efforts. For example, if you've carefully planned an online contest, tallied the results and determined the winner, you'll want to send out a virtual press release to top bloggers and media sources announcing the results. However, it is usually necessary to send this kind of release out a few days in advance of announcing the results on your site -- thus creating an opportunity for a leak of the highly secret information.
Leaks can create big public relations messes and reuion your surprise, so it's imperative that you put a big header on your press release that details that this is confidential information. In some cases, it's also a good idea to ask journalists to sign a confidentiality agreement. Take for example the recent case of a Glee extra spoiling the season finale. Last week on Twitter, Nichole Crowther revealed who would become prom king and queen on the show -- a big spoiler.
This created a backlash against Nichole where angry fans responded to her spoiling the show and the producer of Glee, Blad Falchuk, tweeted "hope you're qualified to do something besides work in entertainment" and "Who are you to spoil something talented people have spent months to create?"
Unfortunately in this case, the standard union contract that Nichole signed did not require her to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so filing a suit for liquidated damages would be difficult. However, if Nichole had signed an agreement with a pre-set amount of money for leaking, Glee and Fox would be protected from such actions -- and more importantly -- would probably prevent such reputation management problems from occurring at all.