PR mistakes can cause irreparable damage to a business’ or individual’s reputation if they are not managed correctly.
This year we have seen a few PR mistakes such as public figures saying inappropriate comments as well as businesses misusing social media.
PR disasters.com has listed some of these PR mistakes in 2012.
- Vodaphone Facebook comments. A Vodaphone staff member, who describes himself as a ‘social media expert,’ was abusing customers and other employees on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. His comments were racist and offensive as he called customers ‘mentally retarded’ and said they would ‘cop a pimp slap backhand.’ Vodaphone responded to this PR disaster by suspending the employee and apologising for anyone who was offended by the comments.
- CEO of Energy Watch, Ben Polis racist comments. Ben Polis posted sexist, racist and offensive comments on his Facebook page causing the company to lose millions of dollars worth of sponsorship deals. He was then sacked from his position as CEO following a major public backlash. An Energy Watch spokesperson responded by stating the company’s views were at ‘diametric odds’ to Mr Polis’.
- Tony Abbot’s insensitive comment. Tony Abbot made an inappropriate comment about asylum seekers following the sinking of the Italian cruise ship, Costa Concordia. During a radio interview a journalist asked Mr Abbott, “The captain from the Costa Concordia wants to know if you need any help with your boat policy?” Mr Abbott then replied, “Well that was one boat that did get stopped, wasn’t it.” This was a tasteless comment considering 11 people were killed and many others were injured in the accident. Mr Abbot then went into damage control and apologised for the comment. However this left some people wondering if he was fit for the role of Prime Minister.
- Alan Jones inappropriate comment. 2GB radio shock jock, Alan Jones, said Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father ‘died of shame’. Mr Jones made these comments during Sydney University’s Liberal Club President’s Dinner however he didn’t realise there was a journalist in the audience. His comments were met with public outrage with many people urging advertisers to boycott the show. This led companies such as Freedom Furniture, Woolworths and Mercedes Benz to pull their advertising from the radio program. Mr Jones held a press conference to apologise for his remarks, however many people felt the apology was not good enough.
- 2Day FM prank phone. Radio station 2Day FM made a prank phone call to the London hospital where Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton was admitted. Following this phone call the reception nurse at the hospital took her own life. This horrible situation caused a worldwide PR disaster and public backlash for 2Day FM and their media company Austereo. Austereo has since lost thousands of dollars in advertising revenue and responded by banning prank phone calls and suspending the DJs involved. However many people are still unhappy with the way the company responded to the situation.
Hopefully every business can learn a few lessons from these PR disasters and with only a few weeks left of 2012 we hope there will be no more to report.
What other PR disaster occurred this year?
Read the full articles here.
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