As I am hoping to pursue a long and prosperous career in the wonderful world of PR, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the highlights within the PR industry over the last year. And by highlights, I mean, the bad! As I am graduating in the matter of a few mere months, I thought getting some background research into the industry and seeing what NOT to do would be pretty useful for my future. Aswell as an interesting read. Welcome to some great PR FAILS!
The introduction of twitter has been great for PR and is one of the best ways to communicate with your audience and for a brand to interact via social media. However, when communication goes wrong, it can be very bad, very quickly and will be seen by millions! One of the best hashtag fails of 2012 was of course the #susanalbumparty. Who could forget the great joy this one bought. For anyone who doesn't know, this was the hashtag used for Susan Boyles Album Launch Party...however, as a hashtag it doesn't really have the desired affect...! The original tweet was hastily changed to #SusanBoylesAlbumParty. Although, you may say this twitter 'mistake' worked out pretty well as it generated a lot more press than it would of done without the little slip up.
Another of my favourites is McDonald's hashtag from back in January, #McDStories. This was supposed to be for customers to leave nice stories about their experiences with the brand. However, it hugely backfired as people wrote about finding fingernails in their burgers, among many other lovely stories. It was found 68% of the comments using the hashtag were negative.
3) YSL- Saint Laurent?
Another big PR fail of 2012 was Yves Saint Laurent who decided to drop the Yves out of their name to just be known as 'Saint Laurent'. However, when companies broadcast this news, the YSL PR team got in contact to say this was wrong, and only the ready-to-wear collection by Hedi Slimane should be referred to as Saint Laurent. All in all there was a lot of mis-communication and YSL tried to get companies to amend tweets, however, a tweet can never be amended as once it is posted it is live and seen by millions. A very confusing situation!
4) American Apparel- 'SandySale'
American Apparel (aswell as other brands such as Gap) exploited the natural disaster of hurricane Sandy as a way to sell their products. The brand offered a 20% discount to the American states that were affected by the hurricane by using the promotional code 'sandysale' at the online checkout. They promoted this online by saying "in case you're bored during the storm". This insensitive use of promoting angered customers and worst of all, the brand just ignored the backlash and never apologised.
5) Burger King Lettuce Scandal
An employee posted a photo online of himself standing in two tubs of iceberg lettuce. Attached to the photo was the caption "this is the lettuce you eat in Burger King" Next time you are eating your yummy burger, just think about this image...
6) Co-op Naked tweet
An employee somehow managed to post a topless photo of himself onto the supermarkets twitter page to their 18,000 followers instead of to his own personal account. The chain then hit back after many people noticed this slip up with by saying: 'Hmm, sorry about that folks. Slight technical hiccup which we are still investigating - but we hope we gave you all a smile! *Mel.' technical hiccup? OK then!
7) Belvedere Vodka Implied Rape
Outrage on Facebook and Twitter was prompted after Belvedere vodka released a new campaign portraying a photo of a man dragging a terrified looking woman onto his lap with the slogan "Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly". People were outraged by the implications of rape, especially as alcohol consumption is linked with rape. The company then issued an official apology and made a donation to a womens support charity. Nicely pulled back there Belvedere!
8) Bic for her
Pen company Bic bought out a new range of pens this year, especially for women! The pens are just the same as any other pen, except they are pink and they are apparently designed to fit a woman's hand! This use of stereotyping and gender differentiation is terribly old fashioned and sexist and did not go down well with women all over the world!
So there you have it, some of the biggest and my favourite PR fails from this year. I will definitely be learning from these and hopefully less mistakes will be made in the future...however you know what they say, no press is bad press!